Keith Muir

Distant Shores: Landscape & Travel Photography

After a Long Silence

Posted on October 27, 2015 by Admin under Photography trips - overseas travel
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Time flies, and websites are neglected when work and family call.
A poor excuse for failing to update the site; and the blog; but it’s all I have.
It has, however, been a photographically busy few months, in fits and starts, and the fruits of all that activity have finally started to see the light of website day
Indonesia will appear in more detail sometime soon. Suffice to say, a fascinating country, a great trip, and the right choice of equipment for the journey.

 

Komodo Dragon

Wild Camping

Already appeared as a new Gallery, some coastal shots from this year so far, which range from the near to home in Scotland, all the way to the volcanic shores of Tenerife – not our typical holiday destination, but a marvellously varied coastline and conditions.

Tidespray
In between, some great local sunsets, the Aurora Borealis putting in an appearance over west-central Scotland, and even a volcano or two. Enjoy!

Loch Lomond AuroraEl Teide

Travelling Far, and Travelling Light

Posted on July 28, 2015 by Admin under Camera gear, Photography trips - overseas travel
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It’s the time of year when schools are on holiday and family travels once again lead us away to far-off places: this year, with my other half’s ongoing quest to seek out the more interesting and quirky corners of the globe, it has brought us to Indonesia (specifically, kayaking around the islands of the Komodo National Park).
So photo opportunities included a wide range of landscapes, people, and wildlife (the Dragons in particular being the type of wildlife that one wishes to keep at the far end of long zoom). All of which presented some photographic cogitation, since the many nice things about my Nikon D800 kit definitely do not include portability. So I turned once again to the dependable Olympus E-M5, supplemented with a couple of new lenses (well, travel is a good excuse), and the whole kit (including filters and spare batteries) packing into a bag around 4x6x9 inches, which would probably struggle to hold even the D800 body.
And over the next few days, flights permitting, the fruits of this partnership will gradually appear on various media: every lens was used, as we paddled across the sea, camped out on uninhabited islands, stopped off in villages, towns, cities, Balinese temples, and the camera was called into action for every subject imaginable. Hopefully some worthwhile shots to share, but full marks for portability and flexibility.

Glencoe Winter

Posted on February 1, 2015 by Admin under Photography trips - Scotland
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A rare event: fine winter weather coinciding with a weekend, and, that rarest of commodities, a weekend not working. The Highlands have been on the receiving end of significant snowfall over recent days, and temperatures have stayed low. Potentially fine conditions for photography. The webcams in Glencoe showed snow still falling yesterday, and a great deal of cloud, but after gambling on the weather forecast, I headed out in the dark of an invigoratingly early hour and turned northwards.

Cliché though it is, I wanted to revisit Buchaille Etive Mor to catch a particular slanting winter’s light just after dawn. Nowadays there is a steady flow of photographers around the pathways up the Etive, and this morning had a fair few despite the thick ice and snow coating the Glen Etive road. Perched on a rock in the middle of what would normally be fast-flowing water, and cracking slabs of ice to land ankle-deep in the river, the light rewarded the early start with some wonderful views of the mountain.

Buchaille Etive Mor

Buchaille Etive Mor

Making the most of the rarity of the morning, I added the further cliché of Lochan Nah’Achlaise (how can anyone resist this?), and then westwards to Loch Leven and Loch Archtriochtan. I even scrambled my way up the icy path on the north side of Glencoe to catch the Three Sisters in a snowier coating than on previous visits.

A grand day out. Hope you enjoy the results.

The Kelpies, and the near-drowning experience

Posted on January 20, 2015 by Admin under Photography trips - Scotland
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A short opportunity in the midst of some very changeable weather over the past couple of weeks to sneak off for a few hours and take some shots.

We’ve had a few days of “proper” winter, with snow and ice and the predictable initial chaos on the roads making it hard (or at least unpredictable) to access the most scenic parts of the country, Great to look at, harder to navigate.

The short interlude that I could manage allowed me to head across central Scotland to Falkirk, at the head of the Forth & Clyde canal, where we are now fortunate to have the Kelpies, the magnificent and massive equine sculptures by Andy Scott, my first opportunity to see them in the flesh, so to speak. I had the pleasure of meeting the artist himself a couple of years back when the Kelpies were a work in progress and at the time it sounded like an insanely ambitious project, but Andy is a man of rare talent and his sculptures have become a striking part of our landscape.

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It’s not often that taking a few pictures on a cold and quiet early Sunday morning generates much excitement, but my self-absorbed concentration was interrupted by a noise in the middle distance, and the sight of a few passers-by breaking into a run. Photography abandoned, I found two guys at the canal’s edge attempting to rescue a dog-walker who had stepped down onto what he thought was a small, icy puddle that turned out to be a good bit deeper. Fortunately man and dog both were pulled successfully from the unwanted ice bath, and able to head off to a car to find towels and dry clothes. All of which is entirely impossible to discern from the quiet and serene Kelpies shots, drama undocumented visually. Maybe I should take up photojournalism.

Welcome to 2015

Posted on January 1, 2015 by Admin under Photography trips - Scotland
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Christmas and New Year bring opportunities for days off in the hills, but unfortunately not reliably so for those who work in hospitals as a day job. This year I’m fortunate to have been able to grab an afternoon away, which allowed a quick trip up the A82 and some very nice evening light.

