ShutterNonsense Photography: Blog en-us (C) Martin Watt, ShutterNonsense Photography (ShutterNonsense Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:26:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:26:00 GMT ShutterNonsense Photography: Blog 120 120 Commended in Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year The results of the Scottish Landscape Photographer Of The Year 2017 were announced today (6 March 2018). Congratulations to the overall winner Paul Webster.

I didn't repeat last year's success of winning a category, however I was delighted to be Commended in the Scottish Weather category for this image of Saltcoats, entitled "End of the Season".

Sometimes the best photo opportunities come from the worst weather conditions - especially in Scotland. ​​​​"End of the Season" was shot on a wet and windy, autumn evening, when I'd almost given up due to the weather and the failing light. The glow lighting up the fence is from a train that had just passed to the right of the camera, but was out of shot.

End of the SeasonEnd of the Season

(ShutterNonsense Photography) award ayrshire commended dusk landscape night photo photography place saltcoats scotland scottish success weather Tue, 06 Mar 2018 22:32:31 GMT
Canon say “Great Photo” It’s always a boost to your confidence when a photograph is well received. The PAGB recently introduced a new annual competition, PAGB Masters of Print, and my “Mountain Hare in Fog” was one of only 59 photographs accepted into the first masters of print exhibition. All 59 photographs are currently on display at the Robert Burt Gallery at 57-61 Union Street, LONDON, SE1 1SG until Friday 15th December.

Then this week I learned that one of the sponsors, Canon, chose my photograph as their winning print in the exhibition. Canon said “We loved both the image itself and the quality of print. We were really impressed that, despite the whiteness of the shot, the fact that you hadn’t lost that fine foreground detail of the snow that gave it real impact. Using the fine art finish really helped too. So a great photo plus impressive technical ability!”


Mountain Hare (in Fog)Mountain Hare (in Fog)Looking Back

(ShutterNonsense Photography) award exhibition hare london master mountain pagb photo photography print scotland success Wed, 13 Dec 2017 20:12:47 GMT
Three Centuries of Engineering Innovation You will recall that a few weeks back the new Queensferry Crossing opened, bridging the Firth of Forth with a new road bridge to replace the 1964 bridge. I took quite a few shots of all three Forth bridges, i.e. the 1890 Forth Bridge (rail), the 1964 Forth Road Bridge and the 2017 Queensferry Crossing - three bridges spanning three centuries of engineering innovation. It seemed appropriate to enter one of these into an international open photography competition run by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), particularly as I have been a member of the institution since around 1980 when I was a student of engineering.

Well the IET like my photograph featuring all three Forth bridges. It didn't win but was Highly Commended and will be displayed in the IET's Global Engineering Hub in Savoy Place, London for one year. Three Queensferry CrossingsThree Queensferry CrossingsSpanning three centuries of engineering innovation (19th, 20th and 21st).

(ShutterNonsense Photography) award commended competition forth highly night photo photography queensferry recognition scotland success Thu, 19 Oct 2017 10:33:15 GMT
Photoshoot on the Fife Coastal Path If you watch BBC Countryfile on Sunday 16th July, you may see a feature on walking the Fife Coastal Path. Photographer Karen Thorburn walked all 117 miles of the coastal path a few years ago and blogged about it, so when the Countryfile team were looking for someone who had walked it, they found Karen's blog. With the outcome that on a rainy day in late June they filmed her at various locations along the coastal path.

Naturally, Karen wanted a record of her day with behind the scenes shots - so she commissioned me to take a series of photos during the day. It was interesting watching the film crew do their bit. It was also a challenge keeping my camera dry!

The end result, a happy client, a series of typically atmospheric photographs for Karen to use in her blog (and me in mine), and some wet equipment. I just had time to get everything dried off ready for my trip to Skye to photograph Mr & Mrs M's wedding.

Karen Thorburn on Fife Coastal PathKaren on Countryfile Karen Thorburn on Fife Coastal PathKaren on Countryfile Karen Thorburn on Fife Coastal PathKaren on Countryfile Karen Thorburn on Fife Coastal PathKaren on Countryfile Karen Thorburn on Fife Coastal PathKaren on Countryfile Karen Thorburn on Fife Coastal PathKaren on Countryfile

(ShutterNonsense Photography) #fifecoastalpath atmospheric countryfile fife fife coastal path leasure rain scotland summer walk walking Thu, 13 Jul 2017 23:09:39 GMT
Featured in the Retina Festival, Edinburgh Some of you will be aware there is a photography festival currently running in Edinburgh until the end of July (2017), i.e. the Retina Festival. There are several different exhibitions around Edinburgh, and on Sunday 2nd July the Retina Photomarathon is on again (I took part last year, but can't do it this year).

