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Landscape and Wildlife Photography in the Cairngorms

Landscape and Wildlife Photography in the Cairngorms


Ahhh……there it is….Get it!! Hello and welcome to a very cold and
very snowy Scotland. I’m up in Scotland with my friend Lyle for a few days and
we’ve got lots of photography planned. So it’s gonna be a good day, we’ve got wildlife
stuff, we’ve got landscape stuff so come with me we’ve come to this absolutely stunning
forest and Lyle is currently setting up the bird feeders and things to get the
wildlife shots that he wants that I’m gonna hopefully try and get as well….if
my skill will support that, but while he’s doing that I’m wanting to try and
capture a shot of these just absolutely beautiful trees I’m finding it quite
difficult at the moment because I can’t really find a composition. Just stood
here the trees look absolutely stunning and the light from the Sun is just
catching them so perfectly and they look beautiful but I’m just really struggling
at the moment to isolate one and make it work in an image. I’d like to
try and get one that’s sort of isolated in the Sun with a slightly darker
background to provide that contrast and set the subject apart but I’m going to have a little explore around and see what’s happening I just don’t think I’m really going to
be able to make this happen now I found this tree here and I’ve got
decent access to it here I’ve got the woods in the background there in
this tree covered in snow and it’s looking absolutely beautiful as the Sun
is coming from up over here striking through the tree putting a nice little
leading line into the snow littles strand of light in the snow which leads
you up to the tree I don’t think it’s gonna work though the problem I’m having
is although to my eyes it looks sensational sensational but as I take the image
and we put that 3d world down into a 2d world and the image gets flattened you
just lose it you lose the detail of the tree and it’s just not working what you
would need is some way of isolating that tree with some mist or some…. I don’t know
it isn’t there at the moment so it’s not working
disappointing really for the first shot of the trip but staying positive it’s
only the first location of the day and I’m now gonna go and get some wildlife
so staying positive okay time for a little bit of wildlife
and here in the Cairngorms where i am at the moment in scotland it is pretty much
the only place in the UK where you can see a small bird called the Crested Tit
it has a kind of fan on the top of its head it’s small, it’s really quite an
interesting little bird and that’s what I’m gonna try and capture right now I’m
not massively into my wildlife photography and particularly not into
shooting small birds very often but it is quite good fun every once in a while
to put yourself to that challenge to try and capture a nice wildlife shot
because it is slightly more time sensitive than landscape photography
you’ve got to be in the right place get as close as you possibly can and then
get all the camera settings right and then focus and track and get everything
in place to capture a really nice shot so it is an enjoyable challenge and
that’s what I’m doing today I’m here at the visitors center in the Cairngorms
and there’s a feeder up in the tree there that the center have provided to
keep the birds interested in this area and to get the squirrels to come as well
I’d love to get a squirrel shot today but I’m not sure how realistic it is
there that’s gonna happen this branch down here where some of the nuts have
been falling toward it seems to be a really nice spot it’s a nice composition
the background is a little bit busy but some of that sunlight coming through the
trees and then hitting the birds as they sit on that little little branch is
making a really nice shot and that is going to be the composition I go for. So
for this I have my 400mm F/5.6 lens. It’s perfect for wildlife, it’s light
it’s easy to carry around, it’s got a really fast autofocus which is the
important thing for this type of photography and it’s cheap and it’s just
a great lens all round so that’s what I use for my wildlife photography. Now settings wise, at
the moment, I am at f/5.6 because I need to blur that background
as much as I possibly can because like I say it is quite busy and really I want as
clean a background as possible and then ISO 800 at the
moment and that’s just to balance out my shutter speed which at the moment is….. I’m
rolling between 1/1000 of a second and 1/1250 because you need
to get the shutter speed as quick as you possibly can with wildlife photography
and particularly bird photography even though these birds are
stopping they move so fast so you need to have that nice a shutter speed get
focused in as best you can on the eye as well so you need to be quite accurate
with your tracking and with your focus and that’s why generally I will handhold
