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  2. George

    Lower Camster broch

    The remains of Lower Camster broch are atop a roughly circular natural knoll overlooking a rocky escarpment. It appears that the broch was sited within a defensive enclosure and ditches, but it has been robbed and quarried so that no structural details remain above ground. The two Camster brochs are on private farmland with working dogs and sheep, so be sure to ask for permission before going tramping around the brochs. Reproduced by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of HMSO. © Crown Copyright. All rights reserved. Disclaimer: Some brochs were built with military defensive purpose, and as such can be situated in extremely dangerous areas, such as on the edge of cliffs and ravines. Additionally, these are Iron Age structures, most of them in ruins, and they are extremely hazardous, with crumbling stone walls and hidden chambers. Existing walls, lintels, and passages could collapse at any time. The information here is provided free but it is your responsibility to ensure its accuracy, ensure your own safety, and acquire permissions for access where necessary. Accessing brochs is done entirely at your own risk.
  3. George

    Loth broch

    The only way we know there was a broch here is because of an old 1793 report, which states that stone from the broch was used to build a farmhouse and a manse for the nearby church. The present day site is too indefinite to say with certainty that it was a broch without further archaeological diggings. The stone in the manse and farmhouse, however, is almost certainly contemporary with the stone still at the site. The broch site isn't marked on maps or otherwise, and if you didn't know it was there, you would miss it. So be sure to know exactly where you're going before setting off. The easiest access is by walking the shore from the caravan park on the links at Crackaig. The going can be a bit rough in places. Reproduced by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of HMSO. © Crown Copyright. All rights reserved. Disclaimer: Some brochs were built with military defensive purpose, and as such can be situated in extremely dangerous areas, such as on the edge of cliffs and ravines. Additionally, these are Iron Age structures, most of them in ruins, and they are extremely hazardous, with crumbling stone walls and hidden chambers. Existing walls, lintels, and passages could collapse at any time. The information here is provided free but it is your responsibility to ensure its accuracy, ensure your own safety, and acquire permissions for access where necessary. Accessing brochs is done entirely at your own risk.
  4. George

    Loch Brora broch (Killin)

    Loch Brora broch has a military feel to it, and was probably a garrison to protect the brochs along the south shores of Loch Brora. One very interesting strategic fact about Killin, is that it can be clearly seen from the three brochs on the south banks of Loch Brora, but cannot be seen from north bank towards the coast. Roman legions landing at Brora would have probably marched with their eyes on the brochs on the south banks of the loch, unaware of the military garrison behind them. The broch is in ruins, and there is very little to see other than a mass of stones and a few architectural details. Access is by way of a good walking track from Oldtown, just before Gordonbush. There is a bridge over the burn at the start of the track, and you can find somewhere to park nearby. The track makes its way through a forestry plantation, but there is a good quality gate at each end designed for walkers, both of which are easy to negotiate. The broch isn't visible from the track, so take your map with you so you know when to leave the track and strike out for the broch. Reproduced by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of HMSO. © Crown Copyright. All rights reserved. Disclaimer: Some brochs were built with military defensive purpose, and as such can be situated in extremely dangerous areas, such as on the edge of cliffs and ravines. Additionally, these are Iron Age structures, most of them in ruins, and they are extremely hazardous, with crumbling stone walls and hidden chambers. Existing walls, lintels, and passages could collapse at any time. The information here is provided free but it is your responsibility to ensure its accuracy, ensure your own safety, and acquire permissions for access where necessary. Accessing brochs is done entirely at your own risk.
  5. George

    Learable broch

    The current status of this broch is that it is too much robbed and overgrown to state that it is a broch with any certainty. However, in 1873 and again in 1883, two separate authorities (J Anderson and H Morrison) both declared that Learable was indeed a broch. As brochs were in much better condition back then, I see no reason to doubt their records. From Learable you can see the Kilearnan broch, so line of sight can be confirmed from the Kilphedir broch to the Suisgill broch. However, it is such a distance, that I'm of the opinion there is a missing broch site around the Kildonan Burn area linking Learable with Kilearnan. From the single track road through the Strath of Kildonan, use the foot bridge over the River Helmsdale, skirt any electric fences, and make your way up the hillside. The ground can be boggy, and there is a railway to negotiate so good footwear and clothing would be recommended. The broch isn't marked on any maps. Reproduced by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of HMSO. © Crown Copyright. All rights reserved. Disclaimer: Some brochs were built with military defensive purpose, and as such can be situated in extremely dangerous areas, such as on the edge of cliffs and ravines. Additionally, these are Iron Age structures, most of them in ruins, and they are extremely hazardous, with crumbling stone walls and hidden chambers. Existing walls, lintels, and passages could collapse at any time. The information here is provided free but it is your responsibility to ensure its accuracy, ensure your own safety, and acquire permissions for access where necessary. Accessing brochs is done entirely at your own risk.
  6. George

