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Kitzbuhel Stories

September 11th, 2014

Kitzbuhel Stories

Kitzbühel Stories
Of greed, gold and lake water.

Centuries ago, a beautiful, majestic farmhouse stood on the spot where the Schwarzsee is now located. The house was inhabited by a mysterious woman whose identity nobody knew.

One stormy night, a heavily laden wagon drove up to the house. Six strong men dragged a heavy chest, filled with silver and gold, into the woman's house. Shortly afterwards, the farmhouse vanished - submerged beneath the waters of the Schwarzsee.

Nobody knew why it happened, except a young servant who had been peering through the window of the so-called "Schwarzer Hof" When he saw the woman with all her gold, he was overcome by a powerful greed and smashed open the window - at which point, the houst was consumed by a vast deluge.

The servant survived. He only told his story on his deathbed - including the tale of the treasure that had sunk to the bottom of the Schwarzsee.

To this day, it has still never been discovered. - from Kitzbühel Tourismus

Image by Scottish Landscape photographer from East Kilbride, Glasgow, Scotland.

My landscape pictures are of Scotland and various locations across Europe. Click link below to view my online fine art photography gallery at   Fine Art America 


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Loch Crinan Scotland and Duntrune Castle

August 12th, 2014

Loch Crinan Scotland and Duntrune Castle

Loch Crinan Scotland and Duntrune Castle located on the north side of Loch Crinan and across from the village of Crinan in Argyll, Scotland. It is thought to be the oldest continuously occupied castle on mainland Scotland. The castle is a category B listed building.

The ghost of a handless piper is said to haunt the castle. According to one story, the Macdonald piper was sent into the castle as a spy, but was found out. He was imprisoned, but played his pipes to warn the Macdonald’s that their ‘surprise’ attack was now expected. Alasdair Mac Colla retreated, and the piper’s hands were cut off by the Campbell’s.

According to another story, one more well known, the Macdonald’s captured the castle. Mac Colla needed to return home and left a small garrison to defend the castle, with his personal piper among them. While he was away, the castle was recaptured by the Campbell’s and all the MacDonald’s were killed, except the piper, who was spared because of his status. After retaking their castle the Campbell’s laid a trap for the MacDonald’s.

As Mac Colla sailed returning to the castle he and his crew heard, as expected the piper playing a tune of welcome from the castle ramparts. As the MacDonald boat grew closer, the Macdonald’s were able to discern the tune and recognised it as a warning. The small boat turned away and the trap failed. To punish the piper, his hands were cut off so that he may never play again. The piper bled out and died of his injuries.

During a set of renovations at the castle, workers unearthed a handless human skeleton under a stone path, whose hands had been removed by clean cuts to the wrist. It is believed that this skeleton is that of the Piper Of Duntrune. There was evidence of an Episcopalian burial; many of the Highlanders serving the Royalist cause were Episcopalian at the time. The Campbell’s fought for the Covenanters, who were Presbyterian. Wikipedia

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Sunrise and The Old Man of Storr

July 23rd, 2014

Sunrise and The Old Man of Storr

Sunrise and The Old Man of Storr

Day 2

I could hear the melodic tune of the alarm on my phone in the background, I must be dreaming as it seemed like 5 minutes since I went to sleep, but no, it was time to get ready for the sunrise shoot. Fortunately I had packed my camera gear into my backpack for this shoot last night, so it was into the car for the short journey to the selected location, arriving about 45 minutes before sunrise. This view was across the Sound of Sleat towards the mountains on Knoydart.

I changed location slightly during the time there, to vary the foreground as the sun rose above the distant mountain ridge. With the sun now well above the horizon and warm orange and pink glow having changed to daylight this sunrise shoot was over, it was time to head back to the hotel for breakfast.
Mid-morning we set out again this time our destination was The Old Man of Storr. Our journey of about 1 hour was through Broadford, then to Portree and The Old Man. We parked in the lay-by at the side of the road as the small car park was already full, (57°29'34.70"N 6°10'13.29"W).

On the internet the first part of the route is described as a winding path through the trees, this has recently changed as the tree plantations on the Isle of Skye have been felled, and the path was deeply rutted by the heavy machinery that was used (April 2014). Once above the area of tree stumps the track climbs steeply at parts with stepped sections created using large rocks (sturdy footwear recommended). Upon reaching the Old Man of Storr the area that I chose to photograph from was atop of a small hill to the right, this gave me a slightly elevated view, rather than looking upwards to the pinnacles. The decent that we took was the reverse of the ascent, quite a bit easier and fewer rest stops required.

Once back at the car we continued along the road to Kilt Rock. The area known as Kilt Rock is not visible from the road though the car park is well signposted. From the fenced cliff edge viewing area there is a clear view of Kilt Rock further along the coast.

