Witches Step, Isle of Arran

My first camera was a cheap Praktika way back in 1980.  I spent a few years having fun with a few SLR’s and also spent a short time working for the local council as a photographer.  Things change though, wife and family come along and the camera gets forgotten, from then it’s only a small compact for snaps for the next 20 years.

An impending big birthday (40) a few years ago made me decide to resurrect an old hobby and pick up a camera again for something more than just holiday snaps.  I was amazed at how far digital photography had advanced since I had my small 2 mega-pixel compact camera.  I started off with a Nikon D50 and here I am a few years later having went through a few DSLR’s and lenses but still sticking with the Nikon brand.

I’m lucky to live in a part of Scotland which is packed with beautiful scenery at each and every turn. As a youngster I would travel into the highlands for a family day out and stand in awe at the natural beauty of the landscape and always longed to capture it.  My normal approach for most of my photography has always been spotting a scene and then checking it out from different angles, even if that means a good long walk around the hills or lochs, until I find a view which makes the hair on my neck stand on edge, then I know I have the shot I want. Also, I always check for strong lead-in lines and good, near-foreground interest which help lead a viewer into the image. Tonal values are also another key issue, especially in early morning/evening light, with slight mist rising off a loch. I really like how subtle tonal values can add much more depth and a sense of mystery to a landscape view.

A good knowledge of the area is also helpful. I enjoy studying maps and finding routes that are very much off the beaten track which always seem to turn up some really good images.  I use the pc to help plan out my route for the day as I find having a clear idea of exactly where you are going to go helps me plan out the day better.  I also use the internet to check several weather forecast sites which also gives me a good overall idea about the weather I’m likely to encounter.  Sometimes this does not work as the weather forecasts are not 100% accurate!

The Witches Step Panorama at the top of the page is provided by the courtesy of Cameron Wilson.