Chris Stuart Highland Photography: Blog en-us (C) Chris Stuart Highland Photography (Chris Stuart Highland Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:50:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:50:00 GMT Chris Stuart Highland Photography: Blog 120 120 September 2015 - Mountain Leader Assessment - Passed Happy to confirm having fulfilled a longheld ambition to obtain the Mountain Leader Award (Summer).

Assessment run by mountaineering instructor, Steve Spalding, was excellent. I was fortunate to be in a great group of folk and we were all very supportive of each other so the whole time was very enjoyable.

From left to right, Judith, Alison, Alastair and me.

The ML assessment covers navigation in poor weather and at night, weather forecasting, general leadership skills, law and regulations for access, environment and taking young people on the mountains, first aid and what to do in an emergency, knowledge of flora, fauna and geology of the mountains, and for emergency situations, river crossings and security on steep ground with some rope work. In addition the final three day expedition covers wild camping. Although it was an assessment and that makes it stressful, it was also an opportunity to spend five days doing what we all enjoy doing...... :-)

On the three day backpacking expedition we were woken by the sound of the ptarmigan and skeins of geese flying low over the crags and on the last morning a beautiful sun rise. Managed time to take a few photos during the assessment days.

A most enjoyable experience with great company. Thanks to all.

Camping by Loch Etchachan Loch Etchachan, Cairngorms With Steve on the left Sun rise by Bynack Ridge of Bynack Alastair with rope Judith descending with South African abseil

Alison relaxes during abseil

]]> (Chris Stuart Highland Photography) Sun, 04 Oct 2015 21:37:37 GMT
Kat joins me at the Feeders This weekend was a sociable weekend with friends staying at the Rothiemurchus campsite, Aviemore. On Saturday it snowed which meant the BBQ remained unused and cooking was done in the van. Kat, undeterred by her previous experience trying to photograph Ptarmigan, joined us again for the weekend. This time Kat and I tried for squirrels but unfortunately the squirrels were not being co-operative. However the Crested Tits, remained reasonably reliable and the Coal Tits were present in numbers. Siskins are appearing occasionally which adds a different splash of colour.


Trees in Snow-1

]]> (Chris Stuart Highland Photography) Sat, 16 Mar 2013 21:25:00 GMT
Mountain Hares Last weekend I had a go at photographing the mountain hares for the first time this year. Unfortunately I was not successful on that occasion but today my good friend and fellow photographer, Margaret Walker, kindly showed me some of the good spots where she photographs the hares. At first the hares were rather elusive, but when we eventually did find some they were far more obliging than the ones I usually go after.



]]> (Chris Stuart Highland Photography) hare mammals mountain wildlife Sat, 09 Mar 2013 21:46:00 GMT
Gainey Weekend Our good friends Graeme and Alison Gainey and their daughter, Catriona, came to stay for the weekend for what has become an annual winter visit. Graeme, James Hotchkis and myself enjoyed a boys day out on the hill, choosing Canisp as the most hopeful option given a fairly uninspiring weather forecast. The light was poor for photography but we enjoyed a good day out with great views all round, particularly to Suilven.

Suilven, Sutherland The following morning Graeme and I sat in the hide and watched the squirrels to take photos. We were then joined by the girls when it was time for a picnic lunch.

Left to right, Graeme Gainey, Catriona Gainey, Helen Stuart and Alison Gainey

]]> (Chris Stuart Highland Photography) Sat, 09 Feb 2013 20:59:00 GMT
Above Glen Feshie Today should have been a day out with some old friends from days in the Jacobite Mountaineering Club in Edinburgh but a poor forecast for Friday meant the A9 was potentially hazardous. The Edinburgh contingent were therefore conspicuous by their absence and only myself and my good friend Alan Dobie who also lives near Inverness took advantage of the much improved Saturday weather for a day out on the hills above Glen Feshie.

An easy day with the wind behind us in blue skies and sunshine, we walked from the Achlean car park, up Can Ban Mor, along to Sgor Gaoith, on to Sgoran Dubh Mor and then down by way of Geal Charn back to the forest below. We then met up with Alan "Ciao Ciao" Bailey for a pint in Newtonmore and a fitting ending to the day.

Loch Einich Looking down to the southern end of Loch Einich

Sgorr Gaorth Sgorr Gaoth with Braeriach on the far side of Loch Einich, Cairngorms

View south towards Carn Ban Mor. You can see the heavy loading of snow on the east facing slopes.

Looking down to Loch Einich with the corries of Einich Cairn on the far side

Another west facing slope best avoided.

