Jenny Cameron

Professional Landscape Photographer known for her unique, creative and evocative style based in the northern Scottish Highlands.

Posts tagged ‘landscape’

Haida Picture Appreciation | September Featured

Each month Haida support their Ambassador’s by promoting photographer’s work in what they call Haida Picture Appreciation. This month they kindly chose my recent image named “Summer-nights”. If you would like to view others on their website please follow this link.

“Summer-nights”~ I’m going to go all British on you now and talk about the weather, it’s our favourite topic, we are never happy, it’s either too hot or too cold, moaning is our second favourite topic. Have to say this year has probably been the driest and hottest summer I’ve known in a long time, that’s saying something for Scotland. There’s a reason we have so much “greenery”! I This image is a new gem of a location close to my home, a big area with waterfalls and woodland. Imagine the Aurora &/or Milkyway placed over here.

Techy information

Canon 5D Mark IV 

Canon 16-35mm F2.8 (ii) USM

16mm | 1/5s | f11 | ISO 100

Haida M10 Filter Holder + Drop-in CPL

All Haida filters are assembled in their own optical workshop located in the beautiful Port City of Ningbo, China. “Haida” in English translates to “All rivers run into the sea, all rivers flow to one”. If you’d like to visit their website , Facebook  or Instagram.

If you would like to see more of my work; Follow me on Facebook , Instagram , Viewbug YouPic & 1X.

I hope you enjoyed this? Please feel free to ask me any questions or contact me below or Facebook Messenger.

Haida Anti-fog belt

An innovative and perfect solution for astrophotography and extreme temperature photography.
Close up- Haida Anti-Fog belt.
Showing heat control with three different settings- Haida Anti-Fog belt.
Showing Haida Anti-Fog belt attached to a spare Drone battery which I used as a power bank.
Haida Anti-Fog belt set up with lovely soft grey bag-Included with purchase.

Introduction

Viewing winter scenes online may look magical but for the photographer it takes a lot of effort and skill to execute. When shooting in sub-zero temperatures it’s an endless problem with the lens fogging up and constant job keeping it clear. I’ve tried all sorts of ways to no avail, placing thermal hats, scarfs around the lens, basically anything to keep the lens warm- which isn’t ideal especially if it’s windy. If you use a tripod this will exacerbate the issue as the camera is away from any body heat. Hot and humid regions are also problematic – When leaving an air conditioned car or building then head outdoors with your camera when it’s hot. Whether it’s moving from a cold to warm environment or vice versa, the drastic change in temperature will cause your lens to fog up. In simple terms, condensation will cause your lens to fog-up, thus dramatically reducing the image quality.

Allow me to introduce to you a brand new product designed by Haida – An innovative and perfect solution for astrophotography and extreme temperature photography. It’s an Anti-fog belt – Companied with a USB port and lovely soft grey pouch so you can put it in your bag easily and conveniently. Boasting three individual heat settings – Low ( 35-45°)- Medium (45-55°)- High (55-65°) and can withstand -40℃ low temperature. Simply wraps around the outside of your camera lens ( held securely in place with Velcro) to avoid fog on your lens and plugs into a power source- (I used a drone battery as a power bank). Not to forget Haida’s signature colour-Red!

Example photo’s below when using the Haida Anti-fog belt would be advantageous.

Lets geek out on why lenses fogs up?

When the temperature of the lens or lens with filter on gets cold the water vapour in the air condenses on it, in other words creates condensation. Same principle when your bathroom mirror fogs up when having a hot shower or when you take a cold drink out of the refrigerator on a hot day. Similarly, to what we learnt in Chemistry at School- Condensation is the opposite to evaporation- rather than water molecules transforming from liquid into a gas in a process known as vaporisation, the water changes instead from a gas in the air back into a liquid form.

