What a photography TV show might look like

I came across a new photographer that I’d like to recommend you follow. His name is Thomas Heaton and he is a Northumberland & the north-east based landscape photographer. One of the reasons for the recommendation is he makes the best You Tube videos on landscape photography.

I don’t understand why there has never been a weekly photography TV show produced in the UK. With all the camera / photography related magazines, blogs and podcasts there is clearly a demand. There would be lots of on location shoots, camera tips and talks about new tech and post processing to fill a regular half hour. Thomas Heaton’s videos are exactly the type of on location shoots such a show would contain.

Anyone interested in producing video would learn a lot by copying the techniques in these. He is clearly doing it all including taking the time to have himself walking in from the distance in establishing shots. The end result is very professional.

Of course the goal is seeing the final fine art photography images. He takes you through the creation step by step in his video of images like this one of the Storr on Skye ( its in the background).

A waterfall in slow motion and behind it in the distance the pointed structure of the old man of store mountain on Skye

An example from Thomas Heaton’s you tube video on how he produced this image. © Thomas Heaton

Go check his website and you tube channel. Here is a short extract from his blog post on his trip to the Isle of Skye.

“A trip to the Isle of Skye starts off on the right foot and ends with a high as I have to pass right through Glencoe;…

Source: Isle of Skye Photography |

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This Year’s Top 101 Landscape Photographs From All Over The World

I am reposting  an article I originally saw tweeted by Shahbaz Majeed. Shahbaz is a first class  Scottish Photographer whom I had the pleasure of knowing as well as seeing lots of his work at the Dundee Photographic Society weekly meetings. The article is entitled the best 101 photographs in the world. They are stunning photographs and it is well worth reading the article by Rebecca Lucero and reviewing the top one hundred in the competition for the best in the world. All became clear when half way down one of the selections was by non other than Shahbaz himself.

Rocks energy from a calm sea in a greys cal black and white image , there is a mysterious cloud snap just above the rocks

© Luke Austin – Australia – finalist in the International Photographer of the year – click image to go to competition top one hundred

The image below is one of the images Shahbaz entered into this prestigious international competition. To be in the final one hundred is a great honour and surely cements his reputation as one of the country’s top photographers.

Fristy winter scene of a loch with SCottish Mountins in the distance and a red sunrise coming over them.

Rannoch Moor, Scotland © Shahbaz Majeed. Click the image to go his website to find out more about this great picture.

He is certainly putting Dundee on the map by producing a series of prize winning and noteworthy images of Dundee and Scotland. His own website, frame focus capture,  contains the image above and many more for sale as well as an excellent blog on how he makes his fabulous images.

Landscape photography is enjoying a great explosion of interest as Rebecca explains in her blog and its good to know that Scotland as a destination is in the top of international lists of destinations as is its leading practitioners of the art. Well done Shahbaz  – keep it up.

Here is the view from America courtesy of Rebecca Lucero.

“We can all agree that Mother Nature is the original and most prolific artist on the face of the earth. Humans have long attempted to capture her beauty through many artistic mediums, but it’s not until recent technological advances in photography that anyone has even come close to doing it any justice. ”

Source: This Year’s Top 101 Landscape Photographs From All Over The World

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Cheap shot Terms and Conditions

The sky is red and turquoise and a river of water shakes across the ground to an island over a n inlet of sea.

The Sound of Taransay in the Golden Hour (or is it the gloaming ?). © Mhairi Carroll

Does this annoy amateur and professional photographers?  To enter a photo competition where the prize is just one bottle of Glenfiddich 21-year-old whisky you need to submit your best photo of a Golden Hour shot (they actually mean sunset as it could also be dawn but you shouldn’t be interested in whisky at Dawn ).

The Promoter of the competition is William Grant & Sons UK Ltd, one of the wealthiest private companies and it has the third highest of the market share for whisky distilling companies. For the price of one bottle of 21-year-old whisky (approx. £100) to one winner they get the royalty free rights to every photograph submitted by every participant to do what they like with.

