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Similar Deviations
These remarkable rock formations at the top of Sgurr Tuath formed a perfect foreground for the view of Stac Pollaidh. The gentle sunlight lasted less than a minute so it was good that I was already set up and actually managed to take a portait oriented image before the light diappeared for good. For me this was the peak of the whole trip, incredibly dramatic cloud and the kind of soft warm light photographers dream of, thrown together with and amazing view and a great foreground. I really could hope for more. The trip to Sgurr Tuath will stay with me for a long time, made all the better by the driving rain, severe gusts and hailstorm we had that afternoon!

See this image on my website: [link]
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This image began as an idea to capture a unique and spectacular view of Inverpolly and Assynt. 'Spectacular' is probably the best word to describe the region so there was no problem there. Finding a unique viewpoint is difficult though, most of the peaks in the area are heavily climbed. Sgurr Tuath stands alone in this regard. Its completely unpathed ascent over streams boggy ground and up steep gradients, doesnt make it as walker (or photographer) friendly as some of the other peaks. With this in mind I set out with fellow photographer Stephen Sellman *sassaputzin in search of something new. This was the view I personally made the trip for and we piked the perfect weather window for it. Even so, the weather we got on the way up Sgurr Tuath wasnt exactly ideal and the wind at the top made taking vibration free images extremely challenging!

Sgurr Tuath is a magical peak with plenty to shoot, but its relative inaccessibility means I will probably end up going up some other peaks before returning here!
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The night before I had one of the best wild camps yet high up beneath a mountain in what was essentially an alpine meadow.

I started at 3 am to find a shot for sunrise but clouds on the horizon meant I had to wait a bit and I decided fairly late on to move to a view looking over Kirkjufell.

Kirkjufell is Iceland's most photographed mountain and I had intentionally avoided the shots that most landscape photographers tend to go for, it was nice to shoot it from a slightly different angle although I am sure this shot has been done before!
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The birch trees seem to particularly love it up in Scotland and beautiful trees they are too.
This shot was taken on our way to the top of Sgurr Tuath.
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The view looking west from Fur Tor at sunrise.
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Llyn Y Caseg Fraith is perched on the edge of a ridge with fantastic views to Glyder Fach and across to Tryfan. The pools in the area are fascinating; the inner walls drop vertically by two feet or so to a dark lifeless base. In the right light they appear almost black.

As the morning began it was clear that there was no prospect of a sunrise, but occasional gaps in the cloud gave hope. Long after sunrise there was a burst of light that lasted perhaps a minute and coincided with a slight lift in the cloud level. Tryfan and Glyder Fach were still in shadow and appear almost black in comparison to the sunlit grass on the edge of the pool. Lighting doesn't get better than this!

I will be returning to Llyn y Caseg Fraith sometime soon to see what else the location can provide.
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People with a fear of heights (Acrophobia apparently) should stay well away from the Letterewe Wilderness and particularly the view from Sgurr na Laocainn. The best viewpoint from the summit came with a spinning sense of vertigo. On a number of occasions I caught myself feeling dizzy and rapidly retreated from the edge. The views came with excitement, wonder and a healthy dose of caution, fortunately it wasn’t that windy!
The view down to Carnmore, a small house at the bottom of Carn Mor from Sgurr na Laocainn is essentially an aerial one. Watching the occasional person walk the path below gives a real sense of scale. From the viewpoint you have a panoramic view to A' Mhaighdean over Dubh Loch and Fionn Loch and out to see. The scene here is a 180 degree panorama! Around sunset the light escaped beneath the cloud to give a glancing red light to the landscape below. Dramatic rainclouds hung overhead and I sat there watching the showers pass, fortunately none hit me.
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FYI because I know this question will crop up...The moon isnt 'big' in fact it's at apogee, I have effectively 'zoomed in' on it with a 560mm lens (400mm + 1.4x).

Staple Tor cuts one of the most striking silhouettes on Dartmoor. There are many viewpoints of Staple Tor but my favourite is also the most accessible! From the south-west one of Staple Tors stacks of granite is exposed to reveal what seems an almost impossible structure of massive plates of granite somehow balancing on one another. It has been an ambition of mine to photograph this particular stack and long ago realised the potential of Staple Tor as a silhouette against a full moon. The best chance would be a moonrise, shot from my favourite southwest viewpoint.
18 months ago I bought a 400mm lens and tele-extender purely to photography the moonrise or moonset against Staple Tor. A £1000 investment on a lens setup that you only really want for one image is not an easy decision to make. So began 18 months of waiting. This is actually a relatively rare occurrence. In order to maintain colour in the sky the image must be taken shortly after sunset. The moon must also be high enough at this point that it rises above the tor itself. This basically gives you one evening every 3rd full moon that is suitable for the shot. I had been looking forward to Friday the 9th of December for almost 6 months! Of course of these relatively few opportunities cloud is likely to ruin some of them. Furthermore tripod vibrations due to wind will inevitably make some evenings hopeless.
When the evening finally came I was well prepared. I had worked out exactly where I needed to be. I had my camera set on a custom mode of exposure settings that I had calculated. I hung 10kg of dumbbells off the tripod to stabilise it in the breeze and an umbrella was used as a windbreak. I was so well drilled by the point the moon peak its head over the hill that I knew that finally, after 18 months I was going to get my shot. This image might look simple, but it\'s anything but!
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his shot of Stac Pollaidh shows just what unusual (or usual?) conditions can do for a scene. Although Stac Pollaidh lies in Scotland, I can't help the association with the more famous Caonyonlands, of America. This shot also illustrates the benefits of just going for it. I sat out two spells of snow and strong winds on Stac Pollaidh on this afternoon, all part of an Atlantic low pressure system. I still hung on to the hope of some light though and I was (eventually) rewarded. Stac Pollaidh, like much of the surrounding area is made of 1 billion year old Torridoian sandstone.
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Storkonufell, Iceland
In the volcanic desert between Hvanngil and Emstrur very little lives. There were however a few plants capable of surviving on the little nutrients available. The mountain above is Storkonufell, a rich green from the moss growing on its sides.
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