I have always wanted to visit the Scottish Highlands during late October, early November in the hope of photographing some autumnal landscapes, but living way down in the South of England I had never made the trip before. It was great when the opportunity arose to go with a few other very keen landscape photographers for a week. This image was taken within the first couple of days of the trip; we woke up early to make the most of the time just before sunrise. We didn’t have to travel far from our B&B accommodation to see there was a lot of potential for good images; overnight the winds and temperature had dropped considerably, forming patches of mist down in the valleys and lochs along with mirror-like reflections across the water.
We found a spot that looked to be the best and quickly set up on the edge of the loch. Composing images which involve reflections usually need a fair amount of time setting up and making sure everything is aligned, but equally I wanted to work quickly as I knew the wind could pick up and reflections could be lost. I had my camera extremely low to the water’s edge, usually the lower you are the more balanced the reflection will be. Once I had chosen the rough focal length through the viewfinder I switched to the live view option and began making sure the image was straight and balanced using the handy grid lines. It was still a while before sunrise and fairly dull, so instead of increasing the ISO, I was confident enough to use a slower shutter speed as the water was still and the reflections were nice and clear. I dialed in a fraction of exposure compensation and over-exposed slightly to get a good histogram reading. A bit of mist then slowly floated across the scene which really helped to break up the composition and add some depth.
Only very minimal changes to the RAW file were needed during post-processing. I made very slight adjustments to the colour temperature and tonal sliders in Adobe Lightroom 4.4 to get the image to match what I was seeing on the back of the camera at the time. I then took the image into Photoshop Elements 11 and cloned out a few very small imperfections in the water that were distracting me. – George Edwards
Equipment and settings: Nikon D600, AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR lens, Hama Timer Remote Release “DCCSystem,” Gitzo GT3542LS 4-Section Systematic Series 3 carbon tripod, Giottos Series II MH1300-62 ballhead – 1 second at f/11, ISO 125 – 62mm focal length, +0.3 exposure compensation.