Your camera body will generate some heat which will prevent condensation from forming on the inside, but the lens is a different story. In particular, a build-up of condensation behind the actual lens over a period of time could result in the growth of mould. Needless to say, mould will destroy the internal workings of your lens. Or, even worse, condensation on your lens freezing up! Yes, it can actually happen! 

Top-tip from personal experience- In these extreme polar opposite conditions always remember before you retreat indoors to put your camera in a camera bag when you’ve finished photographing. If possible leave it in the bag for a good 12 hours. If you’re inpatient to view your images just remove the SD card. This allows your gear to slowly thermalize whilst avoiding condensation. 

It’s all about the Dew-point

If you’re anything like me a little OCD with preparing for a photo trip- Weather forecast Apps tend to be top of your list? Whether you’re heading to the Arctic or Maldives, both can create big problems for your camera in terms of condensation. Knowing the dew point temperature (which can also be found on most decent websites/Apps) for each location should be high up on your list too and help you prepare for what the weather may throw at you- Be it sun, wind, rain, fog/mist, snow, frost and sand-dust- This will tell you what temperature condensation is expected to form. Condensation is created when the outer casing of your lens is cooled below what is known as the ‘dew point’ of the air inside. The dew point is simply the temperature at which the air inside your lens is no longer able to hold all of the water vapour, meaning that some of it will need to be released back into its liquid form. As such, the water vapour changes back into moisture, causing beading and fogginess to appear on the inside elements of your lens without oftentimes you even realising until you later check through your images horrified with that feeling of “the end of the world”.

Screenshot of my favourite weather App Clear Outside including Dew point temperatures.

Previous experience

I clearly remember a night earlier this year when I gave up and retreated home as it was too cold not only for my hands but became an endless battle with lens fogging up, I couldn’t keep up wiping the lens with a microfibre cloth. I was not happy at all and let me assure you I’m not one to give up easily.

Materials used

Haida adopted a new technology material “Graphene” (heating material) which produces evenly heat distribution in a safe/stable manner.

Positive features

  • Fits any lens.
  • Light-weight & convenient.
  • Starts heating up in only a few seconds.

Negative features

  • Remembering to have a full charged power pack with you.
  • Careful not to knock the focusing ring whilst attaching the belt.

Unfortunately, at this moment in time it’s British summer time- Here in the far north of Scotland it’s pretty much daylight all the time and temperatures are a steady 10-20 degrees Celsius, making it impossible to replicate extreme temperatures or do any Astrophotography. However, come September Milky-way & Aurora season will begin- Followed by a few months later when temperatures start plummeting. Last winter was very cold, reaching minus 28 degrees Celsius at home. I will continue to add my thoughts to this evaluation as conditions allow. Watch this space for more updates!

Conclusion

All in all, I really do think this will be a popular and welcomed tool for many outdoor photographers. Certainly solved a common problem for myself. Hopefully, I’ll achieve more keepers in the mountains next winter and be even more enjoyable.

All Haida filters are assembled in their own optical workshop located in the beautiful Port City of Ningbo, China. “Haida” in English translates to “All rivers run into the sea, all rivers flow to one”. If you’d like to visit their website &/or Facebook .

If you would like to see more of my work; Follow me on Facebook & Instagram.

I hope this provides you with some useful information. Please feel free to ask me any questions or contact me below or Facebook Messenger.

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“All rights reserved” © Jenny Cameron 2021


Evaluation- 82mm Haida Interchangeable Magnetic Variable ND filter on wide- angle lens. Featured

Watch how fast

Super fast & ease

Introduction.

Testing for optimal sharpness, tonality, vignette, bokeh, X-pattern issues, design, functionality, accuracy of stops & colour shifts. Including in-camera video and real time experience from my home in the north of Scotland.

What comes in the box?

One cardboard box with two separate plastic boxes each with internal moulded foam insert to keep your filters protected ..Box (1) One adapter ring and one Magnetic Variable ND 2-5 stop filter. Box (2) One Magnetic Variable ND 6-9 stop filter & one spring loaded Filter cap.

