This is the second part of the article series on Scotland. If you haven't read the first part, please start there.
Loch Ness and surrounding area
Loch Ness is the largest Scottish freshwater loch by volume with an area of about 56 km² and a maximum depth of about 230 m. In fact it contains more water than all the lakes in England and Wales combined!
Of course it is well known for the multiple alleged sightings of the Loch Ness Monster which caused a variety of scientific investigations about its actual existence (including searches with submersibles and large scale sonar examinations). Before you get your hopes up – this article does not contain any pictures of Nessie.
Glen Affric, west of Loch Ness is often regarded as the most beautiful of all Scottish glens. It mainly consists of the River Affric, Loch Affric and Loch Beinn a' Mheadhoin and seemingly endless pine forests.
Eilean Donan Castle
One of the most famous castles of Scotland and maybe the whole world, Eilean Donan Castle, was founded in the thirteenth century as one of the seats of Clan Mackenzie.
The castle was actually destroyed during the Jacobite rising in 1719 and lay in ruins until its restoration in the early 20th century. Nowadays it is among the most photographed Scottish monuments with hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.
When I arrived at the scene several hours before sunrise I had to make a decision – from where exactly I wanted to take the actual photo during sunrise. The first option was to stay down below – where I had taken the previous pictures. The obvious advantage of staying close to the castle is that it would have been possible to quickly change position and be able to capture a variety of different shots during the brief moment of interesting light.
The alternative was to hike onto the neighboring hill in the hope of finding a good vantage point from where the spectacular landscape could be overseen, which would hopefully set the castle in context with its surroundings and thus create a much stronger image.
This approach was promising but risky. I hadn't had the opportunity to scout the location before so I couldn't be entirely sure if a pleasing composition would be possible from above. Due to the time needed to get up and back down again I'd miss the sunrise if I changed my mind later. Additionally, even if there was a good view from above it would be the only shot I'd get, because the large distance between me and the subject would require a drastic change of position to make an actual difference in perspective – which wouldn't be possible within the limited timeframe of perfect light.
The choice however came easy when I remembered what a famous photographer once said: If you go where everybody goes, you will take the pictures everybody takes. Taking the pictures everybody takes is my worst nightmare as a photographer, so up I went.
I knew that the perfect moment would be brief, but I wrongfully thought it would be as soon as the sunlight would touch the castle itself. When I arrived at the – in my opinion – best possible shooting position I still had easily enough time to set up the equipment and take a couple of test shots. In fact, I miscalculated the moment of the actual sunrise due to the hills being higher than expected, so I had to wait for quite some time, but since I had invested all this time and energy in getting there, I might as well take some pictures in between. The photo above is one of those.
The journey continues
The next article in this series describes my experiences on the Isle of Skye.