What a cheap shot for them as they would pay at least £500 for one pic from a professional or agency and perhaps over £1,000 or more if it was a principal image in a national or global campaign. Even amateur photographers would get paid if the company wanted to use your picture.

Be aware when accepting these terms and conditions that you don’t end up giving away the ability to earn from your best ever shot?

“By participating in the Promotion the entrants licence and grants the promoter an exclusive, royalty free, perpetual, worldwide, irrevocable and sub-licensable right to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish and display such content for any purpose in any media, without compensation, restriction on use, attribution or liability. Participants agree not to assert any moral rights in relation to such use where the moral rights in respect of the content are theirs to assert. Participants warrant that the materials are their original works, have not been copied, in whole or in part, from any third party and they have full authority to grant these rights.”- via Golden Hour Terms and Conditions.

I would like to add  – However, should the promoter seek to use the image for a specific use beyond reporting on the promotional competition then normal fees for the use of a copyright image will apply and the photographer paid accordingly.

Still, a bottle of Glenfiddich 21-year-old.


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Art and design inspired by the Hebrides

When we go to the Highlands and Islands we are focussing on using our cameras to take what we aim to be inspiring images of Scotland. We are equally inspired by the art we see being produced in the locations we visit. Artists come to the west coast of Scotland  for the quality of light, ever-changing weather and the dramatic scenery ( just as we do) and many choose to stay, opening galleries and allowing access to their studio, which is often at their home.

The poor weather we had in Tiree meant we had even more time than normal to tour the artist’s studios.

Here is some of the excellent art we found on the island.

Picture of a girl with long blond hair riding a bicycle with a small dog in a basket on the back and in the background is a white cottage and a rainbow overhead

This is one of our favourites, which we have at home. © Dorinda JOhnson

Dorinda Johnson has a studio in Scarinish Old Harbour, which is also close to the Scarinish Hotel. The Hotel Bar provided a useful retreat when we were hit with one of the many rain storms.

Mhairi has been a fan for years and we have a print of her – Easy Rider – on our wall. This painting sums up what a dream of life on Tiree would be like. No doubt in good weather that is.

Take a look Dorinda’s website.

One of our favourite places on the island was Balemartine. It is a compact village of Tiree’s iconic whitewashed cottages. It is also home to the Blue Beyond Gallery owned by artist couple Colin and Susan Woodcock.

Blue Beyond – fine art and design inspired by the Hebrides – Work.

Coastal scene with white footage on the shore on the right hand side

This is Shoreline by Susan Woodcock. All her images are made from textiles. ©Susan Woodcock.

Colin produces Raku style pottery as well as paintings .  You can find out more on their website.

We also came away with one of Susan Woodcock’s textile images. The one shown here is typical of Tiree.


Mhairi took this shot on an overcast day but it is reminiscent of the increasing popular prints taking the art galleries by storm by Ron Lawson.

Grey sand on an overcast day leads up to five whit cottages on the grassy shoreline with black roofs.

From Gott bay in Tiree these cottages blend into the colour of the sand. © Mhairi Carroll

On a day like this we continued on our tour and ended up at Tyrii Pottery. The old spelling of Tiree is Tirii.

Each piece is decorated by hand, with a large variety of designs inspired by their surroundings. Hares, lobsters, oystercatchers, wagtails, mackerel and seals are just a few of the many Tiree creatures that find their way onto their pots. Some have also found their way into our home.

Blue and green flours in an arrangement of glass welded together

Example of original artwork made from recycled glass by Frances Woodhead. Tiree glass © Frances Woodhead

Perhaps the most surprising gallery we visited because it’s not normally something we would seek is Tiree Glass. Looking at vases is not high on my list but we were stunned to find highly original pieces made from recycled glass ( broken bottles mainly) that perfectly capture the colour and spirit of the Hebrides.

