Saturday, 23 August 2014

Sgurr an Utha an Attractive Corbett (A scottish Mountain between 2500feet and 3000 feet)


Photo of Sgurr an Utha in Lochaber

Rain approaching Sgurr an Utha

Many walkers and climbers spend much of their time hunting out their next Munro (a Scottish mountain over 3,000 feet), however there are many very good mountains between 2,500 feet and 3,000 feet known as Corbetts.

One such mountain is Sgurr an Utha, which can be found a couple of miles west of Glenfinnan. The attraction of Corbetts for me is that they are slightly less crowded than many of the Munros and therefore provide a better photographic opportunity.

On Friday this week, we (my wife Sue and I) took a trip up Sgurr an Utha. The weather was kind to us. We had a rain free day although we could see rain passing close by on all sides.

This was a fine opportunity to try the Olympus OMD EM-5 in a mountain situation.

Photo of a rainbow onSgurr an Utha, lochaber

Rain passes by Sgurr an Utha 

I found that I was able to keep the 12-50 mm lens attached at all times with no need to change lenses. In the past, I have had to carry a heavy tripod but, with the image stabiliser on the OMD EM-5 body,  there was no need as all lenses are automatically stabilised. This made the whole experience more enjoyable and made me feel much less of a pack horse.

Photo of view looking south from Sgurr an Utha

On the way up looking south

Photo of view looking south from Sgurr an Utha

On the way up looking south 2

photo of the moon scape slopes of Sgurr an Utha, Lochaber

The route through the moonscape of the lower slopes of Sgurr an Utha 

The route up this mountain gives all round views of the surrounding landscape with Loch Eil and Ben Nevis in the south east and Loch Beoraid in the west

Loch Eil and Ben Nevis in the background

Photo of Loch Beoraid from Sgurr an Utha

Loch Beoraid in the west

photo of Sgurr landscape with person to give some scale

Landscape of Sgurr an Utha with photographer beside lochan to give some scale


And the end result is me at the summit

Photo - Sue Restan

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Corran ferry, Lochaber, Scottish Highlands

photo of he Corran Ferry on loch Linnhe in the Scottish Highlands

Corran Ferry

This image was taken from a boat as we were travelling from Inverness to the Isle of Mull. We had passed in front of the ferry and, as I looked back, I saw that it was going to straddle our wake. I grabbed the camera and took this quick shot.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Duart Castle on the Isle of Mull

Photo of Duart castle

Duart Castle

On a recent trip to the Isle of Mull, we went to Duart Castle and took a number of photos but these two stood out for me.

The first is just a straight on photo of the castle. The light was a bit hit and miss that day with very bright skies one minute and clouds the next, but it was just right at the time I took this shot.

The next image shows the chimney pots which I noticed while walking round the battlements. They seemed to be crying out for a black and white photo.

Duart castle pots

Corpach Boat

Photo of corpach boat in colour

Corpach Boat 1


This image was taken a couple of days ago, not sure the history of this boat, or even if it is actually seaworthy.

On this occasion the weather was cloudy with rain showers. Normally the photographic attraction of this boat is that it lies at the northern end of Loch Linnhe near to my home. In good weather Ben Nevis can be seen in the background.

Between showers I managed a couple of shots.

This is one of those images that I like black and white in preference to the colour version

Corpach boat mono


Glen Nevis, Lochaber.

Photo of Glen Nevis

Glen Nevis 1

Following a move to Fort William in the Scottish Highlands earlier in the year, I've been too busy with the new house to spend much time out with the camera.

Now we're more settled, it's time to start uploading again.

On Monday this week, Sue and I took a trip up Glen Nevis, which lies in the shadow of Ben Nevis - the highest peak in the UK.

I wanted to see how suitable the Olympus OMD EM-5 was for doing hand-held hdr images. Glen Nevis1 is a single frame with some processing done in Lightroom 5.

Glen Nevis2 (below) is 5 frames merged and processed in Photomatix pro.
Personally I prefer the single frame for this particular subject, but it does show that when needed hdr hand-held is a viable possibility with the OMD EM-5.

Photo of Gen Nevis (hdr)

Glen Nevis 2


Friday, 11 October 2013

Sold Canon 5D full frame, changed to Olympus OM-D E-M5

Well, I've done it, after much deliberation I have swapped all my Canon full frame gear and gone over to Olympus OM-D E-M5. One of the main reasons was the weight and bulk of the Canon system.

My recent trip to Korea made me wonder if the weighty Canon gear was the best for me. There was lots to see and photograph there but I was disinclined to carry lots of heavy lenses around while sightseeing so tended to pick on one lens to take with me. As you may have guessed, I normally ended up needing one of the lenses I had left behind. As a result my wife, Sue, who had taken a small compact camera returned from the trip with many more photos than me, but the quality from the small compact wasn't what we were used to.

The deciding factor was a trip to Glen Coe in the Scottish Highlands. We went for a hike in the mountains, not too far just a few miles really, I was carrying all my normal Canon gear, 5D, 24-70 2.8, 70-200 f4, 17-40, tripod and various bits and bobs and Sue was carrying a similar amount. We realised that photography equipment was taking the enjoyment out of the trip. We were carrying far to much weight to enjoy the whole mountain experience. Something had to change.

