Posts Tagged ‘travel photography’

Dusk at Eilean Donan Castle

Photo of the Day

I’ve posted a few photos of Eilean Donan Castle here so I won’t bore you with my waxing poetically about the beauty of the place. Here’s a panoramic image that should speak for itself.

Click here for more of my photos of Scotland.

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A panoramic image of dusk at Eilean Donan Castle in Scotland.


Fingal’s Cave

Photo of the Day

The jewel of the the uninhabited island of Staffa is Fingal’s Cave, a giant sea cave formed entirely from hexagonal basalt columns. The small island is west of the Isle of Mull and attracts visitors mainly for this natural wonder.

Tempestuous waters jostled our boat while we attempted to moor, but expert guidance from our boat’s crew allowed all of us to safely hop onto the jetty so that we could make the short walk to the cave. The basalt columns formed by ancient volcanic eruptions serve as the pathway to the cave and you almost feel like you’re walking on a giant batch of french fries.

Once we arrived at the main attraction, the high tides pushed waves into the cave where they thunderously crashed against the walls. That awesome roar from the waves was quite a show and easily made up for the choppy seas we faced getting on and off the boat.

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Blackrock Cottage Panorama

Photo of the Day

Scotland’s dramatic vistas attract landscape photographers in swarms. The dependability of certain spots is clear when you scout out locations on Google Maps: you can often find photographers with cameras set up on tripods pointed at prime locations on the street view.

The Blackrock Cottage, just east of the entrance to Glencoe, is another one of those iconic views that every photographer has to grab if they’re anywhere nearby. On a trip into the highlands, you pass within a mile or two of this picturesque home, so of course, on the way up I had to stop and try my luck.

I tried to put my own spin on the oft-photographed view by making it into a panorama and capturing a little more of the stark surrounding countryside and not just the cottage with the imposing peak of Buchaille Etive Mor in the background.

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A panoramic view of the Blackrock Cottage with Buchaille Etive Mor in the background, near Glencoe, Scotland.


Lunga Island Puffin Call

Photo of the Day

Some of the tiny, uninhabited islands off the western coast of Scotland make ideal fare for a boat excursion thanks to their wild, isolated landscapes and some excellent wildlife opportunities. The Treshnish Isles, a group of small islands west of the Isle of Mull offer the opportunity to get up close and personal with one of the cutest of all birds, the Atlantic Puffin.

These hilarious waddlers stumble along the edges of the island’s cliffs and trip over themselves to get into the small holes they call nests. With how ungainly they are on land, you’d swear they were related to penguins. And while penguins show their grace in the water, the puffins get to be quick and nimble in the air. Darting from cliffs to sea and back, they move in blurs. It’s only when they get back to the cliffs that they start flopping around in an effort to get one foot in front of the other.

While you can’t exactly cuddle with them (and believe me, you’ll want to), they’re surprisingly tolerant of human presence on their island. Us big mammals have the habit of scaring away some of the puffins’ predators, so they don’t mind if we’re getting a few feet away from them with our cameras whirring away like paparazzi on the red carpet. The one in the image below was calling out to one of his puffin compatriots, perhaps wondering who they guy with the big lens in his face was.

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An Atlantic Puffin on Lunga Island


Ardnamurchan Point Lighthouse

Photo of the Day

Recent adventures to Scotland took me to the Ardnamurchan peninsula which features the most Westerly point in mainland Great Britain. Narrow, winding roads rise and fall over the stark, wavy landscape to reach Ardnamurchan point which features a picturesque lighthouse as seen below.

This shot required manoeuvring over a rough terrain full of tiny creeks, slippery stones, and tidal inlets as well as around sheep that looked unhappy to have me in their presence, but those rocks in the foreground along with the long exposure of the turbulent water gave this photo more texture and depth than I might have gotten from a more accessible location.

