Ever since I was a small boy I have enjoyed taking photographs. For me there has always been something magical that a camera can produce an image. I don't need to know the exact science of how this happens. I am just happy that it does.
Later, as a keen hill walker and climber I always carried a camera into the wild places of Scotland to record the adventures I had in the great outdoors, but they were rarely anything more than just record shots. They may have lacked any real photographic merit but those record shots still bring back many happy memories of good days out with good friends.
It was probably reading the books of the late Galen Rowell, a world class climber, renowned photographer, conservationist and lover of the great outdoors, which first inspired me to try and take my photography to a more serious (but always fun) level. I never cease to be inspired by just being in the outdoors, especially in the landscape that is the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. We are blessed here to have both world class landscapes and an abundance of wildlife and I constantly strive to do them both justice with my images. We also have to contend with constantly changing weather conditions, which at times can be most tranquil and at other times ferocious. This can be frustrating and at times difficult. But when the conditions come together we can be rewarded with amazing light. Scotland can be a photographer's dream location.
Being a photographer does mean being a bit obsessive. You have to want to always try and get a better image than the last one. Imagine getting out of bed early and walking for several hours into the hills, often in the dark, and carrying camera equipment, only to find the weather is unkind and the lighting is no good, so you return home with no images. You have to be prepared to go again and again until eventually you get an image which is something like the one you have in your head. It may take only a fraction of a second to capture an image with a camera, but it could have taken the photographer months or even years to obtain that image.
Photography is definitely a life long journey. There are always new locations to explore and new images to be taken. Wildlife photography in particular means not only learning different techniques but, more importantly, learning about the habits, territory, and lives of the species which inhabit the Scottish Highlands. This gives me yet another excuse, if any were needed, to get into the great outdoors.
I remain passionate about the great outdoors, in particular the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. I hope that my photographs will either bring back memories for those who are familiar with the landscapes and wildlife, or inspire those who are not to come and visit Scotland to see for themselves.
© Chris Stuart Highland Photography