Lets take a closer look. Join me on a Private Highland Estate (non-public access).

What is a Variable Neutral Density (ND) Filter & how does it work?

Basically a Variable ND filter works by using two pieces of polarised glass that darken as they oppose each other, creating the lovely ND filter effect. As you rotate the filter the density is increased or decreased affecting the amount of light that falls through the lens and onto the camera sensor.

Sizes; 

Available in various sizes; 58, 62, 67, 72, 77 & 82mm. I’m using is the 82mm as my lens is a Canon 16-35mm F2.8 (ii). Step up rings also available.

How to measure your lens for the correct filter size.

It may seem obvious, however for newbies just starting out this can be very confusing. So, for the avoidance of doubt- Lens diameter is not the same as focal length. Lens diameter is a physical measurement on the front part of your lens. On my Canon lenses the diameter is etched on the inside of the front of the lens ( image example below). Identifiable by a circle with a line right through the middle with a number at the side, this is the measurement needed to select the correct filter size- Alternatively, you could go old school and get your ruler out to measure the diameter in millimetres.

Why are Neutral Density filters important for video?

In videography theres something called the 180-degree shutter angle rule- which mimics motion the same way a human eye experiences in real life. It helps reduce your shutter speed whilst maintaining proper exposure. For example- your shutter speed should be double your frame rate for smooth motion blur, produces a more natural and professional looking footage- rather than harsh/ jittering/robotic. This is especially commonly seen on fence lines which I’ve experienced myself whilst flying a drone. (By the way as a side note, I’m currently reviewing Haida’s ND filters for DJI Mavic 2-Pro which will be published soon). So, for instance if shooting at 25 frames per second on a DSLR you need to move your shutter speed to 1/50. This is where the Haida Nano-Pro Interchangeable Magnetic Variable ND 2-5 stop filter in particular solves this issue perfectly. Theres a reason why Cinematic cameras are expensive- they have built in ND filters.

Construction.

Both filters are constructed the same, the frame part from Aerospace Aluminium making it super strong and extremely light weight, in fact its 9g lighter than previous Haida Variable NDs. The glass part is made from high quality K9 optical glass with Nano-Pro coatings on both sides.

NanoPro.

Featuring a waterproof NanoPro multi-coating on the filter glass, which helps prevent dirt and smudges from adhering to the glass, reduce reflections, scratch and water proof. Applied to both sides of the filter and helps prevent colour cast while maintaining excellent image sharpness. Highly scratch-resistant, durable, can be used under water and super easy cleaning.

X-pattern.

With the filter being on a wide angle lens I did wonder if the dreaded X-pattern (produces hatched areas on the actual image) would be more pronounced especially on the 6-9 stop, but thankfully its not appeared at any focal lengths tested from 16-35mm at approximately 2mm increments. I really did try to push it through its paces as curiosity got the better of me secretly wanting to see what it actually looked like in real life so to speak. Sure I’ve seen it on-line with other filter brands but nothing beats reality. I think what really helps with this particular issue is the way Haida have thoughtfully placed accurate hard stops at each end making it impossible to push the ND effect too far past the weakest or strongest points.

Positive features.

The innovative design of the magnetic attraction provides not only ease of use and speed but also the added bonus of no light leakage whatsoever, which often-times is problematic with strong NDs, usually from 6 stops upwards. No vignette from two stops right up to six inclusive.

Absolutely loved the ability to control shutter speed in ever changing light conditions without stress of fumbling in my filter bag trying to select what I thought would be best then discovering a different strength would have been better. Now, I could simply rotate from 6-9 or remove in literally one second & replace the 2-5 stop ND which I kept handy in my pocket neatly wrapped in a lens cloth for add protection.