it as well it’s just on the tripod at the moment while I film this piece then
it’s just a case putting the camera in AI servo mode so the focus system tracks
the bird as it moves as you keep it in that focus point the Canon 5d mark IV does have
lots of different focus modes I just prefer to track it with sort of between
one and five focus points to keep the bird sharp or keep the picture
sharp on the bird’s eye I’m gonna have a little go to capture one of these
Cresties, persevere a little bit and see what I can come up with. So I’m down on
the ground I’m really struggling at the moment where I was before I was just
shooting too far down at the birds and I wasn’t quite getting the perspective
that I wanted so I’ve had to get down and dirty in the snow I’m shooting back
towards the birds there are patches of Sun coming through the tree so I’m
trying to wait until the birds are in that patch maybe on a branch maybe on
the floor in the snow I’m not really sure but I’ll try both and see what I
can get so let’s have another little go there’s one on the branch now let’s see
if I can grab that ah there it is get it let’s have a look at that I’m gonna crop
in a little bit yeah that actually is looking pretty good it’s pretty decently
sharp on the eye I think that one might very well be usable let’s have another
go…. it’s good fun Right after that wildlife we’ve come to
do a bit more landscape photography and I’ve come here to what is called I think
if my pronunciation is correct Loch Morlich. It is in the Cairngorms still and
behind me here you can see the absolutely beautiful Cairngorm mountains
and they are currently covered in snow now
the composition I have is fairly straightforward and if like you can see
behind me the loch wasn’t completely frozen I don’t think I’d be particularly
interested in this image. It doesn’t happen that often when it gets snowed across
the top of it as well which is what happened today which is why it’s so
white. It’s frozen, snow and it’s quite interesting and I want to capture it so
I’ve just had a little walk along and I found these rocks in the foreground here
which again have had a spattering of snow on top of them and they look really
really good what I’m gonna do because the mountains behind me as well are quite
flat across the top I’m going to do a panorama to try and get it all in and
create some kind of composition which really gives some scale to the scene I
have here because it’s just absolutely massive. Now settings wise I am at f/11
to get everything in focus and then I’ve got a shutter speed of 1/160th of a second
and then just very simply rotating the camera around and capturing it all with
the panorama it’s about an hour or so before sunset we’re probably just coming
into the golden hour and it’s casting some beautiful lights across the scene
I’m keeping the Sun out of the image to the right hand side I’ve got the lens
hood on to keep the Sun out of the shot and then I’m a panning round I just need
to wait though and be a little bit patient because at the moment there is a
little bit of cloud cover and I’m getting patches of light and at the
moment the Sun is not hitting those Pines across the loch and I would like
that because as soon as that warm Sun hits those trees and the snow on
those trees it’s gonna warm up the image overall and just really add another
element to it so let’s take it. Lets pan around and just using a scale on my
tripod to go around let’s check that it’s been a really great day today
although very very difficult I find every time I come to Scotland you are
sometimes just overwhelmed with the scale of the place when you don’t know
the area you’re not quite sure where to go it can cause an element of difficulty
especially when you’re trying to make a video as well it just adds to the
pressure but I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing a little bit of landscape photography. I’m
happy with the bird shots I’ve got and I hope you enjoyed seeing me capture them
please leave a comment down below let me know what you think of this I’m sorry I
missed last week but situations arise that I can’t always stay in control of
so I had things to deal with and I missed a week for the first time in well…..
since I started First Man Photography so I hope not to do that too often but I
didn’t mind having a week off. I hope I’ve come back with a video that you’ve
enjoyed and I’ll see you on another one very very soon please do subscribe to
the channel if you have not done so already hit the notification bell so you
see all the videos. There will hopefully be another one coming from Scotland next
week and I’ll see you very very soon I’m Adam this is first man photography
in the very very beautiful Cairngorms in Scotland Out!!! I’ve just had my very first drone crash
straight to a tree. Thankfully it fell out and I got it back. But…one broken propeller.

