On the road
Scotland’s North Coast 500 route is a magnet for landscape photographers – and Tracey Whitefoot couldn’t resist hitting the road with her D800 in hand
I’ve been a full-time freelance photographer for 10 years. Even now, I still can’t believe I get paid to take photos! Until 2010 I shot with an Olympus system, but decided to change when I needed a new camera.
I did a lot of research and went with Nikon because the company’s cameras felt more rugged, and I thought they’d suit all sides of my work. Many of the people whose work I admired at the time also seemed to own Nikon kit. It’s a decision I’ve never regretted, and if I could give one piece of advice to a new photographer, it would be to experiment with the types of picture you want to take first, before you spend a lot of money on lenses. I don’t know what I’d do in landscape photography without my Nikon 16-35mm f/4, but I’d rarely use it for, say, wildlife or sports photography.
Take the high road…
The North Coast 500 in Scotland [a circular route around the Highlands] has been named as one of the best road trips in the world, and it’s not difficult to see why. With stunning locations literally around every corner, as a photographer I felt like a kid in a sweet shop. However, photographing a road trip has its challenges: you often only get one chance to photograph a location, so you have to make the best of the conditions you’re presented with, good or bad.
I was treated to a beautiful sunset at the Kylesku Bridge
, but as there is so much surrounding it, it took a while to figure out how to get the best composition. Thankfully I arrived early, and I had plenty of time to experiment. I wanted to highlight the wonderful curve of the bridge and how it blends in with the landscape.
When I arrived at Glen Docherty to capture Morning Mist in the Glen , the first
thing I saw were roadworks and associated machinery at the top of the road through the valley! My original plan had been to capture the road from the top to show the scale of the location, but with the mist rapidly disappearing, I had to think fast. With no option to stop halfway down, I parked at the top, and using my 70-200mm I had just enough time to capture the clear section of road before the mist disappeared.
At Stac Pollaidh  the weather was simply too good! With a flat blue sky I drove along the single-track road to find some suitable trees to disguise most of the sky and frame the image, while including the road as a lead-in to the mountain in the distance. I wanted to capture the sense of freedom that the North Coast 500 is famous for.
To capture The Red Roof  the first thing I had to do was locate the cottage that I’d seen in other images, and then find a place to park nearby. That’s not always an easy thing to do in Scotland! This is an example of having a wonderful location with lots of options, and a sunrise that didn’t quite deliver. When I look at this image it makes me feel like I have unfinished business. I’m pleased with the image, but I want to go back and have another go!
4 3 2 1 Dusk at the Kylesku Bridge Nikon D800, Nikon AF-S 16-35mm f/4G ED VR, 1/40 sec, f/8, ISO400 2 Morning Mist Nikon D800, Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM, 1/800 sec, f/4.5, ISO500 3 Stac Pollaidh Nikon D800, Nikon AF-S 16-35mm f/4G ED VR, 1/320 sec, f/9, ISO200 4 The Red Roof Nikon D800, Nikon AF-S 16-35mm f/4G ED VR, 1/30 sec, f/9, ISO200