Our first adventure of 2022 was a brief trip up to the Loch Maree/Torridon area in Wester Ross. Besides the Cairngorms this is probably my favourite area in the Highlands, and it is a place I am coming to know quite well. I’ve enjoyed some memorable times there over the last few years. That said, I feel I’ve barely scratched the surface photographically, and I am always looking forward to the next return.
In winter it is a dramatic and dynamic landscape, with an uncompromisingly harsh beauty. Now that my health and stamina are improving I hope to attempt some more committing adventures there in the not-too-distant future, to seek out and meet that beauty high in the secret places.
We took things easy, however, on this occasion; taking the chance to spend the long nights resting in the van, and the short days exploring amid some wild winter weather.
To start off a new year of photography I also made the first change to my optics for a long while, in the form of a second-hand Sigma 17-70mm lens. I have been using the same Nikon 18-55mm kit lens, more or less, since buying my first DSLR in 2007. They’ve done me proud, and I think the results I’ve achieved with this most basic lens (you can find them second hand for as little as £50) speak for themselves. But, having upgraded my DLSR body just over a year ago to a 24MP model, I really needed something that could deliver sharper results to make all those megapixels worthwhile.
The Sigma is still a very modest lens in the grand scheme of things, but the added sharpness has, I think, made a notable improvement to the technical quality of the images I’m getting from the camera. The zoom also offers a pretty ideal range for general landscape photography, so it might even offer a good one-lens-only option when I want to take the big camera on hill days.
During our short 2 night trip we had the opportunity to enjoy some great moments of light, and some ‘interesting’ moments of weather. I was able to produce several images I was happy with, and was pleased especially by the fact that each one was very different to the others. I think a case could me made for each one being the ‘best’ shot of the trip, and all for different reasons.
Snow began to fall in powerful flurries on our last day, and it was a bit of an exciting journey home on snowy roads all the way through the Highlands to Aviemore. Strange to find more snow at home than in Torridon!