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Lone tree



Taken on Rannoch Moor november 2010

Taken on Rannoch Moor november 2010
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Behind The Lens

Location
This image was taken just off the A82 on the approach road to Glen Coe. It is very near the Kings House Hotel. It's a bit of a trek over rough ground to get to this spot and you definitely need wellies.
Time
As far as I can remember, it was about 1pm ish in November
Lighting
The weather this day was very inclement, raining one minute, then the odd break in the clouds, just as I expected and is the kind of weather that I love taking photos in. It very often makes for some moody images. A friend of mine went there last year but said he could not find the tree so I guess it must have blown down in the wind.
Equipment
The camera was a Canon 5D mk II and the lens was a Canon 24-70mm 2.8 L. The tripod is a Manfrotto 055CX3 Carbon fibre three section legs. The centre column was taken out as I find the camera is more stable that way. Shot in live view in manual mode and in RAW using a cable release with iso set to 100, no filters or flash used.
Inspiration
I went there on a planned shoot with three other guys as I didn't know the area at all, but I well remember the great feeling I had when I saw this bare tree standing there lifeless. The weather In the Highlands of Scotland can be very challenging and I knew that this particular location had the making of some great images. I was struck by the isolation of this one tree against the distant mountains, the stream and the heavy clouds with the odd patch of blue sky, it just grabbed my attention begging me to take a photo.
Editing
The image was taken a few years ago and I have to admit that at that time I was not very good at processing. As far as I can recall, I bracketed the exposure, one for the sky and one for the land and tried to blend them as best as I could. Used curves adjustments only to add some contrast, "didn't know what the hell else to do as I was so new to this game at the time", but I ended with a little vignette and standard sharpening. I also had to remove a few little dust spots and much to my dismay, I also had a little bit of tobacco stuck to my rear lens element that gave me no end of grief in post processing. My advice would be don't do as I did, clean it before using it and don't smoke. Better still, give it up.
In my camera bag
Nowadays I carry a Canon 5D sr, and my goto lens for this is a 24-70mm 2.8 mk II. Also a Sigma 50mm 1.4 art lens, a Canon 16-35mm f/4 plus a Canon 70-200mm 2.8 mkII. A Canon 100-400mm mkII lens. I always carry three spare batteries and a lens cleaning kit. A cable release and a set of Lee graduated ND filters both hard and soft edge plus a 6 stop and ten stop ND. A circular polariser, my tripod and light weight stool. I also carry a go pro Hero 4 black edition for the unexpected moments that can and often do pop up. If I know I'm going to be out from early morning til dusk, I carry a separate bag with food and drinks.
Feedback
For me, being prepared is key. I always plan ahead for the weather conditions I want and I'm prepared to sit and wait for hours if need be for the right moment to happen. I'm a big fan of looking for the work of others in my area for ideas and locations that I'm not aware of, not to copy their work but to try to do something different with it. With regard to my image above, I don't think this would have worked in full sun on a cloudless day but, if you've got patches of light striking the landscape, that to me would be much better. I always try to avoid middle of the day photography unless it is stormy or some fascinating cloud formation abounds. As in my case above, I photographed this tree from every angle and in this case, I got lower to the ground to have half of the tree appear in the sky, experiment with what's around you, you may be surprised at what you could come up with. You may wish to photograph a stand alone tree in your area or a derelict building but you also have to think of the conditions you want to include in your shot. Get close with a wide angle lens or use a tele lens to compress the perspective.

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