I managed a few trips in February, but one day-long trip to Glencoe was really special. I'd been watching the weather all week with the snow accumulating in the Highlands (and none in Glasgow as usual) and I was desperate to get up and experience it. I left the house at about 4:30 and drove up along the deserted roads I now know so well, the snow-clad mountains reflecting the moonlight looming up on either side as I cruised along Loch Lomond. I love these early starts, the sense of anticipation, the cold air pouring in through the window and some good tunes on the stereo as my wee Polo eats up the miles.
As I passed through Crianlarich the clouds descended. I began to worry about not seeing the sunrise and was contemplating turning round and heading to the cloudless Loch Lomond. But I carried on, the impossibly conical profile of Ben Dorain rearing up at me through the clouds as Tyndrum disappeared behind me. Then the snow started. A vortex barrelling towards me, dizzyingly illuminated by the headlights. Again I thought about turning back but a lightening in the sky to the north allowed me to hope this was just a passing shower.
I pulled off the road at Loch Nah Achlaise on the wild, and windswept Rannoch Moor. It's an epic spot and much photographed. I've heard it referred to as Loch Nah Cliché before. Like I care. There are always new angles, new conditions and new light to be found. The Black Mount was barely visible, cloaked in cloud, as I made my way alongside the lochans and through the heather until I found this spot. The view before me just cried out for a panorama, with the contrasting elements of frozen and still areas of water providing a varied foreground and the backdrop of the peaks of the Black Mount. All I needed now was light. I got set up and waited, hunkered down in my jacket with a plastic bag over my camera as the next snow storm poured in from the west. It began to pass and as it did so the dawn light began to turn the tips of the Black Mount pink and the raggedy edges of the clouds shades of blue and mauve. It felt great to be there seeing this and I was grateful that luck was on my side. If the snow hadn't cleared exactly when it did, I wouldn't have seen a thing. It's these fleeting, transient moments which makes landscape photography so special. It's about unique experiences like this. I sat there for a while, long after I'd made this image. It felt good.