One of the most enjoyable visits was meeting Patricia Sharp in her Gallery in Caoles on the Isle of Tiree. Her cottage looks over the sea to nearby Coll and is filled with lots of her paintings and work in progress. She is a member of the prestigious Glasgow Society of Women Artists and her work is widely displayed in Glasgow galleries. She gave us a guided tour of her different approach to painting landscape, still life and surreal work.

A garden of flowers and a washing line from which a line of onions is hanging.

Onions on the washing line at Balemartine. © Patricia Sharp

Much of what we found can only be seen by visiting the studios on the island. What we found was well worth the visit.

Thank you to the artists of Tiree, you made our visit to the island very enjoyable.




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Tiree gallery added

Following our trip to Tiree in early June we have started uploading our selections to our photographic view Scotland website. We have created a new Tiree Gallery and will be filling it with more images over the next few days.

beach scene with rocks in the foreground and a long sandy stretch with the sea coming in from the right

Crossapol bay is one of the largest beaches on the island.©Paul Carroll

It was a week of changeable weather to say the least. Out of seven days we got one complete good weather day and two half days where it was light and warm. The rest was wind and rain. In Tiree you need to expect the wind.

Tiree is the furthest west of the inner Hebrides. As such it gets the full force of any Atlantic weather system. It is generally flat and the roads around and through its crofting  layout link various sandy beaches.

The island is a watersport mecca and on beaches like Gott Bay and Balevullin there are businesses offering surfing lessons.

A barn without a roof with a mill wheel turning on the side of the building

This renovated Millhouse gives the Millhouse Hostel on the island its name. © Paul Carroll 2015

The Millhouse hostel website contains a useful list and links to the activities available. David at the Mill-house gave us a tour of his restored water-mill.

We did get one west-coast sunset and watched the ball drop off below the horizon. Always a fantastic sight. The west coast of Scotland and the Highlands and Islands especially attract artists because of the clear and colourful light. Tiree is no different and we made a trip around Tiree’s artist studios – buying prints and pottery to take home. More of that in the next post.

Sun goes onto the horizon and the sky id red orange colour. The sea and beach are in the  foreground

We had a west coast sunset on Tiree. A wonderful way to end the evening.© Paul Carroll 2015

Whitewashed old cottage with thatched roof but the the thatch is missing in parts.

Most of the houses and cottages on the island are whitewashed but this is the old traditional style. Sadly the funds are not available to keep it in heritage condition so it looks like it is going to ruin. © Paul Carroll 2015

For now I’d like to finish on a favourite joke which works if you know the geography of the Scottish Islands. If you don’t get the joke look up a map.

“They are still trying to work out the result of election in Tiree. It is too close to Coll.”



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Fine Art Landscape Photography – Darren Cole

When we were last in Harris last spring we noticed a new gallery ( the Hebscape Gallery ) on the way in to Tarbert from North Harris. It was not open so we peered in through the window. A photography gallery and cafe was in its final preparations and getting ready for the season. It is the gallery of professional photographer and tutor Darren Cole. Checking out his website has turned up another stunning set of landscapes of the Isle of Harris.

Harris Lenscape by Darren Cole © Darren Cole Photography 2013

Harris Lenscape by Darren Cole © Darren Cole Photography 2013

His approach is inspirational and breaks out of the rules that force landscape photographers to stick to only what the lens and camera can do and not what Photoshop or adding other media can turn it into. Darren has the confidence in both his photography and his vision of the final image that he uses “subtle brush work” painting to stunning effect. I like it. We love landscape photography and contemporary landscape art. This combines both to achieve an incredibly beautiful end result.

The title includes the concept of lenssape embracing the idea that the its a camera and landscape art combined. Clicking the image will take you to his lenscape series.

