One of the consequences of the cheap air travel era is that I've been more likely to take a flight abroad for a trip rather than thinking closer to home. Since moving back to the UK after some time living abroad I have realised this oversight and I am actively seeking to correct it. Starting with the Scottish Highlands.
Sometimes its unexpected places or moments that yield your best photos from a trip. Still a good plan is essential and despite there being a wealth of information on the internet, it can often be overwhelming and hard to digest exactly what is worth seeing. The dead tree press still has its day, at least in my eyes. First I wanted some inspiration and where better to find some from the Landscape Photographer of the Year 10 Year Special Edition that contains a very deserved representation from Scotland. Then I got thinking "what is the Lonely Planet for photography?" to make the arduous task of deciding exactly where to go a bit easier. Luckily Dougie Cunningham has done the hard work here in his excellent book Photographing Scotland. This book, first published in December 2017, is phenomenal from a practical point of view with clear and concise directions to some of the best viewpoints in the country. I'd highly recommend it. For those cheapskates who balk at paying good money for someones hard work here is a good free online summary of spots in the Glencoe area.
Apps are also great and for some time I have yearned for one that could make planning a trip via a map much easier. My general use-case is I want somewhere to store all of the locations I'm interested in visiting, ideally with notes and photo linking, and then when I'm traveling I can plan on the fly which location I could visit based on my current location. Google Maps has lists, and I did try that before shelling out £14.99 for an app called Rego Pro, but ultimately G Maps had far too much of a clunky UI. Rego on the other had is worth every penny. It has a really simple UI that allows you to group collections with subfolders of locations. You can find locations from a searching words (using the Foursquare API) or directly via GPS coordinates, which was of most interest to me as I wanted to input some locations from the Photographing Scotland book. This took some time but should help me during the trip to consider locations easily by drive time from my current location.
Finally it was time to plan what gear to take. This is always a hard task, probably because I have too much choice (....I blame gear acquisition syndrome), but this time it was a bit more straightforward. I want my primary photography tool to be a medium format camera and so taking my full set of Bronica kit is a no brainer. This was in large part influenced by my recent collection of images captured with this camera called American Landscapes. The rendition of landscapes in square medium format really is a joy. I'm most excited to try out a couple of recent telephoto acquisitions (150mm and 250mm) on this camera for some compressed landscape shots. I think I'll take 3 film holders loaded with TMax 400, Portra 400 and a 35mm roll of something (loaded with a DIY 35mm adapter into a 220 back). However as always the temptation to take a digital camera is there and most likely I'll also take my D7100 as I don't find the Bronica very good for me with long exposures. Then just for fun I will likely take a 6x9 Zeiss Ikon Ikonta because its so (relatively) small and I've been meaning to put another roll through it for a good while now.
Stay tuned for the trip report coming in a few weeks!