Tail Lights, Glen Etive, Scotland by Michael Blanchette

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Picture Story

Glen Etive is in the heart of the Highlands of Scotland, close to Glencoe. The road through Glen Etive eventually ends at Loch Etive, passing 12 miles of peak Scottish scenery — mountains, moorland, lochs and huge skies. It’s considered one of the most beautiful drives in all of Scotland, meandering along the River Etive. In case the scene looks vaguely familiar, this road was used as one of the film locations in the James Bond movie, Skyfall.

I was here in early November with UK-based photographer and friend, Tom Mackie. Earlier in the day, we had driven past here on the way to Loch Etive for sunset. And, on the way back, we decided to take a light-hearted photo as we passed through Glen Etive one last time.

We had been intrigued by the twisting road that snaked along the River Etive, surrounded by shapely mountains. So, we decided to take a dusk (i.e. blue hour) photo of the scene, using Tom’s vehicle to include red light streaks (from the tail lights) to emphasize the curvature of the road.

First, Tom took a test drive down the road to measure the time we would need for the exposure. We calculated that 30 seconds would be sufficient time to drive his vehicle around the last visible bend in the road, so we set our shutter speed to 30 seconds and adjusted the ISO and aperture accordingly. With our cameras at the ready, he then repeated his drive down the road at full speed one more time, while lingering color from sunset adorned the dusk sky. After two takes, it was a wrap!

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