Its fine art and no bad thing. The final image is everything and these are fantastic images. Darren decries his approach on his blog as applying painting techniques. He is a photographer first and foremost and lectured on the subject at the University of West of England in Bristol. No doubt aware of the debate and rules that separate photographers from painters or even using photoshop as an another art form Darren goes beyond the petty restrictions and concludes –

“I had shrugged off the burden of fake painting filters and clever plug-ins and made something that had photographic integrity but looked like a real painting! And so the Lenscape series was born ” – Darren Cole.

Here here and looking forward to being there this year. Looks like another photographer has fallen in love with the Isle of Harris. Best Wishes with the Gallery.

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Adventure Photographer & Alpine Climber

Cory Richards is a National Geographic photographer and adventurer of the year in 2012. The video on his home page about his life is inspirational. It’s the one in a million story of a school drop out at 14 , homeless guy,  who finds expression through a camera and goes on to climb all the top peaks in the Himalayas and Antarctica.

Cory Richards Photography | Adventure Photographer & Alpine Climber.

If you are have just completed ( or in my case barely started ) climbing Munros and looking for something bigger check out his Banff FIlm Festival award-winning film – COLD


In case you are feeling the cold of winter  – watch this and feel warm.

One of the great things about photography is that amazing images can take you to the most incredible places on the planet. Cory visits the most inaccessible and sometimes scary remote winter mountain landscapes. I might never reach those places but can enjoy them through the lens of an adventurer. It still inspires me to at least visit the ones in my own country.

The stories format of taking pictures in a project to tell a story is an excellent way to set goals for camera projects.

A great website. Highly recommend you visit.

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Merry Christmas to all scenic lovers

We have had a busy year at work and our recent house move has meant that we have been  less active in the photography side of things, however we have still managed to look at the work of others and continue to be inspired by both their blog and picture sites.

There are two in particular deserving a mention.

The first is Wild About Scotland , which is an inspirational guide to getting around Scotland in a camper van plus climbing hills and taking excellent photographs along the way. It combines  excellent ideas for seeking out Scotland’s wilderness with a series about the joys of owning and using a camper van ,which is keeping the dream alive during stressful days in the office.

The second is LensScaper, which combines photography and tails from frequent expeditions to the Alps. The quality of the writing means I read every post from this man.

Loch and waterfall in the foreground.

Deep into the Inverpolly estate just past Lochinver is a series of wonderful small trails past stunning mountain lochans. © Paul Carroll

This year we had just the two photography trips to the west coast of Scotland. However, we have had some success with stock photo sets and Getty are selling some of our work – Mhair’s road home shot being a particular success. We also had some success with a series of sales from Ardnamurchan and Harris.  Although no one could live on it  we can start putting it towards an equipment budget.

We returned to the Western Isles as we have done each year but this year spent the majority of time on the Isle of Lewis. We have plans already to return. We have also booked a trip to Tiree in the spring so our tour of the Islands grows.

Looking over the red roof of an abandoned cottage towards moor land contaiing lots of small lochs and hills in the distance

A popular view on from the village of Achmore across the moor towards the hills at Uig and North Harris. This particular red roof is appearing in several photographers galleries. This has particular good late evening light. ©Paul Carroll

Is too early for resolutions but we are looking forward to a good new year. There are some trips already planned and   exciting projects. Our flickr site has passed 300,000 views ( see pics on the left ) and we are planning to do more picture making and online publishing.

So merry christmas everyone, we are looking forward to a good new year. Enjoy getting out-of-doors to wild places then letting us know where’s scenic.



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Inverpolly magic

Amongst an incredibly busy few months we managed to fit in a week-long trip to the magical landscape of Inverpolly in the North West Highlands. We hadn’t reckoned when we booked we would be moving house just two weeks prior. The chance to get a break from lifting and shifting stuff around was a welcome one. Despite only getting about one day out of seven without torrential rain and overcast grey sky we still managed to capture some fantastic images.

