28th April 2008
Scotland can be a very frustrating place for landscape photography.
There is no doubt that it contains some of the best scenery that Britain has to offer, but so often a trip is blighted by low cloud that masks the grandeur of the mountains and limits your possibilities to close shots and details.
On other occasions the cloud base lifts and pure magic occurs.
Glen Etive is an area I fell in love with shooting black and white negative stock with my old Bronica. In truth I still usually find myself thinking in terms of monochrome when I’m shooting there.
However, when I get them home to my monitor, I sometimes discover I like the subtlety of the colours so much that I often make prints both ways.
There are many dramatic locations in the glen and I usually find myself visiting the same spots time and again because as the River Etive’s flow changes so too do the photographic opportunities.
The falls at Alltchaorunn are a fine example of this.
I have photographed them many times and no two shots are really the same, though I often choose a similar composition.
Another good example is Lochan Urr, as the rise and fall of the water level exposes more or less of the roots of these once majestic trees in their watery grave.
This glen would once have been covered with such Caledonian pine forest, but now only scraps of this old habitat still exist.
Some has been replaced with commercial plantations with their dense, dark, uniform growth that creates a monoculture that not much else can survive.
Most has simply disappeared to be replaced by the moorland, grazed by the deer to be stalked by the hunters.
All in all this makes this quiet little glen one of my top ten favorite locations anywhere, and a place that I intend to visit many times more in the future.
Many of the things that I find attractive about the region are due to it’s fascinating geology.
The river cuts and tumbles over granite shelves and boulders in a series of falls and rapids as it makes it’s way to the head of Loch Etive.
If you’ve looked through much of this site you’ll know I have a soft spot for moving water, which is at the heart of so much of our island landscape, so this is a combination I find difficult to resist.
Much of the granite in the area is of a type that ranges from delicate pink to a rich brick red colour.