Bath in the Snow



      

This was from the first snowfall in Bath that i'd seen for about 5 years so I decided to get out and capture it. I also managed to get my drone up but it kept getting dragged away by the wind so it was an interesting flight!








My Photography Kit



I've never really explained my kit before and I thought this might be the best way to show you all what I normally carry around with me. (This also sometimes includes my laptop)

I've been using canon cameras ever since I started taking photos. Firstly it was a film camera (classic), then I slowly moved onto digital. I got my first Mark iii while I was at university and it's been my favourite camera ever since. The images you get out of this thing are incredible, but unfortunately it doesn't take the best videos, so i'm thinking of branching out to get something with a bit more quality.

So, I always have my Tamron 24-70mm and Canon 50mm lens' with me. I usually stick to the 24-70mm, unless I'm shooting portraits or objects and then I will switch to the 50mm. At the time I just couldn't justify getting a Canon 24-70, so I read up on good alternatives and this was one of the best. I love the quality of it and it will always be one of my favourite lens'. I've had my trusty 50mm lens for many years now, it's incredible in low light situations and is my favourite lens for portraits. I have been told I should try out a 35mm and 80mm so hopefully I will have a new addition to my kit soon!

Now, everyone has heard about Drones, wether you are into photography or not. At first I was very skeptical, because I thought you had to spend thousands and thousands to get a decent one, but after researching I found that you can get a Phantom 3 standard for a few hundred pounds. It was a great starter drone and helped me get used to the whole idea of a drone. Recently, I've moved onto the Mavic Pro and haven't looked back since, not only is it absolutely tiny so you never have to worry about it weighing you down, but the footage you get from it is outstanding.  If you're looking at getting a drone, wether that be for a hobby or professionally I would definitely recommend the Mavic Pro!

For my birthday I got this WNDRD camera bag. After searching for months and months for a camera bag I came across this brand and it is the best camera bag I have ever owned. It opens at the back so it feels much safer carrying it around, it also has a little pocket at the back for your passport or any important documents that you can easily get to. The best feature for me was the side pocket which allows easy access to your camera so you can get it out while walking along so you never miss a shot again. I'm also able to fit everything you see here in the bag, along with my laptop and a spare jumper/socks etc for walks. Can't recommend this enough

I've also just started using a polarising filter and it's a game changer. Polarising filters do so many different things, like get rid of reflections and it gets rid of the glare of an over exposed sky, which comes in handy for landscape shots. I'd definitely recommend one for anyone shooting landscape, as I wish I'd started using one sooner.

















The Scottish Highlands



Day 1 -Glen Coe/Fort William & Glen Etive
We spent our first day in Scotland exploring Glen Coe and Fort William. We arrived, tired, the night before, so decided to get up early and catch the sunrise. But, as expected for Scotland in January the sky was grey and there was heavy rainfall quite literally all day, still unclear if the sun rose at all during our stay. Despite this we still decided to head out early after breakfast, our first stop was the nearby Loch Eil. Because who doesn't love a moody water photo, right? It was quiet, but we were watched from afar, by people in their car, sheltered from the rain. And, of course the camera shy seagulls, on their rocks, who were frequently disturbed by the clicking of my camera. From here we headed down to Glen Coe, (Classic tourists) then stopped off at An Torr and Signal Rock for a nice strole through the woods, did I mention it was (still) raining?
We took an unplanned turn down into Glen Etive and it was probably one of the best decisions we made the entire trip. The road was one of the nicest I've ever driven on, much like the rest of Scotland. It was quiet and mostly single track, with an icy river flowing and snowcapped mountains in the distance. Luckily, (not a word used often when it comes to us) there were plenty of deer ready to pose just as we arrived. Meaning I could get a typical M&S christmas shortbread tin photo. So, Marks and Sparks, if you need one for 2018, you know where I am. 


Day 2- Glenfinnan Viaduct &  Isle of Skye
Day two had some of the worst weather we experienced while in Scotland, with more rain than I've ever seen. I've tried to think of this as a 'true' Scottish experience, but really it was just Scotland in January. We spent most of this day getting drenched, praying and waiting for the rain to stop for even just a moment so I could get a shot. Thankfully, the rain did stop, albeit not for long, which made it possible to get some shots of -as made famous by Harry Potter- Glenfinnan Viaduct. The scale is of it is just incredible, definitely somewhere I'd recommend, whether you're a fan of the boy wizard or not. 
Then we sat, soaked through, in the car for 2 hours on a drive to the Isle of Skye. The strange thing about Scotland is that it feels so otherworldly. The roads are quiet and stretch out for miles ahead of you, there are great lochs on one side and towering mountains on the other, I could never tire of such views. I just couldn't pass up an opportunity, when the rain had ceased, to get my drone up and capture the roads in all their glory. 


