Glen Etive Tree, Scotland by Jackie Matear

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I have been to Glencoe several times over the years. I am sure the sun does shine occasionally, or at least produces some dramatic light, but each of my visits has corresponded to a period of absolutely dreadful weather.

This had been a particularly ‘dreich’ November day – heavy rain, at times sideways, with no respite. The majestic mountain views I had hoped for were thwarted by the low cloud and grey subdued lighting, so we ventured down Glen Etive. The mini cascades along the River Etive and the pale coloured rock which has been beautifully sculpted by the fast-flowing water over the years offered more intimate scenes that were better suited to the conditions.

As I slipped and slid toward the river, I noticed this solitary tree on the bank. The mist and cloud which had obscured the view of the mountains all day simplified the background behind this weather-beaten tree. I composed the image with the tree on the third and set up my tripod as low as it would go so that the tree branches framed were against the mist.

Light levels were low so a slow shutter speed was required and I used a small umbrella (a key photographic accessory on this visit) to shield my lens from the worst of the rain during the exposure. I also used a 0.6ND graduated filter to retain the highlights in the mist.

All in all, it was a memorable (if rather soggy) trip to Glencoe and I came away with a number of images I was pleased with in spite of the difficult conditions.

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