Landscape Photographer Scotland - Day 1

June 29th, 2014

Landscape Photographer Scotland - Day 1

Landscape Photographer Scotland - Day 1

As a landscape photographer Scotland, on a personal shoot I will start planning about six months to a year in advance by looking at 500px and Stuck on Earth for inspiration, then moving on to Google Earth to see which locations are close by each other.

The position of the sunrise and sunset will determine what month of the year the sun will be in the ideal position in relation to mountains, lochs etc. The Photographers Ephemeris (TPE) is one of the best apps that I know of, for this information, giving accurate sunrise and sunset times with a graphical display of the given landscape.
Though the weather forecast will be the deciding factor.

The camera equipment that I recommend using is your camera that will give you the largest file size (if you are going to sell prints) with the least amount of sensor noise, a steady tripod, remote shutter release, ND filter (number of stops dependent on how much you want to slow the shutter speed), polarizing filter and the smallest backpack that will hold the above.

Find suitable accommodation close to the shoot locations, at very least the sunrise locations.

Personal shoot on the Isle of Skye, Scotland.

Day 1


The alarm is set for an early start (5:00am) as there is a six hour drive from where I live just south of Glasgow to the hotel in the Isle of Skye. The early start will mean that I will miss the morning rush hour, and arrive at my destination with time to check the next mornings locations for the sunrise shoot.

The route that I will be taking is to the south of Glasgow passing through Paisley, then onto the M8 and over the Erskine Bridge, Loch Lomond heading north to Crainlarach. Then across Ranoch Moor to Glencoe, keeping an eye for possible photo locations to stop at on the return journey. Still heading north from Glencoe to Fort William where we stop for a coffee and a short break. Then head north again then west to Kyle of Lochalsh to cross the Skye Bridge, arriving at the Duisdale House Hotel, Isle of Skye, where we are staying for the next two nights. The receptionist informed us that it would be about one hour until our room will be ready, so it was back in the car and head off to find the first of three possible locations for the sunrise shoot the next morning. The first location around the jetty at Ornsay looked possible. One internet i had seen that it was possible to see the lighthouse on the Isle of Ornsay, which is not possible from the jetty area. On route to the second location less than one mile along the coast we spotted the lighthouse through a gap between two apartment blocks.
When packing the car boot (trunk) earlier that morning I had deliberately packed my camera bag last, just incase I needed it before we had checked-in at the hotel. Car parked close- by, just off the single track road, it was easy to access the camera body and lens that I wanted. The distance to lighthouse was reading at close to infinity and the mountains were at least twice that again, so I opted for the longest lens that I have a 70-200 and X2 multiplier, this would make the lighthouse fill more of the frame and compress the distance between the lighthouse and the mountains. It was at this point that I realized that my tripod, which I would need, was not next to the camera bag but packed deep in the boot and access to it would require the removal of 50% of the boot's contents.
You might be wondering what and how much did I pack. As the weight and dimension restrictions are more relaxed when traveling by car, we take more than we need and some things that's not possible on a flight from Scotland. All camera equipment in one large bag, except tripod!!, one suitcase (large enough for clothes, toiletries, chargers etc for two people for 5 days), one pair of Welles (waterproof rubber boots, knee high) might need these tonight and two sun loungers more about these in day 4.


How I got this shot of the lighthouse with my choice of camera and lens set-up. Not that difficult, my wife Jean is about 7" shorter than me, so with Jean standing in front of me, both of us looking at the lighthouse, I could steady the lenshade on her shoulder while I held the camera body.

Upon reaching the second location this proved to be ideal, very little had changed from when the google earth image had been taken, firm ground just off the single trackroad suitable for parking and an unrestricted view across the Sound of Sleat, this would be the spot to capture the sunrise tomorrow morning.

Convinced that I was set on the second location we headed back to the main road passing the third possible location and onto Armadale about 3 miles away for lunch. The small village of Armadle is also the ferry terminal for the Caladonian MacBraynes crossing from Mallaig on the mainland of Scotland. On the left hand side as you approach the ferry parking lanes is a lone building selling handmade jewelery and beautiful canvas prints of many of the photogenic locations on the Isle of Skye. These images are the work of Grumpy George http://www.grumpygeorge.co.uk from capture to framing, who is likely to be found around the pier area photographing the pets of the people waiting on the ferry. Grumpy George, though I don't know where the "grumpy" comes from, I found very helpful in sharing the locations and times that he had captured his images, many of which I will need to save for my next visit.

After lunch at the pier we headed back to the hotel via the village of Ord (one of George's locations). The Duisdale House Hotel is a small family run hotel and does not have 24 hour reception, as my plans for tonight and tomorrow morning might fall out with the receptions operating times it is wise to check if I need an additional key.

