Christmas is now over and the new year has arrived; a time for new beginnings. I hope to start a new project this month photographing the wildlife in a quarry close to home while drawing to a close my current one that looks at nature around a local golf green. I also hope to pull together some of my favourite photographs from the last fifteen years and recount the tales behind the images. It could be a busy year!
I spent the holiday period at our house in the Cairngorm National Park. The weather was unseasonably mild with temperatures threatening to reach double figures. Snow still remained in mountain crevices to remind us to take nothing for granted. Our week away stayed dry although the cloud base rarely lifted to allow any sun to shine through. Consequently, I could only grab odd-shots of the mountains in moody light but I do find these types of images atmospheric and intriguing. Nevertheless, the view from our bedroom window over to Glenfeshie remains one of my favourites and is always rewarding to capture it in all different weather.
A visit to the historic Clava Cairns near Inverness was interesting. The domed burial chambers, made entirely from stone, face due west so the sunset shines directly down the entrance tunnel on summer and winter solstice to fleetingly flood the rear of the tombs in sunlight. I imagine this took some engineering when constructed some 4,000 years ago! The cairns were surrounded by standing stones bearing beautiful lichen patterns built up over time (see image).
A trip into the Monadhliath mountains unveiled a small herd of red deer stags during a short burst of late afternoon sun. I always consider them as the animal that epitomises the wild mountains as they inhabit the bleak and isolated tops and glens throughout the year. Others will see the Golden eagle as such an animal; perhaps it all comes down to whether you're more a mammal or bird person?
Earlier in December, I was lucky enough to participate in a boat trip to photograph grey seal in the Forth estuary. It was at the back end of their breeding season and the beach was much emptier than it would have been a fortnight before. Nevertheless that gave me the opportunity to move around a little more freely and to isolate individual subjects. It is always a privilege to spend time with these magnificent creatures - watching the pups sleep, the cows protecting their young from other seals and the bulls resting up. An image was posted on Facebook.
Who knows where this year may take me? Plenty of ideas swirl around my mind and I hope some will reach fruition... but time will tell. I hope your wishes also come true in 2019.