There are many countries that would claim to be the ultimate destination for a landscape photographer, so what makes Scotland so special? Well, it might not have the mighty mountains of the USA. Or the volcanoes of Iceland or even the endless views of New Zealand, but there’s a reason that every year thousands of photographers flock to this tiny country and are captivated enough to return. Here X reasons why that might be.
The one thing that sets Scotland apart from all of the other countries above is its castles. No other country can mix as many incredibly historic castles with amazing landscapes. It is estimated that there were once up to 3,000 castles in Scotland. The many that still remain are all in various states of degradation. Some are still standing as proudly as when they were built, others are mere ruins like a blot of on the landscape. Even the ruins still mix with the landscape to provide some of the most unique and iconic scenery a photographer could ever wish for.
Scottish mountains (Munro) are unique and seem just blend into the landscape, unlike the more striking mountains you will find elsewhere. There are no mighty peaks such as you’ll find in North America or the Alps. In fact, the highest mountain in the whole of the United Kingdom is Ben Nevis in Fort William at only 1,345 meters height. Yet these mountains still feel grand and walking or driving through them makes them seem like giants. Undoubtedly one of the main reason why they look so different from other mountains is the gentle way they slope into the valleys. This as well as the unique green and brown colours makes them incredibly photogenic. You will also often find that your composition will be helped with a lonely old cottage sitting in the shadow of an imposing Munro providing the perfect point of interest.
You won’t have to travel far in Scotland to come across a loch. Each loch is a haven for birds and local wildlife as well as fish. One of the things that often hits people is the sheer size of some of the lochs. These lochs will often be flanked by mountains, cottages and even old castles. You will sometimes also find locals fishing by or in the lochs which again help to add a point of interest to the scene. If you are lucky you may even encounter some early morning mist just to add a bit more mystery and atmosphere to an already magnificent scene.
Beaches and coastline
You wouldn’t necessarily associate Scotland with incredible beaches. But you’ll be amazed at some of the beautiful beaches and coastline you’ll encounter. The thing that makes these beaches so photogenic is that there are often striking cliffs or mountains in the background. Or they might be the odd sea stack for you to use as your point of interest. But for those who want golden sand beaches that you’ll expect to see in the Mediterranean, well, there are plenty of those as well.
As for the coastline, it is amongst the best for photography in the whole of the United Kingdom. From the incredibly photogenic Duncansby Stacks to gorgeous lighthouses, the Scottish coast has it all.
Sunshine followed by rain followed by sunshine followed by hail followed by sunshine. This might be a typical day of weather that you’ll encounter in the Scottish highlands. But while in many other countries photographers would despair at the sight of clouds and rain, for some reason it just seems to work in photos of Scotland. In fact, a photo of a Scottish castle or the Munros just doesn’t look right in glorious sunshine. This means that as a photographer you can worry less about the weather and more about your composition and photos. Even when you do encounter bad weather, there is a chance that it will pass quickly. But then there is also a possibility of prolonged spells of rain. So make sure you pack waterproof clothes and something to cover your camera with.
Once you have had your fill of landscape photography you can pop into one of the many historic cities in Scotland. Whether it’s Inverness or Dundee, Sterling or Aberdeen, or even the big two Glasgow or Edinburgh, there is no shortage of cityscapes, castles, old churches or even the odds Scotsman to capture in photos. These cities are some of the most photogenic in Europe and you should make time to explore them. The great thing about Scotland is that just a short drive from any of these cities will take you out into the wilderness.
Scotland is one of the world’s best photography locations and once you visit, you will understand why. There really is everything that any landscape photographer could want. The close proximity of the locations to one another also means that you can easily change your plans to suit the weather conditions if need be. So why not make Scotland your next landscape photography destination, you won’t regret it.
Photo credits: Kav Dadfar – All rights reserved. No usage without permission. Dreamstime.