I came up to Glencoe today to deliver the first batch of calendars to the Glencoe Cafe. (Now available to buy “off the shelf” if you’re interested !)

Afterwards I decided to take a walk in the glen so I headed for the area known as “The Study” just above the Pass of Glencoe.

The weather wasn’t great, but I was hopeful that the sun might break through the thick cloud as it was quite windy and every now and then a small patch of golden light would break through onto a pumpkin coloured hillside. In particular I wanted to capture the sun breaking onto the three sisters of glencoe with the dramatic dark sky behind.

I love taking photos at this time of year in Glencoe as the fern and heather covered hills take on a deep orange colour that makes the final image almost look “photoshopped” – in fact on several occasions I’ve had to deliberately reduce the colour saturation because I’ve felt that no-one would believe it wasn’t an effect added afterwards by computer!

As I climbed the path up above “the study” I noticed that as I moved further from the road, the footprints in the mud were becoming less human and more deer, so I decided to just walk and see where I would end up.

Slowly the human footprints disappeared and the deer prints increased, but I continued to climb until eventually I reached a point where even the deer prints ended and I was on my own.

Confident in the knowledge that I was in a place where no-one / nothing else had visited for a while, I set up my tripod and camera and settled down to wait for the light to improve.
The strong wind carried the bellows of the rutting red deer stags down from the high corries and gave the whole visit a surreal eerie feeling, but it stubbornly refused to break the clouds and let through the low autumn sunlight…

I waited for two hours on my high perch, the sunlight never came, the deer remained elusive and the huge bird of prey that soared overhead remained unidentified (at least by me!)

Such is the life of the landscape photographer.
I almost wrote “a lot of effort for no reward” but that’s not quite the full story. Yes, it was a lot of effort – my camera bag and tripod are VERY heavy and I climbed a fair bit – but, although there was no award winning photo taken, the view and the two hours spent out of mobile signal, just sitting watching the world go by was reward enough for me.

I’m very aware that it’s a privilege to do what I do and today reminded me that I need to appreciate that a bit more.
I got to sit for 2 hrs high above one of the most iconic spots in Scotland, totally undisturbed. That in itself has to be worth carting all that kit up the hillside!


I’ll post a few of the shots that I did manage to grab over on my Facebook page in the next day or two.

In the meantime, I’ve got a new favourite viewpoint in one of my favourite locations, so I’ll be back again very soon to sit for a while and listen to the deer – and watch the world rush by below…
It’s going to look incredible in the snow…