2020 was a year of cancelled plans and disruption, but we were lucky enough to have booked a trip to Scotland in early summer that we were still able to go on. Since we were self-catering and largely intended on not seeing another human being anyway, it allowed us a brief escape.
Our first week was spent in a cottage in Luss, on the shore of Loch Lomond.
While most of my photographs are taken while out exploring with my family, I wanted to take advantage of the location, and reasonable sunrise / sunset times, to head out by myself with a tripod one day and take some time to slow down and think things through.
I managed this one evening - but those aren't the photos that I wanted to write about here. This week's images were taken the next day ... while out exploring with my family! Which just goes to show the importance of having a camera on you all the time and not waiting for those big moments.
The day that I headed out by myself was a pleasant summer's day, that promised a decent looking sunset. In complete contrast, the next day saw heavy, low cloud and light mist.
We'd taken a walk into Luss to buy fish & chips to eat by the Loch, and were greeted by this utterly tranquil scene. The low cloud and mist obscured the distant shoreline, and the Loch itself was calm, still, and pristine white reflecting the cloud above. There was also almost no sound. It was one of those moments that impacts you and stays with you afterwards.
Happily enough, I had brought my Ricoh GRIII with me - being pocketable enough to have on me at all times for just such moments as this. While it is regularly billed as an ideal camera for street photography, it's wide angle and high resolution make it ideal for landscapes and wide vistas as well.
The white balance out of the camera gave it this blue hue, which I retained as I really feel that it adds to the sense of calm that I wanted it to convey.
The Luss pier, in particular, stood out - with it's dark wood and angular shapes a contrast to the white and soft world around it.
Both of these pictures are present favourites of mine, with the first hanging on the wall in front of me right now. What I like most about them is the emotion that they convey - calmness, serenity, peace. Both are high key, minimalist images that don't actually have a lot of content to them. They transport me back to the place and time - and that brings with it such wonderful feelings.
But I find it hard to know how to categorise them. They aren't landscapes, and certainly not good enough to be called fine art. I come across this quite a bit - images that I love for the way they make me feel, rather than for some intrinsic merit - abstracts, minimalist images etc. For now, I've put these under "artistic" as a catch-all - but wonder if there is a better term out there?
Technically, I am happy with how I took both images. Both were taken at 1/25 sec at f/11.0, ISO 200. Being wide-angle and largely minimalist, sharpness was never going to be much of an issue. If I was nit-picking, then perhaps stopping down the aperture to get ISO 100, or even lower to get a slightly faster shutter speed, would have been even better - but I find it hard to be too upset by that. I was likely operating in Av mode to take the shots quickly before our fish & chips went cold!
So, my take-away from this review - always have a camera on you; the scene you want isn't always available when you want it to be!