Scotland – A Photographer’s Guide

by Bill Lockhart | January 17, 2012

© Bill LockhartScotland is a special place, especially for photographers who are eager to capture its splendid landscapes. Its moors, glens, and mountains offer a romantic vision of what life once was, or is, or can be. It is a place to find peace and beauty like no other place on earth. Its sharp contrasts of light, and its varied weather touches one in a myriad of ways.

For the first time visitor to Scotland, knowing where to go, where to stay, and what to photograph is a daunting challenge.

I have been to Scotland 14 times; call it an obsession, but each time I leave I want to return again. Scotland affects one in ways that cannot be explained. Perhaps it is the simplicity of life there, or its warm and friendly people, or its history. I cannot say which appeals more. It is a very special place to me.

Many famous photographers have spent a lifetime trying to document Scotland’s impressive landscapes. Despite my time there, I have not tapped all that Scotland has to offer. There is just too much to savor or accomplish in one trip, ten trips, or even a lifetime of wandering its hills and glens.

Loch Leven on a cold morning © Bill Lockhart

I cannot emphasize enough that detailed planning is essential for a successful holiday in Scotland. Knowing as much as one can about what to expect is fundamental to a productive and safe visit.

Sometimes the most marvelous places to photograph are hidden from the highway, and instead, are found down a boggy trail two miles from a car park. In my view, too many photographers who visit Scotland capture the same iconic places over and over again. Knowing where to go comes from experience and study.

Sea stack © Bill Lockhart

There is only one practical way to see Scotland and that is to rent a car and self-drive.

There are many very excellent hotels throughout Scotland. Most are expensive. Despite the fact that Scotland is a tourist haven, one will soon find out that there are few hotels available in areas one might plan to visit for photography. I recommend that one rent a self-catering cottage or house. Most are less expensive than hotels, and one has the extra room and freedom that a cottage or house can provide.

When packing for Scotland, it is essential that one understand the vagaries of Scotland’s weather. For example, on one recent trip during October, I experienced a wide range of temperatures and weather conditions. In one 30-minute period of time I was in brilliant sunshine, then, a heavy rain and then, a hail storm with strong winds.

Scotland has many regions, each with its unique vistas.

Callanish © Bill Lockhart

When one goes to Scotland, one becomes intimate with its myth, and soon one will become enraptured with its light. The two are interwoven, which might help explain why this place is so very special.

I encourage you to go to Scotland, and once there, to feel its light; it will transform you forever. I retain within my memories glorious moments when the hills came alive and God’s grace fell upon the land.

If you would like to know more about Scotland, where to go, where to stay, how to get there, and review suggestions for photographic locations, check out my new e-book, Scotland – A Photographer’s Guide.

Scotland - A Photographer's Guide eBook by Bill Lockhart

Scotland – A Photographer’s Guide
Photography eBook by Bill Lockhart

If you’d like to learn more about photographing Scotland, check out Bill’s photography eBook, Scotland – A Photographer’s Guide—a 102-page, 14 MB pdf available for sale in the NatureScapes Store.

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About the Author

Bill Lockhart is a retired Courts Administrator of one of the largest trial courts in the United States. He is also a retired Lieutenant Colonel, US Army National Guard, in which he served for 30 years. He holds a BSJ from the University of Florida School of Journalism, is a Fellow of the Institute for Court Management, a graduate of the US Army Command and General Staff College, and the US Army Inspector General School.

He travels extensively throughout the world. His most recent trips include journeys to South Africa, Tanzania, Alaska, Scotland, the Farne Islands, Poland, the American North West, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, Slovenia, and Orkney.

An avid outdoorsman, Bill owns properties in Florida where he raises timber and works to preserve habitats for animals.

His quest is to find "the light that dances."

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