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The Finished Collection: Torridon & Applecross 2016!

+Lisabet Woods-Jack and I barely scratched the surface with this place, and I can't wait to see more!

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Only Us

Twenty-two seconds of just me, +Lisabet Woods-Jack, the lapping waters of Loch Maree and the towering peaks of Beinn Àirigh Charr. I miss this place. We’ll be back! https://goo.gl/l80OwK

Loch Maree, Poolewe, Wester Ross, Highlands, Scotland.

ISO100, ƒ/8.0 and ƒ/2.8, ⅛secs at 22secs at 16mm (24mm full-frame equiv.) using a circular polariser, a hard 2-stop ND grad filter, and a 10-stop full-ND filter stacked on my Tokina 11-16mm ƒ/2.8 lens attached to a Nikon D7000. This image is made of three exposures at ƒ/8.0 for focus stacking, and one 22-second exposure at ƒ/2.8 to render the movement of water and sky. These were processed in Capture One, then blended together and finished in Photoshop.
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Our Secret Little Harbour

The Northwest Highlands area, especially around Torridon, is so vast… I could happily spend months around here, hiking and shooting compositions. But with only a week you have to pick and choose your spots. Loch Maree was definitely a priority on the list, but I like that we chose a less-visited part of the loch. So here’s a composition from Tollie Bay, right at the northwestern edge of Loch Maree. Here you sit directly underneath the sheer face of Creag Mhòr Thollaidh and look towards Beinn Àirigh Charr (pronounced Bayn Aree-HHARR, meaning “the mossy shieling hill”, 792m/2,598ft). I had fun shooting long exposures around this tiny bay whilst +Lisabet Woods-Jack dived into a book, perched on a boulder. Blissful times. =) https://goo.gl/6mrRQC

Tollie Bay, Loch Maree, Poolewe, Wester Ross, Highlands, Scotland.

ISO100, ƒ/8.0 at 13mm (19.5mm full-frame equiv.) using a circular polariser, a soft 3-stop ND grad, and a 10-stop full-ND filter stacked on my Tokina 11–16mm ƒ/2.8 lens attached to a Nikon D7000. This image is made of three exposures shot at ⅙sec for focus stacking, and another exposure of 30secs using the 10-stopper to smooth out the water and moving clouds. These were all processed in Capture One then blended together and finished in Photoshop.
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Big Rock, Little Rock

I can’t take credit for this one: my +Lisabet Woods-Jack spotted this composition when we were playing around the shore of Loch Clair. A little line of pebbles just underneath the surface of the loch, seemingly pointing straight towards the hulking mass of Liathach. And the water was so still and so clear that I didn’t need a polariser to see through the loch surface. Just a perfect day. =)

Loch Clair, Glen Torridon, Wester Ross, Highlands, Scotland.

ISO100, f/8, 1⁄25sec at 16mm (24mm full-frame equiv.) using a soft 2-stop ND grad filter on my Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 lens attached to a Nikon D7000. This is a single exposure exposed four times for focus stacking and clarity. Processed in Capture One, edited in Photoshop.
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Water Under The Bridge

Walnut Whip mountain! Or as it should be called, Sgùrr a’ Chaorachain (“peak of the place of the rowan berries”). If you stop halfway up Bealach na Bà/Applecross Pass, you can have lots of fun frolicking around the bridge, the falls, and the river. You guys have no idea how long I’ve wanted to shoot compositions around here. =) https://goo.gl/KXSDOr

Bealach na Bà, Applecross Peninsula, Wester Ross, Highlands, Scotland.

ISO100, f/8, 1sec at 12mm (18mm full-frame equiv.) using a circular polariser, a soft 1-stop, and a hard 2-stop ND grad filter stacked on my Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 lens attached to a Nikon D7000. This is a single exposure shot four times for focus stacking and image averaging. Processed in Capture One, edited in Photoshop.
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Finding Your Limits

Getting to the top of Sgùrr a’ Chaorachain was a revelation, in two ways: firstly, just look at the view; and secondly, getting there took way more out of me than it should’ve. The climb on the well-defined track from the summit of Bealach na Bà to Sgùrr a’ Chaorachain is only about 150m+ but I was breathless and shaky by the time I reached the top. This was discouraging, especially as I had my eye on reaching the Triple Buttress of Coire Mhic Fhearchair from Glen Torridon, a 540m climb. So shooting around this glorious area was a mixed bag for me… I loved what I saw but was also disappointed in my own fitness. https://goo.gl/4Mm2TS

Sgùrr a’ Chaorachain, Applecross Peninsula, Wester Ross, Highlands, Scotland.

