I have been to the river Sligachan on Skye to shoot landscapes at all times of day and it rarely disappoints whether you want turbulent flow set against the mountains, frozen puddles foregrounding the slowed flow of winter or even a good reflecting surface for the dawn light. It's rare that you have no clouds when photographing landscapes on Skye, but this happened to me which resulted in capturing this image in late October.
I was there for five days and only on the last day did some serious clouds role in, promising stormy weather after we left. However, this image was capture just before dawn in late October. There had not been much rain over the preceding few days and consequently the river Sligachan was running low and was less turbulent than normal, which made it a good reflector for this dawn colour.
Since there were no clouds to capture the first rays of the rising sun, I relied on the river to reflect the pink colour in the sky. I opted for a longer exposure at a slightly higher f value to get a slight smoothing of the water. The image is essentially just two tones - the dark rocks and mountains silhouettes and the pink glow in the sky and its reflection in the river. It's an unusual photo - a bit like marmite - you'll either love it or hate it!
Photographing the river and its surroundings is quite easy at any time of day and in most seasons. There is a public car park near to the Sligachan Hotel or you can minimize your travel by booking a room at the hotel and be rewarded with a good breakfast after your dawn shoot. Care needs to be taken to avoid the boulders and any frosty rocks in winter. That said, you can walk along the side of the river for quite a distance (the hotel side is preferred for the better views of the river with Marsco in the background).
Equally by hiking on the hotel side of the river you can take in the Cuilin ridge as the backdrop and in winter you'll often be rewarded by frosted plant stems and rocks as your foreground. There are so many opportunities around about here - including some lochans that provide excellent mirrors for the mountain ranges later in the day.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor