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In Awe of the Beuckle

Buachaille Etive Mòr, standing high and alone over the plains of Rannoch Moor in peak autumn colour as the River Coupall, overflowing from the day’s rain, rushes to join the River Etive.

I think perhaps my only regret of our trip to Scotland was that I didn’t shoot more compositions of The Beuckle. It’s only my list to go back and give it a more thorough examining. Still, I feel this is a fairly unique composition. This was shot from the bridge where the Coupall flows underneath and joins the River Etive. The sunset light after the day’s rain was definitely an added bonus. =)

Rannoch Moor, Argyll & Bute, Highlands, Scotland.

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“In Awe of the Beuckle” by Ian Hex of LightSweep is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Based on a work at http://www.lightsweep.co.uk.

If you like the way my photos look, I have a free HDR photography tutorial using free and open-source software, so it costs you nothing!

Full-res versions of the photo for personal PC/mobile wallpaper use, as well as enquiries for prints, are available by request, just ask me.

Fire in the Glen

The composition above I grabbed later in the evening after nabbing this one. The last of the sunset light was dying away, leaving this glorious pink and purple in the sky. I quite enjoy this portrait of Aonach Dubh, my second favourite of the Three Sisters of Glencoe. I’m happy Lisabet and I managed to reach Glencoe in peak autumn foliage because the sheer variety of colours was glorious. =)

Glencoe Pass, Glencoe, Argyll & Bute, Highlands, Scotland.

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Fire in the Glen by Ian Hex of LightSweep is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Based on a work at http://www.lightsweep.co.uk.

If you like the way my photos look, I have a free HDR photography tutorial using free and open-source software, so it costs you nothing!

Full-res versions of the photo for personal PC/mobile wallpaper use, as well as enquiries for prints, are available by request, just ask me.

Natural Perfection

A giant panorama of the epic chasm valley of High Cup Nick, shot during a hazy summer’s sunset.

High Cup Nick, North Pennines, Cumbria, England.

  • Camera: Nikon D7000
  • Lens: Tokina AT-X 116 PRO DX (AF 11-16mm f/2.8)
  • ISO: 100
  • Aperture: f/16
  • Focal Length: 11mm
  • Shutter Speeds: 1/13, 1/3, and 1.3secs
  • Other: A composition made of three vertical frames stitched together to showcase the complete scope of the valley.

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“Natural Perfection” by Ian Hex of LightSweep is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Based on a work at http://www.lightsweep.co.uk.

If you like the way my photos look, I have a free HDR photography tutorial using free and open-source software, so it costs you nothing!

Full-res versions of the photo for personal PC/mobile wallpaper use, as well as enquiries for prints, are available by request, just ask me.

Straightest River in Lakeland

Yesterday, I decided to take advantage of the dryer weather we were due to experience this week by doing a solo hike around the Central Fells area of the Lake District along with Buttermere. I became aware of a little beck that runs from the fells of Fleetwith Pike (648m/2,126ft), Grey Knotts (697m/2,287ft) and Haystack (597m/1,959ft) into Buttermere known as Warnscale Beck. Judging from the maps, it looked incredibly straight with a tiny little bridge that crosses over it that I thought could offer an excellent composition. Thankfully, I was right. 

The cloud cover was persistent and thick for most of the day, but I had done my research and was expecting it to start breaking up in the mid-late afternoon. In fact, my timing couldn’t have been better; as I approached the bridge that crosses Warnscale Beck, looking towards this scene, the clouds started to break up and the sun spilled golden across the landscape. A beautiful moment captured in a timeless scene. =)

Warnscale Bottom, Buttermere, Lake District, Cumbria, England.

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“Straightest River in Lakeland” by Ian Hex of LightSweep is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Based on a work at http://www.lightsweep.co.uk.

If you like the way my photos look, I have a free HDR photography tutorial using free and open-source software, so it costs you nothing!

Full-res versions of the photo for personal PC/mobile wallpaper use, as well as enquiries for prints, are available by request, just ask me.

Into the Devil’s Kitchen

A vertical version from our time around Snowdonia and, in particular, the magical hanging valley of Cwm Idwal.

