Colours of Winter

Isn’t this weather amazing! Scotland has such a changeable climate, unpredictable and exciting! Here we are at the end of March when we should be looking forward to sunshine, daffodils and bursting spring growth. What do we have? Snow, icy winds and freezing fog! Yes, if you are looking for warm climates Scotland is not for you but if, like me, you find the changing colours washing over hills and bouncing off the sea inspirational then there is no better place to be.

The colours at dawn during the chilly months of Winter here often seem to be more intense than at other times. The strange thing is that they are so different each morning. The two images below were both made in February this year of the same scene, just outside my home on the coast. The view is of the Clyde Estuary, which has a proud history of shipbuilding and industry yet when the light of morning touches on the water and the hills, even the cranes and bridges, the place metamorphoses into a place of serenity and beauty.

Clyde Estuary – February Dawn

This first image felt almost surreal. The clouds were like large flying saucers floating through the sky and the colours were just fantastic with every shade of pastel blue, pink, purple, orange and yellow.


On this second morning, later in the month of February the same scene was completely different. The sun rose like a fabulous red ball through a haze of light cloud; the trails of cloud in the sky shone like silvery ribbons and the orange colours seemed to shimmer like polished metal. The beam of light shining vertically down on the distant Erskine Bridge is totally natural but lends the image a mysterious edge.


It reminded me of the light in the painting by Turner – The Fighting Temeraire.

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Despite some dramatic mornings, on other days the landscape is made up of all tones of black, white and grey. Colour seems to have been bleached out leaving thoughts of colour far behind. These simple palettes are just as inspiring as the intense, vivid paintbox of my dawn images but I find on days like these that even images that do have colour sometimes look better in black and white.

The image below was taken a couple of days ago down at the tip of the Cowal Peninsula where the little village of Toward was deep in snow. These two little trees actually have bright yellowish branches and the sky was more turquoise than blue but the colour image seemed out of place with the feel of the wintery morning. In black and white the focus becomes the trees rather than colour itself, not a bad thing when you have such pretty little dancers like these!


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