A few years ago Falkirk would not be on your list of places to visit as a photographer but over the last few years a couple of attractions have popped up in Falkirk that definitely make it a place to stop by with the camera.
The artist Andy Scott designed the Kelpie sculptures completed in October 2013. At the time these were not going to be permanent fixtures but in the first year some 1 million visitors came to the site and they ended up building a park around the sculptures so I would presume they are now staying. Ive seen photos that have lasers going out of the sculptures at night but when I last visited they just change colour. Maybe the laser show is just on at certain times?
Very close by to the Helix park were the Kelpie sculptures are you will also find the Falkirk wheel. A rotating boat lift in Scotland, connecting the Forth and Clyde Canal with the Union Canal. A very interesting engineering feat and illuminated with neons at night that make for interesting night photography.
If you plan to visit to photograph I would recommend the night as being the best time, they turn the lights of the Kelpies at midnight and when I spoke to a lady in the cafe at the Falkirk wheel she said the lights on the wheel were on a dusk to dawn sensor.
Location Coordinates Kelpies Helix Park : 56.0191°N 3.7553°W
Devils Pulpit in Stirling just North of Glasgow is an interesting place to photography. It’s a 100 feet deep gorge and the water looks like it runs red, I think this to something to do with the rock formation there as the water picks it up and gives the look as it’s running a very dark red.
I’ve visited a couple of times now and to get the best shots you really need to wade up through the river. So I would recommend some waders or swimming shoes as the ground is pretty rocky.
There is a large stone set in the middle which is the pulpit which rumour has it was used for sacrificing upon.. animals or people I don’t know, truth or rumour I don’t know.
There is easy parking on the road Drymen on the A809 very close to the small bridge and path that leads to the Devils Pulpit and if your going to photograph the location don’t worry about sunset and sunrise as you are set down within the gorge you won’t benefit from the light. Best time is during the day so it is bright I would recommend an ND filter to slow your shutter speeds down to get some nice flowing long exposure water effects but failing that a small aperture i.e. f22 and lowest ISO would be the way to go.
The location has been used in some TV programmes its a little tricky to get down to the river as its a very steep drop down and some makeshift stairs and rope have been placed there which does help. Sometimes it does get busy here so I would best avoid weekends if the sun is shinning. But well worth a visit.
The Isle of Skye in Scotland is a wonderful location for photography with it’s natural beauty, vast open space, rugged landscapes and abundance of waterfalls. This is our version of Iceland.. you might even catch some northern lights during winter. You could spend many weeks on Skye exploring all the areas but if you only have a few days here these are the top 4 locations to photograph. Be warned it does get very busy as plenty of tourists flock to the Isle of Skye most of whom are photographers as well.
Bring plenty of warm clothes and waterproof clothing, if you visit in the summer months expect rain and if you visit during the winter expect rain 🙂 Best way to get to Skye is by car crossing at the Skye bridge near the Kyle Of Lochalsh.
Skye is extremely remote don’t expect much in the way of shops or late night entertainment. My car broke down previously on Skye, snapped alternator belt. This had to be ordered in by a local garage from the mainland.. you won’t find a Halfords on Skye.
Hotels and B&B’s are expensive but also they tend to be fully booked as there are many tourists that visit Skye and not so many hotels. I would recommend staying at one of the campsites or free camping, the two campsites I know on Skye are Sligachan campsite IV47 8SW Tel: 01478 650204 and Staffin campsite IV51 9JX Tel: 01470 562213. I’ve stayed at the Sligachan campsite which was £7.50 per night/person. Check in advance as they may not be open during winter.
Also at Quiraing you have Trotternish Ridge which is to the right of my photo below. Quiraing is best photographed at sunrise. Car parking is a few minutes from location.
Old man of Storr – Location coordinates 57.49761, -6.15923
I would say the most iconic photo location from Skye. You park at the car park at the bottom of the hill and it’s a good 1h30m walk to the top where you get the best photo. It’s an uphill walk so bring a bottle of water with you. I would suggest doing this one late in the afternoon for sunset. You don’t really want to be going up here in the full sun. The sun will likely be behind the mountain at sunset but you should still get a nice light as the sun sets.
At Sligachan you have the old bridge set against the backdrop of the Cullin mountains. The Cullin mountains are also worth an explore as you will find some nice waterfalls and landscapes. The Sligachan campsite is also here, plus a pub 🙂
The Fairy Pools – Location coordinates 57.25034, -6.27268
This is a little off the beaten track as you need to drive a long a dirt country road to get to the parking at the bottom and then its a a good 40 minute walk up to the top of the fairy pools, just follow the signs and the tourists. Best time is after a few days of heavy rain as the waterfalls will be flowing much faster, not a sunset or sunrise location but if you do this during the day will be very busy with tourists. Winter would look great if you can drive the small road here.
On my last night on the Isle of Skye on my trip last weekend I stayed at the campsite at Sligachan and met up with some buddies from Facebook who where also staying there. We got up early to do a sunrise shoot at Quiraing and then later in the day they took me to a couple of waterfalls near the campsite by the Cuillins.
This is photo from the second waterfall we went to, quite hard to find without a guide. Photo taken with the SonyA7R, three exposures bracketed and edited in Photoshop.
I recently got back from a road trip to and around the Isle of Skye. This is my second visit to Skye and first time the weather was horrendous. First time we visited The old Man of Stor but the weather was so foggy that never gone any good shots. This time however could not of asked for better weather it was baking, proper t-shirt and shorts weather.
However as with all good road trips did not go quite to plan as on my first night in Skye ran into car problems up at Quiraing. I took the dirt track road that runs West to East of Skye to Quiraing and ended up with a snapped alternator belt. There really is nothing shop wise in Skye and you soon realise how remote Skye is when you need something they don’t have on the island. I managed to get my car to a local garage in Portree the following day but as it was Saturday would be the Monday before they could get a new belt for me. Fortunately I was able to hire a cheap runaround car from the local garage and have a couple of extra days in Skye whilst waiting for my car to get back on the road.
All in all, a good trip was able to shoot and fly my DJI Phantom drone over some good locations Quiraing, The Old Man of Stor, Fairy Pools, Sligachan and on the way up Etive Mor and Eilean Donan Castle. Only slight downside was due to the extremely nice weather the Fairy Pools at Glen Brittle where not as impressive as they look after a few days of good heavy rain. Also I got to meet up with a few Facebook buddies at the end of the trip and we went out for a sunrise at Quiraing which turned out to be a rather impressive sunrise.