One of the exhibitions is the ShutterHub Open exhibition which is in the Dark Room, Ocean Terminal (unit 65 on the first floor, next to Zizzi's). I was fortunate to have one of my prints selected for this exhibition, i.e. "Luskentyre Fire".

Luskentyre FireLuskentyre Fire
The opening of the ShutterHub exhibition is on Saturday 1st July, then the exhibition runs 2nd to 30th July 2017. Pop along if you're free.

More details here:

(ShutterNonsense Photography) Edinburgh Exhibition Festival Harris Hebrides Luskentyre Retina Scotland evening fire hebridean landscape light orange photo photography river sand seascape sunset water Wed, 21 Jun 2017 20:56:45 GMT
I'm Loving Wedding Photography I used to feel a lot of pressure photographing weddings, but I'm really rather enjoying them now.

I think the pressure was just worry about something going wrong. Probably because during one wedding something did go wrong - the lens stopped focusing. But it wasn't a problem as I had a backup camera and suitable lens, so I picked that up and carried on shooting. When I had a moment I checked the camera and lens thoroughly and quickly got it working again (it seemed to be a problem with the lens to camera electrical contacts). Drama over, fortunately, by being prepared.

It was indeed a pleasure to be present and capture the moment when Mr & Mrs C were married recently. Their private wedding was a relaxed and fun occasion. I think it worked for them too - here's what they said “Thank you for taking our wedding photographs (we look braw!). Your approach and sensitivity was much appreciated”.

So now that I'm enjoying shooting weddings, I am looking forward to photographing many more.

Loch Coruisk Wedding

Which is just as well because I've been asked to capture the occasion, emotions and environment of a wedding on the shores of Loch Coruisk surrounded by the Cuillin mountains of Skye. I have been assured (by the bride) that it will not rain, nor will there be any midges. With that optimism it promises to be a fantastic day for everyone.

To give you an idea where Loch Coruisk is, here's a photograph of the Cuillin mountains taken from Elgol, on the Isle of Skye. We'll be travelling by boat from Elgol right into the centre of the mountains in the photo.

Elgol FlowElgol FlowRiver flowing into the seas of Loch Scavaig at Elgol, with the Cuillin mountains across the water. An alternative title I have used is "Between the Showers" - as it was tricky keeping the camera dry between the downpours.

I will keep you posted (but I will be ordering midge repellant)!


(ShutterNonsense Photography) cuillins fife mountains photo photography scotland skye wedding photographer Thu, 08 Jun 2017 19:57:32 GMT
Gold Medal One of my mountain hare photographs has won a Gold Medal in an international photography exhibition!

"Mountain Hare (in Fog)" won the PSA Gold Medal for Best Overall Nature Print in the Scottish International Salon of Photography. This is my first award in this type of competition. I am a happy bunny.

Mountain Hare (in Fog)Mountain Hare (in Fog)Mountain Hare, looking back, in hill fog.

I also had one of my Sparrowhawk photographs accepted into the same exhibition.

The 94th Scottish Salon Exhibition 2017 will be on display at Torrance Gallery (Off the Courtyard), Calderglen Country Park, Strathaven Road, East Kilbride, G75 0QZ.
This Exhibition will run from Tuesday 6th June 2017 to Friday 16th June 2017.
Opening Hours - Daily; Open 10.30 am to 4pm; Entry is Free.


(ShutterNonsense Photography) award exhibition gold gold medal hare highlands international medal mountain salon scotland scottish success Fri, 26 May 2017 08:45:00 GMT
Mountain Hares (Lepus Timidus) Last winter I decided I would like to photograph mountain hares, ideally in snowy conditions. I did some research on mountain hares (lepus timidus), their habitat and how to approach them, hopefully without scaring them off.

I've now visited the same location four times, with varying levels of snow cover, from virtually no snow to a white-out. On each occasion, although I found hare footprints at lower levels, I had to climb several hundred feet before seeing a hare. The day of the white-out wasn't too successful as the wind at higher levels was vicious and the snow blowing into the lens wasn't practical for photography. Each time I came down again the wind and weather was milder, but the hares weren't there. And when I climbed again, I had the wind and hill fog to contend with. I only saw hares at a distance on this trip, except the one I almost tripped over (but he, or she, was off in a flash and I was as startled as he was).

Some mountain hares are more comfortable than others when a human approaches. I have succeeded in getting fairly close to a few hares without them running off. I have seen some hares close their eyes for a nap when I have been approaching slowly, so I can only assume they were not worried by my presence. I've also observed that activity or noise from other animals and birds can scare them off too. Just when I was getting close to one hare, a squawking crow scared it away.