Ideally suited for all types of photo &/or video genres including portraiture. I will definatly be using it for my animal work. All in all, I really do love and have thoroughly enjoyed this evaluation. Haida made it very easy with exceptional quality in not only the sleek design and smooth as butter rotation but followed right through from speed of use, incredible sharpness/tonality & contrast with no colour shift (neutrality) in the final raw file. What I did appreciate & use all the time now is the handy filter cap- Personally thought that a really nice final touch. It allows you to leave the filter on the lens packed away in your bag, then you’re all set up and ready for the next location.

Negative features.

I’m still undecided if I would have preferred an adjustment peg on the side to make it a bit easier to rotate from stop to stop without getting greasy fingerprints on the glass from my clumsy fingers or if it’s best without. Certainly not having it makes for a super sleek design which I really do like, not only visually but for storage & less weight. Over time I have gotten used to moving it without intensely watching where every stop is. Other than this I see no other downsides, what’s not to love? If I was being really picky there is ever so slight vignette from 7-9 stops inclusive, but certainly nothing to worry about.

For the traveller in mind.

If you’re tired of hauling around lots of different filters on your travels and need to go lightweight this could well be your answer.

Field tests.

Comparative images below at the bridge- taken with Canon 5d mark iv, Canon 16-35mm F2.8 (ii) lens on Gitzo tripod. Settings used; Without filter = ISO 100, F8, 1/15– With Haida Interchangeable Magnetic Variable ND filter @ 9 stops; ISO 100, F8, 30 seconds @16mm. Both raw images (straight out of camera). Location- Sutherland, Scotland.

Without filter (straight out of camera) @ 16mm. ISO 100, F8, 1/8 sec.

Comparative images below at the beach- Taken with Canon 5d mark iv, Canon 16-35mm F2.8 (ii) lens on Gitzo tripod. Settings used; Without filter = ISO 100, F14, 1/4 sec– With Haida Interchangeable Magnetic Variable ND (2-5 stops) filter @ 5 stops; ISO 100, F14, 08 seconds @16mm. Both raw images (straight out of camera). Location- Sutherland, Scotland.

Without/ with filter
Edited in Adobe Creative Cloud

Comparative images below of the bridge- Taken with Canon 5d mark iv, Canon 16-35mm F2.8 (ii) lens on Gitzo tripod. Settings used; Without filter = ISO 100, F8, 1/15– With Haida Interchangeable Magnetic Variable ND (6-9 stops) filter @ 9 stops; ISO 100, F8, 30 seconds @16mm. Both raw images (straight out of camera).

Without/ with Filter
Edited in Adobe Creative Cloud

Very pleased to tell you my field test was successful in checking the stop numbers are accurately placed.

On location- Behind the scene images below

Summary.

Variable ND filters seem to be trending at the moment. Having never used one before I was quite sceptical the quality wouldn’t be as good as a traditional single stop ND filter. I was pleasantly proven wrong and really fallen in love with this option. Having the magnetic part is a total bonus, making this super fast and easy to set up. In the past there’s been times when I’ve been a bit lazy and not bothered with filters as it’s such a faff, not so much the past couple of years but certainly before it was slow going and fiddly. 

All Haida filters are assembled in their own optical workshop located in the beautiful Port City of Ningbo, China. “Haida” in English translates to “All rivers run into the sea, all rivers flow to one”. If you’d like to visit their website &/or Facebook .

Conclusion.

The most versatile filters I’ve ever used, certainly the fastest and most practical system. The innovation and thought gone into the design/ build, coupled with the high quality optics makes this filter an incredible piece of kit and serious contender in the photography/ videography marketplace for many types of genres.

All in all this latest innovation from Haida has very much impressed me.

I hope this provides you with some useful information. Please feel free to ask me any questions or contact me below or Facebook Messenger.

If you would like to see more of my work; Follow me on Facebook & Instagram.

“All rights reserved” © Jenny Cameron 2021

Highlights, darkness, hope & reflection

Light, shadow, hope & reflection…Annual review of the unforgettable year 2020. Its that time of year again to reflect upon the highlights, dark times and hope. So, I thought Id do a round up of my images from 2020.

