alastair jackson photography blog

Haiku Published
25th November 2015
Ahead of my exhibition in September 2016, which combines images of Skye with Haiku, I am pleased to say that after a break of over 10 years, I am enjoying writing Haiku again. In advance of this exhibition, I submitted a few Haiku, and was delighted to have Haiku published in the respected Haiku Journal based in the USA. In addition, I am looking for other creative opportunities in 2016 - maybe some joint collaborations with musicians and writers...
Skye Trip Photos - April 2015
23rd May 2015
A trip ostensibly to cut peats, and weather a bit bright for photos. However, on the morning we were leaving, I got up early and headed over to the Colbost & Skinidin areas where I spent most Saturdays as a kid. It was that classic early morning clearing rain, which creates great photographic light on the islands, so I managed to get some decent mono shots. These are some of the outtakes.

Skye Trip -April 2015
27th April 2015
A nice wee trip up to see the folks, and a wander up from Dunvegan to Clagain along a little walked stretch of coast resulted in a few new photos - and this video!

Skye Coast Video
Skye - December 2014
19th January 2015
A few days between Christmas and Hogmanay 2014, was just what I needed to get a few shots under my belt. Although I was primarily at home to see the folks, it provided me with an opportunity to get a shot of Dunvegan Castle (for a poster for the gift shop), and a couple of unexpected other landscape shots. I was hoping to capture the castle under moody skies, and I was a bit dissapointed with the blue which I was faced with. However, after disturbing the grey seals, I took a few practice shots, and with the sun getting low on the horizon, the rocks on the foreground turned a lovely golden colour. Bingo!
I also managed a trip along the shoreline at Hallin, Waternish, as part of my ongoing project to photograph the coastline of Durinish, and on a wild and windy day, I was lucky enough to be presented with the sun breaking through the clouds in shafts. Likewise, a trip to Neist proved fruitful, although I broke another tripod in the proces, my son and I clambered round the bottom of the cliffs on Waterstein Head to capture the point from a different angle. Awesome waves, and not a soul about! We could see the cars parked up at the Nest Point walk, but nobody had ventured this way, so it turned into a really good afternoon out

Skye Ridge Walk - 28th August
02nd September 2014
Well, as promised, myself and the two older kids went to Skye, ostensibly to visit their grandparents, and we also managed two ice-bucket challenges and a fantastic walk across the Trotternish Ridge.

Having checked the weather (sunshine and showers), we couldn't get parked in the Quirang car-park as it was so busy, and against my better judgement, I left it in a passing place - so touristy!

Luckily we were heading in the opposite direction of the vast majority of the day trippers, who were here to view the wonders of the Quirang, and once we had lost the few stragglers heading in the direction of Beinn Edra, we only met two people all day. We encountered rain, mist, wind and sun, and my daughters camera back took a plunge down a 300ft cliff. I'm pleased to say that we all made it back OK 5 hours later, with a few decent shots in the bag.
Skye Visit-Trotternish ridge planned
25th August 2014
Well, it's been a long time since I put anything on this blog. I think I've been up to Skye twice since I last blogged, cut my folks peats with my brother, and brought them home for them!
I'm up again this week and this time I'm going up with my two older kids, and we hope to walk around the Quirang ( which I've never been to) and along the ridge to Beinn Edra, which I've also never walked. Hopefully we'll get some nice moody shots as well
Skye News
17th April 2014
Heading up to Skye for the Easter Weekend. Staying over in the Skinidin house- which belongs to my auntie- rather than my Mum's in Dunvegan,as the family (at least some of them) are coming up with me. That means that I can get up early and be straight onto the shore in the morning for some early light shots. I'm going to try and make Skinidin a project for this year as there are so many family ties to the place.

Incidentally, can I thank Dunvegan Village's FB for using my photo of the village as their profile picture. Also, for anyone visiting Skye this Summer, please note that my prints are now being stocked in the main Dunvegan Castle Shop (rather that the St. Kilda Gift Shop)

Watch this space for more Skye photos after the holidays!

Skye Trip - January 2014
14th January 2014
Well, another trip at Hogmanay to see the folks. Weather mixed, wet and windy, but some good photo opportunities between showers. Managed to get down to Elgol, a place I'd never been before, and experienced 3 out of the 4 seasons. Got some nice shots, and a few that didn't quite make it (see below). The gloomy weather gave me an opportunity to practice my mono photography, which I am enjoying and seems suited to the Scottish Coast. Had to cancel a planned trip to Raasay because of the high winds and rain, but there should be plenty of opportunities this year to do the Dun Caan/Hallaig walk, and hopefully get some decent shots. Can't wait!
Mono Work
30th December 2013
Taking the colour out of the world and thinking monochrome is a difficult thing to do. As I try to get to grips with this mindset, I find that two major problems beset me.
1. Subject matter
2. Post-processing

Firstly, what are the best subjects for mono photography? Because my shots are all taking in Scotland, there is a constant battle with wind, rain and grey skies. Mountain photography really doesn't work on grey days - you need shadows and the contrast from early morning or evening light. I've not really mastered mono photo skills on mountains even in good light yet, but mountain burns and smaller details seem to work better for me. The area which I have been practising on most is that of coastal photography. I've gone from an initial obsession with sunsets, which most photographers seem to go through, with an urge to capture stormy days and the power of the sea. A shutter speed of around 1/10th of a second seems to work well on capture movement in crashing waves, and two - four seconds for wider angle shots in conveying the effect of wind over the sea/shorescape.

Secondly, post-processing. My initial temptation was to make everything way to contrasty, and then I went too far, resulting in grey, washed out images. I've found that a good way around this problem is to use a polarizer and an ND Grad filter at the same time, which helps to increase exposure times and also add in contrast before the image is fed in into phootoshop.

