People from all over the world come to Scotland to enjoy its magnificent landscapes and many more admire the country’s beauty from afar through photographs and videos. For others though, the great outdoors and capturing Scotland’s landscapes on camera becomes the passion of a lifetime.
Malcolm Scott Webster, Scotland in Print
At a time when the vast majority of photographers have moved to digital formats, Malcolm Scott Webster is a Scottish photographer based in Aberdeen who specialises in medium format landscape photography of Scotland on film. Even at the age of 78, Malcolm continues to take his heavy Fuji 617 medium format camera (which weighs over a stone) with him when walking and climbing Munros all over Scotland. Over the last 26 years, Malcolm has climbed each of Scotland’s 284 Munros, as well as every major hill in the country. Malcolm publishes his work on his website, Scotland in Print.
Since 2007, when he acquired his Fuji 617 camera, Malcolm has taken over 800 panoramic shots of Scotland’s landscapes without needing more than one exposure for any of them. Thanks to some canny planning, he has never encountered a single drop of rain while out taking photographs! Since the 1980s, Malcolm has also painted watercolours of Scottish landscapes based on pictures taken with a Nikon F2 slide film camera, although photography has since taken over as his primary focus.
With his extensive and intimate knowledge of both Scotland’s outdoor scenery and photography, we asked Malcolm to share 5 of his favourite landscape views, based on his extensive collection of photographs
STAC POLLAIDH, SUILVEN, CUL MOR FROM SGOR TUATH ON BEINN AN EOIN
The Inverpolly Nature Reserve in the North West Highlands is one of Scotland’s very special environments and hidden away on Beinn an Eoin is a geological feature which I discovered many years ago on a week end away hill walk. In a gorge on the ridge near the summit one finds a series of striated columns culminating in a twisted sculpture showing layers of sandstone laid down millennia ago. This, combined with the extensive distant view of the Assynt hills, makes this landscape impressive indeed.
LOCHNAGAR CORRIE AND LOCH, BALMORAL ESTATE
Lochnagar Corrie in Aberdeenshire is one of the most impressive corries in Scotland at 1155 metres. Although described by Byron as having “dark frowning glories”, in winter even the “Black Spout” turns white. Having ascended Lochnagar over 50 times I wanted to record the loch and corrie in panoramic format and an early start was essential. I was successful but what the picture cannot show is the 60 mph wind which meant that I had to hold onto the tripod with both hands and body weight to keep it steady!
THE OLD MAN OF HOY, ORKNEY
The Orkney Islands off the coast of Northern Scotland are worth a visit not only for the coastal landscape but for their many historical attractions like Maes Howe and Scara Brae prehistoric settlements. For sheer drama, however, the 2 mile walk out to the “Old Man” on Hoy Island is well worth the effort.
GLEN AFFRIC IN AUTUMN
The long walk up Glen Affric in the Highlands to climb the hills on the southern slopes was not looking good as the cloud descended, meaning that I had to abandon my approach. Sitting having my sandwiches for lunch, I noticed that looking North there was a blue sky which was moving slowly south. After half an hour it was clearing the low cloud away and I took this photo which was made more atmospheric by the misty remnants around An Tudair. The pine trees and autumn colour contrasts combined with snow clad peaks make this “lucky” chance shot all the more memorable.
BEN NEVIS NORTH FACE FROM CARN MOR DEARG
I noticed that there was wall to wall sunshine forecast the next day at Fort William and felt I must take advantage of this to capture the North Face of Ben Nevis whilst it still had enough snow to delineate the corries . I therefore left Aberdeen at 5.30 am and arrived at Torlundy at 9.0am. The long ascent to 1123 metres took 3 hours and I was able to capture one of the classic mountain views of the Carn Dearg Arete the alternate ascent route to the summit of Ben Nevis. I was loathed to leave this magnificent view but achieved the car park by 5.0 pm and was back in home by 8.30 pm having had a day to remember.
To learn more about Malcolm Scott Webster’s work and see more of his photographs, please visit his website Scotland in Print.