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

Posts tagged ‘scotland’

Good-bye Winter

Hyperborea

Here in Scotland we’re still in lock-down~ Getting out for photography this past year hasn’t been easy with travel restrictions. I find the whole Covid thing a mental struggle the way its taken my freedom to travel, missing close family in England & photography road trips I so much enjoyed & pretty much use to take them for granted~ a huge lesson I think we`ve all recently learnt. On a more positive/happier note~ I’m very lucky living in such a beautiful remote area with mountains all around & pristine beaches close-by. This was taken a couple of weeks ago on a freezing cold morning when temperatures plummeted to minus 22 Celsius. Thankfully the majority of the snow has now gone and signs of spring on its way.

Techy info

Filters used~ Haida Interchangeable Magnetic Variable 6-9 stop ND filter @ 6 stop.

Post-processing software & techniques ~ Adobe Creative Cloud & Lumenzia. Focus stacked for maximum sharpness front to back & exposure blended.

Camera settings~ ISO 100, F11, 0.7 seconds @ 35mm.

Equipment used~ Canon 5d mark iv, Canon 16-35mm F2.8 lens. Gitzo tripod.

Video below showing raw file & final edit.

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“All rights reserved” © Jenny Cameron 2021

Popular blog posts from the past few months.

Haida Interchangeable Magnetic Variable ND filter 77mm.

Haida kindly invited me to evaluate their latest innovation; Interchangeable Magnetic Variable neutral density (ND) filter (2-5 stops & 6-9 stops). My test review will be in two parts, this being part 1 testing the 2-5 stop Magnetic Variable ND filter which not only is the perfect tool for photographers but also videographers. In other words, one ND ranging from 2- 5 stops and another from 6- 9 stops interchangeable in 1 second, yes I did say that correctly, one second!! Have I got you intrigued now? Let me walk you through & you show you this great innovation. Do I sound biased already? I’m sorry I am, but I will be honest & tell you some downsides.

Top 10~ Tips to help create your perfect Landscape Fine Art image. Featured

Have you ever created an image you loved so much you decided to share on every online platform possible but didnt receive the feedback you expected? You put your heart & soul into this creation but nobody understood what you were trying to convey?

How did it make you feel? Crap? Overwhelmed? Confused? Disappointed, self doubt & dare I say almost envious of others? Trust me, I’ve been there. Receiving negative critism isnt easy & can become extremely upsetting. Asking yourself~ Why do I see things different to others? You know photography is in your blood~ I’m telling you right now, never give up & keep going. Its your ultimate passion, right? And remember~ Practice makes perfect.

Here’s my top 10 tips in no particular order

  1. Lighting~ Mood & atmosphere, probably the most difficult thing to learn as its really something that comes from the heart, you have to feel it to be able to see it.
  2. Good composition ~Visual/intuitive balance & direction of flow helps grab the eye. Rule of thirds where you place points of interest in the intersections or along the lines. The Fibonacci spiral also know as the Golden spiral helps to lead the viewers eye through the entire picture. Reduce the distracting elements also known as pokies such as random tree branches poking into the edge of the photo, something I personally call “edge- control police”. Although being naughty~ breaking some rules from time to time is not a bad thing & can work out creatively.
  3. Perfect Raw file ~ A photographers fundamental basic, this is the key where you need to go all OCD. Without this you have nothing, no amount of editing will rectify. A raw file is the foundation of the house, without it the whole image will collapse. Its your blank canvas which needs to be absolutely perfect in every way imaginable. Please do not shoot in jpeg, you can bring out so much more from a raw file.
  4. Editing~ clicking the shutter button is only part of what it takes to producing a great image. For me, I liken it to putting make- up on, making the best of what you have. If your shooting raw the image will be very flat & un- interesting, therefore some editing is needed to bring your image to life. You dont need to spend hours at your computer getting a headache from eye strain, oftentimes twenty minutes maximum can really give your image the va- va- voom.
  5. Camera settings~ Technical skills & knowledge of how to use your camera are needed in abundance. When trying to be creative the last thing you need is struggling to remember how to use your camera. This should be as easy as brushing your teeth & come the most natural thing for you so you dont have to give it much thought~ All you should be thinking about is your creative flair & the beauty surrounding you. I learnt my camera settings blindfolded so I knew I could photograph the night sky at ease, not have to fumble around with torches followed by yelling at my camera as I pressed the wrong button.
  6. Colour~ Colour plays a huge role, much more than most people think. Making it look natural but really its very deliberate & a highly thought out process. Colour can sometimes provide the opposite & cause more of a distraction, this is when black & white plays its role, your stripping back elements to create more of an impactful message~ This is more useful in images that portray deep powerful emotions leaving the viewer with the pure essence of the image. Learn & understand the colour wheel.
  7. Focus stacking~ This can only be done on a tripod. Where you take several images of the same scene. Focused at different points throughout the image, so for example~ Foreground, mid-ground, a distant hill & sky. Then blend together as one in Photoshop for ultimate sharpness from front to back.
  8. Exposure blending~ Similar to focus stacking but with exposures. So for example several images of the same scene taken at different exposures~ One for the shadows, one for mid-tones & another for the highlights. Again blended together in Photoshop for a perfect high dynamic range also known as HDR.
  9. Location~ Personally I think this is an important one. I struggle to accept how a photographer can go to a location never visited before & get the most of out it. For me its something I have to visit several times, different times of the day & seasons. I need an intimate familiarity with the place, feel the spirit, question what makes it special to me. Then I concentrate on that element to achieve the best out of it. All this flows continually right through to the editing process & final image.
  10. What elements & message you wish to convey? Start by what you wish to emphasis in the photo, is it a waterfall, lake, mountain or just a wow sky. Search for different patterns & textures which can convey different emotions to the viewer. This is how you begin to tell your story & how you start growing connections with your viewers, it really does become quite personal & evoke deep emotions.