Here's an image below which nearly worked, but in the end didn't have enough of interest in it.....
Charity Craft Fayre
15th November 2013
I don't usually like these, but this one at Inverclyde Sports Centre in Largs is good,as all the table fees and door receipts go to Breast Cancer Charity, so it is well worth supporting.

Your text to link here...

Skye Trip - October 2013
23rd October 2013
Just back from a flying visit to Skye. Having picked my parents up from Glasgow Airport, I transported them back in the rain to Dunvegan, and I was worried that the next 2 days might be a washout! However, I needn't have worried. The next morning I headed out to Glen Uig to the rock formation known as Caisteal Eoghainn (Ewen's Castle), and although I didn't get any particularly good photos, it was great to be out visiting another part of Skye that I had never been to before. Later that afternoon I headed out on the road towards Talisker Bay in glorious sunshine, and made my way up to the summit of Stockval, where I had a relaxing late afternon snapping away in the changing light. Having arranged to meet renowned photographer Alex Boyd the next day, with a view to walking the Waterstein cliffs, I was disappointed when he had to call off due to car-trouble! I still managed a short jaunt out over the Point before the rain came on.

Next day it was back down the road, and I stopped en-route at the side of Loch Garry to try and get some shots of reflections and clouds in the loch.

Loch Lomond
09th October 2013
Decided to head up to Duncryne Hill (The Dumpling) at Gartocharn last weekend with a colleague of mine from work. He kept telling me the weather would be good, as he had been up to Loch Arklet the weekend before on a grey morning and had got five minutes of sun blast as it rose above the horizon. As I drove over the Erskine Bridge early on Saturday, I could see a chink of light over to the East, so I thought that he might be right. We dashed up the hill (only 149m high ) which overlooks the south end of Loch Lomond, and set up and waited. Scotland's biggest loch is notoriously hard to captrue because of its shape and the proximity of the hills, but this wee hill is probably one of the best spots for getting a handle on its spectacular grandeur.
Just before the sun cames up, there were some showers acros the mountains and the rising light turned the clouds pink giving me a shot which although not quite good enough for the website, is one that has quite a unique feel about it.
I'll definitely be back up to this spot again!
Knapps Loch Visit
16th September 2013
I got up at 4.50am with the intention of getting a few sunrise shots up at the Knapps Loch, Kilmacolm. This wee fishing loch is a favourite spot for photographers, as it has 3 small boats on it during the fishing season, and because of its proximity tends to hold a lot of mist over the water. On this particular morning there was no mist, but I was quite pleased with this silhouetted shot of the trees, with a few stars left in the sky. The sunrise was short but vibrant, however, I felt my compositions were not very good, and it was only once the sun came up that I got some decent shots. This was the best of the pre-dawn shots. It was good to meet pro-photographer, Stevie Manson and chat about cameras, landscapes and travel around Scotland!

Skye visit planned
03rd September 2013
Planning a trip to Skye to visit the folks in a few weeks time. The Autumn colours should be really nice by then, and the sunrises a wee bit later,and if the weather is good,it will reinforce my view that Autumn is my favourite season on the island. Planning a couple of decent mountain hikes (possibly Ben Aslak, Glamaig or Marsco), and an early morning shoot at the Storr Lochs and Portree, with its photogenic harbour.

Every time I visit I try and capture the essence of the house at Skinidin where my Mum was born and grew up, but because of the angle it sits at adjacent to the road, it's really difficult to successfully get the magic of the place. I'll try again when I'm up, but for now here's the best I've managed so far..................

Nikon D300S
27th August 2013
Due to some good fortune with photo sales, I have been fortunate enough to be able to purchase, in excellent condition, a secondhand Nikon D300S, which is a semi-pro camera.

I have been out a couple of times with it, and I have to say that it is taking a bit of getting used to! It's quite a step up from the Nikon D3000 in terms of weight and functionality, and I'm not quite there with the handling yet.

Here are a couple of test shots -

Skye Trips
15th August 2013
Have been up to Skye several times since the last post, primarily to help the folks out with peat cutting, garden and other jobs. However I've also managed to get some photography in, and I was very pleased to get a bulk order of photographs from Dunvegan Castle's St Kilda gift shop.

Here are a few pics that never quite made the cut for the main website gallery -

Mono Storm Light
23rd May 2013
Living by the coast affords the photographer lots of opportunities to capture all sorts of weather conditions. I've gone from sunset obsession when I started out 3 years ago, to enjoying trying to capture the more normal wet, windy weather that you can get throughout the year here.

This is a monochrome shot of the waves at Wemyss Bay
Metro/WPO Competition
10th May 2013
My photo was shortlisted as the Regional Winner from Scotland, but didn't win overall. It currently forms part of the WPO Exhibition in London
The Quirang
10th May 2013
Here's another shot from my early morning jaunt up to the North End of Skye, from my Mum's house in Dunvegan. The sun had been over the horizon for about 30 minutes now and was getting quite strong, so I tried to get some light and texture highlighted on the cliff walls of the Quirang. This one features my car and wasn't good enough to put in the gallery section, but here it is........

New Website!
09th May 2013
Well, it's news, and I guess if you are reading this, you've found my website. I hope you enjoy the photos on it and if you want to follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you have that option. I'm hoping to head up to Skye in two weeks time, so if the weather stays half-decent, I'll be able to post up some new photos then. Until then, here's a shot of an old boat at the shore at Colbost I got last time. Not good enough to put on the main site I feel - but OK. Next time I'll crack it!!