    Leadoch broch

    There is nothing left to see here but a pile of plundered rubble. There is however, one small section where the original stonework still exists and is visible. I suspect there is much underground still intact awaiting excavation. The views over Loch Brora are astonishing. Access is the same as for the Carrol broch, and you could probably manage both in a day trip. It is best to park at the ford across the River Brora (marked on the map), at the start of the forestry track along the north bank of Loch Brora, where there is plenty of car parking space, and walk from there. The broch can be difficult to find owing to the little of it that's left being overgrown, so be sure to take your map with you. Reproduced by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of HMSO. © Crown Copyright. All rights reserved. Disclaimer: Some brochs were built with military defensive purpose, and as such can be situated in extremely dangerous areas, such as on the edge of cliffs and ravines. Additionally, these are Iron Age structures, most of them in ruins, and they are extremely hazardous, with crumbling stone walls and hidden chambers. Existing walls, lintels, and passages could collapse at any time. The information here is provided free but it is your responsibility to ensure its accuracy, ensure your own safety, and acquire permissions for access where necessary. Accessing brochs is done entirely at your own risk.
  7. George

    Leachonich broch

    There isn't much left here but a pile of rubble. It's quite sad to realise that just 200 years ago, most of these brochs were still standing and were pulled down to build roads, stone dykes, and cottages. I can understand that a ready supply of free stone would be tempting to use, but I just wish more had been done to preserve these Scottish war memorials. I'm hopeful that perhaps we may even yet pull together as a nation and start preserving what's left of them. These things are the backbone of Scotland. It would be a real shame to lose what's left of them to grass, weeds and gorse. You can drive and park not far from the broch. Please be aware that you will be accessing private land, and that you will have to open and close gates behind you. When approaching the broch, you will be very close to a private dwelling house, so again, show consideration and respect for those who live there. Reproduced by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of HMSO. © Crown Copyright. All rights reserved. Disclaimer: Some brochs were built with military defensive purpose, and as such can be situated in extremely dangerous areas, such as on the edge of cliffs and ravines. Additionally, these are Iron Age structures, most of them in ruins, and they are extremely hazardous, with crumbling stone walls and hidden chambers. Existing walls, lintels, and passages could collapse at any time. The information here is provided free but it is your responsibility to ensure its accuracy, ensure your own safety, and acquire permissions for access where necessary. Accessing brochs is done entirely at your own risk.
  8. George

    Latheronwheel Bridge broch

    An overgrown mound with very little to see above ground other than a short section of exposed wall. Forty human skulls are said to have been excavated from the broch sometime before 1910, but there is no record of their whereabouts. I would suggest that folks back then had more respect for the dead than the Burke and Hare grave robbers of today who call themselves archaeologists and that they are probably buried nearby under that pile of stones that resembles a cairn. Find parking nearby in Latheronwheel, and follow the track along the banks of the Burn of Latheronwheel from the A9 which takes you directly to the broch. Reproduced by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of HMSO. © Crown Copyright. All rights reserved. Disclaimer: Some brochs were built with military defensive purpose, and as such can be situated in extremely dangerous areas, such as on the edge of cliffs and ravines. Additionally, these are Iron Age structures, most of them in ruins, and they are extremely hazardous, with crumbling stone walls and hidden chambers. Existing walls, lintels, and passages could collapse at any time. The information here is provided free but it is your responsibility to ensure its accuracy, ensure your own safety, and acquire permissions for access where necessary. Accessing brochs is done entirely at your own risk.
  9. George