Mountain Hare - Wrong CamouflageMountain Hare - Wrong CamouflageWhen there's no snow, these mountain hares are easier to spot. However "easier" doesn't mean easy. You still have to climb to the right location, and every patch of snow seems to look like a hare!

So far my favourite mountain hare photo was taken on a day where the hill fog was forecast to clear from the mountain, but never did. I kept hoping that by climbing higher I would get above the fog, but it wasn't to be. I did get quite close to a few hares, but the poor visibility was not good for photography. However one very grey image popped in Lightroom when I moved the Dehaze slider - the hare was sharp and I just needed a few small adjustments to get a pleasing image.

Here is a selection of my favourite hare photos - so far. I'll be back next winter for more.

Mountain Hare, sheltering in a scrape next to snow.Mountain HareSheltering from the wind. Mountain Hare, white on whiteMountain Hare (in Fog)Difficult to spot an almost white mountain hare against white snow in the fog! Mountain HaresMountain HaresTwo mountain hares briefly at rest on the snow-covered mountain side.



(ShutterNonsense Photography) Scotland hare hill lepus mountain photography timidus Sun, 21 May 2017 16:06:31 GMT
Northern Lights I have tried a few times previously to photograph the aurora borealis, the northern lights. However my timing has been wrong, either too late or there has been cloud cover. However on Wednesday night when I received an alert (from AuroraWatch) and realised the night sky was clear I thought I would give it another try.

So several layers of warm clothing later, I headed to a spot on Loch Leven where I reckoned I would get a good shot - if the aurora appeared as hoped. Several other photographers had the same idea - a few ideas and stories of previous failed attempts were swapped. There was a faint glow in the sky to the naked eye, but promisingly it appeared as a green bow on the camera's rear screen.

However the green bow appeared static for a long time and people were getting cold. So it was no surprise when they packed up their cameras and tripods and left. Five minutes later, while standing chatting to the only other photographer left (John), we suddenly saw movement in the sky. The show was starting!

Fortunately my camera was still set up, so I could start capturing the amazing display straight away, although a few adjustments were required to get the exposure and composition right. John on the other hand had been about to leave, so he had to set up from scratch again! But I was only interested in capturing the wonderful display - particularly spectacular for me as I had never seen it before.

And a few minutes later, we heard running footsteps accompanied by head torches flashing through the trees - the other photographers coming back at speed! The display lasted 25 minutes although it seemed far shorter, so they didn't miss out entirely.

So what did I manage to get? Here is a selection; the portrait format shot was the first one of the display.

Aurora, Loch Leven, 1st March 2017Aurora, Loch Leven, 1st March 2017 Aurora, Loch Leven, 1st March 2017Aurora, Loch Leven, 1st March 2017 Aurora, Loch Leven, 1st March 2017Aurora, Loch Leven, 1st March 2017A spendid display of the Northern Lights looking north over Loch Leven and Perthshire.


(ShutterNonsense Photography) Fife Leven Loch Scotland aurora borealis lights night northern photography sky Thu, 02 Mar 2017 23:14:09 GMT
Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year - Category Winner I was surprised and delighted to be told I have won an award in the Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year ( My image "Guardian" was chosen as the winner in the Hebridean Light category.

The image is of the standing stones at Calanais (also known as Calanish) on the Isle of Lewis, in the Hebrides of Scotland and was taken when I visited in October 2016.

Given the excellent images which won other categories, I was humbled to be included.

GuardianGuardianMy first visit to Calanais but hopefully not my last. There was a constant stream of visitors but I noticed that few stayed long. I wanted to capture the atmosphere of this wonderful site, and a long exposure felt perfect to soften the sky and balance the harsh stone. Although many of the stones have great features, this stone had an intriguing flowing texture.

(ShutterNonsense Photography) Hebridean Hebrides Light Scotland Scottish award first islands isles landscape place win winner won Wed, 22 Feb 2017 08:42:21 GMT
Diana, my first camera I have been taking photographs for a very long time; I think since I was 8 or 9 years old. Initially I borrowed my mother's camera, and then I was given a plastic camera as a Christmas or birthday present.

I recently Googled "1960s plastic cameras" and quickly recognised "my" camera. It was a Diana - or it was one of the many Diana clones. It had a blue top plate, used 120 roll film, and had basic adjustments for aperture and focus distance. I remember that it quickly got damaged and started leaking light. However my research found that this was a common problem and many of these cameras were covered in black tape to stop the light leaking in.
If you're interested in reading about the Diana camera, here are a couple of links:

“Diana (camera)” from Wikipedia:

"The Real Diana Camera – A Plastic Wonder" by John Neel:

Today you can still buy a Diana camera (now labelled Diana+) as a retro "toy" camera with a nostalgic "dreamlike" quality to the photographs. They are somewhat more expensive than the original Diana though.