We started searching reviews and forums for the right camera. One camera that stood out was the Olympus OM-D E-M5. It seemed to have everything that I was looking for, small size and weight, good IQ, good range of features including the excellent image stabiliser and very fast AF.

I gathered all my Canon gear together and took it all to Ffordes in Beauly, which is the main photographic outlet near to us. It all went in part exchange for the Black Olympus OM-D E-M5 with the 12-50mm kit lens. I also purchased a used HLD-6 grip that they had in stock and, as part of the Olympus promotion, I could send for a free 45mm f1.8 lens.

I have now had it for a few days. The first thing I found was that, although you could use the camera straight out of the box, to get the best out of it you have to spend time getting to know the menu system and setting it up to how you personally want to use it. The menu allows you to change almost everything in the camera, including which buttons and dials do what.

The printed manual that comes with the camera is not much better than useless. There is a pdf user manual on the software cd which comes with kit, but I found that the best and quickest way to set it up was to visit some of the many forums on the internet to see how others had set it up. I found this one particularly useful This was a good starting point and I'm still experimenting with my setup. To that end, I have now reset my camera to default camera settings no less than six times and each time I get closer to understanding the menu.

I now have to get  out and see what the camera does in the real world...

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Trip to South Korea August 2013

At short notice we (my wife Sue and I ) decided to visit South Korea. We booked flights on the internet with It seemed quite strange not having the normal tickets that you get from travel agents, instead we had A4  sheets which we'd printed from the ebookers site. Much to our surprise, it all worked well.
The outward journey took us from Inverness to Amsterdam, from there we took a 10-hour flight to Seoul, where we had an overnight stay.
The Korean Traditional Cultural Experience centre had various things going on in the airport, one of which was this parade. It appeared to be a wedding ceremony of some kind but we were unable to find out in the time we had there. 
Image of Traditional Korean Cultural Ceremony at Incheon Airport  S Korea
Traditional Korean Cultural Ceremony 1

Traditional Korean Cultural Ceremony at Incheon airport, s Korea
Traditional Korean Cultural Ceremony 2

From Seoul we took a one-hour flight to Busan in the south of the country. This was where things started to get interesting, we needed to get a bus from the airport to the town of Okpo, which is on Geoje island about an hour's bus ride from the airport and connected to the mainland by two bridges. The problem we found was that buses in the area don't have numbers, just the destination, written in Korean!
 A Korean man, who saw us looking confused, approached us. With the help of a card we'd prepared before leaving Scotland with the address we were going to written in Korean, he indicated which bus stop we needed. This was our first experience of how helpful the Korean people are.

Main road into Okpo , South Korea.
The main street going into Okpo with local police car, blue and red flashing lights always on.

We eventually got the bus and were dropped off in Okpo. We now had to find our way to the apartment we were staying in. I flagged down a passing taxi and, using our prepared address card, we eventually arrived at the apartment, which was on the seventh floor of the building on the right of the image above.

Image of man crossing at pedestrian crossing while cars drive around him in Korea
Road art, cars ignore pedestrian crossings in Korea

The first thing we had to get used to was the fact that pedestrian crossings are really no more than graffiti. They may well be an indication to motorists that people may be crossing but they don't give way in any form. Some crossings are situated at junctions with traffic lights but even then we saw cars ignore them.

Image of the wooden walkway at Okpo harbour, South Korea
Wooden walkway at Okpo harbour

Koreans seem to do a lot of walking and there appeared to be well laid out paths in the forests. The image above is of a wooden walkway that connects the harbour area with one of these paths which then meanders along the coast passing a number of beaches.

Image of sidestreet in Okpo town centre.
Sidestreet in Okpo town centre, just thought it would convert to mono well
I had intended hiring a car whilst in Korea but after seeing the Koreans driving and being unable to make any sense of road marking, like in the above image, I decided I wouldn't have time to get to understand the signing in just the two weeks we were there.

Market stall laid out on the roadside in Okpo, South Korea
Market stalls were to be found on most of the roads within the town area. Most were selling vegetables of one kind or another but there were others selling a variety of foodstuffs cooked and uncooked. Also clothing and even stalls of nothing but knives of various types.

Image of Indoor market in Okpo, South Korea
Indoor market in Okpo, South Korea

Image of Indoor market in Okpo, South Korea
Indoor market in Okpo, South Korea


Image of fishing nets and boats in Okpo harbour
Fish appeared to be the staple diet of the people of Okpo and fishing boats and nets were in abundance in the harbour.

Image of Fishing boats in Okpo harbour
Fishing boats in Okpo harbour

Image of the The Deepsea Aberdeen under construction in the Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering’s yard in South Korea
The Deepsea Aberdeen under construction in the Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering’s yard in South Korea.

Image of the rig Deepsea Aberdeen  Deepsea Aberdeen Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering’s yard in South Korea.
Deepsea Aberdeen Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering’s yard in South Korea.

The trip back from Okpo was slightly different to the outward journey. This time we took a flight from Busan to Osaka in Japan, had an overnight stay at the airport hotel then flew to Amsterdam, followed by a short flight to Inverness.

Image taken in Osaka airport in Japan
Osaka airport in Japan

Image of Escalators in Osaka airport, Japan
Escalators in Osaka airport, Japan