    Langwell Tulloch broch

    This broch is a jumbled mess, and quite difficult to find without a map as the site doesn't resemble a broch in the slightest. It has been robbed to death and it looks as if a road has been bulldozed through part of the actual broch itself. What's left is heavily overgrown. There may be some of the original broch lying intact below ground, but it would take the work of a professional archeological team to make any sense of the ruins. Access is through the Langwell estate, so you should contact the Factor to arrange access. If you need to cross the river, some of the footbridges marked on the map no longer exist, having been washed away in recent spates. You can park at the top of Berriedale Brae and walk down the marked track right to the broch. Reproduced by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of HMSO. © Crown Copyright. All rights reserved. Disclaimer: Some brochs were built with military defensive purpose, and as such can be situated in extremely dangerous areas, such as on the edge of cliffs and ravines. Additionally, these are Iron Age structures, most of them in ruins, and they are extremely hazardous, with crumbling stone walls and hidden chambers. Existing walls, lintels, and passages could collapse at any time. The information here is provided free but it is your responsibility to ensure its accuracy, ensure your own safety, and acquire permissions for access where necessary. Accessing brochs is done entirely at your own risk.
  10. George

    Langdale broch

    As this was a part of Scotland I'd never seen before, this was an exciting day out. Brochs are a great way to see Scotland. Just up the road from Syre is the Langdale broch on the banks of the Langdale burn. It's easy to see from the road and commands a good view all round. There isn't much left of the broch you can see above ground, but the interior wall can be traced practically all the way around. Access is simple and easy going. There is a wooden stile by the road, and from there walking is easy all the way to the broch. From the stile, follow the stone wall around the farm, then cut across to the left hand side of the gate and follow the track to the broch. Reproduced by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of HMSO. © Crown Copyright. All rights reserved. Disclaimer: Some brochs were built with military defensive purpose, and as such can be situated in extremely dangerous areas, such as on the edge of cliffs and ravines. Additionally, these are Iron Age structures, most of them in ruins, and they are extremely hazardous, with crumbling stone walls and hidden chambers. Existing walls, lintels, and passages could collapse at any time. The information here is provided free but it is your responsibility to ensure its accuracy, ensure your own safety, and acquire permissions for access where necessary. Accessing brochs is done entirely at your own risk.
  11. George

    Knockinnon broch

    A grassy mound beside the A9 is all that's visible above ground, but there is a portion of a surrounding bank or defensive wall on the north side. There are plenty of broch sites in the area, and this one is in view of quite a few, including some of the Dunbeath brochs. Line of sight was obviously important for communication. Turn in off the A9 north of Dunbeath onto a single track road and find parking near the broch that doesn't obstruct traffic. The broch is on private farmland with livestock, so let the farmer know what you're up to in case he's working with his animals and be sure to close the gate. Reproduced by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of HMSO. © Crown Copyright. All rights reserved. Disclaimer: Some brochs were built with military defensive purpose, and as such can be situated in extremely dangerous areas, such as on the edge of cliffs and ravines. Additionally, these are Iron Age structures, most of them in ruins, and they are extremely hazardous, with crumbling stone walls and hidden chambers. Existing walls, lintels, and passages could collapse at any time. The information here is provided free but it is your responsibility to ensure its accuracy, ensure your own safety, and acquire permissions for access where necessary. Accessing brochs is done entirely at your own risk.
  12. George

    Kintradwell broch (Cinn Trolla)

    Sited on the coast just a few miles north of Brora, Kintradwell, or Cinn Trolla, remains in reasonably good condition for a broch. It has chambers, surviving walls, the ruins of outbuildings surrounding the main site, an entrance that still stands, and interior walls in fairly good condition. Access is via a gate to a farmer's fields so please leave the gate unobstructed. There is parking on the verge of the A9 about 200 yards south, beside the entrance to Kintradwell Lodge and you can walk from there. This is a fast road, narrow and dangerous. Reproduced by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of HMSO. © Crown Copyright. All rights reserved. Disclaimer: Some brochs were built with military defensive purpose, and as such can be situated in extremely dangerous areas, such as on the edge of cliffs and ravines. Additionally, these are Iron Age structures, most of them in ruins, and they are extremely hazardous, with crumbling stone walls and hidden chambers. Existing walls, lintels, and passages could collapse at any time. The information here is provided free but it is your responsibility to ensure its accuracy, ensure your own safety, and acquire permissions for access where necessary. Accessing brochs is done entirely at your own risk.
  13. George