Cwm Idwal, Snowdonia, Wales.

ISO100, f/16, 0.6secs @ 14mm (21mm full-frame equiv.) using a 2-stop soft and a 3-stop soft ND Grad stacked to control the light bursting from the clouds. Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8, Nikon D7000. This is a single exposure processed twice for proper highlight and shadow detail, blended together manually in GIMP.

If you like the way my photos look, I have a free HDR photography tutorial using free and open-source software, so it costs you nothing!

Full-res versions of the photo for personal PC/mobile wallpaper use, as well as enquiries for prints, are available by request, just ask me.

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“Into The Devil’s Kitchen” by Ian Hex of LightSweep is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Based on a work at http://www.lightsweep.co.uk.

The Magic of Wasdale

Probably the greatest light show I’ve ever witnessed at Wasdale. Fie and I were heading back to the car from the Wasdale Head Inn when I noticed this rather odd/interesting cloud forming above the Scafells, catching the sunset light. I quickly hopped off the road to find some interesting foreground for a composition. I enjoy the hint of autumn in the fern as well as the golden clouds reflecting beautifully in the waters of Wastwater. =)

Wastwater, Lake District, Cumbria, England.

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“The Magic of Wasdale” by Ian Hex of LightSweep.co.uk is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Based on a work at http://www.lightsweep.co.uk.

If you like the way my photos look, I have a free HDR photography tutorial using free and open-source software, so it costs you nothing!

Full-res versions of the photo for personal PC/mobile wallpaper use, as well as enquiries for prints, are available by request, just ask me.

Luminous Illumination

The perfect Buachaille Etive Mòr rises from Rannoch Moor. Lisabet and I got some incredible light when shooting this perfect mountain, including these wonderful crepuscular rays that broke through the clouds to illuminate Glen Etive. =)

Glen Etive, Argyll & Bute, Highlands, Scotland.

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“Luminous Illumination” by Ian Hex of LightSweep is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Based on a work at http://www.lightsweep.co.uk.

If you like the way my photos look, I have a free HDR photography tutorial using free and open-source software, so it costs you nothing!

Full-res versions of the photo for personal PC/mobile wallpaper use, as well as enquiries for prints, are available by request, just ask me.

The Dales Light Show

Today, Lisabet and I decided to have a pleasant hike around Dentdale, a beautiful valley in the Western Yorkshire Dales. You’ll see some compositions from there later. But we noticed that the light was starting to get rather interesting so we quickly ran back to the car and hit the road out of Dentdale onto Newby Head Pass, heading towards Ingleton and keeping the mighty Ingleborough in our sights. As we drove, the sky got more and more intense, exploding into one of the most spectacular light shows we’ve ever seen! My hands were shaking from the excitement as I set up my tripod at one of my favourite spots and shot like crazy to make sure I got this awesome light!

ISO100, f/13, 8secs @ 16mm (24mm full-frame equiv.) on my Nikon D7000 using a Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8. Two ND Grad filters, 0.9 and 0.6, stacked to balance the exposure. This is a single RAW, processed in Darktable, and finished off in GIMP.

Newby Head Pass, Yorkshire Dales, North Yorkshire, England.

If you like the way my photos look, I have a free HDR photography tutorial using free and open-source software, so it costs you nothing!

Full-res versions of the photo for personal PC/mobile wallpaper use, as well as enquiries for prints, are available by request, just ask me.


“The Dales Light Show” by Ian Hex of LightSweep is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Based on a work at http://www.lightsweep.co.uk.

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An Engineering Marvel

Welcome to Glenfinnan Viaduct! Built between 1897 and 1901, and sitting at the head of Loch Shiel, it connects the important fishing and sea-faring town of Mallaig with the rest of the Highlands via the West Highland Line. In modern times, it has become famous as a setting in various films, more notably in three of the Harry Potter films. That’s right: this is the setting of the Hogwarts Express. =)

To get this shot, I took five vertical compositions, each comprising of three exposures, and blended them all together (yes, this took a long time) to create this unique perspective of the Glenfinnan Viaduct curving all the way past the peak of Màm a’ Chreagain towards the rising sun. 

Glenfinnan Viaduct, Glenfinnan, Lochaber, Highlands, Scotland.