Tonight's sunset shoot will be at Elgol with a view across Loch to the Black Cuillin Mountains. Elgol is about an 1 1/2 hours drive away according to my TomTom satnav from the hotel.
That night after our meal we set off, our route taking us through Broadford and then on a single track road to Elgol. The plan was to arrive about 45 minutes before sunset, as the car park was close-by. The journey on the single track road took longer than estimated, not due to the amount of traffic, but rather the flocks of sheep which roam freely and the blind summits (steep incline immediately followed by steep decline) on this road, that when you are at the top all you can see through the front windscreen (windshield) is the sky. Our delayed arrival at Elgol ment that there was no time to look for an alternative shooting position, it was grab the camera gear out of the car, change from my shoes to wellies (description above) cross the rocky shore and set-up, the colours in the sky were amazing as the sun set to the left of the Cuillin Mountains.


The light changed rapidly from sunset to twilight and then it was gone the exact conditions never to be repeated. The return journey back to the hotel took a little bit longer as you can imagine at the top of the blind summit headlights pointing skywards are of little use.

Landscape Slideshow on Fine Art America

June 15th, 2014

Landscape Slideshow on Fine Art America

European & Scottish landscape photography, prints, photos, canvas prints & pictures. Photographer of Scottish castle prints, Scotland wall art & Scotland landscape prints & photos to buy at my Fine Art America artistwebsite http://alex-saunders.artistwebsites.com

----- BEST VIEWED FULL SCREEN -----

Scottish Landscape photography on Fine Art America

June 15th, 2014

Scottish Landscape photography on Fine Art America

Scottish landscape photography, prints, photos, canvas prints & pictures. Photographer of Scottish castle prints, Scotland wall art & Scotland landscape prints & photos to buy at my Fine Art America artistwebsite http://alex-saunders.artistwebsites.com

----- BEST VIEWED FULL SCREEN -----

Buachaille Etive Mor Glencoe Scotland

May 12th, 2014

Buachaille Etive Mor Glencoe Scotland

Buachaille Etive Mor Glencoe Scotland

Buachaille Etive Mor (Scottish Gaelic: Buachaille Eite Mor, meaning "the great herdsman of Etive"), is a mountain at the head of Glen Etive in the Highlands of Scotland

Its pyramidal form, as seen from the A82 road when travelling towards Glen Coe, makes it one of the most recognisable mountains in Scotland, and one of the most depicted on postcards and calendars.

Buachaille Etive Mňr takes the form of a ridge nearly five miles (8 km) in length, almost entirely encircled by the River Etive and its tributaries. The ridge contains four principal tops: from north-east to south-west these are Stob Dearg (1022 m), Stob na Doire (1011 m), Stob Coire Altruim (941 m) and Stob na Brňige (956 m). Stob Dearg and Stob na Brňige are both Munros; the latter was promoted to Munro status by the Scottish Mountaineering Club in 1997. Wikipedia

Lighthouse Ornsay Isle of Skye Scotland

May 12th, 2014

Lighthouse Ornsay Isle of Skye Scotland


Ornsay is a small tidal island to the east of the Sleat peninsula on the Isle of Skye in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland.

Loch Sheil - Glenfinnan Monument

May 12th, 2014

Loch Sheil - Glenfinnan Monument

Loch Sheil - Glenfinnan Monument

The village of Glenfinnan is in the Lochaber area of the Highlands of Scotland, located at the northern end of Loch Shiel, and at the foot of Glenfinnan.

The 18-metre-high (60 ft) Glenfinnan Monument situated here at the head of Loch Shiel was erected in 1815 to mark the place where Prince Charles Edward Stuart ("Bonnie Prince Charlie") raised his standard, at the beginning of the 1745 Jacobite Rising.

1745–1746
Prince Charles initially landed from France on Eriskay in the Western Isles. He then travelled to the mainland in a small rowing boat, coming ashore at Loch nan Uamh, just west of Glenfinnan. Here he was met by a small number of MacDonalds. He waited at Glenfinnan for a number of days as more MacDonalds, Camerons, McPhees and MacDonnells arrived. When he judged he had enough support, he climbed the hill and MacMaster of Glenaladale raised his royal standard, on Monday 19 August 1745, and claimed the Scottish and the English thrones in the name of his father James Stuart ('the Old Pretender'); A MacPhee (Macfie) was one of two pipers at Glenfinnan when Bonnie Prince Charlie raised his banner there in 1745. Brandy was distributed in celebration. So began the rebellion that was to end in failure eight months later at the Battle of Culloden (16 April 1746). Many MacPhees (Macfies) followed Cameron of Lochiel in the second line into the Battle of Culloden in 1746.

After Culloden, in his flight to evade government troops, Charles came to the same area again. After being hidden by loyal supporters he boarded a French frigate at the shores of Loch nan Uamh, close to where he had landed and raised his standard. Today The Prince's Cairn marks the spot from which he departed. Wikipedia

 

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