Tag - highlands

Urquhart Castle The “Watercolor” Version

I have been experimenting with some new software that lets me take the hard, realistic quality of a photographic and render it into something a bit softer and more impressionistic – like, in this case, a watercolor painting.

This is image is based on one of the photos I shot as we approached Urquhart Castle, an enormous medieval ruin on the shores of Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands. The original photo is here. <

I like this one better (the cropping helps, too). Yesterday I couldn’t spell “artist” and today I are one…

@historicscotland @getolympus @visitscotland @GreatBritain @TwitterUKUrquhart Castle on the shores of Loch Ness near #Inverness —

#Medieval #medievaleurope #instatravel #travelgram #photooftheday #thebest_capture #ig_masterpiece #nuriss_tag #awe_inspiringshots #pro_ig #global_highlights #igworldclub #ig_select #editoftheday #capture_today #waycoolshots #ig_masterpiece #picoftheday #instadaily #bestoftheday

New “Portals of Stone” For Your Desktop : Beauly Priory

Follow this link to get “Beauly Starscape” for your computer desktop.

Regular visitors to this site will recognize Beauly Priory as the place where, in a real sense, this whole “Portals of Stone” business got started.

Beauly Priory - a small abbey ruin on the Black Isle near Inverness in the Scottish Highlands

Beauly Priory – a small abbey ruin on the Black Isle near Inverness in the Scottish Highlands

It has been almost a year since I’ve created a new “Portals” piece. For much of that time, I’ve been scanning my photo libraries looking for suitable candidates for the “Portals” treatment. I noticed this shot from our (brief) stop at Beauly during our trip to Scotland in the fall of 2012 several months ago and have had it on my “to-do” list ever since.

I finally got around to it this past weekend. and after struggling through re-learning all the software that I need to create these images, I finally came up with the image above.

It’s actually quite fitting that I finally got around to creating a new “Portals” piece over this past weekend, and very much in keeping with the “coming full circle” quality of this particular experience: I’ve been thinking seriously about it for several weeks, and two days after creating and posting this, I booked flights to return to the UK for the singular purpose of expanding on this theme and growing the catalog.

I did not know that I would be creating the “Portals of Stone” series until several weeks after I returned from my Celctic Pilgrimage to the UK in the spring of 2013. And now that the idea has taken root (and seems to be spreading some), I’ve been jonesing to back to that part of the world with that specific purpose in mind.

So come October 7, I’ll be returning to the UK for two weeks. I’ll be flying into Glasgow to see the Cathedral there, which is one of the more spectacular creations of this kind of architectural still standing intact in the UK (so many others were destroyed in the wake of the Dissolution).

From Glasgow I will be heading into Dumfries/Galloway to see (at least) the ruins of Sweetheart Abbey and Caerlaverock Castle, and then I’ll head east to Aberdeen to see St. Andrews Cathedral and Dunnottar Castle. After that, I’m not sure. I might even hop over to Tipperary, Ireland to see the Rock of Cashel.

I mention all this because, after I post this download, I suspect it’s going to travel some. If you’re a new visitor to this site and perhaps live anywhere near the areas I’ve just described, please get in touch with me, perhaps I can visit and avail myself to some of your local knowledge.


Scotland Day 9: Isle of Skye

I managed to get through another batch of the Scotland photos over the weekend.

After our stop at Eilean Donan, we continued on north and west toward the Isle of Skye, which has probably got more dramatic landscape per square mile than any place on earth. Well, at least, any place on earth we’ve ever been to.

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We spent two nights at a b&b hear the village of Portree, and spent the day in between roaming up the east coast of the island, around the northern tip of the island, and then back down the west side of the east peninsula around sunset. Along the way we saw myriad sea cliffs, one castle ruin, and the incredible mountainous rock formations called “The Quirang.”

Next morning we packed up once again, and went out toward the western peninsula, stopped at the Talisker Distillery, and then spent the balance of the morning at a picturesque area called ‘The Faerie Pools.” Then it was on to Fort William.

There were a lot of photo opportunities throughout the day. View them all in the video below, or see the individual photos here.

Scotland Day 8: Eilean Donan

Returning now to the 10,000+ photos we brought back from Scotland…in October…

Day 8 found us saying goodbye to Castle Stuart after a three night stay. We then drove down the east shore of Loch Ness – most of the traffic is on the west shore, which we’d explored on Day 6, via three wheeled motorcycle.

From Loch Ness we headed north and west toward the Isle of Skye, following the road that took us to Eilean Donan Castle.

Yes, Eilean Donan is probably the most recognizable edifice in all of Scotland, and maybe all of Britain next to Big Ben and the Tower of London. Given its location among the mountains, at the intersection of three lochs, it’s understandable.

What we did not fully realize until we got inside is that Eilean Donan is a restoration. The castle lay in ruins for nearly 200 years after the Jacobite Rising of 1719. In 1911, the heirs of the clan MacRae acquired the island and its rubble and proceeded to restore the castle to its former glory – largely following plans drawn from a dream that occurred to the new owner, Lieutenant Colonel John MacRae-Gilstrap. After 20 years and the modern equivalent of some $20-million pounds, Eilean Donan was re-opened in 1932 and has since become one of Scotland’s primary tourist destinations.

We were fortunate to be there at a time of year when there was not much visitor traffic. I shudder to think what it’s like in August…

Anyway, here’s the video; if you want to see the individual images, find them here.

Scotland Day 7: Wester Ross

Still forging my way through the 10,000+ files that Ann and I brought back from Scotland.

The photos in this slide show are from the we spent touring the more remote regions of the Scottish Highlands, from Inverness west and north in to some of the most dramatic scenery we’ve ever seen:

The video is in HD – click “full frame” and give it a moment to settle into the higher resolution to get the full effect. Or click here to see the photos themselves in higher resolution (without the video).

So, let’s see… a two week trip that ended on October 14…I’m halfway through the photos (though I’ve made a first pass at almost all of them, the best of which you can see here) and now it’s February…at this rate I should be done by sometime in May… at which point I might be thinking it’s time to go back…