Highlights

I feel very lucky living here in the Northern Scottish Highlands, placed in covid level 1 which is the lowest UK level. Finding new hidden gems literally on my doorstep, the most stunning albeit not most dramatic but beautiful waterfall. Remote areas of Assynt (dramatic mountains & some of the best beaches in the UK)  all within one hours drive from home. Usually, I just head straight for the west coast ( Glencoe & Hebrides). Although I’m able to legally travel to all those areas as they are also in level 1, it doesn’t sit quite right in my mind, my way of thinking is the more people travel for non essential & I count myself  as part of it. I dont need to photograph my favourite haunts when I have equally as much beauty right here at home. Although after the summer of staying at home we really needed to escape for our sanity & booked the ferry to Orkney. It was legal and the majority of the locals welcomed us with open arms there was an underlying feeling of resentment towards tourists which I’ve never experienced before.

The highlight of 2021 was undoubtedly the surprise opportunity & publication of my book Earth, wind & fire in July. Also this year I’ve thrown myself into more video for my test reviews, people seem to relate more to video rather than reading & looking at photos. This meant a steep learning curve of editing video, something I knew absolutely nothing about this time last year. Most recently last month I purchased my first drone. Ive been wanting one for some time now, it fascinates me the different perspectives. Its been much harder to learn to fly than I initially thought as Im not very technically minded which may surprise some & a slow learner. However I am very much enjoying it & having fun in between my tantrums & struggles.

Darkness

If you had told me a year ago how 2020 would have rolled up I never would have believed you. The compulsory use of face coverings in public places, non essential travel frowned upon in certain areas ( mine included). The list is endless as you all know, each of are having our very own personal struggles. 

Additional edit, dated 21st Dec, the whole of Scotland mainland will close its borders from mid-day Boxing day 26th Dec & enter into level 4 restrictions for three weeks.

Hope

A year like no other- We all need to support each other and quite frankly be kind to not only each other but be kind to yourself.

Hope your sitting comfy, drinking your favourite tipple or hot chocolate and munching on something tasty?

Reflection

Questions zooming round in my head. Its that monkey on my shoulder asking how I’ve improved photographically, or maybe not at all? Lessons learnt? Do I have different views on the wonderful world of nature/landscape photography? Have I felt the need to divert away from grand vistas and what are my plans for 2021.

Here’s a few of my personal favourite memories & images from the past twelve months.





If you would like to see more of my work;

Follow me on Facebook & Instagram.

“All rights reserved” © Jenny Cameron 2021

Earth Wind & Fire book by Jenny Cameron

The waiting game is over, Im bursting with excitement & super pleased. My first exclusive landscape photography book published & I couldn’t be prouder.

Stunning hard-back coffee table style book with 106 pages including my fine art landscape photos, story telling of hardships, overcoming obstacles & how art can guide you over the bumpy road.

All books are digitally signed by me & soon to be available for download on Apple books.

Previously I offered to the first 50 pre-ordered copies a personalised hand inscription/signed by me. This offer has now ended today & not available.

If you would like to purchase a book please contact me either by e-mail @ jennycameron121@gmail.com or alternatively via Facebook Messenger.

 

 

The lone tree at Llyn Padarn

©Jenny Cameron 2019

 

This image named “Elemental” was taken last November in the Snowdonia National Park, Wales.

A picture can speak a thousand words, here’s what it says to me.

Over the years I’ve visited Snowdonia national park many times mainly from my hiking & climbing days with my Husband but also my Grandmother’s family are Welsh. As a child we used to get the train from Lancaster to Crewe where we changed to Prestatyn. The family lived in a small village called Dyserth in North Wales which happens to be famous for an impressive waterfall where the family lived at the top of over a hundred years ago but sadly got washed away in floods. My Grandmother & I always stayed at Auntie Ivy’s house then the rest of the local family would come to visit. I always remember the Welsh language being spoken by Uncle Len who happened to be a great local artist but also a bit eccentric. The female family members used to tell him to speak English as it was rude in front of the guests which never failed to amuse me. 