“I believe photography is a message connecting someone’s spirit to reality. In this crazy world we all live in there are times we need to escape all the madness even just for a few seconds to be virtually teleported to another world”.

“Never give up on your dreams”

Jenny Cameron

Highlights, darkness, hope & reflection Featured

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.





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“All rights reserved” © Jenny Cameron 2021

Haida Interchangeable Magnetic Variable ND filter 77mm.

Introduction;

Haida kindly invited me to evaluate their latest innovation; Interchangeable Magnetic Variable Neutral Density (ND) Filter (2-5 stops & 6-9 stops). My test review will be in two parts, this being part 1 testing the 2-5 stop Magnetic Variable ND filter which not only is the perfect tool for photographers but also videographers. In other words, one filter ranging from 2- 5 stops and another from 6- 9 stops interchangeable in 1 second, yes I did say that correctly, one second!! Have I got you intrigued now? Let me walk you through & you show you this great innovation. Do I sound biased already? I’m sorry I am, but I will be honest & tell you some downsides

I will be testing for optimal sharpness, tonality, vignetting, bokeh, X-pattern issues, design, functionality, accuracy of stops & colour shifts.

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 & onto the camera sensor.

Sizes; 

Available in various sizes; 58, 62, 67, 72, 77 & 82mm. I’m using is the 77mm as my lens is a Canon 70-200mm F2.8 (ii).

NanoPro;

Featuring a 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 color cast while maintaining image sharpness. The Haida Nano pro filters are highly scratch-resistant, durable and super easy cleaning.

Positive features (in no particular order)

  • Filter protector cap.
  • Sleek design.
  • Accurate placed stop numbers.
  • No X pattern.
  • No colour shift ( neutrality).
  • Great contrast & tonality throughout.
  • Sharpness.
  • No vignetting.
  • Magnetic attraction.
  • Ease/speed of use.
  • Exceptional image quality.
  • Hard stops at each end which works as a bit of a fail safe. Preventing you from going past the weakest or strongest points, therefore impossible to push the ND effect too far. You simply place the marker over whatever number you want. This means you won’t suffer from entering into the infuriating X pattern (produces hatched areas on the actual image) terrority.
  • Absolutely no light leakage.
  • The ability to control your shutter speed in ever-changing lighting conditions
  • Incredibly smooth rotation in hand with enough friction enabling you to easily rotate the filter to the precise stop required.
  • Ideally suited for all types of photo &/or video genres including portraiture. I will be using it for my animal work.

Negatives

  • 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.

For the traveller in mind

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

In the field tests

Test shots at different focal lengths starting at 70mm to 200mm in 10mm increments at each stop on the filter to see if all stops are true & consistent.

Sunset images below taken with Canon 5d mark iv, Canon 70-200mm F2.8 (ii) lens on Gitzo tripod. Settings used; Without filter = ISO 100, F11, 1/60 – With Magnetic Variable ND filter 2-5 @ 3 stops; ISO 200, F11, 1/8 @70mm.

Without/ with filter.

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

Conclusion

So far the most versatile filter I’ve ever used, certainly the most enjoyable, easiest, fastest & 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 & serious contender in the photography/ videography marketplace for many types of genres.

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 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;
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“All rights reserved” © Jenny Cameron 2020.

Land of Mermaids

Beautiful, mysterious wild & free. ~Dance in the moonlight. ~Choose imagination over fear & sea treasure in the simple things. Most importantly be who you are, embrace your inner Mermaid whether male of female it doesnt matter.

Jenny Cameron

Tell me you cant see the Mermaids?

Scotland’s best kept secret
Scotland
Island life
World-class beach, Scotland
Sanctuary in Scotland.
Power of nature in Scotland.
Land of Mermaid collection by Jenny Cameron 2020.

“All rights reserved” © Jenny Cameron 2020

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.

 

 

Haida filter video tutorial Featured

Haida Filter tutorial from my home in the Scottish Highlands during the COVID-19 lock-down. Sharing my thoughts about filters.

Please note; If using any of the 100mm x 100mm (square) ND filters in M10 filter holder and you don’t wish to use any of the round “drop-in” filters, you must use the M10 “drop-in” light barrier which is simple and easy to use the sealing ring to prevent any light leakage (also provided in the kit).

 

Glencoe collection Featured

©Jenny Cameron 2019

Bidean nam bian

Wanderlust re edit (jpeg for web)

Wanderlust

Glencoe (jpeg)

Greetings

©Jenny Cameron 2017

Euphoria

Dreaming (jpeg for web)

Phoenix

©Jenny Cameron 2019

Eternity

 

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

 

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.

20191116_195654

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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