Eilean Donan Castle
14th March 2011
If there is a more photographed castle in the Highlands I do not of know it. It is perhaps not too surprising that this iconic Scottish castle features in so many pictures as the classic viewpoints are both from car parks in Dornie that are regularly used as stopping points for the tourist buses on their way too and from Skye.
I have photographed on film it a few times myself but I had not visited since really embracing a digital workflow.
The challenge here is to capture something different from the ordinal crowd without losing the essence of the location.
As I arrived The weather was dull but a few breaks in the cloud looked promising for later.
I set about looking for some different angles to shoot from and quickly settled on a spot down on the shore looking over a stone jetty.
I borrowed a couple of crab pots from a nearby stack for my first shot.
Then the first tour bus arrived.
Timed perfectly for the soon to be setting sun the car park and jetty rapidly filled with oriental tourists and I decided it was time for dinner.
One of the advantages of working to your own schedule is that food can often be fitted into such times when there is not much to do but wait for the light. On this occasion I was a little surprised to find myself a major point of interest to the milling crowd of visitors.
It seemed that the standard routine was to take a picture of the castle, take a picture of themselves standing in front of the castle and then take a picture of the weird guy frying sausages in front of the castle. It takes all sorts I suppose.
Once this routine had been completed they all swarmed back onto the bus disappeared again. I think I would hate being on a tour bus.
I took the standard shot of course, who could resist it on such an evening but the shot I was waiting for would happen shortly after sunset when the floodlights were switched on creating a contrast between the cooling twilight and the warm glow of the sodium lamps.
With that shot safely on the cards I could then return the pot to their stack and set off to another spot that I had spotted that might provide an unusual angle.
On the other occasions I had visited this view was difficult to access due to overgrown vegetation.
This time I noticed that some of it had been cut back and winter had done the rest of the job.
Not quite as iconic perhaps but a little bit different from many other shots.
Resting up a while before starting the journey back to Edinburgh I noticed that later in the night the lighting changed once again.
The lights on the island were turned off and floodlights mounted on the mainland now lit the bridge as well.
The light levels were much lower but I thought it was still worth a try.
Utilising the headlamps of my van to light up the foreground a bit gave the shot a bit more interest but the scene lacked the drama of the earlier shots for me because the evening light was now completely gone.