Making of 40 Photographs #10

This is #10 in my series ‘Making of 40 Photographs’. Glencoe is perhaps Mecca, for any budding Scottish landscape photographer. It is bleak, wild, highly photogenic whilst also being highly accessible too. All these components make it a magnet and with this in mind, it is a challenge to come here and shoot something a little different from what thousands have done before.

Lochan na h Achlase & Blackmount, Glencoe

I guess this is my message for this entry: when visiting an over photographed place, we should be aiming to be ourselves, to see it anew.

Using a 50mm lens on my Mamiya 7, I looked for some foreground detail. When using wide angle lenses, it's important to fill the foreground. But you have to do that effectively. Sometimes you can fill the foreground with minimalism, other times you need to fill it with something, but the main thing to keep in mind is that there should never be any conflict. If you fill the foreground, then make the foreground the 'reason' for the shot and ensure that everything else around it supports it rather than distract.

I have a tendency to put things in the middle of the shot too. But this really depends on balance: what is on either side of the frame. I've had a lot of people say that I should be putting things on one of the 3rds (if you don't know about the rule of 3rds, then I suggest you look it up on google). I like the 'rule of no rules'. Often a picture works, and there's no amount of reasoning behind why it does: I put the foreground rock in the middle simply because I felt that's where it should be.

This was also my first roll of film using ND Graduated filters. I'd been up in Glencoe about one month before and had come home with burned out moon shots from this location. Upon viewing this shot for the first time, I was struck by the ability to see detail in the moon (too small to reproduce here). That was the first time I realised just how big a deal ND Grads were, and since then, I've not looked back.