As we head into December the hard frosts have arrived giving an icy white tinge to the landscape. I love frosty weather; the sun is out, the sky is blue and one can wrap up against the chill. The cold also brings birds down to our garden feeders and it was satisfying to see a greater spotted woodpecker join the usual throng of finches and tit mice gathering for peanuts and seed.
Photography time was a little limited in November but we managed a weekend away in Kingussie. The rain was forecast to be falling as snow on the Cairngorms' high tops but sadly a mist obscured any view of the hills all weekend. More frustratingly, when the mist did part for a short time one evening, it revealed a fleeting glimpse of Glenfeshie laden with a beautiful covering of snow before closing in once more. I never managed to capture an image.
Nevertheless, I did squeeze in a trip up to Garva Bridge where some of the hill peaks had a sprinkling of snow. It was an overcast day with remnants of frost on the ground but pictures seemed hard to come by. I settled for a photo of a boulder with a bothy in the middle distance (see image). There were plenty of stags on the hillside which were very welcome; I remain in awe of red deer as they withstand the harsh environment and freezing weather of the Scottish hillside representing the essence of wild Scotland.
A friend has a small holding above Dunblane giving amazing views over the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. Once again, the hill tops were snow-covered which complemented some of the late autumn colours and the view towards Ben Lomond was irresistible. It's an area that I shall be exploring more thoroughly come the new year.
I gave a talk to Stirling Camera Club last month. The members were very hospitable and we all had an enjoyable evening. The presentation was called "A Nature Photographer's Journey" and recounted my twenty years of taking photographs along with some of the challenges and techniques encountered and used along the way. It certainly allowed me time to reflect on how my photography has developed over time.
I also attended a talk given by outdoor survival expert, Ray Mears. It was fascinating to hear about his life, some of the tribes around the world he has visited, the wildlife he has encountered and his take on the world today. The talk put life on earth back into perspective and, of course, was backed up by some wonderful photographs.
As we now enter into a period of colour, festivity and reflection, may I wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.