Lochan na h-Achlaise, Scotland by Anita Jeske

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Picture Story

I have made a few photo tours to Scotland in recent years, but not in the winter months. The weather forecast for Christmas Day was very good and I set off in Kenmore quite early towards the Scottish Highlands. I had already taken photos at Lochan na Achaise a few years before and I knew that there was a parking place next to the lake. When I arrived, it wasn't really bright yet, but I had already a breathtaking view of the lake. The mountains with their snow-covered peaks and the mist above were reflecting in the water and the fog looked like a halo. While I put on my wellies and looked at the lake from a distance, I thought about how to get to the shore without sinking too deep into the mud; I was all alone and it could have been dangerous. But when I got closer, I saw a narrow path, probably made by the walk of other photographers before and I was reassured and walked faster immediately.

On the way to the shore I already started to extend the legs of the tripod and looked out how I could get directly to the shore. As the mountains were covered with snow and framed by fog, I didn't want to have any other elements in the picture and set up the tripod so that no little rocks were visible. As soon as the tripod was in the right place, I fixed the camera with the wide angle and mounted the filter holder. Because it was not that bright and the light differences were not that big, I only used a soft 0.6 gradient Lee filter. Finally, I tried some shutter speeds and watched the preview and I decided on an exposure time of 15 seconds; if the mountains would got too dark, I could correct it in the RAW converter. The main thing was that the fog and the clouds above were clearly visible. The remote shutter release is always attached to my camera, so that I could take the first picture immediately. I could take still three more pictures, then wind came up and destroyed the wonderful water reflection. I had only about 15 minutes, but they were very special moments, those for which it was worthwhile to drive in winter and with my own car over 800 miles from Neuss (Germany) to the Scottish Highlands.

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