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“An Engineering Marvel” by Ian Hex of LightSweep is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Based on a work at http://www.lightsweep.co.uk.

If you like the way my photos look, I have a free HDR photography tutorial using free and open-source software, so it costs you nothing!

Full-res versions of the photo for personal PC/mobile wallpaper use, as well as enquiries for prints, are available by request, just ask me.

Ray of Hope

There’s another near the famous Glencoe that receives considerably less attention and that’s Glen Etive, taking its name from the river that runs through it all the way towards the sea loch of Loch Etive. Once you drive past the perfect Buachaille Etive Mòr and its smaller siblings, the River Etive starts cascading down these rock formations, forming little pools and platforms to play around in. 

Lisabet and I decided to visit this oft-neglected Glen and its river for some photo fun. I grabbed this composition once I started realising that the sun was about to break through the clouds. Finally, it did, casting golden crepuscular rays on the mountain in the distance, Stob Dubh (883m/2,897ft). I took three landscape shots for this composition stacked on top of each other for a wider angle than otherwise possible, then stitched them together in post. =)

River Etive, Glen Etive, Argyll & Bute, Highlands, Scotland

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Ray of Hope by “Ian Hex of LightSweep” is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Based on a work at http://www.lightsweep.co.uk.

If you like the way my photos look, I have a free HDR photography tutorial using free and open-source software, so it costs you nothing!

Full-res versions of the photo for personal PC/mobile wallpaper use, as well as enquiries for prints, are available by request, just ask me.

The Creeping Mist

On our final day in Glencoe, Lisabet and I decided to have a potter around during sunset near Loch Achtriochtan: a small loch that sits underneath the third of Glencoe’s Three Sisters, Aonach Dubh. Just uphill from the tarn sits Achnambeithach Cottage, a quaint little farming cottage that enjoys the distinct privilege of sitting underneath Bidean nam Bian, Glencoe’s highest peak.

Whilst we headed away from the shore of the loch we looked west down the pass and saw this golden mist calmly and silently pour into the glen at a deceptively quick pace, clinging to the mountain tops and obscuring the peaks. It was a surreal experience to watch the mist come in. I had a quick gander around the farm and found these multicoloured rocks that I decided to use as foreground interest, pointing the way towards Achnambeithach Cottage as it sits underneath the peak of Bidean nam Bian, obscured by the creeping mist.

Achnambeithach, Glencoe Pass, Glencoe, Argyll & Bute, Highlands, Scotland.

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“The Creeping Mist” by Ian Hex of LightSweep is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Based on a work at http://www.lightsweep.co.uk.

If you like the way my photos look, I have a free HDR photography tutorial using free and open-source software, so it costs you nothing!

Full-res versions of the photo for personal PC/mobile wallpaper use, as well as enquiries for prints, are available by request, just ask me.

Set on the Screes

The sun sets behind Yewbarrow, casting beams of liquid amber on The Screes, one of Wastwater’s most recognisable features. The Screes actually comprise of two fells: Illgill Head (609m/1,998ft) and Whin Rigg (535m/1,755ft) that form a ridge directly above the lake. Their southeastern flank is grassy and gentle, covered in bracken and heather, but the northwestern flank as seen from Wastwater plunges directly and steeply into the lake as loose scree and boulders; starting about 2,000ft up and ending up 200ft below the surface. 

Wasdale Head, Lake District, Cumbria, England.

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“Set on the Screes” by Ian Hex of LightSweep is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Based on a work at http://www.lightsweep.co.uk.

If you like the way my photos look, I have a free HDR photography tutorial using free and open-source software, so it costs you nothing!

Full-res versions of the photo for personal PC/mobile wallpaper use, as well as enquiries for prints, are available by request, just ask me.

Lonely Abbey

Please help me and support my continued journey around Britain by ordering prints of this photo!

The ruins of the ancient Abbey stand alone on a windy yet beautifully warm autumn morning in Whitby.

