Escape Images – Travel Photography, Travel Blog, Stories and Prints by Daniel Sweeney

Escape Images

Photography, Stories & Prints

Escape Images – Travel Photography, Travel Blog, Stories and Prints by Daniel Sweeney

Scotland

31st July 2012

A Wee Scottish Holiday

It was an interesting concept, going back home to Scotland on ‘holiday’, but one I took full advantage of. It had been about two and a half years since I’d been in the motherland so I was of course missing friends and family. The memories flood back as soon as you step off the plane; there’s a certain taste to the air and a cold, harsh wind that tells you, yes, I’m back!

Highland Coo's

I had a tight schedule crammed into about two weeks to get around all the people and places I had to see. Of course there was also a lot of square sausage, haggis and tattie scone to be eating so I was a busy man! The photography took a bit of a back seat during the trip, but there was the odd occassion where the camera absolutely had to come out, Glencoe being an obvious one.

Camper Van in Glencoe

For me it was interesting returning to the Scottish landscape with fresh eyes after being in the craggy Southern Alps of New Zealand for so long. The Scottish mountains definitely have a unique feel to them. These mountains are worn and oh so very old. There is a slighly eerie feeling as you stand listening to the wind around your ears and you can’t help but think, ‘if only these hills could talk’.

Glencoe

Anne Marie and I had a bit of an insight into what they might speak of at the tiny museum in Glencoe village where the full story of the Massacre of Glencoe was retold by a very enthusiastic wee, round woman. She nearly choked on her words when Anne Marie confessed to being a Campbell. There’s a sign on the local pub here that reads ‘No Hawkers or Campbells’.

Forth Valley from The Ochils, Stirling

The weather was surprisingly sunny for the majority of the trip (it doesn’t always rain in Scotland!) and we had a stunning day out in and around Stirling, walking to the top of Dumyat for views over the Forth Valley. We couldn’t leave without the obligatory visit to the Wallace Monument and Stirling Castle, which offer in Anne Marie’s wise words “the same view, just from the other side!”

Anne Marie at the summit of Dumyatof

All in all the trip back home was an incredible one. I’d almost forgotten (dare I say it) that Scotland has some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world and you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere with such a rich culture and history. Oh, and the pub grub ain’t too shabby either, I think I left about a stone heavier than when I arrived!

Scottish Holiday Highlights

  1. It has to be the food! Morning rolls and square sausage, haggis, tattie scone and of course Mam’s home cooking.
  2. Gale force wind, rain, hail and sunshine in St Andrews.
  3. The drive north through the Trossachs to Glencoe.
  4. Watching live music including Jack Butler at King Tut’s in Glasgow.
  5. Visiting Laurel and Hardy at the Moulin Inn.
  6. Touring the sights, bars and restaurants of Stirling.
  7. How could I miss out the world famous ‘Wheel of Falkirk!’
 

22nd March 2010

The Guardian Feature

Guardian spring feature

Was nice to be included in the Guardian’s Signs of spring 2010 feature which includes an online gallery and two page spread in the newspaper. Spring must certainly be on the way as it is currently chucking it down outside! Not long now before I’m back in the sun.

 

2nd March 2010

What are you on about?

Escape Images Wordle

I just thought I’d share a pretty impressive web application with you called Wordle. Within a few seconds you can convert all of the most commonly used words in any blog feed or document into a nice graphic like the one above. Right away I can see that I’ve spent way too much time in Stirling; standing on a rather impressive mountain route! Give it a go here: www.wordle.net

 

25th February 2010

Spoke too soon!

Goldfinch in snow

All notions of Spring were completely drowned in snow yesterday as about 3 inches of the stuff fell over night. Even more has followed today which has pleased some people but enraged anyone who has to commute to work. Luckily I can count myself out of that group! Not a great photo, but thought I should get something showing snow up on here. And yes of course it has been photoshopped! For those who are remotely interested in the technical aspects of creating this effect here is a super condensed crash course…

  1. Use Polygonal Lasso Tool to draw around the subject (in this case the handsome Goldfinch)
  2. Add a slight feather of a few pixels
  3. Select ‘inverse’
  4. Use Hue and Saturation to remove all colour
  5. Create a new layer on which we apply a black radial gradient (with reverse applied so it’s light at the centre)
  6. In the layer options dropdown select ‘Multiply’ and set Opacity to about 40%
  7. Well done, you’ve made a not so good image into a fairly interesting image!
 

22nd February 2010

Spring Snowdrops

Snowdrops

After the frost and ice of the last few days I thought I’d go in hunt for some new life. So what better symbol of regrowth is there than the first Snowdrops of the year? These images were taken in the Stirling University grounds where there are an abundance of flowers carpeting the forest floor. The challenge in this situation is always what to select for a photograph. I’ve gone for two approaches here; shooting through clumps of flowers (above) and showing the island cluster below surrounded by dead leaves.Which do you prefer?

Snowdrops
 

22nd February 2010

Feeling the cold

Carron Reservoir

Glorious sunshine made staying indoors a crime today despite the bitter cold. I was really glad I made the effort as I was met by some stunning landscapes, the local reservoirs all completely frozen over and some really heavy frost. I have to be honest and admit that I’ve done my fair share of hibernating this winter and haven’t been out in the cold nearly enough. Still, the winter’s not over yet and the sun certainly makes a difference.

Ice Crystals