We do keep saying it but we are incredibly lucky here at Loch Melfort to be surrounded by such amazing scenery and natural wonders, all year round. Just stepping outside or gazing out of the windows here can be a breathtaking experience. So why not take the opportunity to hone or practise your photography skills whilst staying with us?
You won’t even need to leave the hotel to take in the beauty of the local area. From various vantage points across our 17 acres, you can capture the changing skies and seas we are lucky to be able to feast our eyes on every day. So many opportunities to get your camera out and capture one beautiful, perfect moment. You may want to get up early (or not so early in winter…) to get the right light. Winter light is brilliant for landscape photography as the sun is low quite early in the afternoon and allows you to get more subtle colours into shot. Just before dusk is a great time to take pictures as the light tends to bring everything into focus.
This is Scotland, there is no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes…In all seriousness, whilst we delight regularly in the stunning colourful skies of a sunny day, the weather, particularly in the winter, weaves its own magic on the landscape and transforms it completely with darker, greyer (sometimes wetter) skies, and choppier waters. Our little corner of paradise is not less stunning, just a different kind of beautiful. If you want local advice as to how best to capture this changing light, you may want to talk to Bill Baillie, a local landscape and wedding photographer who knows Loch Melfort and the local area very well. Bill also provides workshops and one-to-one courses to help improve your technique.
Sometimes, the inspiration for the best shot will come from a stroll around the grounds, with the corner of the lodge offering the frame for a shot of the sea and gardens. Think about the depth of field, which is the ability to achieve sharpness and focus for both near and far points of interest. This can be achieved by using a small aperture. And a tripod also comes in handy, we are never quite as steady as we might think! You might also want to invest in a polarising filter to get rid of glares or unwanted reflections in your shot.
You can also wonder further up the hills and take a view down into the loch, capturing the bay in its entirety, with the endless sky as a backdrop and the hotel nestled in the dip below.
If you want to wander down to the shore to capture the jagged rocks and the silky smooth aspect of the sea, you might want to combine your small aperture with a slow exposure. In this case, take your tripod with you and maybe even use a timer or remote release (again, a slight movement or vibration on a long exposure picture can ruin your hard work).
It’s not just on our grounds that you will get to exercise your artistic eye. Walking along the local shore and sea lochs, you will encounter all manner of sea wildlife, including whales, dolphins, porpoise, seals and basking sharks, as well as otters further inshore. Bird watchers are also in for a treat with several varieties of birds of prey: eagles, buzzards and falcons among them.
You will find plenty of local providers to take you on trips out to sea where you can get some action shots of both birds and mammals at play. The coast from nearby Oban past Loch Melfort, the nearby Inner Hebrides and Gulf of Corryvreckan are a true paradise for the wildlife lovers, and it is often said that only St Kilda boasts more marine species variety. From the bird watcher to the sea mammal enthusiast, there is something for everyone and you will not be short of opportunities to immortalise your close encounters with this wonderful fauna.
Whilst photography in poor weather may seem counterintuitive, autumn and winter weather and wilder seas can provide a fantastically dramatic backdrop for taking shots of wildlife such as seals and porpoises. Using wide angled lenses and taking pictures from down low can produce excellent results for sea wildlife shots.
So, all in all, you won’t be short of sights to see and memories to capture when staying at Loch Melfort Hotel. We hope you will share some of your photos with us when you’re back home.