What happened behind the camera

Having to share my personal space with others, something I prefer not, although the photographers I met were extremely friendly. One photographer with a lovely Sony A7R iv made me laugh when I really shouldn’t have, you know when you get the giggles at the wrong time? He was saying “how typical that the water was so rippled when he’s seen many images on social media of this location with silky smooth water, how annoying it’s never like that for him”. I looked at another photographer I’d been chatting to, we couldn’t keep our faces straight. We politely explained it’s down to long exposure.

Zen moment

“Make your heart like a lake with a calm, still surface and great depths of kindness.” – Lao Tzu.

Techy stuff

I cant really share my exif data as this image was;

  • Focus stacked for ultimate sharpness.
  • Focal blend of foreground, mountains & sky for my visual impact.
  • Exposure blended for the overall look I wanted to achieve.

Haida Filter M10 round drop in ND 3.0 (10 stop) to smooth the water & clouds.

Post processed in Adobe Creative CloudTopaz DeNoise AI

If you would like to see more of my work; FacebookViewbugInstagram YouPic

“All rights reserved” © Jenny Cameron 2020.

Haida M10 filter holder system including light- barrier

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“As a landscape photographer I have learnt how invaluable a great filter system is to my arsenal of tools. It’s something you can buy a bit at a time to build up your collection, but choosing the correct brand is the tricky part. Thankfully for you I’ve made the mistakes and now ready to share my thoughts from the past twelve months of using the Haida M10 filter holder system for the 100mm filter series. Such a genius method and design.”

Included in the Haida M10 filter holder kit

Filter holder, Circular Polariser, light-barrier, one adapter ring which can be purchased to fit most popular lenses in sizes 49, 52, 55, 58, 62, 67, 72, 77 and 82mm. Housed in a smart black eco-leather zipped storage case, with a handy carabiner attached to the top which can be neatly clipped onto your tripod or belt for ease of access, internally lined with a lovely grey velvety fabric with a net pocket for storage, including a handy screwdriver, extra pair of filter holder slots and gaskets to provide a third slot on the front of the Holder ) which I’ve left on permanently).

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Constructed from aviation grade aluminium and PC materials for super strength and is lighter in weight than its predecessor. Its genius design makes it exceptionally user-friendly, with super fast set up, and effortless to change and remove filters. Simply clip the M10 filter holder onto the M10 adapter ring by using the red push-and-release (spring clip) locking lever (see video & photos below). The innovative design gives a very secure and solid connection, and at the same time the ability to rotate 360 degrees. The non-slip spongued coating on the bottom of the filter holder provides a good grip whilst rotating which I think is a nice touch.

It’s designed to take up to three filters ( 100 x 100mm or 100 x 150mm @ 2mm thickness, compatible with other brands at the same size ) on the front of the holder if you wish to stack, and one filter slot at the rear closest to your camera lens where the new round “drop in” M10 filters are used. Boasting a choice of neutral density filters ( 3, 6, 10 and 15 stops), circular polariser (included in the kit), clear-night (light pollution filter), graduated neutral density filters ( 3 and 4 stops) and ND + CPL ( 3 and 6 stops). But only using one at a time which is the only downside if you like using several ND/s and a CPL together. If you don’t wish to use any of the round “drop- in” filters, you must use the M10 “drop in” light barrier (see photo below) which is a simple and easy to use sealing ring to prevent any light leakage (also provided in the M10 filter holder kit).

