I only found out recently that near where I now live is one of the many Scottish locations that was used in the series Outlander, it was used in the very first episode and having done my research as I hadn't watched any of it at all... I'm also one of those people who has never seen Game of Thrones either.. (sacrilege to some I know) the location was pointed out to me on a night out with people as we drove past, it creates a bit of tourism for our area as people come to check it out. I then watched the opening episode to see how it was used and its the scene where the female character Claire Randall went to a stone circle 'Craigh na Dun' and ends up being thrown back in time by touching one of the stones, the stones were artificial for the series so there are no standing stones at the site! It is actually an ancient archeological site anyway with a half circle of trees on a mound and a few smaller stones with a great view over Loch Rannoch and there is a certain atmosphere about the place if you ignore the working farm further down the track to get to it.
So I thought I would go and check it out as its not far from me at Kinloch Rannoch, about 15 minutes on the bike with a bit of a steep climb just as I get there to remind me i'm not as young as I once was. There was another little photo opportunity on the way in one of the many woods with an old dead tree I had been meaning to takes shots of and where more often than not red squirrels can be seen running around, in fact I almost run one over as it darted across the road in front of me. After getting the shots done of the old tree it was on to the fictitious 'Craigh na Dun' for a bit of a recce and line up a few shots for a more atmospheric time of day and the year as the height of summer - and I use the term loosely as its not been that warm anywhere let alone Scotland - is not the best for a mystical location, I reckon autumn time it should look good as I can return at any time. I don't have the resources of the film crew with smoke machines and massive arc lights so all i can do is hope mother nature can supply me with something on a misty autumnal day..
Without the standing stones its difficult to make the shot look interesting enough to relate to the series so I decided to do some of my bokehrama's to create a bit of separation with foreground and background so it gave enough depth of field for a wide angle shot, to make the subject stand out more and not blend in with the rest of the scenery. The sky wasn't interesting enough for a wide shot of the hillock as most people do when you google it. Its a technique I have found myself doing more of the last few years but it really racks up the shutter count! For the finished shot this particular tree stood out with its acute angle and exposed roots, you have to plan out the shot when doing a bokehrama and in total I took 18 frames to make up the shot, 9 in a row for the bottom half and the same for the top half, I used my 85mm @f1.8 shooting raw then back home in Photoshop batch processed them to jpegs and used photomerge to end up with this final image which I then altered to b&w with a hint of sepia. This technique can be a bit hit and miss at times with things not always lining up but on this occasion it worked apart from a minor tweak to an errant branch, you can view a bigger version in the gallery as it doesn't work in the blog section. We do get a few misty morning here so that will be a trip to make the shot more worthy, until then..