The Five Sisters of Kintail

The Five Sisters of Kintail from the shores of Loch Duich at the village of Ratagan.

Panoramic Print
Image Size : 840 x 280 mm
Print Size : 960 x 406 mm


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I make no apology for being a regular visitor to this location as it encapsulates all the elements one expects of a west coast Highland landscape. However, to capture a pleasing image all these elements need to come together - including the state of the tide. Often by the time the light is right on the mountains it is often lost from the foreground. So more times than not it is a case of making the best of whatever opportunity arises when a window of good weather arrives.

On this occasion a small ridge of high pressure sat briefly over the north west and I decided to go for it. I had estimated that, to capture the image I had envisaged, I needed to be on location at around midday, when the light and the tide would be at its best. And so it was. The only issue I had was getting the correct exposure given the quite low, directional and contrasty light. At most times of year when there is more light on the loch a traditional landscape format image of the reflected peaks works well, but in late autumn the change of viewpoint to nearer the western end of Ratagan village is more suited to panoramic format. The final image is a composite of twelve shots captured in the vertical format.

The quality of the light and the state of the tide is what makes or breaks an image here. In addition one has to be aware that between September and April the late afternoon light, which is best for this composition, very quickly disappears from the foreshore (as can be seen bottom right of the image). On this particular day I was also very lucky that all elements of the shot came right at the same moment. The flooding tide provided very still conditions on the loch and extended the area of water available to me in which to capture a perfect reflection.