Wanna know what’s exciting? Master photographer and pioneer of HDR, treyratcliffphotos, has released his new Complete HDR Tutorial! Check out his announcement, it includes a free 40-minute YouTube video that contains a little segment from his otherwise massive offering: there’s 10 hours of detailed video instruction, all of his RAWs, and if you get the tutorial before the end of March there’s a chance you can win an all-expenses-paid trip to New Zealand on one of Trey’s workshops and/or win a brand new Sony A7r mirrorless full-frame camera!

Why am I plugging him? Is he paying/sponsoring/endorsing me? No. I do it because, without Trey, I simply would never have discovered photography, which has now become my life’s work. It’s all down to this man. So check him out.

Today’s photo was taken on the grounds of Whitby Abbey. There’s this little pond that was surrounded with thick reeds and tall grass. They were swaying hypnotically in the strong winds, so I chose this vertical composition; I enjoy the layering of the yellow reeds, green grass, blue pond and the grey ruins. =)

If you like the way my photos look, I have a free HDR photography tutorial using free and open-source software, so it costs you nothing!

Broken Mountain

Those of you who have following my work for some time now will know that I have a… fondness for unusual geography. During me and Lisabet’s expedition down Glen Etive, I spotted this rather unusual peak that I wanted to find a good composition for. It looks like the remnants of a huge landslip, leaving behind this small peak that juts out from the main mountain. It is known as An Grianan (494m/1621ft), joined with the main ridge of Beinn Ceitlein (pronounced Ben CESH-tlen, meaning “Caitlin’s Hill”: 834m/2,736ft), itself a subsidiary of Stob Dubh (pronounced Stob DOO, meaning “The Dark Peak”: 883m/2896ft).

Glen Etive, Argyll & Bute, Highlands, Scotland.

If you like the way my photos look, I have a free HDR photography tutorial using free and open-source software, so it costs you nothing!

Full-res versions of the photo for personal PC/mobile wallpaper use, as well as enquiries for prints, are available by request, just ask me.

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“Broken Mountain” by Ian Hex of LightSweep is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Based on a work at http://www.lightsweep.co.uk.

Edge of the Nick

Please help me and support my continued journey around Britain by ordering prints of this photo!

The clear and tiny stream gently tumbles down the antediluvian gorge into the monstrous chasm valley of High Cup Nick as the sun sets.

I’m processing a lot of older photos at the moment, you may have guessed, as the weather in England at the moment is being rather uncooperative (understatement of the century).

Here’s a composition I got near the edge of High Cupgill Head before it drops into the High Cup Nick valley. Thankfully I managed to make it hear as the sun began to set behind Backstone Edge. I made sure to shoot this composition at 𝑓/22 so that I got the sunstar effect. That’s a little tip for you: if you’re shooting HDR brackets right into the sun, and want those sunbeams, shoot with your aperture as small as it will go (for my lens, that's 𝑓/22).

If you like the way my photos look, I have a free HDR photography tutorial using free and open-source software, so it costs you nothing!

Watcher of a Thousand Moons

For this one, Lisabet and I got up much earlier than usual. I was aware that the sun would rise in the right place and illuminate the landscape properly. And so we drove to the northern peninsula of Skye, the well-known Trotternish Peninsula to start the climb towards our ultimate goal: the Old Man of Storr.

This was probably the steepest climb I’ve ever done. As the crow flies, the distance from the car park to the Storr is relatively short, but ye gods it’s steep. Finally, after lots of huffing and puffing, I arrived into this otherworldly playground of strange rock shapes, towers and formations known as The Sanctuary. The stand-out feature though, of course, is the Old Man of Storr: a 50m/165ft tall rock pinnacle that juts out from the Sanctuary defiantly. You can see it from miles away. It’s hard to translate how massive this ancient volcanic plug is, but if you zoom into the picture you may be able to glimpse a small human form near the base of the Old Man. The morning was so crisp and clear that you could still see the moon out, so I chose this composition in order to line up the Old Man with the moon. =)

Old Man of Storr, Trotternish Peninsula, Isle of Skye, Hebrides, Scotland

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“Watcher of a Thousand Moons” by Ian Hex of LightSweep is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Based on a work at http://www.lightsweep.co.uk.

If you like the way my photos look, I have a free HDR photography tutorial using free and open-source software, so it costs you nothing!