100 thoughts on “Landscape and Wildlife Photography in the Cairngorms”

  1. Oh man – crested tits !! Fantastic first image Adam. Well worth lying in the snow to capture it. Never been to the Cairngorms but after watching your video I need to get myself up there. I'm a huge fan of your channel but don't often comment, but wanted to say thank you so much for sharing this – I've got another location on my list!

  2. Great video, Adam. Loved the three images of the birds and the panorama. Did you have to overexpose slightly with the panorama image to compensate for all the ‘white’ snow?

  3. Hey Adam! Have you ever visited the Rocky Mountains? I think you'd love the Colorado portion, it's seriously amazing out there.

  4. Just packing for four days in Scotland myself buts looks like I won't getting the awesome weather you had. On your opening b-roll was the the Falls of Falloch art installation? That's my first planned stop.

  5. I'm sure in the intro I saw the waterfall at the hermitage, which is near where I live. Why wasn't that in the video itself? Is there a part 2?

  6. Hi Adam, I'm new to photograph and I find this and your other video's very informative and educational.
    Please keep posting I'm learning so much from watching and hopefully getting better.
    Thanks.

  7. Great stuff and one of my favourite places to visit. Not done much in the way of wildlife photography but might give it a go the next time I am up there. Just back from Glencoe with all the heavy snow last weekend and it was epic. Atb

  8. Cool video. Thanks for producing and sharing. Really enjoyed how you shared different thought processes with framing landscape and capturing wildlife.

  9. great vid, and some nice pics! the Cairngorms are one of my fav places… thought you might have headed to the green lochan? but loch morlich look stunning as always

  10. Trees/forests are so challenging. One reason I really admire Simon Baxter. The pano seemed worthy of a days work to me. I'd probably print and hang that shot if I took it. I thought the second bird shot you showed was the best, the thing about birds is not just getting the eye sharp, light good and background, but also the exact pose that makes it interesting. I liken it to flower photography – flowers are pretty on their own, you need something a little 'extra' to make them interesting.

    Also you can tell us umpteen times about how 'it's not your thing', but you are certainly good enough that we expect (and get) great things. So you can be modest is you like but it's not going to dampen our expectations.

  11. I think this is probably my favourite of your vlogs Adam. Absolutely love winter scenes, and the pic of the robin was stunning.

  12. Beautiful shots of the birds. Songbirds aren’t easy and getting sharp shots of them is so rewarding. Definitely need to pick up a copy of the 400mm f/5.6L to replace my Tamron 70-300mm.

  13. Wow! Fantastic Vlog Adam!! Loved the Drone footage – as a viewer I can see there's a lot of work gone into this one! Kudos on the bird shots. Thumbs up!!

  14. Excellent video, Adam!  I always enjoy the drone shots as well as your narrative with the beautiful shots of the birds that you ended up with.  Well done!

  15. Great job Adam. Some of your best drone footage yet. It really does add so much to your story. I look forward to your next video.

  16. Loved the drone footage at the start, but for future reference I don’t think you should feed smaller birds whole peanuts unless they are in a feeder? I’ve read in a few articles that smaller birds can choke on them. But great video. Mark.

  17. For this type of shot for the bird, are you using a single point in the middle? How are you able to focus on the eye so quickly without moving the focus point

  18. Great video, and only half an hour from my home.Bought a 400 prime based on one of your videos and use it for wildlife all the time. Cant fault it.

  19. Beautiful location and lovely images. It can often be a challenge photographing small birds because they are so fast however you caught beautiful image that is full of character.

  20. Great storytelling, I swear you could have a career doing books on tape. You have the most amazing voice I could listen to you narrating paint drying.

  21. Those bird shots are great.

    On my 5D3, also recommend centre 5points (single point falls of the bird too easily) and focussing mode Case6, erratic objects, with the sensitivity set to max.

  22. What a stunning video Adam, the Scotland landscape provides such gorgeous scenes and your videography captured it all beautifully. I enjoyed hearing your thought process while shooting the birds and understanding the challenges that this kind of photography presents. The snow looks amazing and it was a wonderful pano you captured at the end. Looks like you and Lyle had a great trip, wish I could have joined you and had a break from our heat!

  23. Actually glad the drone crashed! In the U.S.drones have become such a nuisance that they are banned in National Parks (after a Netherlands visitor crashed his into Grand Prismatic Spring, the 2nd largest hot spring in the world). Few of us can afford one, and they really don't provide the kind of perspective I can learn from. Enjoy your work and videos, but prefer the world as I have to work with it.

  24. Thanks for another great video, the intro was really well done, really enjoyed it. It did have some flickering but that could be because I was it via Apple TV on my tv.
    Looking forward to the next one, cheers.

  25. Lovely video Adam, nice to see you back. I must give bird photography a try sometime, I have a 300mm lens with a 1.4 converter which I haven't used for years…..

  26. Great video Adam. Love the wildlife shots, and that pano was pretty amazing as well. Hope you managed to fix the your drone without too much difficulty. Looking forward to next weeks vlog, I love Scotland and miss visiting it and you video reminded how beautiful it is!!👍👍👍👍👍👍

  27. to isolate tree is simple up axe or chainsaw on other trees hehehe.

    need to tell the birds to pose and that you are paying them with food they should let you take a few pictures..

    you need to do a 100 lines i will not miss a week.
    this maybe why have some backup ones that can be put in when too busy else were.

