2022 has been pretty good to me. I’ve had a lot of fun, a lot of personal and professional growth, and naturally a lot of great encounters with Scotland’s wild beauty.
I’m not sure how I managed to fit in as much photography as I did, as most of my time over the last 6 months has been going towards house renovations. But thanks to my amazing clients who I’ve guided for this year I’ve still been lucky enough to spend a lot of time out exploring Scotland and getting in some great landscape photography.
1. Slattadale, Loch Maree
A strong start to the year early in January as I took my new Sigma 17-70mm lens to Loch Maree. If you’ve followed my work for a while you’ll have no need for me to remind you how deeply I worship this place.
I got the shot at the end of a long and rewarding day of photography – there were plenty of wonderful moments that day. As soon as I pressed the shutter on this, though, I knew I’d got something a bit special.
2. Eilean Subhainn, Loch Maree
Staying with Loch Maree, and one of the most unique shots I’ve produced this year. Taken in the middle of the night on one of the remote islands that dot the loch. The sky behind Slioch was illuminated by the rising moon. Every time I look at this shot I can’t help but think of the tree as a lightning bolt, upended and stuck into the ground.
3. Glen Eanaich, Cairngorms
There’s far more to say about this shot than I can take time for here. I still haven’t found all the right words, and maybe I never will. Personally I feel that it’s the best shot I’ve ever taken, and it’s the new standard by which I measure my work. It was a day of physical challenge, but mostly one that challenged my commitment to getting the best shot possible. A shot that represents total commitment to The Search.
4. Rothiemurchus, Cairngorms
Staying with the theme of charismatic pines on snowy mountains. This shot was a worthy follow up to the one above. A superb day among some of the highest woods in the country, as blizzards passed over the Cairngorms. I spent several hours waiting for the decisive moment just at the clearing edge of the blizzard. I was glad to have my bothy bag with me!
5 – Creag na Rianaich, Torridon
Torridon is one of those locations with many clichéd shots, and I had been considering this hillside for a long while for its potential to offer a new perspective. I wasn’t disappointed, finding a composition near the summit where everything slotted into place in such a way that mirrored the superb mountains of Torridon beyond.
6 – Luskentyre, Isle of Harris
I certainly could not overlook Luskentyre in this selection. Without a doubt the finest beach anywhere in Scotland. There’s nothing original about it as a photo, but in a place that endlessly reinvents and refreshes itself every visit is fresh. I’ve been fortunate to visit many times this year, but this was the finest moment of lighting and colour – perfectly showing off the incredible colours of Harris’ coast.
7 – Boreray, St Kilda
Reaching St Kilda was a true milestone this year. While I can’t say we had the best conditions for photography during our visit, it is such a place that it is enthralling in any conditions. Navigating the choppy waters surrounding Boreray, beneath the wings of thousands of wheeling gannets, the island presents itself from one angle as a spire rising from the cold waves.
8 – Loch Slapin, Isle of Skye
Skye played a significant part in my summer guiding this year, with several visits to the Cuillins. During my final photography trip of the summer we saw sunlight breaking through dark clouds above Bla Bheinn beside Loch Slapin, lighting the wrack along the shore in a nuclear orange. Although I’m not sure I’ve absolutely nailed the look of the final image, it was one of those fantastic moments that reminds you why Skye is so special.
9 – Rubha an Teampaill, Isle of Harris
Oddly, I’ve had a really good year for sheep photography. No better moment than this, however, where a combination of luck and patient sneaking delivered one of those compositions that suddenly comes together better than you could have hoped. Definitively Hebridean.
10 – Carn Elrig, Cairngorms
I could never fail to include some version of this view in this list. My local patch – the place I know better than anywhere. But even after a decade of devoted watching and photographing, it still finds new ways to amaze me.
11 – Scarista, Isle of Harris
A final image from Harris, and it seems to me that the island saved the very best until last, during my final visit to the island of the year. It was in truth the perfect moment to end a perfect day.
12 – Rothiemurchus, Cairngorms
Winter returns again at last, with heavy snow in December compelling me to grab my camera and return to the woods I know so well. Perhaps the most rewarding moment was this scene, when the low winter sun briefly broke through the grey clouds over the forest, just as a curtain of snow began to fall. Worth waiting for.
Be sure to check out the 2023 Highland Wildscapes Calendar:
Featuring 13 of my best images (including some of those above) the 2023 Calendar is the best I’ve ever produced. Available now from my online shop.