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Optional extra filter storage case

During 2019 Haida also released a very useful filter case for their M10 filter series or other branded filters of the same dimensions; either 100x100mm &/or 100x150mm. Holding up to nine filters including Haida M10 filter holder, adapter ring, cleaning cloth & memory cards. This has been with me on my adventures for every shoot, Id truly be lost without it. If you’d like to see more about this case please take a look at my test review showing photos & video here.

All Haida filters are assembled in their own optical workshop located in the beautiful Port City of Ningbo, China. If you’d like to visit their website &/or Facebook .

I hope this provides you some useful information. Please feel free to ask me any questions.

If you would like to see more of my work;
500pxFacebookViewbugInstagram

“All rights reserved” © Jenny Cameron 2020

Hebrides collection

©Jenny Cameron 2019

Rituals

 

©Jenny Cameron 2017

Cridh

 

Seumas (jpeg)

Seumas

 

©Jenny Cameron 2017

Sgurr nan Gillean

Immortality

Immortality

 

Fairyland (i)

Fairyland

 

Ethereal

Ethereal

 

©Jenny Cameron 2019

Alfheim

 

©Jenny Cameron 2017

Neist

Mara

 

Blaven (lge Jpeg for web)

Blaven

 

©Jenny Cameron 2019

Sacrifice

 

©Jenny Cameron 2017

Escapology

 

Labyrinth (jpeg)

Labyrinth

 

Eilean Siar (jpeg for web)

Eilean Siar

 

Book release ~ Free to read

At the moment we all have a lot of spare time. Why not take a look at some lovely landscape images from seven different photographers including myself which will teleport you to a new world of beauty. Most importantly it’s FREE to read so why not? Landscapes 2020 volume 12

march 2020 landscapes volume 12

If you’d like to purchase the book please contact me @ Facebook Messenger for further details. I’ve bought a couple of these books in the past & can assure you they are the best quality and beautifully created. This is the fourth book I’ve done under this Publisher (WePhoto).

Social Anxiety & how the Hebrides helped me.

A conversation with my inner self about my recent photography adventures and how I needed to disconnect with the world.

Being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2018 aged 44 hit me very hard, it’s left me battered and bruised physically and mentally. Id go as far to say the mental scars have been the most difficult. It wasn’t until after my radiotherapy that I was able to go on holiday. It’s taken the whole of 2019 to build up my strength to travel, visit my fav wild areas. My hair has started growing back after losing my long locks from the red devil himself AKA doxorubicin (a chemotherapy ingredient). Still very conscious about my hair, preferring to wear a hat if I can get away with it. Hair envy is deffinatly a thing!
Didn’t matter what I looked like on the outside or what my Husband assured me, it was all about how I felt on the inside, almost like what I felt on the inside is what I looked like on the outside if that makes sense?

We planned an extended road trip from our home in the far north of Scotland to the southern tip of England in the county of Cornwall. Spent an enjoyable week in the Snowdonia National Park in Wales. Mountains will always be part of me the world over, however it was too busy from what I’m use to. Having to share my personal space with others, something I prefer not, although the photographers I met were extremely friendly and I enjoyed the bannter. One photographer with a lovely Sony A7R iv made me laugh when I really shouldn’t have, you know when you get the giggles at the wrong time? He was saying “how typical that the water was so rippled when he’s seen many images on social media of this location with silky smooth water, how annoying it’s never like that for him”. I looked at another photographer I’d been chatting to, we couldn’t keep our faces straight. We politely explained it’s down to long exposure.

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We’d planned on visiting south Wales, Devon and Cornwall for photography and meeting friends/family. However, only made it to middle England, hundreds of miles from Cornwall. The busier the traffic and population increased my anxiety matched it. I was feeling lost, didn’t recognise myself, felt a freak, afraid, stressed, claustrophobic, panic, the need to escape and runaway. Everyone was staring at me or at least in my head. Really needed the “hell outta this place”. But what about my friends and family I was suppose to visit? Something I’ve been looking forward to. How could I do a runner, how rude? I reminisce on the past twenty months, the biggest lesson was “do what makes you happy “. That was it, decision made, returning north. I felt the need to cut myself off from the world for a while. I craved the feeling of being lost in the landscape being so far away from it all that nothing else matters, not a care in the world, no worries or stress. A place to reflect my own thoughts. This crazy world we all live in gets too noisy, we need
time out just being quiet, calm your senses.

