Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year competition - Good news!

06th March 2018
I don't enter many photography competitions, but decided to give the Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year a try this round time. It's a little different in that the main category considers a portfolio of images, rather than just a single one which I quite like the idea of.

A while back I found out I was a finalist with five of my images being shortlisted - Three making up a portfolio in the Overall Category final and the other two being shortlisted for the John Muir Award.

Rather unexpectedly (my images never seem to do well in competitions!) I've finished with my portfolio receiving a highly commended in the Overall category. This means the images will sit alongside other successful entries in the 'Official Collection 4 Yearbook' (available, ahem, at all good bookshops) as well being on display at one of the exhibitions taking place during 2018.

So, I've another excellent excuse to head back up to Scotland to have a look around the exhibition and maybe squeeze in a little bit of photography along the way.

I've pulled out the successful images, along with a little description. I've also picked others from my entry - alas, they couldn't all make it through!
cheers, Rod

Overall Category - Highly Commended

Monument, Stac Pollaidh, Inverpolly

A bleak December trip to this stunning landscape had yielded little light to work with. My long suffering partner and I had spent endless hours of darkness in the campervan over the course of a week. When it did get light, the conditions were lacklustre and this morning was no different until a brief burst of stunning light.
Piercing through the small tear in the cloud, the light was, very briefly, outrageous. Then to heap drama upon drama, the cloud moving above Stac Pollaidh momentarily seemed to reach down and almost converge with the summit.

It was one of those 'you couldn't make it up' scenes. I'd picked the wrong moment to be without my trusty tripod, so did my best with hand holding and bumping up the ISO. Ten minutes later it was all over and the sun disappeared for the rest of the trip!

Nikon D810, 85mm lens, f5.6, ISO 800, 1/125, -1.7 exp comp. Contrast adjustments, dodge & burn, tonal adjustments Photoshop & color efex pro.

Rainbow Castle, Ardvreck Castle, Loch Assynt, Sutherland

Driving along the loch, showers were quickly passing through and dappled light was shifting along the mountainside in the healthy breeze. I'd walked to the foot of the castle before realising that I was stood in the wrong place if a rainbow appeared. I can't claim any real powers of vision - we'd been seeing rainbows all morning and there was a good chance that if I waited long enough, one would emerge close by.

So, I backtracked about half a kilometre and framed up a composition with the castle and the shoulder of Quinag behind it. Twenty minutes later and I was treated to a rainbow perfectly framing and illuminating the castle. Result!

Nikon D810, 50mm lens, f8, ISO 400, 1/500. Lee Polariser. Square crop, Contrast adjustments, dodging, tonal adjustments Photoshop & color efex pro.

Shifting seaward, Achnahaird Bay, Coigach peninsula

I love this bay and have visited it four or five times now. I'd got images from here before and knew a good shot was on if the tide and sunrise coincided favourably. Unfortunately, camped up nearby the night before, my companions and myself had over indulged in some rather fine 12 star Metaxa brandy.

When light broke, I had to quickly (but slowly) get myself together and down to the spot I'd scouted out for the shot. The tricky bit was getting the surf pattern I wanted and there was lots of trial and error and this was one of two dozen very similar shots. Job done, it was back to bed with a cup of tea!

Nikon D810, 24mm lens, f14, ISO 100, 2s. 0.9 ND grad. Tripod. Contrast adjustments, tonal adjustments, spot removal Photoshop & color efex pro.

John Muir Award - Shortlisted

Protracted Pier, Traigh Niosaboist, Isle of Harris

A cycle tour of the Outer Hebrides allowed me to travel along at a leisurely pace and stop wherever the mood took me. I'd camped up for the night at this lovely spot and had a wander to think about some compositions. Early next morning, there was a delightful pastel tone to the scene and I had the whole beach to myself and the pontoon/pier stretching out in front of me.

Nikon D700, 18mm lens, f16, ISO 200, 1/8. Tripod. Lee Polariser 0.6 ND grad. Contrast adjustments, tonal adjustments, spot removal Photoshop & color efex pro.

Stac Pollaidh from The Fiddler Sgurr an Fhidhleir, Coigach peninsula, Ullapool

Some images mean much more to the author than they ever can to the viewer. This for me is one of those images. Even reaching the bottom of Sgurr an Fhidhleir takes a fair journey for anyone coming from South of the border (indeed, for many North of the border too). There's then a fair slog by foot from there on in to get up the mountain.

I'd planned a sunset shot from the summit but a shroud of mist refused to shift so I'd positioned myself at the Col where there was the odd glimpse through the mist. I'd spent three hours there and was close to the point of heading down because I was getting very cold. Luckily, the mist parted for a few magical moments and a splash of light on
Beinn an Eoin presented me with a shot. Not what I came for but a delight for me given the energy taken to get it.

Nikon D810, 50mm lens, f8, ISO 100, 1/15, Tripod. Cropped, Contrast adjustments, dodge & burn, tonal adjustments Photoshop & color efex pro.

If you'd be interested in a Photography Tour in Scotland, you can find out some more details here Glencoe Photography Tour - October 2018

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