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Over Eilean Donan Castle

Photo of the Day

I’ve recently returned from another great week in Scotland. They all seem to be great, but this one even had the weather contributing to the quality of life. Sunny skies have browned my arms while hiking through gorgeous glens, trekking up and down hills overlooking lochs and castle, and spotting just about every bit of wildlife that the UK seems to have on offer.

One of those lochs and castles visited was the magical Eilean Donan on Loch Duich. It’s one of my favourite places in the world and I keep hoping I get to be in its neighbourhood every time I go up to Scotland.

For today’s photo of the day, I embarked on a little trek that quickly got a lot longer than anticipated when I was struggling to get the view I wanted. Driving up the tiny country road that provides views above the castle wasn’t quite good enough for me, but I couldn’t find an accessible path up to the hills. A couple miles of driving, a hefty climb, and then a couple of miles traversing steep slopes back to almost where I had started and I wound up in the spot I wanted just as the sun was descending.

The result is below showing the sun touching the mountains in the west while the colours sweep across the panorama of the lochs and castle below.

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Meteora Valley

Photo of the Day

My gallery of photos of Meteora, Greece is now online and in celebration of that fact, today’s photo of the day shows the Roussanou Monastery perched on a cliff overlooking the valley in Meteora.

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Millstone at Longshaw Estates

Photo of the Day

Autumn colours add magic to the forests surrounding Longshaw Estates in the Peak District and the abandoned millstones hiding beneath the trees.

More of my photos of the Peak District and the English midlands are available here.

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An abandoned millstone in the forest near Padley Gorge in Longshaw Estate, Derbyshire.


Vintage Car in Cuba

Photo of the Day

Here’s another of Cuba’s famous vintage cars. I couldn’t resist these classic machines especially not when they were backlit by Trinidad’s warm sunset glow.

A full Cuba gallery will be coming soon.

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South Stack Lighthouse at Dusk

Photo of the Day

Here’s another shot from last Easter Weekend. This is the South Stack Lighthouse on the Western Coast of the Isle of Anglesey in North Wales.

Giant cliffs loom over the rocky peninsula where this beacon shines out into the water and when the light spins around, it casts an eerie glow back onto the land. My camera didn’t pick up the light returning back to the land and though I probably could have done a longer exposure to show the spotlight’s streak upon the cliffs, I thought it would have started looking pretty artificial, so I went for this classic view of the lighthouse at dusk instead.

Please visit my Wales image gallery to see more photos of North Wales.

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The South Stack Lighthouse at dusk on the island of Anglesey in North Wales, UK.


Llynnau Mymbyr to Snowdon

Photo of the Day

Last weekend, good weather and an even better hotel deal prompted a last-minute trip to North Wales. Among the many gorgeous spots visited was Llynnau Mymbyr, a pair of lakes nestled in the mountains of Snowdonia.

This photo takes in the view westward across one of the lakes to Snowden, the highest peak in Wales still covered in its winter snow.

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Snowdonia's peaks, including Snowden, Wales' highest peak, viewed from the Llynnau Mymbyr lakes in North Wales, UK.


Vinales, Cuba

Photo of the Day

The energy of the Cuba’s capital, Havana, is relentless. Overwhelming sound and life inhabit every street. If you want to escape and take a little rest from it all, there’s probably no better contrast to Havana’s high pace than the tranquil Vinales Valley in Pinar del Rio province where giant limestone mogotes tower over placid farms and a small town that serves as a base to explore the region’s natural wonders.

This photo is the classic view of the Mogotes of the Cordillera de Guaniguanico mountain range at sunset. This viewpoint at the Hotel Los Jazmines is a popular spot for good reason – it’s the perfect place to take in one of Cuba’s most iconic landscapes.

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The Vinales Valley at sunset looking across to the Mogotes of the Cordillera de Guaniguanico mountain range in Cuba.


Vintage Car in Havana, Cuba

Photo of the Day

I’m not a car buff, by any stretch, but I couldn’t get enough of the classic cars in Cuba. From an age where form could trump function, the lines of these lumbering machines never failed to capture my attention.

