THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
Cruising Loch Ness at speed
My journey is almost screwed up

Glencoe, Callendar and Culcreuch Castle

On Wednesday we hit the road again. The plan was to drive through Glencoe, stopping wherever Joe thought there was a good spot for a photo shoot. This meant that I could not race ahead in Speranza and meet up at agreed locations. I have driven through Glencoe many times before in Speranza, Vittoria and Claudias I and II (the Mercedes CLK 430 and 55AMG cabriolets I used to have) and always found it exhilarating. This was a plod by comparison but I had one of our group riding along so conversation - and the magnificent scenery - relieved the tedium.

I am not keen on landscape photography. It's a solitary, miserable pursuit with more disappointments than successes. You are often up at dawn or sunset only for the sky to be too clear or a mist to wreck your day. I simply don't enjoy walking in nature enough to consider the photography a bonus. I particularly did not look forward to this excursion as the rules of the workshop forbid all the modern techniques that make a great landscape shot possible. We were required to hand in "straight out of camera" files with no post-processing. So we couldn't sandwich together bracketed exposures, using the underexposed one for a vibrant sky and the overexposed one to bring out the dark foreground.

Joe is old school and wants us to produce the best exposures we can in camera. That's fine most of the time as a better capture makes for less work. But for landscapes it's going to lead to the kind of shots he later critiqued for their blown highlights, lost detail or flatness. I tried to dodge that bullet with a shot of a thistle, but it got the "meh" it deserved.

Steven3a-5 Steven3a-6

We had lunch at a posh chip shop called Eat Mhor Fish in Callender. It was funny to watch our mostly American group encounter fish and chips, Irn-Bru and deep fried Mars Bars for the first time. Actually it was my first time for deep fried Mars Bars, which I had half believed to be an urban legend. I enjoyed mine to a dangerous extent. The last thing I need is another unhealthy habit.

I made another "face in a place" shot for my assignment in the sweet shop / candy store near our restaurant. The delightful owner Maggie, a Glaswegian lady with a highly photogenic face, patiently endured my "working" the situation as our tutor has been urging us to do.

It was on then to our beds for the night in the Castle of the traitorous Galbraith Clan. The Laird gave us a sob story about how much of their estates was lost in fines and confiscations. I feel his ancestors were lucky to escape these islands with their heads.

Joe did a model shoot demonstration with Natalie, the dancer who had been his model at last Friday's flash lighting seminar in Edinburgh. He had asked her to find some period costumes and she appeared to be emulating the look of the beautiful young widow of the Scottish Widows advertisements.

Our increasingly bonded and rowdy group ended the day happily in the hotel bar.

The map of my trip is here and more photos are here.