Home from the Glens

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It’s been over a week since i got back from my little trip up north and i still miss the mountains and lochs of the Highlands. My only conciliation is that i’m currently planning my return next year. The week i had up in the Highlands just went so fast. Far TOO fast for my liking so I’ll be staying two weeks next year.

Photography wise, the Highlands has lots to offer. If you are a landscape photographer then a trip there is a must. The history combined with the landscape offer the photographer plenty of scope for image making, but you need time for the weather and light to be right. Coming through Glencoe you could see the unique lighting that the mountain ranges produce. Light and shadow mix together to produce an extremely dramatic experience, yet within a minute (or even seconds) the whole show has moved on to be replaced with mist, rain or a mix of both. No wonder it was recently used as a location by the 007 film crew.  Glencoe really does take the breath away, not only through its dramatic geography but also its connection to a tragic event . Somehow the mountains convey the drama of the geography and the history of Scotland at the same time.

Like the Highlands, Skye gets into your blood. It was my first visit and i left wanting more. I’d seen just some elements of what Skye has to offer which includes travel to the Western isles. A trip to Harris or Lewis is high on the agenda for next year. I love travelling by ship anyway, so the prospect of travelling across the sea to Harris is just thrilling. This year’s trip was a kind of reconnaissance just to see what was there. I now have an idea of what the Highlands and Skye especially has to offer. Probably the biggest draw is the detached feel of the place. It did feel like an escape and i like that feeling. Probably the biggest example of that sense of freedom was the ferry waiting to leave for the Isle of Harris. The whole ship, like most ships do, became one big symbol of freedom, escape and adventure. Next year i will be aboard 🙂

The move down south went OK, but after having the Highlands as a backdrop, i found adjusting to the area around Dumfries tricky. I left the Highlands with a heavy heart and to be honest Dumfries didn’t quite push all my buttons. If the weeks had been vice versus then maybe Dumfries would have worked. The Highlands are basically a tough act to follow. One Dumfries shop keeper asked about where I’d been and i got the reply ‘oh we have it all here!’ Er no you don’t. The second week turned out to be a holiday week rather than a photography week. Enjoyable but I barely shot a roll of film the whole week. In fact i came back with just under half the film i took, with virtually all of the shot film being taken in…. yes, you guessed right! The place that begins with H.

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Saving for a Rainy Day

Bamburgh castle from the sand dunes

I’m currently reinstalling everything back onto my laptop. Great fun! After around 18 months of flawless use, the laptop finally started freezing on me in critical situations, so i decided to do a factory reset. A drastic move, i know, but it means a fresh, clean laptop ready to go soon. It’ll just take me several days to put all the software back on it.

Fortunately there was nothing on the hard drive of great value. I backup to DVD-ROM and memory stick, and now DropBox, as often as i can, but it never seems quite enough. The fear of losing digital content has increased each year as i realise how much I rely on files just being there. To complicate matters, the laptop DVD-RW would no longer burn discs due to a software issue. The factory reset has removed this problem too. Phew!

Just recently I started using an online service called CodeGuard after i realised how much blood, sweat, tears and man hours had gone into the main website redesign. The idea of someone wrecking all that work with a hack [shiver] terrified me! CodeGuard simply backup your website (all the files on your server) so you have a fall-back (or several!) should the worse happen. So far it looks like a great service.