In 18 years of tour guiding it’s never happened before. I never thought it would and now it has, I rather hope it happens again. The prospect of an all-female group held some trepidation if truth be told but in the event, it was a real pleasure. I’m stretching it a bit when I say “all female” because thanks to a late booking (cheers Will), the gender bias on our recent Caledonia Colour tour was balanced just a tad.
And so it was that Will, seven ladies and myself ventured into the forests and hills of the Cairngorms and further west, the lesser-visited Beinn Eighe and Torridon. Landscape photography is all about light and decisions: evaluating the former to inform the latter. With an open mind, images can be created in almost all conditions and that’s just as well as we experienced pretty much all conditions.
The autumn colour of the Cairngorms was muted this year. There were opportunities of course but the great swathes of glowing birches on which this tour rests, never really happened. Glen Affric can always be relied upon in this regard and it didn’t disappoint with splintering light in between icy squalls.
Heading west the weather closed in and if we’d believed the forecast, a lot of coffee and cream cakes would have been consumed. It wasn’t perfect by any means but we dodged and weaved our way to some half-decent images, witnessed by an impressive portfolio submitted by the group on the final night.
It’s fair to say that if I’d not been guiding this last week, I’d probably have chosen not to venture out and that’s the thing with photo tours - you have to go out; you’re ‘forced’ to go out. More often than not that pays off and it’s a rare day when you return with nothing to show for your efforts. Our Caledonia Colour group – 7 ladies plus Will – stuck with it and despite trying conditions showed what can be done. We learned a lot, laughed a lot and almost inevitably, ate a lot. Not a bad way to spend a week don’t you think?