Alan Dobie on summit of Sgoran Dubh Mor




]]> (Chris Stuart Highland Photography) Cairngorms Glen Feshie Sgorr Gaoth Sat, 26 Jan 2013 19:30:00 GMT
Beinn an Eoin, An old hill re-visited It is more years than I care to remember since I first did a round of Beinn an Eoin north of Ullapool, but on Saturday with my good friend and climbing partner, James Hotchkis, I made a long overdue visit. It was one of those winter days with little wind so it felt reasonably warm, despite the low temperatures. The views in this part of Scotland are among my favourite. We did not have the most fantastic light for photography but it was nonetheless a great day out and one I would thoroughly recommend.


What to do when your mate is taking photographs

Unfortunately the last sunlight faded by the time we reached the pinnacles so I will need to return another day to get some good light.


]]> (Chris Stuart Highland Photography) Sat, 12 Jan 2013 00:30:00 GMT
Blue Skies over Cairngorm An unexpected turn of events today meant I had the opportunity for a short day out. I decided against more wildlife photos and instead opted for a day walking in the Cairngorms. A late start meant I did not get any of the good light photographers are always seeking, but it was one of those rare, windless, sunny Cairngorm days that I could just enjoy being there and drink in the views. I walked from the summit of Cairngorm following the cliffs of Coire an t-Sneachda to the Cairn Lochan summit and then back to point 1141 and down to the ski car park from there.

There is no photographic merit to the photos I took today but I am posting them here as some folk may just enjoy the views.

Cairngorm Weather Station 1 Cairngorm Weather Station 2 Coire an t-Sneachda cliffs Cliffs of Coire an Lochain 1 Cliffs of Coire an Lochain 2 Cliffs of Coire an Lochain



]]> (Chris Stuart Highland Photography) Cairngorms Coire an Lochain Coire an t-Sneachda Scotland cliffs landscape snow winter Wed, 26 Dec 2012 20:54:55 GMT
New Visitors at Feeding Site Today was the third visit to my feeding site and I was pleased to see some new visitors.

At last I managed to get a photograph of a treecreeper (see below). They are common birds but difficult to predict and they seem never to remain still for even a second which makes them harder to photograph. Also a woodpecker put in an appearance and two squirrels literally hung about for much of the time we were there. I hope to start photographing the squirrels soon. The other visitor today was my good friend and fellow photographer, Margaret Walker, who took a break from her own feeding site for a change of scene. The task we set ourselves was to try and get shots of the crested tit in amongst branches with green pine needles. This proved to be quite tricky as the birds only land for a second or two which gives very little time to focus, but also the bird was usually obscured by twigs, or pine needles, or looking the wrong way. So for every satisfactory shot there were numerous failures.


Unfortunately the weather has not been good lately resulting in poor lighting conditions. Although I generally prefer even light to the contrasty light which strong sunlight produces, a little bit more sun would have been welcome. ISO up to 3,200 today was better than the 5,000 I needed yesterday but still meant slower shutter speeds than I would have liked.

]]> (Chris Stuart Highland Photography) Aviemore Birds Strathspey Wildlife Mon, 24 Dec 2012 21:45:00 GMT
Crested Tits visit new feeding site Recently I created a feeding site and I am pleased to report that crested tits have been visiting regularly. This has enabled me to observe these small birds with big characters and take some new images of them. My aim is to get a variety of shots of these birds in their natural environment. It will be interesting to visit the site in different weather conditions and I am especially looking forward to when we have some more snow. Some good light would be welcome too as recently the days have been rather wet and dark. When my wife, Helen, came with me to visit the site the birds were present but unfortunately the squirrels did not put in an appearance. Hopefully they will return when the weather improves.

]]> (Chris Stuart Highland Photography) Aviemore Birds Crested Tit Strathspey Wildlife Sat, 15 Dec 2012 22:38:00 GMT
No Sign of Ptarmigan Our good friend Katherine Jones (Kat) came to stay with us for the weekend. She particularly wanted to see and photograph ptarmigan so while my wife, Helen, took Kat's dog Biggles for a walk in the snow, (or should that be the other way round?) Kat and I walked into the Cairngorms in search of ptarmigan. After trailing through the deep snow for a couple of hours we eventually reached an area which is usually excellent for ptarmigan photography. Unfortunately on this day they were nowhere to be seen. Normally the distinctive cry of the ptarmigan will be heard before they are seen but on this day there was neither sound nor sight of them. 

I could only think the wild weather which had dumped all the snow had driven even these hardy birds downhill. Certainly we did eventually find some ptarmigan lower down but by this time light was fading and we had run out of time. I would like for Kat to have got some photographs, but at least she did get to see them and enjoyed her day despite the hard work walking through deep snow. 

If it was easy it would be no fun!

]]> (Chris Stuart Highland Photography) Aviemore Birds Ptarmigan Strathspey Wildlife Sat, 01 Dec 2012 21:45:00 GMT