Lochan Na'h Achlaise

Lochan Na’h Achlaise

And before I had realised it, it’s now 2015, the diary is full again and in a couple of days time the email tide will begin its steady rise, from lapping comfortably at my ankles to leaving me arching my neck to keep above the waterline. For the New Year, I hope to snatch a few more trips to the North while winter sets in (global warming permitting, of course, after the warmest year on record in 2014), drag the camera along whenever work and travel present an opportunity, and pay a bit more attention to the website. I have a trip to Iceland in March to look forward to, and further afield later in the year.

So here’s to a 2015 full of fine pictures and wonderful places! Happy New Year to all.

A Late Late Update

Posted on December 23, 2014 by Admin under Photography trips - overseas travel
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It’s a bit alarming to think “I must upload some of my recent pictures to the website” and then discover that a whole year has gone by since the last substantial bit of tweaking – perhaps not unconnected with the rather feeble number of website visitors…

The trouble with working in the real world is the limited amount of time available to focus on more “hobby” interests, like the photography, and certainly a limited amount of time to devote to writing about it. And imagining that anyone outside these four walls would be remotely interested in a blog. Or within them, for that matter.

So – to some pictures. A lot of my available time has been in short gasps and therefore forced me to stay close to home. Thus some more recent pictures in and around Glasgow, the city and its immediate environs. This is no bad thing as there is plenty photogenic, and I’ve had to discover some interesting nooks and crannies that may be revisited in the future. The work-related travel has included a short stay in the Danish city of Aarhus, which has a fabulous gallery of modern art (the ARoS Kunstmuseum – http://en.aros.dk/) which has a lot of architectural overlap with its spiral-loving predecessor, New York’s Guggenheim. The initial results from this trip are to be found lurking on the flickr page (http://www.flickr.com/photos/kmuir67/) and some of the better ones will in due course make their way here, but a couple of nice starting points are these:

Curves Within Curves

Inside the Rainbow

Some more notable expeditions include a trip to New York city in an unseasonably warm October break, and a particularly fine jaunt to the Trossachs one mist-laden but sunny, late Autumn morning, with a fabulous and unexpected view of Loch Ard forest bathed in the sort of light that one can usually only dream of.

Bracken Beams

Hopefully the coming weeks might offer a bit more opportunity to get out and about as winter weather takes hold. But for now, Happy Christmas to all and I should take the opportunity to put in a wish for a good New Year as well. Maybe also one for 2016, just to be on the safe side.

 

 

Bavaria Reveals its Winter Charms

Posted on November 24, 2013 by Admin under Photography trips - overseas travel
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Work often leads to travel, in the case of the past few days to Bavaria for a (very good) meeting on science-related matters. The location is designed to keep a group of physicians from wandering off and ensure that they stay for all of the sessions, so it’s a good 2 hour trip from Munich, up in the Alpine foothills of Garmisch-Partenkirchen (a municipality currently well known in Germany for having a populace that voted against hosting the Winter Olympics, apparently as a protest against corruption). The same meeting was here two years ago, but had unrelenting snow for the entire time, and limited opportunities for photography: this time around, the weather was kind and the lunch-break generous, offering some stunning views across Eibsee and the surrounding area. Some of these will appear at some stage officially. A couple of small tasters in the meantime:

Cloud Lifts, Eibsee Winterlight

By the next morning, the fog and snow had returned and reduced visibility to a few tens of metres. It doubtless improved my concentration on the real business of the day, and saved my neck from craning sideways to check the ever-changing light on the mountains. With luck, we’ll be back here again in 2015.

Sinai and Post-Sinai

Posted on November 3, 2013 by Admin under Photography trips - overseas travel
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Some very fine sights in Sinai, desert and sea alike. Thanks due to our guides, especially the fearless Salem.

Sadly very empty of tourists, a consequence of the wider troubles in Egypt.

Stark contrast with the wet and windy return to Scotland, where Autumn has arrived and clocks have gone back. Hoping for some cooler and drier weather, ideally coinciding with a small break from work that will allow for photography, but sunset is now at a very inconvenient 4.30pm, which is a major limit.

One of the Arctic photos seemed to attract a lot of Flickr attention in recent days after being posted to a Yahoo editorial group – not sure what that is, but it seems to have been widely viewed, so thanks to everyone who looked (and bigger thanks still to those who took the trouble to check out the rest of the photos on flickr!).

Dipping a toe in the digital water…

Posted on October 15, 2013 by Admin under Uncategorized
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This is a first foray into blogging: something that I expect not to be a regular activity, but you never know…

Taking photographs is a sideline, albeit a rather obsessive sideline, and the opportunities are constrained by the requirements of the day job. On the other hand, work does occasionally take me to interesting corners of the country and the world, and the camera is a travelling companion  to record something of my journeys. At other times, it’s squeezing a quick trip to the coast or the hills around work and family life.

So there is a great deal of “I’ll come back here another time”; and “the best that I could do with the light on the day” about much of my work. I hope you enjoy. And I may post some other comments as time goes by, probably to accompany some trips. Egypt is next on the plans, with Iceland next year. Scotland is all year round.

 

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All images © Copyright protected Keith W Muir  
Glasgow, Scotland, UK