Scotland is in the middle of the longest cold spell for 40 years . NASA has released a satellite image of Scotland and it is totally white.While this is causing problems for many people , as photographers it is an opportunity for us to get some great pictures. On Thursday I went up to Blackmount and Glencoe. It was the first time I have ever seen Blackmount totally covered in snow . The loch was frozen over and it was a total whiteout. Further up the road I stopped at Buachaille Etive Mor to take some pictures. As soon as I got out of the car I felt the bitter cold . I walked towards the mountain to take some pictures and within 3 or 4 minutes the tips of my fingers were numb. I quickly took some pictures and headed straight back to the car.The temperature must have been sub-zero. I continued along the A84 to Glencoe . Unfortunately the sun was behind the paps of Glencoe by the time I reached it and it wasn’t ideal for pictures. I took a couple of shots and headed back to Blackmount because I knew there were more pictures to be had there. As soon as you got off the road the snow was about a foot deep. The sun was shining and the landscape looked like a winter wonderland. I took quite a lot of pictures including a set of 4 which I am going to put together for a panoramic image in Photoshop. I also recorded some video of the scene . This is probably the best I have seen the Highlands in the snow for about 2 years[poll id=”1″]
Photographers are getting increasingly concerned about attempts to limit or prevent pictures being taken in public. Photography in public is under attack from a diverse range of vested interests from control freak celebrities to police forces who see it as a PR stunt or who abuse terrorist legislation . Parents are told about the threat of paedophilia on every corner .
As far as I am concerned anyone in public can be photographed without hindrance . Unfortunately some police forces see it as a good PR stunt to prevent photography in public places. In Scotland police can use breach of the peace as an excuse to arrest or threaten photographers under the flimsiest pretext . Police often invoke anti-terror legislation to prevent photographers from carrying out their work, and photojournalists are constantly filmed at public gatherings and their details kept on an ever-growing database. Tourists are also targeted by police, as was the case with an Austrian father and son who made the mistake of photographing a building of an extremely sensitive nature—Walthamstow bus station.
Celebrities see every public appearance as a carefully choreographed exercise to promote themselves. They don’t like it when pictures of them behaving badly are published .Them’s the breaks .
Martin Parr has stated “I am most concerned that the basic liberty for a photographer to photograph freely and legally in a public place in the UK is being slowly eroded by these new laws and overzealous interpretation by the police” . This situation has led him to believe that within five years, street photography could be totally banned in the UK. His advice is to get our there while you still can.
Photographers can join BJP’s Not A Crime campaign for photographers’ rights at www.not-a-crime.com.
I have just set up a new landscape pictures gallery of the Highlands . I went up to Glencoe yesterday and I have taken new pictures of Blackmount, Glencoe and Buachaille Etive Mor . It must have been one of the hottest days of the year so far and it was bright sunshine all day . I also shot some HD video of Glencoe . All of the pictures are available as prints
This is a new HDR picture of Eilean Donan Castle which I took last year . The castle is illuminated at night and I liked the reflections in the water . This picture is available as a print and mobile wallpaper . The castle recently took part in conservation group WWF’s Earth Hour.
Owners of buildings and individuals across the world were asked to turn out lights for 60 minutes from 2030 GMT on 28 March.
The Forth Rail Bridge and Edinburgh Castle are also part of the switch off.
Eilean Donan Castle is one of my favourite castles to photograph . One of the unique things about it is that it is in the middle of 3 lochs and totally surrounded by water . The only approach is by a bridge . The castle has featured in a number of famous films including Highlander and one of the James Bond films. I have just added a new picture gallery of new pictures of Eilean Donan Castle. All the pictures can be downloaded to your mobile
The argument rumbles on about the financing of the new Forth Bridge . Everybody agrees that the new Forth crossing is necessary but no-one can quite work out how it will be financed . First Minister Alex Salmond has complained about the lack of help from Westminster about the biggest ever capital project in Scotland . The projected cost of the bridge is £22 billion . The SNP government maintains that Westminster should provide the finance for the project.
