Every photographer has a list. They may not tell you or might not be consciously aware of it themselves, but they definitely have a list. A list of things they want to take pictures of, or less specifically, a list of places they want to visit before their body takes on room temperature. You know like - the half dome in Yosemite in the early evening light, the transition between a sunset into a sunrise above the polar circle, the aurora borealis over a Norway fjord, rays of light piercing through Antelope canyon, the bewildering structures on top off Machu Piccu in Peru, or the Old man of Storr on Skye.
As it so happened I was lucky enough to tick off some items on my very own list when I visited Scotland just recently. Scotland, best known for its spectacular landscapes, changeable weather and its national animal - the unicorn, has a wide variety of photographic opportunities, combined with an abundant cultural legacy to offer.
Edinburgh, the capital and financial center, and the second largest city of Scotland, is home to the Scottish Parliament, the National Museum of Scotland, the National Library of Scotland and the Scottish National Gallery.
Especially the old town offers a very picturesque scenery and is a UNESCO World Heritage with its medieval narrow street layout and old high-rise residential buildings.
Of course no visit to Edinburgh would be complete without climbing the city's landmark hill, so on the third day of my stay I set out to do so. What I hadn't expected was that the moderate elevation causes wind speeds to peak. When I was slightly below the summit, the wind got so strong that I wasn't able to stand up straight but rather had to lean into the wind to continue walking – although it should maybe rather be called stumbling due to the strong gusts that almost prevent following a straight path.
As if following a steep trail in intense side wind wasn't challenging enough the typically changeable Scottish weather struck and added some heavy rain to the mix. Luckily, the low afternoon sun shone through below the clouds and caused a spectacular rainbow. I didn't want my camera to get wet but I wanted to miss the rainbow even less, so after a few minutes when the intensity of the rain decreased, I started taking pictures.
Scottish weather can be a treacherous thing. Even in bright sunlight the risk of rain remains high – a fact I was about to learn at this moment. After some initial snaps the heavy rain returned and soaked not only me but also my equipment. The decision whether to keep shooting or trying to cover the gear from the elements wasn't an easy one, but I opted for the former. Risking the chance of water damage on my (only) camera, right at the beginning of the trip, wasn't a particularly safe bet, but the confidence in the 5D3's weather sealing prevailed.
The alteration between heavy and very light rain repeated itself for a few times and the especially strong wind blow dried my stuff within minutes. I remember that the completely dripping camera was dry in less than a minute and my jeans (there was no time to change into something weather resistant) went from 'fresh out of the washing machine' to 'dry as a bone' in about ten minutes - while wearing them of course. Convenient!
Urban areas are better places for wildlife photography than you would might expect. Due to the constant proximity to humans, animals reduce their flight distances and are easier to observe and photograph up close.
The Loch is also a welcomed resting place for geese.
The journey continues
The next article in this series describes my experiences as I travel through the Highlands.