Glen Etive, Scotland by Jackie Matear

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Picture Story

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’ 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 (no sunlight whatsoever), so I 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 offer more intimate scenes that were better suited to the conditions.

As I wandered along the river bank, I noticed the curve of the river leading to the indistinct shape of a mountain in the distance. I spent quite a long time there, captivated by how the shape of the mountain formed and then receded as the mist, fog and rain showers drifted by. I composed the image with the trees on either side of the river framing the mountain.

Light levels were low so a relatively slow shutter speed was required to balance the exposure and I raised the ISO to keep some texture in the water. I also used a small umbrella (a key photographic accessory on this visit) to shield my lens from the worst of the rain during the exposure and 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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