(ShutterNonsense Photography) Diana camera first nostalgia old photo photography plastic vintage Tue, 21 Feb 2017 18:54:36 GMT
Salon Success Summer seems a long way in the past now. I had success with 3 of my images being accepted into International Photography Salons during summer 2016. "Spray Maker" was accepted into the Scottish International Salon.

Spray MakerSpray Maker  

"Sparrowhawk in the Rain" and "Sango Beach" were accepted into the Edinburgh International Salon (just 2 of 203 images accepted). This was the first year I had entered the Edinburgh salon so I was especially pleased with the outcome.

Sparrowhawk in the RainSparrowhawk in the Rain

Sango BeachSango Beach

(ShutterNonsense Photography) Edinburgh Exhibition International Photographic Print Salon Scottish ShutterNonsense photography success Wed, 23 Nov 2016 22:11:24 GMT
Powering Ahead Powering AheadPowering AheadThe Ethiopian runner Genzebe Dibaba powers ahead to lead and win the Womens International 3km event at the BUPA Great Cross Country Run in Edinburgh, January 2013. I was struck by the difference in expression of Dibaba with that of her nearest rival and fellow Ethiopian, Meseret Defar.

The Royal Photographic Society's 158th International Print Exhibition has been touring the UK since October 2015, but finishes this week. 100 photographs by photographers from all over the world - and I was lucky to be included. My photograph "Powering Ahead" was chosen last year to be part of the RPS's 158th touring exhibition.

(ShutterNonsense Photography) 158th Exhibition International Photographic Print RPS Royal Society photography Sun, 14 Aug 2016 23:12:55 GMT
Award Winner I am chuffed! My image "Three Peaks" was chosen as a winner in the Fife Art Exhibition 2013. There were six winners across different forms of art, each winning a Shell Award from the exhibition sponsors Shell UK.

All the entries in the Fife Art Exhibition, including the six winners, are on display at the Kirkcaldy Galleries until Friday 1st November 2013.

Three PeaksThree PeaksThe boat sheds on the shore at Holy Island echo the shape of Lindisfarne Castle.

A cold and windy outing to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne with Kirkcaldy Photographic Society, May 2012.

In October 2013 this image was a winner in the Fife Art Exhibition at Kirkcaldy Galleries 2013 and earned a Shell Award from the sponsors Shell UK.

(ShutterNonsense Photography) Art Award Exhibition Fife Galleries Kirkcaldy Shell ShutterNonsense award photo photography travel winner Sun, 20 Oct 2013 17:33:52 GMT
Poland Well it seems a long time ago now, but I had a great time in Poland. I travelled with 4 friends from Kirkcaldy Photographic Society to stay in Gliwice, Poland for one week in June 2013. We also travelled to nearby towns and cities, like Krakow and Cieszyn.

To sum up: Good company, good food, and a few good photographs. I've included some of my favourites in my Poland Gallery here.

Arches, KrakowArches, Krakow

(ShutterNonsense Photography) Cieszyn Gliwice Krakow Poland ShutterNonsense photo photography travel Sun, 13 Oct 2013 13:28:36 GMT
Poland on the Horizon Poland on the horizon ... almost. Leaving on Sunday evening for a week in Poland, taking a few travel photos (probably way too many that I will delete later), and also participating in the annual ART NOC (Art Night) in Gliwice town centre. No doubt I will post a few of the photos here after I get back - I already have a few images in mind that I'm hoping to capture.

Really looking forward to the trip. Camera batteries are on charge, and the work mobile is switched off! 

(ShutterNonsense Photography) Gliwice Poland ShutterNonsense photo photography travel Sat, 08 Jun 2013 21:12:01 GMT
Genesis The birth of a website.

I have been threatening to create a website to share my photographs, and perhaps sell a few, for a long time. But finally it is a reality.

It's one thing taking photographs, but it's a whole different world making those images available to everyone else! I know what images I like, but would anyone else share my enthusiasm, or instead treat the pictures here with the same disdain as their neighbour's endless holiday snaps?

Well, now it's here I will find out - one way or the other.

I hope you get as much enjoyment from my photographs as I do taking them.


Martin Watt
May 2013

(ShutterNonsense Photography) Genesis Scotland ShutterNonsense photography Fri, 31 May 2013 22:56:24 GMT