Day 3 - The Quiraing & Old Man of Storr
I think the Quiraing was my favourite spot throughout the whole trip. It simply has everything you could want, rain included. The contrast between the severe cliff faces and the soft, winding road that leads you through them is something that captivated me most about this place. I got some amazing drone shots here where a nearby loch really provides scale of the place.
As is tradition by now, on any of our trips, we will attempt something unfeasible and potentially dangerous to get the best shots. In Scotland this was trying to walk up Old Man of Storr in the middle of winter, after serious snowfall. What can I say, we've had better ideas. Having learned from our previous days soaking, we donned walking boots, and full on, embarrassing dad, waterproofs. Only to get so far up we couldn't see and could neither make progress forward or backwards due to the snow and ice. But, the views were incredible and probably an experience not many people would be stupid enough to see themselves.
On this night we opted to stay in a 'Pod', which seem to be popping up all over the UK at the moment. Fitted with underfloor heating it was the perfect place to stay, out of the rain and keep warm for the night. They come complete with your own little kitchenette and seating areas. So watching the stars over Scotland while I edited the days photos was a total dream.
It was on the Isle of Skye that we got our first glimpse of Scotland in the sun, let me tell you, I felt like I'd never seen colour like it before. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of a moody photo, but that first ray of sun through the clouds, catching the road just right was sheer perfection. The trees were such a vivid green, I felt like the world had gone from b/w to technicolour, and it was simply glorious. 


Day 4 - Kintail
Day four saw less rain, more sun, which was a welcome relief, and more driving, but there were many stops on the way. One being to see Eilean Doran castle, which is only accessible by a little bridge, making it all the more spectacular. I'd have loved to get a drone shot of this place and had planned to come back. But the rain wouldn't allow it. Meaning I've just got a reason to head back to the Highlands, but maybe not in Winter.
Another of my favourites comes in the shape of a dock onto a loch. Perfect in every weather. And Scotland has docks and lochs aplenty. With the dark water and the trees providing the perfect backdrop, what's not to like? 



Day 5 - Glen Coe

We ended our trip in Glen Coe, really would there be any other place to end a road trip around the Highlands? Rounded off nicely with grey skies and a bit more rain, but a good day overall. I'm thankful for the weather, as I'm now more than equipped to deal with the weather and know the exact type of plastic bag to wrap my camera in when condensation builds up on the lens and renders it useless. The more you know.
If there's one thing we learned from our trip to Scotland, it is definitely to not care about how stupid you look when you're wearing 5 layers, 2 coats and head to toe waterproofs that crinkle when you walk. Being dry and warm will never be overrated. I may just be saying this to sooth my ego, but enduring the near constant rain definitely made this trip authentic, what is Scotland without a little (a lot) of rain?





Places we stayed:
The Cruachan Hotel, Fort William
The Cowshed Boutique Bunkhouse Pods on airbnb
The Neuk Achmore on airbnb

Isle of Arran


The Isle of Arran is located just off the west coast of Scotland and is home to vast open landscapes where you can see for miles and miles. An hour on the ferry is all it took before I was far away from the hustle and bustle of mainland Scotland. The Island itself has very few roads, all of which flow with the land as if not to disturb the beautiful curves of the hills surrounding you. The landscape is so varied and untouched, from the mountains in the north, to the wide green pastures in the south.



The Isle of Arran has a population of roughly 5,000, so it is not surprising that most of the residents know each other. With this comes an air of kindness you only seem to find in small, isolated places, as all of the people I met were more than willing to spend a few minutes sharing their knowledge of the land with me. I started my trip with a walk down to Kingscross Point where I met a local man who told me of the desolate Holy Isle, which is home to only a Buddhist retreat and a wildlife sanctuary. If you were looking to escape the world and get back to nature here would certainly be the place to go! Coming from a busy city it was difficult for me to even imagine such a place existed in the UK.



From here I travelled down the narrow winding roads, donned some hiking boots and made my way down into the beautiful Glen Rosa. On the trails here you can see the Goatfell range, which is the highest peak on the island, reaching 874 meters. The view from here allows the island to show off its infinite stunning landscapes, caught at the right time the light casts a glow across the land that makes it transgress far beyond empty fields to so much more than that. As a photographer, I search for remote and unusual destinations and the Isle of Arran definitely did not disappoint on that front.



Another friendly local I met told me I mustn’t leave without visiting Glenashdale Falls as it is renowned for its beautiful waterfalls and the tall trees which surround it. As I made my way through the thick woodland I didn’t see another soul the whole time I was out there and the only sounds to be heard were the crunching of frosted grass beneath my feet and the rushing water, as if the waterfall is leading you towards it. When the trees finally break you see the waterfall that you’ve been hearing since entering the woods and I couldn’t quite get over the scale of it. I sat and watched the water cascading over the edge for a while, realising just how small I was in comparison. Just sitting there made me really appreciate nature and I truly felt like I might have been the only person on the planet.