  28. Loved the video, I was on the other side of the Cairngorms the last two weekends (I live in Aberdeen) but missed all the 'proper' snow as I was working in Glasgow. I also managed to crash my Mavic into a tree last Friday, thankfully it was at head height and it fell out!!

  29. What kind of bird photography is this this guy is speaking so loudly and the birds are not photographed in a wild way but fed and captured.the photos are sharp though

  30. Love the opening montage to this video Adam, amazing footage 🙂 I live quite near the Cairngorms and want to get in about them now after seeing this.

  31. HI Adam, as a birder myself, I can say you captured some beautiful bird shots there mate. Smart move getting down to their level, much better than shooting down on them.

  32. Cracking video Adam. Fantastic production too. Personally I thought the bird shots were sublime. Welcome to the drone crash Club 🙂

  33. How much I relate to your comments at the start, trying to capture that woodland composition compared to ones eyes! Great video as ever!

  34. Great video, the biggest tip I have taken from it is where you are waiting for the cloud cover to break & not to settle for second best in the shot. Good stuff thank you

  35. I loved your drone footage, your bird photos (not the first one so much, watch those highlights in the background!) And loved the panorama too!

  36. Hi Adam, can I ask a couple of questions?
    When using a tripod and shooting using the timer should I have the lens vibration reduction turned off?
    And using live view+timer should the view finder be covered over?
    Thanks for any advice very much appreciated.

  37. Makes me wanna travel to Scotland again soon. The Cairngorms, Aviemore and surroundings are just full of photo opportunities. As is most of Scotland.

  38. I enjoyed your video.

    You do some studio photography. Why not have one or two of those ready to go for those times you might not have time to prepare your usual weekly? It would make easier scheduling around Xmas and other holidays, birthdays and other important anniversaries and so on.

  39. Really nice bird shots 🙂
    Would love to see more of the mountains around Cairngorms!
    Do you use a service for your music or how do you find it? 🙂

  40. I have to say I am not a big fan of wildlife photography however you have captured some fantastic images!, loving the drone footage as well!

  41. Hi Adam
    I don't know if I've ever commented before… but I have been watching your videos for the better part of a year now. Your videos and your photography are always a treat for me. I always look forward the next video. I enjoy your videos like I enjoy a movie… I don't watch them in haste. I wait until I have some down time at home and then I watch your videos when things are peaceful and calm. Thank you for what you do! You never fail to make my day better. Your work is beautiful and I love your demeanor. You're positive and your love for your craft shines through! I find that inspiring.

    I spent a little time in the Cairngorms a few years ago, but since I was traveling internationally, I didn't get to carry much equipment. I could easily have spent a week there! It was summer, so it was warm. The hiking was gorgeous. It was a pleasant surprise that you were there for this video… it made me feel a little connected to you and your work!

    Thanks again and keep up the great work! You are a delight to watch!
    Be well!

    P.S. Your patience paid off… the photos of the cresties were spot on! Beautiful!

  42. Great video Adam with some cracking bird shots. The Loch Garden RSPB centre is one of my favourite photography spots and I always visit there when I am in the Aviemore area.

  43. Loved the video Adam and your panorama of Loch Morlich. The drone footage was great, gave me a different view of an area I've been to a lot.

  44. The view from the balcony in the opening sequence was stunning. Was it a hotel or your mate's house? Good shots of the birds. For me it's wildlife all the way: I doubt I could produce a good landscape to save my life. When I owned Canon kit the 400mm f5.6L was the only lens I could not get on with. I think it was the lack of image stabilisation.

  45. Very nice sharp photos. You mention the lens is a 400mm f5.6. I’m finally going on a safari in Africa and need a good long lens, maybe one of the lower priced newer ones but have to decide soon. Could you please tell me exactly which lens you used on this shoot and maybe which lens you would recommend in addition to this one. Thanks.

  46. Realise this is an old video but I'm going back up to Scotland soon (First time with a decent camera) and I instantly recognised that loch as we came across it by chance about 3 years ago on a beautiful sunny day. Didn't know the name of it and will have to go back this time as it should be wintery.

    Cheers Adam, noticed there hasn't been a PhotoNerds for a couple of months too and Paul hasn't posted in a couple more. Hope all's well with you all and you continue with it!

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