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Glen Etive

Glen Etive
Photo Information
Copyright: Niek Bouwen (SunToucher) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2385 W: 237 N: 3033] (11162)
Genre: Landscapes
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-07-15
Categories: River, Sky
Camera: Canon EOS 350D, Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 DC EX HSM
Exposure: f/16, 1/15 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Travelogue: Summer vacation 2007: Scotland
Date Submitted: 2007-10-30 11:02
Viewed: 4773
Points: 44
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
I went through my archive again and thought that this photo was still good enough to see daylight.

The Glen Etive road meanders for some 14 miles to the head of Loch Etive, where it ends in a turning circle near a ruined pier. And that's it. The road down Glen Etive is the original "road to nowhere".

It's not always been that way. In 1750 there was a track running down the south side of the loch as far as Taynuilt. And from 1847 a steamer service from Oban operated to the now derelict pier at which the modern road ends.

Glen Etive is a magnet for climbers and hillwalkers, who come here especially to climb the mountains around Ben Starav to the south east and the Glen Coe mountains to the north and west. But others make the 28 mile round trip simply because it is one of the most beautiful detours in the North West Highlands. The scenery is simply superb.

The single track road first leads you down the south eastern flank of the ridge of Buachaille Etive Mor. As soon as you are out of sight and sound of the main A82 the sense of retreating into another place and time begins to build.

A short distance down the glen, keep a look out for the remarkable little "bucket bridge" intended to allow brave souls to cross the River Etive. It's been there for many years and we're not sure it still works, or how. You'd need to want to cross very badly to trust yourself to it...

The first half of the Glen is a steady descent of an open heather-clad valley. The character changes at the southern end of the twin mountain ridges of Buachaille Etive Mor and Buachaille Etive Beag.

Here, near the large house at Dalness, is a junction with two of the great mountain passes of the highlands, the Lairig Eilde and the Lairig Gartain, both extending north to Glen Coe and providing the punctuation for the Buachailles, dividing them from one another and from Bidean nam Bian.

The southern half of the glen is more enclosed and wooded, and all too soon you find yourself at the road's end. From the ruined pier here you can look straight across Loch Etive to the steep sides of Ben Starav. Or enjoy the view back up the glen. Here the chief attraction is Stob Dubh. This isn't the highest mountain around the glen, at 883m, but it is the second most beautiful.

You find out which is the most beautiful mountain in Glen Etive on your return trip. Suddenly the views before you open out across the lower glen and you are presented with the sight of the southern end of the Buachaille Etive Mor ridge, with the Lairig Gartain to its west. If this mountain's northern end is unmatched for rocky splendour and mountain majesty, its southern end takes some beating for simple perfection of form.

You return from Glen Etive to the high speed stream of traffic on the A82 with a sense of regret. You've been somewhere different, and somewhere very special and suddenly you're back in the modern world. But now you know it's there, you can always return, and probably will.
Thanks to the wonderful site of www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk

Jamesp, cedryk, gracious, JoseMiguel, bobcat08, horia, Evelynn, marioana, Alex99, eqshannon, Silke, warnzy, NellyD, kjpweb, Heaven, hester has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • Jamesp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
  • [2007-10-30 11:09]

Hi Niek

Great reflective composition - a study in diagonals. Good detail and colours.


I am trying to sort out previous crits - my connection seems to be settling down.

  • Great 
  • jesst Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 368 W: 0 N: 172] (2441)
  • [2007-10-30 11:21]

Nice picture with wonderfrul composition, color and detail, very good sharp.

Hello Niek,
this is a beautiful landscape well captured!
great pov that looking to a upward horizon and a far distance to reach!
perfect exposure and focus with the green and sky!
very well composed and the notes is really wonderful and useful
thanks for sharing
best wishes

  • Great 
  • cedryk Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 967 W: 50 N: 1722] (5270)
  • [2007-10-30 12:04]

Hello Niek,
Very nice landscape. Nice gradient of cloud colours and luminosity. Very enjoyable note too.
Best greetings from Poland and TFS!

Hi Niek,
Very interesting the history about this place.
I like the POV chosen and the way you managed to compose the image.
The cloudy sky adds character to the landscape, and creates also the sun and shadow's bands seen at the back.
Good work and thanks to post it.
Best regards,

Hallo Niek,

Pffffffffff, je lijkt wel een gids Niek. Luid en duidelijk wordt er even wat uitgelegd over deze omgeving. Het is een beetje een overweldigend plaatje wat je gepost hebt. Ik voel me zelf aan de voet van die berg staan om er tegen op te gaan. Even wat adem halen en daar gaan we. Zo komt deze foto op mij over. Heel realistisch. Dat komt doordat het een beetje lijkt op de bergen die ik in Zwitserland als bergwandelaar hebt "bedwongen" ahum. Doordat jij zo'n lage POV hebt gebruikt komt de hoogte zeer goed tot zijn recht. De beide bergen aan de zijkanten verhogen trouwens ook nog eens dit effect. Over de kleuren zullen we het maar niet hebben. Gewoon goed en natuurlijk. Een fijn genomen foto. Klasse. groeten en tot TFS BOB

