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

NPhoto - - Nikon Skills -

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

[1], 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 [2], 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 [3] 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 [4] 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

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