Chancellor Alistair Darling said they can’t have it, with the result that the Treasury can now be portrayed by the Nationalists as the villain of the piece.
Eilean Donan Castle is one of the most photographed castles in Scotland , if not the world . This is the story of the castle .
Eilean Donan means Island of Donan ( a religious figure from the 12 th century ).
Eilean Donan was the most important stronghold of Clan MacKenzie from the 13th Century .
In 1719 it was completely destroyed . Robert the Bruce was given refuge in Eilean Donan Castle by John MacKenzie, Second of Kintail when he was being hunted by the English at the begnning of the fourteenth century.
Above the entrance to the castle there is a Gaelic inscription which translates as : As long as there is a MacRae inside, there will never be a Fraser outside. Inside the courtyard is the famous Murchison Stone with an inscription about John Murchison of Auchtertyre who was killed in the Battle of Sherrifmuir in 1715. In the upper floor inside the castle there are six bedrooms named Loch Alsh,Loch Long, Eilean Donan, Ballimore, Loch Duich and Conchra. A panel shows the names of the constables ( guardians ) of the castle
Eilean Donan Castle was originally built in 1220 and owned by the MacKenzies of Kintail. The MacRae Clan who settled in the area came from the Beauly Firth where they had protected the Clan Fraser.They acted as bodyguards to the MacKenzie chiefs.
In 1719 it was held by Spanish Jacobites.
Three English frigates sailed into Loch Duich and bombarded the castle with cannon fire .
There was a direct hit on the castle arsenal and it was left in ruins . The castle them lay totally uninhabited and in ruins for nearly 200 years . In 1911 John MacRae-Gilstrap bought the castle and start work to restore the castle over a period of twenty years at a total cost of a quarter of a million pounds. Local materials were extensively used.
The castle found fame when it was featured in the film Highlander and a James Bond movie. A shot shows Bond driving his car over the bridge from the castle .
Eilean Donan Castle is on an island in the middle of 3 lochs – Loch Alsh , Loch Long and Loch Duich
National Mod 2008 has started this week in Falkirk . The Mod is a Gaelic festival of traditional music with a prestigious gold medal for the best in each category . To some ‘The Mod is coming home’ might seem a curious slogan to use as the Mod has never been held in Falkirk before however the slogan arises from the annual Trysts that were held in Falkirk over the centuries where drovers and cattle dealers from all over the Highlands and Islands would converge on the town to buy and sell their livestock. The Mod is Coming Home because the whole concept of the Highland Gathering had originated in Falkirk. To celebrate the Mod , Castle pictures has teamed up with Scottish screensavers to publish a set of photo screensavers of Falkirk. The Falkirk Wheel is a big tourist attraction and one of our new screensavers features the Wheel
Edinburgh Castle is Scotland’s most popular visitor attraction,” Dr Murray said. “More than 1 million visitors are drawn each year by its spectacular location and history. They can see the Crown Jewels, the One O’Clock Gun and the Stone of Destiny as well as the Great Hall, St Margaret’s Chapel, and Mons Meg. “This new exhibition will explore more of the castle’s complex story, with links to Scots-born John Paul Jones – renowned in America as founder of the US Navy and in Britain for capturing one of the Royal Navy’s warships – and the turbulence of revolutionary Europe at the end of the 1700s.”Edinburgh Castle is a world-class attraction and today’s well-traveled tourists have high expectations.”The vaults at Edinburgh Castle were constructed around 1500 and later used as soldiers’ barrack-rooms and a bakehouse. However they were used for many years as prisons of war from the 1750s into the early 1800s. Graffiti carved into prison doors reveal the names and sentiments of many of the men there, and some of them etched crude drawings of their vessels. One drawing shows a gallows and noose, with the inscription Lord Nord (North) – the British Prime Minister at the time of the American War of Independence. Another shows a ship flying what appears to be the stars and stripes: one of the earliest known depictions of the American flag.
I have added over 50 picture galleries to this site . Picture gallery 1 features Eilean Donan Castle pictures. I took these pictures about 5 years ago one winter evening . The castle is well illuminated at night and obviously looks completely different from the daytime .