  • Great 
  • horia Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2158 W: 224 N: 4749] (16656)
  • [2007-10-30 14:02]

Hello my dear friend

Boy this Scotland is beautiful, but i must also admire your talent to making any subject and any place feel so special! However, i promised myself i will go there one day...nor far from now hopefully :)

I agree: this photo definitely deserved to see daylight.
I really love the vertical composition and the amazing "U" shape the two mountains create in the horizon.
The small river also looks great and with those lovely trees on its sides and the rocky banks gives a way of leading the eye to the BG of the scene. The FG is also well enhanced by the rocks and the yellow flowers that bring some extra brightness and contrast to this area.
The exposure is well balanced across the entire scene. I actually think that the dark clouds from the top are a lot better that if it were sunny or only some white fluffy clouds - they give that great scottish atmosphere :)
Wonderful work and a great presentations of the land there in the note.

Bravo and TFS

Hi Niek,

I am always surprised at how barren Scotland is. At least there are a few trees in this shot, and the grass is nice. I like the choice of the wide angle. I like the gray skies and the bit of sunlight breaking through on the hillside. Sharpness and exposure are very good. My eyes seem to lock onto the large rock in the center and get stuck there. I tried a slightly different crop that may have more "movement"

Evelynn : )

  • Great 
  • jossim Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1538 W: 5 N: 2240] (12636)
  • [2007-10-31 3:19]

Bonjour Niek,

Très jolie composition.Bravo pour les détails,les couleurs justes,le contraste et la profondeur.

Hello Niek.
I'm glad you're still sharing images from your trip to Scotland. I really enjoy seeing them. I like the subtle hint of wildflowers in the f/g. The light and sky are beautiful and that steep valley just holds the eye right in the middle of the frame like gravity. Very well done.
Best regards, Steve.

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2007-10-31 8:48]

Hi Niek.
Despite the cloudy weather you managed to get amazing, well coloured and lightened picture. I like wonderful place, excellent choice of POV and crisp sharpness of the image. Framing and composition are very impressive. Shot is taken with great taste and skillfulness. My best wishes and TFS.

There is a feeling of entrapment here..As if in a dream I am at the lowest point and breathlessly looking in all directions up and seemingly forever to the horizon. Brings back the movie Alive in which at the very end...a group climbs for what seems forever in the snows of the Andes.. and finds a small oasis of civilization.

  • Great 
  • Silke Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 729 W: 98 N: 1707] (5458)
  • [2007-10-31 9:10]

Your archives do hold some marvellous treasures!
Superb PoV, colours and details!
Wonderful notes

Hi Niek,

Very effective use of your wide angle lens, which has created real interest in the mountain shot. The sky is magnificent, and holds the picture together very effectively.

Kind regards,


Hello Niek,
Very good lines in this frame, drawing me into the scenery!
The varied light and dramatic sky are assets, and the wild flowers in fron are nice colour spots...
A well balanced composition with fine details!
Pablo -

Hoi Niek,

Ik vind de natuur in Schotland erg fascinered en je hebt die sfeer heel mooi weergegeven met deze foto. Prachtige kleuren en het perspectief is super.

Groetjes, Nel

Simply majestic scenery and very well composed! Most excellent! Cheers, Klaus!

  • Great 
  • Heaven Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 996 W: 123 N: 2341] (7912)
  • [2007-11-03 13:36]

Hi Niek!

I'm back from a couple of days in the mountains and I'm glad that you searched in your archives to show us this picture. It's the kind of picture you have to look at twice to appreciate it at its full value. And the more I look at it, the more I like it. Especially for its simplicity and the composition with the river conducting the spectator's eye to the sky.

Kind regards


  • Great 
  • PaulH Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1137 W: 26 N: 3879] (13882)
  • [2007-11-04 1:14]

Hi Niek,
a very well balanced image you have dug up from your trip to Scotland here, perfectly exposed! A great feeling of desolate emptiness that could only be Scotland too. The tiny yellow flowers in the FG add a nice splash of colour.

Hi Niek

I had to look twice at this picture and then remembered... Great shot and detail. I remember the area well and the balancing act over the style.

The bucket bridge is still useable and I know of people who have, though most balance across the wires rather than haul the bucket back and to. I walk just walk further!


  • Great 
  • mrcrow Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 422 W: 98 N: 194] (3008)
  • [2007-11-19 14:01]

i thought this was an ultra wide by the thumbnail
you have made really good use of the lens here, niek
its a photographers photograph and i like the stunning use of the foreground detail which goes on and on and on
sky and blast of light came at the most appropriate time...
we are all archiving a bit now and i feel you have more and greater ones to come??

  • Great 
  • hester Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1515 W: 18 N: 3165] (11638)
  • [2007-11-22 11:02]

Hi Niek

You certainly took some wonderful shots in Scotland. Lovely FG details and I like the way the eye is led into the gentle U shaped valley



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