An Overnight Camp On The Table

21 May 2017

The image below was taken in August 2015, during a workshop with Marcus McAdam. Although the light is quite nice, we had to wait a little over one hour after sunrise for the light to appear. I know that when first light hits the landscape you can get some lovely warm tones to your image, and I have never really been overly happy with the composition; so recently I have been returning to this location which we call Breathless Point, and sits on the eastern side of the Quiraing, here on the Isle of Skye.

I have made three recent visits to Breathless Point, so called because you will most likely be out of breath by time you reach the short but quite steep viewpoint, and of course the view is rather nice.

For my last visit, although I only live a thirty minute drive from the Quiraing, which would be followed by a 30-45 minute walk, I decided that I would head up the evening before, pitch my tent on The Table and sleep overnight; which would mean that I would only have to walk downhill for five minutes to reach the viewpoint.

The weather conditions were looking good for sunrise, however the wind was from a southerly direction, with gusts from 30-40mph, meaning that my tent would probably take a battering, and I wouldn't get much sleep. This didn't concern me too much as I always enjoy camping and it's nice to be on location within minutes. I also knew that Breathless Point would be sheltered from the wind as you look north, so there wouldn't be any concerns with taking photographs at lower exposure times around sunrise.

I arrived at the table around one hour before sunset, and yes, it was rather windy, which made pitching my tent slightly challenging. The good thing about my tent (Wild Country Zephyros 2 Lite), is that it can be pitched with the inner and flysheet attached, so that should it be raining, there is less chance of getting the inner wet. There was also a lot of low cloud blowing through, making visibility rather low, so shortly after pitching the tent and getting everything inside ready for sleeping, I decided to retire for the evening.

The tent sure did take a battering and I didn't get much sleep as anticipated, however I was looking forward to seeing what the conditions were like in the morning. I first looked out of my tent around ninety minutes before sunrise, and the low cloud from the evening before was still hanging around, so I zipped up the tent and set my alarm for thirty minutes before sunrise, which would give me ample time to get down to Breathless Point and set up my camera.

The following four images are from after I got my images at sunrise, which show the environment in which my tent was pitched, and I'm sure you will agree - it is a very nice location indeed.

This image shows the low cloud coming down on to The Table from the ridge on the right. My tent is down there somewhere underneath the cloud.

Every now and again there would be a lull in the low cloud moving west to east, which at times also coincided with the sun breaking through the cloud out east, which bathed The Table in some lovely light. In the next image a strip of light struck out across my tent, which can be seen on the far edge The Table.

For the following image I zoomed in more to allow my tent to be seen more easily.

The last image from The Table shows the view as seen from the southern edge, with the top of The Needle poking out toward the right.

When my alarm went off I got dressed and climbed out of the tent. Once out of the tent I could see that there was the potential for a reasonable sunrise. There was some nice colour already in the sky, along with a nice break in the cloud above the hoirzon, so I kept my fingers crossed that it wouldn't close before sunrise.

Down at Breathless Point I set up my composition and initial exposure in anticipation of some light hitting the landscape below. Around fifteen minutes after sunrise the sun appeared and started to bathe the landscape in some lovely soft light, with the following image being captured five minutes later.

I am very happy with this image as I much prefer the composition to what I achieved previously, and the light hitting the landscape in the distance is subtle yet nice and warm. I do however intend on returning here a few more times this year to see if I can get better still, as there's quite often a better image waiting just around the corner.

Keywords: camp, camping, sunrise

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