ISO100, f/8, at 13mm (19.5mm full-frame equiv.) using a circular polariser and a soft 3-stop ND grad filter stacked on my Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 lens attached to a Nikon D7000. This is a single exposure processed in Capture One and Aurora HDR 2017, edited in Color Efex Pro and Photoshop. #aurorahdr
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The Spear of Loch Maree

Slioch is such a ridiculous mountain, rising as it does suddenly out of the sea of Loch Maree to peak at 981m/3,219ft. All the way down the loch, Slioch is there: high, alone, a crown of the Scottish Highlands. When +Lisabet Woods-Jack and I arrived at Loch Maree we had a wee squelchy paddle near the shore of the loch, looking for compositions. I really enjoyed these vivid little plants poking out of the autumnal grass and decided to go for a composition by using them as a leading line right towards Slioch. =) https://goo.gl/kBsZf1

Loch Maree, Kinlochewe, Wester Ross, Highlands, Scotland.

ISO100, f/8, ⅙sec at 16mm (24mm full-frame equiv.) using a circular polariser and a soft 3-stop ND grad stacked on my Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 lens attached to a Nikon D7000. This is a single exposure. Processed in Aurora HDR 2017, edited in Color Efex Pro and Photoshop.
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A Torridon Pano

Having our 2nd-week base at Lochcarron put +Lisabet Woods-Jack and I in a good spot to explore a wide area of Northwest Scottish Highland. Applecross was, of course, one of the main priorities to check out. But another was the Torridon Hills area: a cluster of isolated 3,000ft+ mountains that rise sheer from the sea level at Upper Loch Torridon. Not only are these mountains epic, craggy, and massive, they are also made of the world’s oldest rock, laid down around 1.2billion years ago! https://goo.gl/Sk1iJp

The road that travels along the southern part of the Upper Loch Torridon contains one or two spots where one can park up and enjoy incredulous views like this. The Torridon mountains on a crystal clear day. =)

Upper Loch Torridon, Torridon, Highlands, Scotland.

ISO100, f/8, 1⁄40sec at 13mm (19.5mm full-frame equiv.) using a circular polariser and a hard 2-stop ND grad filter stacked on my Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 lens attached to a Nikon D7000. The polariser helped immensely in this scene, cutting the glare from the water and foliage. Processed in Aurora HDR 2017, edited in Color Efex Pro and Photoshop.
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The Peninsula Fortress

Geographically, the Applecross peninsula is rather interesting: you see, Applecross village—which sits in a sheltered glen full of trees, lush meadows and a sandy beach—is located on the far western side of the peninsula. It is also completely sheltered, and cut off, by a wall of mountains that peak at Beinn Bhàn (pronounced BAYN varn, meaning “white mountain”, 896m/2,940ft), running south-eastwards, which then plunges directly into Loch Carron. As a result, Applecross was isolated for centuries unless you could row to it across the seas. It wasn’t until the early 20th century that a road was constructed that followed an old cattle track, called Bealach na Bà (“Pass of the Cattle”), and it quickly became notorious as one of Britain’s most dangerous roads, featuring pin-sharp bends and an ascent from sea level to 2,000+ft. It was only in the last few years that a coastal road was constructed for easier access to Applecross. https://goo.gl/9YQkl2

+Lisabet Woods-Jack and I had a bash at driving up Bealach na Bà… it was exhilarating! And once you’re at the summit, there’s a good track you can walk that takes you to the summit of Sgùrr a’ Chaorachain. The composition you see here is one of many views you can enjoy, a sheer drop down Coire a’ Chaorachain with the ridge of Na Ciòchan on the left and the peak of Sgùrr a’ Chaorachain on the right, followed by an endless vista of Scottish mountains. =)

Sgùrr a’ Chaorachain, Applecross Peninsula, Highlands, Scotland.

ISO100, f/8, 1⁄15sec at 13mm (19.5mm full-frame equiv.) using a circular polariser, and a hard 2-stop ND grad filter stacked on my Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 lens attached to a Nikon D7000. I was able to balance the exposure with the polariser and the grad, even when the sun broke through and illuminated the immediate foreground of the scene. I shot the same exposure three times for focus stacking. Processed in Lightroom with Replichrome’s Ektar 100 film emulation, edited in Capture One and Photoshop.
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The Day’s Last Beam

There is an awful lot to gawk at when heading up Bealach na Bà (Applecross Pass, directly translated as “Pass of the Cattle”). One of the features I wanted to deek at was the little loch that sits underneath Sgurr a’ Chaorachain (pronounced Sgoor a KHHOOakhhen, meaning “peak of the rowan berries”, 792m/2,598ft). It is known as Loch Coire nan Arr and, thankfully, is rather easy to get to as the loch has been modified to become a reservoir. https://goo.gl/jWqJ0u

I managed to get to the loch shore for a composition just as this beam of light from the setting sun shone straight between the peaks. In the distance, a stag could be heard bellowing. Such a peaceful scene. =)

Loch Coire nan Arr, Bealach na Bà, Applecross Peninsula, Highlands, Scotland.

ISO100, f/8, 0.6secs at 12mm (18mm full-frame equiv.) using a circular polariser, a soft 1-stop ND grad, and a hard 2-stop ND grad filter stacked on my Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 lens attached to a Nikon D7000. This is a single exposure shot four times for focus stacking, rendering the intimate scene tack sharp throughout. I also averaged them together for softer water. Processed with Replichrome’s Velvia 50 in Lightroom, edited in Photoshop.
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