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Squally Dog Walk at Ardrossan

By |2022-09-15T11:42:21+01:00September 15th, 2022|Categories: Blog, The Test Strip Photoblog|Tags: , , , , , , |

man walking his border collie on a windy and wet beach at Ardrossan, Scotland

Squally Stop

This image is a favourite from last year’s trip to Scotland. It was taken during a very wild and wet stop at Ardrossan on the way back home. I’d just walked Luna and was quickly returning to the car (Luna does NOT like windy and wet weather) when I spotted this dog walker calmly exercising his Border Collie. Both seemed to be having fun regardless of the rain and wind battering the beach. Further down the beach, a resilient school trip had gathered to explore the beach for a school project. I’ve always liked the dramatic effect of bad weather on a landscape and how memorable days like this can be.

Isle of Arran

The support ship in the background really adds to the image. It remained anchored there (Troon anchorage) for some time, staying in the anchorage according to marine traffic for several weeks. In the background the Isle of Arran, obscured by the incoming rain, is described on the Visit Scotland website as ‘a place where you can find a little bit of everything you’d ever want from a Scottish island; an ever-changing coastline, dramatic mountain peaks, sheltered beaches, verdant forests, great cultural festivals and a wealth of tasty local produce.’ It’s definitely on the places to visit list with the landscape looking fantastic.

From the Archive: Veil of Mist

By |2018-11-28T15:02:31+00:00November 28th, 2018|Categories: The Test Strip Photoblog|Tags: , , , , , , |

Not so much a black Friday as a grey Saturday for today’s image.

This photo was taken on a misty, rainy and grey Saturday at Eilean Donan Castle in the Highlands of Scotland. Not exactly the usual sort for weather for good photography.  But that was my first atmospheric visit to the iconic Scottish castle back in 2012. The dark weather seemed to add some magic to the occasion.

I was staying in Dornie so was able to walk down to the castle that evening. The rain had follow the car up through most of the Highlands and kept up throughout the evening. Walking down to Eilean Donan castle, there was nobody around apart from a couple of wet and tired backpackers looking for a campsite. Sadly i wasn’t able to help them.

The image was taken on an iPhone with a little bit of tweaking in Snapseed to add some contrast.

The whole Eilean Donan experience really starts at Glen Shiel, some eight or nine miles from Dornie. The mountains tower above the road as the road heads towards Dornie and the castle. The A87 route itself follows an old military road built by General Wade in the early part of the 18th century to create better access to the Highlands for the Army to maintain order.

 The A87 road, surely one of the best roads in Britain, had wound its way alongside Loch Duich with a veil of rainy mist gradually falling back. As the car travelled around a bend, the castle suddenly appeared through the mist. It was a timeless moment that felt like a scene from a movie. A perfect introduction enhanced by the poor but atmospheric weather. Just a shame i didn’t have a dash cam!


Eilean Donan featured in BBC TV identity slot from 1997 -2002

Eilean Donan ranks among my favourite places. It has a tranquillity about it along with a rich history – although the castle is not quite as old as it first appears. Over the years the iconic castle has been in a number of films including James Bond – The World is Not Enough and, one of my favourite films, Highlander. It was probably the castle’s scenes in Highlander that made me want to visit Eilean Donan. For a number of years the castle also featured in a BBC TV identity slot from 1997 -2002.

From the Archive: Mountain Rain

By |2018-05-19T13:41:35+01:00May 18th, 2018|Categories: Blog, The Test Strip Photoblog|Tags: , , , , , , |

Rain over highlands mountains near Bridge of Orchy, Scotland

Photographs are sometimes be a bit elusive. I’d seen this wonderful range of mountains near Bridge of Orchy on previous journeys up to the Highlands of Scotland but the dilemma faced was always the same – where to park! The sheer numbers of people who would stop at the Loch Tulla viewpoint, combined with the size of a car and even the time of day would foil any photography plans on more than one occasion.

One year, arriving at the location the light was just gorgeous. The mountains were bathed in a warm, golden glow with shadows gliding over the mountainside as clouds passed over. Had i been on a motorbike then i’d have probably been able to pull off safely, but in a car there was just no room to get off the road. You win some, and you lose some.

This photograph was taken around mid morning during very changeable weather. The early arrival (stayed locally for the night) helped with finding a car park space, probably also empty due to the rain and wind blowing across the mountains, and just waited for the right moment. The photograph was taken just as another squall of rain crossed the mountain side, lit by a break in the cloud.  The volatile nature of the mountain weather comes across nicely with the light and dark tones of the photo.

This is one of my favourite photographs, a larger print is just above my desk. I love the tone and feel of the picture. I love the mountains too.

The camera was a NIkon D300S fitted with a Nikkor 55mm lens.

From the Archive: Rough Weather

By |2018-04-16T14:45:11+01:00April 16th, 2018|Categories: The Test Strip Photoblog|Tags: , , , , , , |

This image was taken in late 1995 along the seafront at Scarborough, North Yorkshire during a particularly rough and cold winter storm. The weather was as unpleasant as the image suggests.

I was amazed to see people, all boys or young men, going down the path to get closer to the breaking waves. The path was slightly back from the force of the waves, the waves were breaking on the edge of a ramp, but had a rogue wave rolled in, the spectators would have had no escape from being washed into the sea. My vantage point was higher up, back away from the waves, but even there the noise of the waves and strong wind was deafening.

The camera was a Pentax Program A fitted with a 50mm lens, a lightweight camera (compared with a NIkon F3/F4) that was also quite small in size which i used for most of the 1990’s. Around 1996 I purchased the Super A model which had more program modes. Sadly my camera was a rather worn version that was reaching the end of its working life – the winding mechanism was very temperamental, but it was a great camera to use. The Program A, however, is always the camera i have fond memories of using. It never let me down.

Film stock was TMAX 400 rated slightly higher at ISO 800.

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