Thank you for reading my very first blog post.
As I do not have more weddings this year I started to do something else at the offseason. Landscapes. No not landscapes. Night time landscapes and astrophotography.
After I was planning a wild camping photography trip to Glen Etive for weeks. I`ve decided to hiking a local wee mountain – Ben A`an, because weather was more promising for night time photography there than in Glen Etive.
I arrived at the Ben A`an car park at Saturday around 3:30pm. I got my rucksack filled with camping stuff, food, water and camera gear just over 25kg. I crossed the road and started my very first steps on the hill way up to Ben A`an. Oh man, after the first 100m uphill walk I said to myself: “No, just stop right here. I do not need to do this.” – as my heart was beating very strong and fast already.
As I usually do weightlifting and train in gym. So I learned our mind is always try to stop you before we leave our comfort zone. If something is heavy, hard to do the mind tries to block you far before we would reach our limits.
So I had a rest after only 100m. I made a decision and I did setup my goal as I will go up there today. To reach my goal I made a plan … I will go up slowly, but surely. At my third rest I was sitting on a large rock next the hill path. I did see a small black tube like a kind of roll film negative storage tube. I picked it up from the ground and opened it. I was surprised as it was herb container. Someone lost it or just throw it away as only 1g left in it. :D What a surprise!
Anyway during my exhausting, but fantastic hiking I met with some interesting and lovely people. A father with his two boys (4-6ish), two landscape photographers from Germany, other hikers come down way. Everyone had a few nice words for me and asked me about: How I am doing. I guess I had a “This guy gets a heart attack anytime” face. :D
Finally I reached the peak of Ben A`an around 6pm. I did not feel more then that I am sweating and breathing heavily.
The two German photographers already were waiting for the perfect sunset behind their cameras.
There was a tent already where I planned my camping base. I moved to the South-East side and find a pitch there. After my tent was up I just had a sit in for a minute before I changed my T-shirt and top. That moment I did feel something. I DID IT! It was an unbelievable feeling. Not just because I had a lovely view and relatively good weather. For that moment I was seeing peoples who are or were important for me. Only few ones, but I did see them all just front of my eyes. I wished if only they were seeing and feeling this too. It was a quiet emotional moment for me.
Once I changed my top I found a spot for to take photos. Unfortunately light was very poor the sunset dissapiered without any sign.
I had a chat with a couple they stayed in the other tent. Nice couple the girl from Australia, the guy from Edinburgh. I told them probably I will walk next of their tents few times over night as I will work on some night time photographs here tonight. Because the sky was still overcast I went in my tent to eat an rest a bit. After 10pm a stag started deer rutting around 200-300 yards from my tent. Then another replied to him from the direction of Loch Achray. Then another one from the other side of Loch Katrine.
I got up 11pm. Sky was cloudy.
1am unfortunately nothing changed with the sky.
3:30am sky was partly clouded and was little windy too. I picked up my camera, the tripod and torch to find a good spot to take photos.
I was sitting around 40-45 minutes on a huge rock of the peak to wait for sky clear up. I started to take 2-3 pictures when an alarm clock did go off from the couple`s tent. After they did start to chat with each other. I did not really hear anything what about just a kind of background noise so I did continue my work. Once I walked by their tent and I nearly had a fall as a high women`s voice came from the tent as: Ohh my God. Ohh my God!! Well the love was in the air. :D
Once I went back to work I still was their audience until they realized I am out there just few metres away from their tent. Women`s voices stopped and not long after they came out from the tent just to say: Good morning. :)
Back to photography. I was listening those stags around these mountains again when another little miracle happened. I was exposed the camera when a couple of grouse flown away just few metres top of my head. They were lovely and very fast flying ones.
I managed to take only few good photos. I missed other photos because my lens did steam up and I did not see that then how badly it is effecting the images.
I had more lucky with the light before the sunrise than last night. I managed to take 2-3 photos as rain started from behind me. After I started to packaging my gear and break the tent. It became wet and very cloudy up on the peak so fast.
When I walked down the path I seen 4-5 deer very close and I was feeling myself blissful and lucky, because I did not meet with the stag. :)
End of my wild camping after I was sitting in my car at the car park I had only one question for myself … Why I have not started hiking before?