Planet Droma Experience

Three years ago my aim was to tackle Inverpolly and Assynt in December; areas of Scotland that contain some of the most stunning scenery in the world. Besides capturing some lovely images, however, I came back hope with a scary experience

I had been in the areas of Inverpolly and Assynt before but only for a day and just passing by. This time my intention was to spend a week there, hoping that one week would be enough to cover the whole area: but there, again, I have been wrong before. The thing is, with my style of photography, I usually tackle two or maybe three locations in a day and no more. I tend to find a location and settle for sunset. As I said, I don’t cover many miles in a day so, when I calculate one week for each area, I know that it will probably take me two. Eventually, I had to go back the following February for a second week.

Everything was ready in advance; locations had been added to the sat nav; tide times, sunrise and sunset times checked; food and drink loaded into the campervan, and I was ready to set off. My intention was to reach Loch (lake) Droma before sunset, and I was there in good time, one hour before sunset. This gave me enough time to scout the place and find something of interest. It took me just over 30 minutes to find a suitable subject and set up my gear. I was facing northwest and at this time of year the sun sets in the southwest. This posed something of a dilemma, as my aim was to catch the after glow on the horizon that would add some colour to an almost monochromatic landscape.

For this photograph I used my trusted 45mm tilt/shift lens. There were some very fine details on the snow and I didn’t want to use an aperture smaller than f/13 even though I needed the “An Teallach” mountain range to be in focus. Around 2 degrees of tilt was enough to achieve the depth of field I was seeking. Composition, focusing and all technical aspects were checked, and all that was left for me to do was a final check on exposure and wait for the right moment to capture the image under the best possible light. I was right about the afterglow in the end, it did happen and I was there to capture it.

Join me on my next trip to the area and photograph one of the most iconic places in Scotland. Click here for full details

As I was packing away the gear, something strange happened. There was a huge clap of thunder immediately overhead. Momentarily I had no idea what was going, all I knew was that my heart rate doubled in a split second. It took me a couple of minutes to realise what was happening. This loch is manmade and water levels fluctuate. The water level dropped, leaving the ice floating on its own weight. Eventually the ice cracked, gave way and dropped, causing an enormous sound, exaggerated by the echo of the surrounding hills, which was quite terrifying. After the shock of hearing and watching this great force of nature, suddenly I remembered the time on the previous winter when I stood in the middle of a frozen loch in Rannoch Moor. Will you see me doing that again in the future? Not likely after this dramatic experience.

At this precise moment though, this was my scary planet, Planet Droma.

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    Very scary Dimitri. You could be transformed in a iceman!! Places that we do not know about them need special preparations and knowledge of dangers that can hide. Only locals from around the area would know details about this phenomenon. Ignorance can kill. Very impressive and scary experience indeed!!

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