Copper stills, Speyside.

May 2022 - Wildlife and whisky

Some weather reports suggest that April was one of the driest for a while. The warmth resulted in one of our bee hives looking to swarm during the third week of the month - one of the earliest ever in our apiary. The spring flowers also seemed to emerge a week or so ahead of schedule but are no less welcome for that, providing valuable food for pollinators and great photographic subjects. Clumps of lesser celandine, primrose and wood sorrel all made it for sessions in front of my camera.

Easter weekend was spent up in the Cairngorms where my wife and I enjoyed a couple of walks in Glenfeshie and Glen Markie. The latter provided wonderful views of birds, including wheatear, stonechat, siskin, red poll and goldcrest, against a backdrop of pine woodland and hills. The weather was hot and sunny which gave an element of clarity when watching the birds through binoculars; this can be vital to help see plumage colour to identify species (as opposed to a mere silhouette!). The air was clean and pure which allowed colourful lichens to form on rocks and stones along the glen.

An early morning rise provided some satisfying pictures of the Cairngorm hills behind Insh marshes, and the River Tromie. The river is one of my ‘go to’ spots which I love and am always able to find something to photograph there. The river rushes over a small fall and through a short gorge giving atmospheric sound to the scenery.

We also managed to fit in a couple of distillery tours in the Speyside region. I do enjoy a dram but am also interested in the history and manufacturing side of whisky. The copper stills and bonded warehouses (where the whisky is left to mature in barrels) always fill me with a sense of awe and provide splendid photographic material. As always, purchases were made!

I have been experimenting with square format images to vary my photography and found the results satisfying. One no longer needs to consider whether to photograph in landscape or portrait format, and find it is a question of what to include in the picture rather than what to leave out. Some images showing the variety of colours and textures of tree bark worked well in square format and is a style I shall be looking to develop over time.