Full-res versions of the photo for personal PC/mobile wallpaper use, as well as enquiries for prints, are available by request, just ask me.

Summit Approach

After scrambling up to the summit of Skegill Bank, this is the view that revealed itself to Lisabet and I: the summit of the famous Catbells, with Borrowdale below on the left and the Newlands Valley surrounded by mountains on the right, as the sun was setting. =)

I decided to rework this one after all the cool new techniques I’ve learned and invented recently, saving it from my previous experimentation. 

If you like the way my photos look, I have a free HDR photography tutorial using free and open-source software, so it costs you nothing!

Britain’s Patagonia

Our first week in Glencoe was an unparalleled success, so we entered our second week on the Isle of Skye with high spirits and optimistic expectations. One of the top locations was Sligachan, (meaning “small shells” and pronounced as SLEE-ga-hhan) a small settlement around the centre of Skye. It’s known for three things: the hotel, the old bridge and the view towards Britain’s most dramatic mountain range, the Black Cuillins.

This mountain range, though not particularly tall (the tallest peak, Sgùrr Alasdair, is only 992m/3,255ft), is particularly rugged, jagged and alpine, owing to it being primarily made of tough, coarse gabbro rock. It is also Britain’s youngest mountain range. From the Sligachan river seen in this composition you see the more northern face of the Black Cuillins, presented as two “horns”: the left peak is Sgùrr nan Gillean (“Peak of the Young Men”) and the right is called Sgùrr a'Bhasteir. Navigating the river after fresh rain proved rather interesting but I eventually settled on this spot so that I could show the winding of the River Sligachan pointing towards the impressive peaks of the Black Cuillin as warm morning light cast delicious golden light across the scene.

River Sligachan, Sligachan, Isle of Skye, Hebrides, Scotland.

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“Britain’s Patagonia” by Ian Hex of LightSweep is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Based on a work at http://www.lightsweep.co.uk.

If you like the way my photos look, I have a free HDR photography tutorial using free and open-source software, so it costs you nothing!

Full-res versions of the photo for personal PC/mobile wallpaper use, as well as enquiries for prints, are available by request, just ask me.

Just A Perfect Day

So this is a shot that I’ve been after for a long time… and finally, I got it. This is Wastwater early morning, with pristine reflections

Lisabet and I came here after we had arrived at the Inn in the tiny Eskdale hamlet of Boot. The day was turning out to be perfect: no wind, clear skies, piercing sun. As we turned into the Wasdale valley, greeted by England’s highest mountains, we caught glimpses of the lake and started getting really excited… perfect reflections! So we promptly found somewhere to park right near the foot of the lake and then went our separate ways, clambering around the shore looking for killer compositions.

There are an awful lot of reflection shots of Wastwater. This one, I hope, is a little more unique. =)

The mountains from left to right: Middle Fell on the far left, Yewbarrow, Kirk Fell just peeking behind Yewbarrow, the perfect Great Gable sitting in the middle, Lingmell, and Scafell Pike creeping from behind the Screes that are on the far right, the peak of which is Illgill Head.

If you like the way my photos look, I have a free HDR photography tutorial using free and open-source software, so it costs you nothing!

In the Shadow of Bidean

The quaint Achnambeithach Cottage sits under the brooding peak of Bidean nam Bian. Look at those delicious autumn colours… look at them. This was the last of the light on our final night around Glencoe. The creeping mist I’ve posted about previously had cleared up a lot, leaving just wisps of cloud streaming off the peak. To get this composition, to show the scale of the peak against the cottage, I hiked out of the valley bottom and up onto the road, changing lenses from my usual Tokina 11-16mm to the 50mm f/1.8G prime. It’s the best I’ve got for a zoom. Did the trick nicely though.

Glencoe Pass, Glencoe, Argyll & Bute, Highlands, Scotland.

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“In the Shadow of Bidean” by Ian Hex of LightSweep is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Based on a work at http://www.lightsweep.co.uk.

If you like the way my photos look, I have a free HDR photography tutorial using free and open-source software, so it costs you nothing!

Full-res versions of the photo for personal PC/mobile wallpaper use, as well as enquiries for prints, are available by request, just ask me.