Last month saw some amazingly hot weather in Scotland. Heat combined with humidity can sap one's energy and I find a gentle breeze becomes essential. However, perhaps one should be grateful for any warmth and sun whenever it appears!
July was a busy month for me leaving little time for photography, so opportunities had to be grabbed whenever they arose. I enjoyed a boat trip to Craigleith in the Forth estuary at the start of the month. We spent all day on the island which allowed a more thoughtful approach to photography rather than the usual rush to cram as much as possible into a limited time before the boat departs. Seabirds were scarce on Craigleith a decade or two ago due to tree mallow growing uncontrollably. A team of dedicated volunteers have invested many hours in continually cutting the vegetation back which has now been rewarded with the return of puffins. With no paths or infrastructure, the rough terrain makes it a challenging environment for photography. Nevertheless I managed some images of puffins although the midday sun produced some harsh light and contrast. While the "mallow-bashing" has seen the return of puffins, it has also created an attractive environment for nesting seagulls and I was swooped by black backed gulls on more than one occasion...
I managed a couple of evening photography trips to Bridge of Allan and Yellowcraigs beach in East Lothian. The views of the hills in the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park from the Ochil Hills above Bridge of Allan are unbeatable and the dipping sun produced some interesting golden light to complement the landscape to give a moody, atmospheric image. The trip to Yellowcraigs beach gave great views of Fidra in the Forth estuary and lived up to expectation with some wonderful colour during the post-sunset afterglow.
A quick visit to the Water of Leith returned me to familiar territory on an overcast, dull evening. In such conditions, it is time to concentrate on detail like water rushing around stones sitting proud of the surface to produce abstract images. I find this type of photography quite addictive.
A trip to Worcestershire resulted in a visit to Snowshill Lavender Farm. What a spectacle! Rows of purple lavender in full bloom stretched as far as the eye could see generating an impression of rural France. In parts, beautiful wild flower meadows broke up the purple ridges to produce splashes of rampant colour. Marigolds, cornflowers, camomile and poppies - to name just a few - all complemented the lavender and added to the spectacle of this special place (see image). I have vowed to return again next year.