A lone rowan tree twists in the foreground pointing up to a mouton in the distance

Stac Pollaidh rises up from carpet of autumn gold and purple. ©Mhairi Carroll

Our main goal in travelling to the North West Highlands was to get a great shot of Stac Pollaidh and I think in this one we did.

The hills of Assynt may not be the tallest but they create this fascinating fantasy wilderness in the way they rise up proud from the surroundings. The road through the Inverpolly Nature Reserve, about 15 miles north of Ullapool, takes you around the mountains. To see them all in a grand sweep you need to head towards Enard Bay. The horizon is punctured by a series of strange and highly identifiable shapes.

A narrow road snakes towards a mountain range in the distance

The hills of Assynt looking across the range from the road to Enard Bay. ©Mhairi Carroll

For most of the week Suilven, the dome-shaped mountain that rises up above the town of Lochinver, was hidden from us by low cloud. Some days the torrential rain even obscured it from us when we were, according to the map, right beside it. However, at least on one day it revealed itself to us from its flank.

A dark grey mountain cover the top third of the picture with a loch and some trees in front.

One of the most recognisable hills in Scotland is the dome shaped hill above Lochinver – Suilven. ©Paul Carroll

We will be returning here as part of our plan to create a gallery of all the great landscapes in the Scottish Highlands and Islands.

Despite the weather , we found some great locations and a great wee pub in Polbain on the Coigath  coastal road. Lochinver also has some great pubs ( with famous pies) and on the road out a bookshop appears in the middle of a forrest. So even if it rains there is somewhere to go.

Next time we will be hoping we can get out a bit more but even so I think we made a great start to photographing this amazing part of Scotland.

We have just got round to publishing our images from the trip and you can see the first set in our North West Highlands Gallery.



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Stuart Low is a great photography teacher

I came across Stuart Low’s website when his recent blog post caught my eye via Facebook. It is about the loss of a favourite tree to photograph. His picture of it below highlights its beauty but read his blog to see its ruin. Did he give away its location by positing his image on flickr and as result unethical camping vandals got to it?

Picture of a tree without leaves in front of a loch with moutons in the distance.

This is the breathtaking and unspoilt location on the banks of Loch Doine Stuart Low had taken many times but sadly someone has chopped it down. © Stuart Low

Whatever happened it reminded me of when Mhairi and I returned to our favourite tree in Glencoe ( and a favourite of many other photographer’s too)  only to discover it had fallen.

TRee on the right of the image at the end of a dry stone wall and then looking beyond into rolling farmland fields lit by the sun

Stuart Low’s stunning image of a tree at Path of Condie near Glenfarg in Perthshire for which he won a commendation in the prestigious Landscape Photographer of the Year 2012. © Stuart Low

Stuart shares a passion of mine for the lone tree in the landscape. He has a gallery dedicated to trees. This has inspired me to do the same as its a theme I love. He won a commendation in Landscape Photographer of the Year in 2012 for his photograph of a tree near Glenfarg. I know the area well and can kick myself for not getting this one. I believe its the mark of a good landscape photographer that they can find the beauty in a familiar landscape by awareness of composition and spotting when the light is just right.

His main line of photography business is teaching through running workshops and courses in fantastic locations throughout Scotland. You can read all about them on his website. I have not been on one of his courses but he freely gives tips and good instruction on his blog and flickr site which is well worth a read.

There is an excellent discussion on his flickr photo stream where he proves the cost of shooting film is both cheaper and better than (his) several thousand pounds worth of digital equipment. A point often made is that the greats of photography over the last fifty years or so used equipment you can pick up on eBAy for a few quid.

Stuart is obviously a great and passionate teacher so joins my list of Scottish Photographers on this blog. (see the topic drop down box and pick photographers to see the full list so far).

I aim to grow this review of Scotland’s landscape photographers pull it together into one post sometime soon so please let me know of any you would like to feature , including yourself.


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