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Image taken on Isle of Arran Ferry looking back at Ardrossan (mainland). Camera – Samsung Galaxy S9 +

Caught the night ferry to Brodick on the lovely Isle of Arran off the west coast of Scotland. I was actually able to lower my shoulders and breathe. We toured the island for a few days but still didn’t feel myself and quite guarded. It was time to move on, caught another ferry to a different part of mainland Scotland on the Kintyre peninsula. From there we travelled north to my beloved Glencoe. Now, I was really starting to relax, the weather gods were on my side and such a great time of year having the place virtually to ourselves. Glen Etive in all its magnificent glory, stags roaming down the middle of the road. From there we headed further north through the mountains of Kintail to the Isle of Skye. The weather did not disappoint, managed to get a few milky ways, such amazing compositions and sky quality. I know this island like the back of my hand, having spent the past thirty years visiting at least once a year. However, I felt the need to take it one step further.

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Ok, so what happens next? Yup another ferry, almost 2 hrs west to a group of islands called the Outer Hebrides. As soon as the ferry set sail from Uig I felt the darkness within vacate. One thing which hit me on arrival was the amazing huge sky. No interruptions, miles and miles of beautiful warm coloured skies. Instead of feeling dark I would go chase some light which gave me mental freedom and a sense of calmness. A place I could truly get a away from society, off the beaten tracks. Literally pressing the pause button and breathe for a few minutes, it will never fail to fill your heart. Wandering on the white powder beaches with my looney dogs racing in and out of the cold aquamarine sea. Island life set me free, allowed me to feel the wind in my hair, gave me time to reconnect with nature, almost like I became part of the landscape itself, emotions straight from the heart. The weather is bracing which gave me good reason to wear my hat and I didn’t look out of place. It felt raw, real, free spirited and extremely inspiring from the land, sky and sea. Free as a bird, I was now starting to channel my personal feelings through my camera, either mobile phone or DSLR. Island life is slow, takes a few days to adjust and learn to love this new lifestyle. One of the reasons you can’t help but fall in love with these new lands. People have time for each other, driving along the locals will wave to you, be sure to wave back. This year I’ve spent eight weeks in the Outer Hebrides, it’s been my absolute sanctuary and a huge role in my recovery.

Other days were spent watching waves crashing over my camera, was an endless job of shoot and wipe…Great fun though and certainly put my Haida filters through their paces which never failed to let me down with the ultra thin NanoPro coating it was very easy to wipe. Having spent time on several Caribbean islands often twice a year in a different life many years ago where I escaped the madness from my crazy mixed up life, where I would go to rebalance.. I found the Hebrides very similar emotions from the beaches and lifestyle.. Freedom to be whoever you want, not a care in the world, feeling the sea breeze on your face providing the ability to mentally set you free. Not being judged, no stares or looking you up and down as if judging what designer label your wearing or rather not. How well groomed you look. No makeup, simply me being me. The sea washed over the sand leaving it all pristine and clean, like it did for my unbalanced head and emotions.. Cleaned my soul and black thoughts. I was falling in love with this wild corner of Scotland with its energetic seascapes and remote mountains. Literally making me feel alive. Sat in the sea with camera and tripod in December doesn’t sound too appealing but I have to tell you how empowering it feels. Photography is an extremely powerful tool to heal and express yourself. Open your eyes. Discover the solitude and silence it brings, nature will soothe your soul. Don’t make any plans, go with the flow and let the universe lead you as more times out of ten plans never work out. Immerse yourself in the beauty of the moment.

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All images taken with Samsung Galaxy 9 plus.

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