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So I am out and about checking out a new area 10 miles from where I live called Old Struan, I had passed the sign quite a few times as I head for the A9. I did briefly walk down the road for a quick look not long after moving here to see if there was anything of interest, its a single track lane of 1/2 mile or so to old Struan and once there it is a sleepy little hamlet with a stone bridge over a tumbling burn, an old church and a few houses. Very nice, a good place to come back too under the right conditions.

Yesterday was that time, it was nothing special weather wise but I just decided to go and explore the area more as there looked like a pleasant river walk away from the bridge on that first visit and the ordnance survey map was showing a waterfall marked nearby, I left home at 5.00 pm and this time took the car down the narrow lane and parked by the church. In the distance I could here the occasional hum from traffic on the A9 as the world went about its daily business yet I might as well have been in another world as it was so peaceful and tranquil with just the sound of bird song and Errochty water as it tumbled over the rocks heading for the Garry river which was my destination. At first it seemed like just a pleasant low level river lined by a few trees but as I got further away from Old Struan the scenery changed as I had to walk uphill for a short distance and then I could here more of a rumbling sound, this must be the waterfall marked on the OS map, I wasn't expecting a mini gorge with such impressive rock structures, what a place! I spent a while just watching the water as it threaded its way around the rocks and studying the rock pools carved out by the passage of time and water over many thousand of years, such a contrast from five minutes earlier downstream.

It was time to find a composition and set up the camera gear, I took many angles up and down this stretch of water and eventually concentrated on this particular piece of sculpted artwork from mother nature, it was difficult to settle on a final composition but eventually I was happy with the pic below and the framing of the foreground rocks to establish a solid foreground, I couldn't always get the angle I wanted because of the shape of the rocks made it impossible to set up the tripod. I knew this would work well as a b&w as I have been photographing many rivers and rocks in Scotland over the years particularly down in Glen Etive. As ever a polariser was used to control reflections on my 17-40mm at the full wide of 17mm, by this time it was 6.30pm and although there was no direct sunlight it was still quite bright which gave me a shutter speed of 1.3s at ISO 50 @f22, the water was fast flowing which gave enough movement in contrast to the static rockery surrounding it. It was while post processing that I noticed the bulls head, the centre piece rock where the water flows either side of it looks remarkably like a bulls head!

This is my favourite b&w picture of the year so far, it takes pride of space in my gallery and gets lots of comments, I will be back to the location soon as it is a place of inspiration..

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Ian Biggs

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