Just what the Internet needs, more cat photos! lol. Anyway, the other day I was discussing camera equipment with Marilyn Armstrong. We have similar set ups, so it is nice to nerd out on photography on a occasion. She had talked about her Olympus 45mm f1.8 “portrait” lens. I have one, but almost never use it. It is tiny and looks like a toy (mine is blue!), particularly when compared to my enormous new 100-400.
So I pulled the lens out and took a few photos with it over the last few days.
I have mentioned several times in these posts that this was a family trip. Part of this was a visit to places about the MacDonalds, since that is our history. So I guess I should be excused for thinking that we were going to visit Glencoe for the history, to go and visit the site of the infamous Massacre of Glencoe. I assumed that was what the visitor center was all about.
Imagine my surprise when on our first travel day, after driving through some of the most beautiful mountains I have seen in my life, and I have seen many, that this was Glencoe.
We drove through Glencoe a total of three times. We didn’t get a chance to stop until the last time through. We spent some time, a little over an hour, at the visitor center and another 45 minutes or so at a scenic pull off that was crowded with people looking at the mountains.
At the end of one of our first days of the Scotland adventure, I was talking to my brother and nephew about the landscape. One of us said, “I was thinking, perhaps I’m not attracted to this landscape because I love mountains so much, but I love mountains so much because of this landscape. It’s in my blood, in my genes.” We all nodded. Each of us had had that very thought, that the reason we are as we are is that our ancestors lived in this landscape until only 250 years ago, a blink in the 5000 years since agriculture made its way to these shores.
Could it be that those few drops of Highland blood in my veins still called me “home”?
Riding out of Edinburgh we crossed a lot of countryside full of golden grain fields. It was pretty. From the Stirling Castle we could see the northern hills, which were nice. But then, a bit past Callander (we didn’t stop on the way out, but did on the way back a week later), something changed. There were these beautiful hills surrounding a body of water, Loch Lubnaig.
OK, at this point the hills weren’t as impressive as those a ten minute drive from my New Hampshire home, and in 20 minutes I can have water views that are similar.
And yet there was something special here. Everyone was glued to the windows, oohing and aahhing.
And then there was another turn, and the mountains became a little rougher with few trees.
And I was home.
A little later we passed through Glencoe, and wow! And then to Fort William, with water and mountains, including Ben Nevis (sorry, no good pictures of this tallest of mountains).
And more coastal Highland driving to Mallaig. I was ready to move in!
Part of the appeal was how few and far between the signs of Man were (not including the road). And then some castles as rugged as the landscape.
Of course my ancestors would more likely live in something simpler than a castle…
Our visit to the Highland Folk Museum was great. I enjoyed seeing how my ancestors 250 or 300 years ago lived. It was not a life of luxury! But most life would be lived outside, not in the dark, cramped, smoke-filled buildings. Everything that needed light, all of the crafts, would need to be outside. Is that why I would much, much rather be outside than in?
Back when I was in my 20s I traveled with my parents and oldest nephew, who was around 12, to the British Isles. We hit England, Wales and (Republic) Ireland. My parents had been before, so I chose a lot of the sites that we visited. Most of the places I suggested were ancient sites, so we visited chamber tombs, long barrows, standing stones, stone circles, etc. Some were so little visited that we followed narrow cow paths… But it was fun.
That trip was the start of a tradition for my parents. They took all of their grandchildren, and later, great-grandchildren, on an overseas trip when they were 10 to 12.
And I had traveled overseas quite a few times in those years, but never to the British Isles.
Early in the summer I realized that a little bird had built a nest right above our main door, the back door. There is a small enclosed porch, so the nest isn’t super visible until you step onto it. As I would enter or leave the house, the bird would fly away.
At one point, I realized there were chicks in the nest. Later, there was no doubt as they could be very noisy!
Over the last couple of days I posted a lot of photos that I took in late May and June. In ways these posts, and a couple of others (like this one) from mid-May, were all leading up to this quick review of my new lens, an Olympus 100-400 5.0-6.3. Just as a reminder, here are the last few posts:
As some of you know, I had on order of 1200 recent photos to dig through. Others may remember that I bought a new super-telephoto zoom lens in May. Because of the large numbers involved, I decided to split it into three posts:
Quick background: After the initial photos I posted in May, I did some walk around in New Hampshire and a long weekend on Cape Cod over Memorial Day weekend (last weekend in May). This was a time I was doing a lot of testing and experimenting. I took about 400 photos. I then spent two weeks on Cape Cod, with a bit of time off, in the middle of June. I spent a lot of time on the kayak taking photos and a few walks in the salt marshes and woods. This came in at about 800 photos.
The other day I posted several photos of the snowy owls that I saw last week. I had a few people suggest that I put up more photos. OK, here are a whole bunch! I hope you enjoy. (Click on photo to get better detail).