Cubans like to brag that they have the best mechanics in the world. With the embargo in place that has kept them from updating their vehicles, they’ve had to make their cars last and last for a long time. When you know that you may never own another car, you do everything you can to make sure the one you had stays in good working order. And if it’s the source of your livelihood you start caring for it like a baby. A majority of these classic cars are cabs for hire and for a cheap fare, you can catch a ride in a little piece of history.

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A vintage American car on the streets of Havana, Cuba at night.


Roussanou Monastery Above the Clouds

Photo of the Day

To mix things up a little, we’re going back to Greece for today’s photo of the day. This one is the Roussanou monastery in Meteora, Greece.

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Clouds roll past the cliff-top Monastery of Roussanou in Meteora, Greece.


Mother and Daughter in Trinidad, Cuba

Photo of the Day

Life seems more public in Cuba. The warm climate helps, but even more important, I think, is the sense of community and the tradition of close-knit extended families. Visits to neighbours are constant. As a result, a walk down a Cuban street sees more of daily life happening out in the open than in many other parts of the world.

Getting to see that family life shared so openly is one of the joys of wandering through Cuban cities. Here, Mother and daughter share a stroll up one of Trinidad’s cobbled streets as the sun sets behind them.

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A mother and daughter walk the cobbled streets of Trinidad, Cuba at sunset.


Baseball in Old Havana

Photo of the Day

After a long trip back from Cuba yesterday, I’m back home with a hard drive full of new photos.

There will be more to come from Cuba in the next little while, but I also plan to mix it up with photos from Greece as well as recent shots from the Peak District (and who knows where else). For now, here’s a little glimpse into Habana Vieja, Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that features eclectic architecture and the incomparable energy of its residents.

Here, one of the island’s many vintage cars serves as a back stop for teens aspiring for the big leagues in baseball-obsessed Cuba.

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Meteora Monastery above the Clouds

Photo of the Day

I’ve finally had a chance to go through some of my photos from my trip to Greece and I wanted to share one from incredible Meteora. This is the Holy Monastery of Varlaam. In the background, right in the middle of the shot, you can also see the Holy Monastery of Rousanou peeping through the clouds (make sure to click the image for a larger version).

Meteora is one of the most spectacular landscapes I’ve ever visited and I took this trip for the express purpose of getting shots like this. I had five days there and the weather really didn’t cooperate with me most of the time. This fleeting break in the clouds lasted for a half hour at the most, but it certainly was a perfect 30 minutes and I tried to make the most of it. After these clouds were swept away, the sun took over and made a nice change from the cloud and fog that had been hounding me for the previous few days.

This weekend, I’m lucky enough to be heading to Cuba for two weeks to escape the dreary Manchester winter for a little while. I expect my access to internet to be a little bit sporadic there, so please be understanding if I don’t reply to any questions or comments immediately. In the meantime, if I do get any access there, I might be able to post an update or two on my Instagram feed or on my Facebook page.

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Autumn at Longshaw Estates

Photo of the Day

Though winter is almost officially upon us, I don’t presently have any newer images to fit that theme, so here’s one from a short while ago that clings to autumn and just won’t let go. These fiery leaves come to you from Longshaw Estates in the Peak district.

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Facebook Page for Darby Sawchuk Photography

Let’s skip ahead to the good stuff… Please visit my Facebook page here:

Darby Sawchuk Photography on Facebook

This is one of those things I probably should have done a long time ago. I’m honestly not sure why I never did, but that doesn’t matter now. There’s a page there and that’s what counts!

I plan to add plenty of photos there (both old and new) while also giving some short-and-sweet updates and news bites about travel and photography. Hopefully a few folks will show up and we can chat about where we’ve been, where we’re going, and the photos we love. I don’t want to be ‘that guy’ that floods your feed with a hundred posts a day (that’s just rude!), I just want to show you some great views of the world.


