A few days ago, I sat up above that waterfall just off the Kylesku road waiting for the weather to improve. I waited about two and a half hours; it didn’t improve, and I didn’t take any photos.
I did sit there, in my waterproof trousers, looking over fabulous landscape, all alone for a short period.
Then I heard a noise; it was a drone flying right in front of me, and I guess it was filming the waterfall.
The operator was……. nowhere to be seen! I realised I’d previously seen him at a parking place by the road; over the hill from me now.
Apart from the minor irritation of the intrusion, I’m thinking “I bet he gets good footage with that”, and maybe I’m a little envious because I haven’t got one myself.
But then I reflected a bit more. There’s two things that immediately strike me as wrong. Firstly, the view from the drone isn’t one you can see yourself. Its a novelty, and often amazing, but you’ll never see it yourself.
And secondly, its worse than that isn’t it, the operator wasn’t even present to have any view of the waterfall at all. He was presumably watching the monitor over near his car. Like watching a TV. Not actually seeing, hearing or experiencing the amazing view first hand in any way at all. He didn’t need boots or waterproof trousers either. Apart from the fact it was his footage, he could’ve seen something similar on the internet at home and been just as connected. Or disconnected.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not being critical; his footage might have been amazing and he might be justifiably pleased. But I don’t want one anymore.
I don’t want to be looking in, like a “landscape voyeur”.
I want to be the one with the wet feet.
I want to be the one who remembers my experience from actually standing in the actual spot.
(OK, you can call me a hypocrite for having the camera trap, which is a bit similar, but my intentions with that are quite different.)
So what’s all this to do with Clachtoll?
This week I spent a few hours there, looking for a new angle.
I don’t think I’ve taken a picture of the beach yet, and it is really very nice!
And I end up over by the Split Rock itself; I want to get up close and personal, and I haven’t really managed it yet.
I did a monochrome shot a while ago, but it doesn’t really have the “wow” factor:
Now I’m clambering over the rocks, and I find a crystal clear rockpool which is looking distinctly like “foreground interest” to me. I get to a vantage point and find that I’m looking straight into the sun, and its also reflecting off the rockpool.
It no longer matters that its crystal clear.
Taking photos like this is very challenging; I’m shooting in RAW and underexposing by two stops, and I’ve got two graduated filters across the top part of the frame. And I later find that I’ve probably got some sea spray on there too, giving me some flare which I hadn’t really wanted:
Its time to go; I put the lens cap on, but obviously do it badly, as it catapults off, down the rocks towards the sea. I tried to retrieve it with a tripod leg, but just succeeded in pushing it further down the wet slippery slope. And that was a wet slippery slope that I wasn’t about to take myself for a one way trip.
Yes, I got a picture; yes, I lost a lens cap; yes, I have a little adventure that I’ll remember.
A selection of Split Rock shots; like the ones I made earlier: