on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

Five Days in Glencoe

Flashback to a Winter

Adam Pierzchala

Now retired, I have more time to enjoy being out with my camera looking for scenes and subjects that pique my interest, especially coastal, woodland and close-ups. Although I still have several rolls of 35mm and MF film in my freezer, I shoot almost exclusively digital now


With Spring well and truly Sprung and summer on its way, we've taken the opportunity to reflect on some of the highlights of Winter and in particular a stretch of stunning snowy conditions here in Glencoe that led to six mile tailbacks across Rannoch Moor as the population of the Central Belt of Scotland came to take advantage of the amazing Alpine powder conditions. Adam Pierzchala collected people's images and recollections...

Last year a group of friends hatched the idea to meet-up at Glencoe for a winter shoot and so it was that we met in Ballachulish in mid-January, cameras and tripods at the ready. Joe Cornish was in attendance too, leading the planning and doing much of the driving between locations, as well as running critiques. Two other drivers helped out with ferrying people around. A great big thank you to all for doing such a fantastic job!

The Motley Crew courtesy of Joe Cornish

As the day approached to travel to Glencoe, snow looked increasingly likely later in the week and the exchange of emails betrayed a frisson of excitement. The first day provided the usual variety of Scottish weather with brilliant sun, rain and hail showers taking turns to lift or dampen the spirits. However, the snow really set in overnight transforming the area into a veritable winter wonderland. The snowfall increased every day, some locations became inaccessible, trees changed from bare trunks and twigs to beasts of frozen burden laden with more snow, blizzard conditions played havoc with lenses and filters, the light varied from moody greys and blues to joyous bright creamy yellows when the sun filtered through the clouds and mists.

We were blessed with incredible light and landscapes and had to contend with challenging conditions, but what a week it was - truly a time to remember with experiences and emotions that will stay with us for ever. Thanks to everybody for being a great bunch of people to be with, for sharing your results and approaches to the pictures that you made and for making the week such unbridled fun!

Graham Cook

Approaching Snowstorm

The opening scene to a dramatic week ahead perfectly captures my state of childish excitement. This point of the pass, with rock walls and ravines, encourages a feeling of claustrophobia which only serves to heighten the level of anticipation. The mountains, covered in fresh snow, are discoloured by a burnt, menacing light before the approaching blizzard engulfs all and has us rushing to seek shelter.

Heart of Cold

Something of a contrast to the wider view, this detail reveals the world in a distilled, simplified form. There’s an ambiguous fluidity to the seemingly monumental ice pillars that's a consequence of intentionally freeing the subject from the obvious association. Symbolically, the heart shape is met with indifference by a harsh and freezing frigidity.

Joe Cornish

Etive Waterfall

It might seem a foolish conceit, but having photographed so many familiar scenes in the UK over such a long time I still find a thrill from attempting the familiar in an unfamiliar way, or with exceptional conditions. I doubt ever seeing this place in such light and weather again, even if I were to visit every winter for the rest of my life.


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