Autumn Mushrooms in the Peak District

Photo of the Day

As autumn winds down, today’s photo of the day brings a bit of vestigial life in the form of some diminutive mushrooms at one of my favourite spots in the Peak District: Longshaw Estates. I’m no mycologist (yes, I had to look that up) so I’m afraid I can’t tell you what kind of fungi we’re looking at here. They’re small, they’re cute, and from the looks of it, a little bit slimy. Anyone know what species we’re dealing with or does that just describe most mushrooms?

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Calgary Stampede Fireworks Panorama

Photo of the Day

The view of Calgary and its skyline from Scotsman’s Hill is classic, but when you throw in the fireworks of the Calgary Stampede grandstand show, the sight is even more stellar.

Watching the fireworks from Scotsman’s Hill was a mandatory part of growing up in Calgary, so I had been to this exact spot plenty of times before and I knew roughly what I wanted to try to capture. I got there early, since I know the prime spots fill up fast. After all, you can watch the chuckwagon races from up there for free – crowds start forming hours before the fireworks begin.

So, that leaves plenty of time to watch the chucks, dodge mosquitoes, check out the sunset, set up the tripod and chat with fellow fireworks aficionados.

On this particular night, the threat of rain hung in the air the whole evening. We were mostly spared the drizzle until the fireworks began and the rain made taking photos a bit awkward. Water on the lens wasn’t really the effect I was going for here, so my umbrella was open above my camera and I had a cloth handy to clean my lens when errant drops got through. The result is that I didn’t get quite as many shots to choose from since I spent half my time keeping my gear dry, but I managed to get enough to piece together the panorama below.

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Calgary Stampede Fireworks Panorama


Bow Lake

Photo of the Day

On my recent trip through Banff National Park, the weather left something to be desired. Considering how relentlessly sunny Calgary had been, I had hoped that the trend would continue further west. On this occasion, that wasn’t the case, but there are ways of making some interesting pictures even if the light doesn’t cooperate as you might like.

One of those ways is to give the scene a more mysterious feeling by substantially lengthening the exposure time. Thanks to a trusty 10-stop neutral density filter, exposures become long enough to smear the clouds and turn water into glass.

That’s just what this shot of the blue glacial waters of Bow Lake needed to bring it to life. The brilliant colour of the lake is the star attraction in this shot, but the mountains beyond are nothing to sneeze at either. The mostly overcast day, however, just wasn’t all that flattering, so the ND filter came out of the bag of tricks and the more ethereal result is what you see here.

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Bow Lake

Please visit my Southern Alberta gallery to see more images from this region.


Castle Mountain at Dusk

Photo of the Day

One of my favourite sights in Canada’s Banff National Park is Castle Mountain. The giant, imposing tower of rock looms over the landscape like the fortress of a villain in a fantasy story.

I had hoped to get more help from the sun and clouds for this image, but would have to be satisfied by a sultry glow on the horizon while the blue of dusk descended.

This view was actually overshadowed by the trip back to Lake Louise. While driving along the Trans Canada Highway, we approached one of the wildlife crossings that arch over the road and allow animals access to either side. As we got closer, we saw right at the edge nearest us, a grizzly bear slowly loping across the bridge and we drive directly underneath him!

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Castle Mountain at Dusk


Moraine Lake Panorama

Photo of the Day

Today’s image is from one of my favourite places in the world: Moraine Lake in Banff National Park , Alberta, Canada.

The colour of the water is unrealistically blue and in it are reflected some astonishingly beautiful mountains, the Ten Peaks. If this place doesn’t stir you even a little bit, I feel bad for you and your dead soul. Even if landscapes aren’t your thing, you have to draw a line somewhere and just succumb to that voice inside you that’s trying to get out and say, “Wow.”

Due to this natural beauty, Moraine Lake is a big draw for photographers and the scene has been captured in most imaginable ways. I haven’t however, seen a lot of panoramas that pull back a little bit and frame the grandest part of the scene with the surroundings. The morning I was there didn’t quite yield the sunrise I had hoped for, so I felt I needed to do a bit more than just the standard shot. This place deserves the effort.

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Moraine Lake panorama