Sunbreak over North Scotland

I arrived in Scrabster harbour, mainland Scotland at 0800 hours Tuesday morning 10th December 2013 after a 1.5 hour ferry journey from snow covered Orkney Islands in pitch black darkness.This photo was taken shortly after leaving Scrabster on the road South to Inverness. The road was empty, the area relatively depopulated and the sun break gave a magical ambience. I stopped the car and shot the photo outside the car. The scene was rapidly evolving and this was the best of my 3 shots. The colours are 100% authentic, but the photo has been cropped to remove a large dark foreground and to accentuate the different cloud formations and the incipient sunshine. It was a very cold day.

Albums: Scotland
Location: Scrabster

Comment by Robert Norman on December 14, 2013 at 13:43

I'm envious of the colour, Malcolm. I had a couple of weeks in Scotland in September and there was very little colour in the sunrises or sunsets (when not obscured by heavy cloud).

The horizon rises to the right and I suspect this is just the natural lay of the land. I'd make it appear level - even if it wasn't - because it would improve the image.

I keep shots like this to add to other images where the sky didn't work out for some reason because while the capture is perfect and the colours are marvellous the photo doesn't have a subject; and without that it probably isn't something you would necessarily frame and hang on your wall. If it had a tree, mountain range or some other silhouetted foreground feature it would be greatly improved. Now I realise features like this can be a bit hard to find when you want them - especially in some parts of Scotland. Try and imagine the outline of a ruined castle or The Old Man of Storr against a sky like that and it would be an amazing image.

Comment by Malcolm Thompson on December 14, 2013 at 19:46

Thanks for your comments Robert, the horizon does indeed reflect the natural lie of the land, and I can certainly use this sky with subjects such as the Orkney Ring of Brodgar in the future. 

Comment by Peter Ryan on December 14, 2013 at 21:06

Great colours Malcolm. I agree in principal with Robert's comments above (but don't tell him).

Comment by Malcolm Thompson on December 14, 2013 at 21:19

Thanks Peter, and those colours were exactly as they appeared to me in real life which made that collage of clouds the primary subject material for me. I was in 2 minds in stopping to shoot the photo, but as the day was rapidly unfolding, time was something of the essence and took precedence over finding other subject material to add interest in the foreground. There are no trees in the area where I shot the photo.

Comment by Peter Ryan on December 14, 2013 at 21:27

I like clouds so it's fine by me and the colour are great.

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