scotland

Loch Muick by martin bennie

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Loch Muick, the place i decided to try and capture photographically, over the last two years has all but worn me out. I walked around it many times with my 15 kg camera backpack laden on my sore shoulders and i took some images i was more than happy with during these years.

Its a 7.7 mile walk around the Loch and and nothing too strenuous, and the views on dark stormy days, especially with snow on the mountains of the far end of the Loch, are just beyond awe inspiring. I remember many times two years ago, when you could arrive at Loch Muick car park and find a space no problem. Nowadays its chock a block with visitors and most likely, there is just no where to park. Perhaps its my fabulous photos of this place that lurk on the internet somewhere that have attracted so many people? Perhaps its just the fact that we are all becoming more and more conscious of our health and heading to the hills and outdoors space on a regular basis.

One of the main places on the walk, is Glas-allt Shiel house. This fine property was built by Queen Victoria after the death of Prince Albert, and used as a quieter retreat from Balmoral Castle. Its no longer used and remains boarded up. I do wish they would open it up and invite passing walkers to come in for a look.

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Then when you get fed up walking around loch Muick, you can tackle the mighty Lochnagar and although this is as far as i have ever got, as it was always so cold to go further up. I plan to do the top very soon, with full camera gear, which will be a feat itself, as this is a round 8 hr trip and im not sure if my poor feet can cope. I did it in winter snow conditions once with a friend and it was just stunning under the dark ominous skies. If your a city dweller and fancy a day in the country to boost your well being, then head out here, as its just stunning.

Life is like a landscape. You live in the midst of it but can describe it only from the vantage point of distance

Summer in scotland by martin bennie

On a dark stormy summers day, the beach at Aberdeen is always the best place to go to see muted contrasty colours, between the dunes, the sand and the sea. So looking at the sky this day, i headed towards where i thought the storm might go and ended up at Balmedie beach. Having walked along to the higest dune i know there, i turned and looked back towards Aberdeen in the far off distance.

My composition needed a 50/50 balance between the sky and land and i thought a long exposure would suit this contrasty day very well. So i set up my composition to run from left to right and placed the sand and sea, as near to the bottom left as possible, to draw your eye along this line, past the windmills and on, into the distance and Aberdeen. I fifted a Lee 6 stop filter, to help me blur the water, creating my water colour look i like down here and fitted a Lee 0.9 grad filter for holding back the skys exposure.

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Having taken my exposure, the rain started as the big storm hit me and i packed and headed back through the wet dunes, down to the sand and along back towards the car.

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As i was about to turn off the beach for the car, i saw the sun break through, just about where these kite surfers were, and decided to head back into the dunes for some height perspective, as the light just looked outstanding, with dark stormy clouds, rainbows and these guys kite surfing.

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Im not shy when it comes to getting what i want in an image and having spoken to this guy called Ross, he agreed to do some posing for me. Low and behold, while im messing about with compostions, there appears a rainbow.

Having my neutral density filters on, i dont normally use my circular poloriser at the same time. So with some speed and trepidation and constant looking to see if the rainbow would last, i changed to my polariser, got Ross to stand in position and turned the polariser till the rainbow stood out.

A polarizing filter, if you dont know, simply filters out unwanted reflections from non-metallic surfaces such as water and glass in addition to light reflecting off moisture and pollution in the atmosphere and for rainbows, its the go to tool.

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All in all, by the time id left, my shoes were full of sand, my jeans were soaking wet, but i had noticed none of this as i was so focused on capturing these guys having fun out there, on what was almost a winters day at the beach. But when you focus, you forget, because your in the moment and on days like this, with the fabulous light, i am glad i was the only photographer out there, seeing and capturing this moment in time for me and the other 3 people who were out there having fun.