Landscape Photography Around Scenic Glen Shiel

Landscape Photography Around Scenic Glen Shiel

Chasing the Elusive Fogbow in the Scottish Highlands

My eyes have been watering and throat scratching from the smoky, Canadian air that’s been hanging around here this week. In photography, the conditions are called “atmospheric.” How about some scenes from dawn in Scotland, where the word atmospheric fits better? Rannoch Moor dawn, Scottish Highlands – now that’s what I call atmospheric.

Rannoch Moor is a boggy moorland in the western highlands near Glencoe. For history majors, it’s the home of Clan McDuck, the ancestors of Scrooge McDuck. We arrived at dawn as fog covered the ground and early light began to glow. The fog got a bit thicker as alpine glow hit the distant peak. Hoarfrost covered the plants while more ice skimmed the lochen. A morning not to forget.

But the morning’s treats were not over. As the sun got higher and the fog began to clear, a fogbow framed the distant mountains. I couldn’t believe my eyes – a fogbow! That elusive cousin of the rainbow, caused by the refraction of light through water droplets in the fog. It’s a rare sight, and I was lucky enough to witness it unfold right before me. Talk about atmospheric!

Exploring Glen Shiel’s Dramatic Landscapes

Two years ago, my photo excursion was to leave Isle of Skye and head from the Inner Hebrides to the Outer Hebrides. Instead of heading to the remote island of Lewis and Harris, the restrictions in the UK were tightening and my traveling companions from Australia got notice that they had to return to their country. So we returned to the mainland, traveling through Glen Shiel.

The Five Sisters of Kintail are the mountain ridge on the north side of the Glen which are Munros, or mountains with peaks over 3,000 kilometers high. As we pulled over to take in this view, I remember seeing a pair of plastic gloves thrown on the ground – the first of a new type of trash that would litter the ground for the next two years. Ah, the beauty of nature marred by human carelessness.

Our final road stop was Invermoriston, a small village on the river Moriston as it flows into Loch Ness. The sun was just going behind the mountains and fog rolled in. We made plans that we would redo the photo excursion the following March. But alas, the return trip for March 2021 was rescheduled to March 2022, and as Omicron spread, that too was cancelled. So this week, I again should be returning from Scotland. Hopefully, one day.

Capturing the Moody Atmosphere of Edinburgh

Before heading to the Highlands, I met up with my friend Caroline in Edinburgh. We took a last walk through the now empty streets of the capitol city to the view at Calton Hill over to the Edinburgh Castle. The city that’s usually bustling with tourists was hauntingly quiet, an eerie calmness before the storm.

As the sun set over the city, the scene took on a moody, atmospheric quality. The warm glow of the Castle and the muted tones of the historic buildings created a sense of timelessness – as if we’d stepped back centuries into Edinburgh’s past. It was a bittersweet moment, knowing that our photo excursion to the Highlands had been postponed yet again.

But the lure of the Scottish landscape is strong. I can already envision myself back in Loch Ness Shores, my base for exploring the dramatic glens and rugged peaks of the Highlands. The foggy dawns, the alpine glows, the chance encounters with that elusive fogbow – the anticipation is building. Scotland, I’m coming for you. Just you wait.

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