Mist and frost at Mugdock

After a long lie, reading the Sunday papers in bed, and scrummy bacon and eggs on Morton rolls with freshly brewed coffee, we headed out to Mugdock for a short walk and some fresh air. The weather did not promise for much, as it had been very misty and very cold since Friday. The mist got worse the more we headed out of the city and became very dense on the road along the reservoirs to South Lodge car park at Mugdock.

From the outset, we were all feeling the cold, especially Lynn who was still feeling under the weather. I certainly hope that Santa gets her a new pair of fleece lined walking trousers that she so badly needs. Due to the cold, we decided to walk the short circuit: along Loch Mugdock to Mugdock Castle, then along the side of the caste and across the wooden walkway through the swamp and back along the shore of Loch Mugdock.

There were a few good opportunities for shots along the way, but the combination of the bitter cold and being spurred along by two shivering ladies did not leave much time for lingering to find the right composition, let alone time to set the tripod up. Apart from the first two images below (taken last), these were all shot handheld at high ISO, low shutter speeds and open apertures as the (digital) grain and shallow depth of field can tell.

When we got back round to the main path, Lynn headed straight back to the car to get warm, but Lola and I walked round a little bit further to retake a good view of the crannoch in the mist, but this time using the tripod. Glad we did, as it turns out to be one of the better shots I have taken in a while.

It was getting dark very quickly even though it was only 3:30pm so time to get back to the car (and Lynn) and head home to a hot drink and a warm fire.

A late afternoon sun at Mugdock

We headed up to Mugdock for our ‘usual walk’ on a Sunday afternoon. It was the first weekend without rain for ages and, surprisingly, even the sun had decided to come out. The low winter sun, combined with the blue sky and the odd dotted cloud looked very promising. From the South Lodge Car Park, we wandered up to Mugdock Castle with Lola roaming through the fields chasing shadows. At the castle, the low sun provided a wonderful red glow on the tree lined driveway across the crest of the hill and on the fabulous dead wood on the side of the driveway. A good opportunity for some shots, although the chilly wind drove us on fairly quickly.

We continued our walk downhill, along the side of the castle and across the swamp. Of course Lola decided to jump of the wooded walkway to run through the black mud. Even a splash in the stream at the other end of the swamp couldn’t clean her up. Sadly, we were just too late for any good shots down there, as the sun had already disappeared behind the hill and trees, leaving the swamp in a bitter cold darkness.

We were all starting to feel the cold, particularly when exposed in the wind, so we decided to give our usual wander across the high moor and past the quarry a miss and walked back along the more sheltered East shore of Mugdock Loch instead. And a good choice it was, as the views across the loch to the castle were absolutely stunning as you can see.

The sun disapeared very quickly, so it was time to head back home to a hot shower for a muddy Lola and a hot cup of tea for us.

Remove Those Cables

This example is an illustration of a scenario where it is not possible to move around on location to adjust composition and capture the image you are after. Normally I would have moved closer and used a shorter focal length to capture the image below without the power cables. Unfortunately, I was standing on the edge of a sheer 50m cliff of a quarry so, frustratingly, I could not move further forward to achieve an angle with the power cables out of the way.

As I really liked the original image with the exception of the obtrusive power cables, I decided to remove these cables in Photoshop using the clone tool. Due to the blur and bokeh of the distant hills, the cloning proved fairly straightforward, although I had to ensure to match patterns in the hillside and avoid duplicating obvious elements, by careful sampling and regular resampling of the area to clone from.

I am glad I decided to remove the power cables, as I have since sold enlargements of this image. I am absolutely sure that I would not have sold enlargements of the original.