    Kilphedir broch

    The broch is built in a commanding position defending the Strath of Kildonan, and is strengthened by massive outworks. There is a deep ditch, an outer rampart wall over 10ft wide, and then an outer ditch. The entrance still exists, and it appears there was no entrance chamber. There is plenty of parking by the bridge over the Kilphedir burn, and from there you can walk up a track (remembering to shut the gate), and strike across to the broch when you reach the top of the hill. Remember, there is deer stalking on this estate, so keep to the track. Reproduced by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of HMSO. © Crown Copyright. All rights reserved. Disclaimer: Some brochs were built with military defensive purpose, and as such can be situated in extremely dangerous areas, such as on the edge of cliffs and ravines. Additionally, these are Iron Age structures, most of them in ruins, and they are extremely hazardous, with crumbling stone walls and hidden chambers. Existing walls, lintels, and passages could collapse at any time. The information here is provided free but it is your responsibility to ensure its accuracy, ensure your own safety, and acquire permissions for access where necessary. Accessing brochs is done entirely at your own risk.
  14. George

    Kilearnan Hill broch

    There is just a pile of small rubble here. In a few years, this one will be gone, buried under heather and ferns. That it has lasted 2000 years is simply remarkable. It is built on a knoll beside the burn but it is now completely demolished. Only a few heaps of small stones remain. Parking is the same as for the Kilearnan broch, which you have to walk past to get to this one. Take the Glen Loth single track road from the A9 or from Kildonan Station, bearing in mind that the road is not snow cleared in winter. This road is not suitable for caravans. Reproduced by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of HMSO. © Crown Copyright. All rights reserved. Disclaimer: Some brochs were built with military defensive purpose, and as such can be situated in extremely dangerous areas, such as on the edge of cliffs and ravines. Additionally, these are Iron Age structures, most of them in ruins, and they are extremely hazardous, with crumbling stone walls and hidden chambers. Existing walls, lintels, and passages could collapse at any time. The information here is provided free but it is your responsibility to ensure its accuracy, ensure your own safety, and acquire permissions for access where necessary. Accessing brochs is done entirely at your own risk.
  15. George

    Kilearnan broch

    There is nothing left now other than a pile of rubble. No portion of the inner wall was visible when visited, but the lowest course of the outer face can be seen in places. Access is simple enough, with plenty of space to park. You can take the Glen Loth single track road from the A9 or from Kildonan Station in the Strath of Kildonan, and the broch is only 100 yards or so from the parking area. This road through Glen Loth isn't snow cleared, and it is not suitable for caravans. Reproduced by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of HMSO. © Crown Copyright. All rights reserved. Disclaimer: Some brochs were built with military defensive purpose, and as such can be situated in extremely dangerous areas, such as on the edge of cliffs and ravines. Additionally, these are Iron Age structures, most of them in ruins, and they are extremely hazardous, with crumbling stone walls and hidden chambers. Existing walls, lintels, and passages could collapse at any time. The information here is provided free but it is your responsibility to ensure its accuracy, ensure your own safety, and acquire permissions for access where necessary. Accessing brochs is done entirely at your own risk.
  16. George

    Kilbraur broch

    This is another of the Loch Brora brochs, this one situated at the top of the loch on the southern bank of the River Brora. It has extensive defensive outer walls surrounding the main site. Apart from the knoll on which the broch was built, there is little left to see other than a post clearances sheep circle on top of the site. Access is from the north bank of the River Brora, then across an old footbridge, and crossing farmland to access the broch site. The old footbridge is in a dilapidated state and is not safe. Permission for access should also be sought as you have to cross private farmland to gain access to the broch. There is a ford and another footbridge across the River Brora upstream at Balnacoil, and it would be safer to cross there and walk down the track. Reproduced by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of HMSO. © Crown Copyright. All rights reserved. Disclaimer: Some brochs were built with military defensive purpose, and as such can be situated in extremely dangerous areas, such as on the edge of cliffs and ravines. Additionally, these are Iron Age structures, most of them in ruins, and they are extremely hazardous, with crumbling stone walls and hidden chambers. Existing walls, lintels, and passages could collapse at any time. The information here is provided free but it is your responsibility to ensure its accuracy, ensure your own safety, and acquire permissions for access where necessary. Accessing brochs is done entirely at your own risk.
  17. George

    Grummore broch

    What a beautiful spot on the shores of Loch Naver. I believe there are even flagstones for keels of boats in the water dating from the Iron Age, so boats were most probably a way of life amongst the brochs nestled on the banks of the loch. Come to think of it, boats would have been an easy method of transporting large numbers of Scots warriors quickly, should the need have arisen. Perhaps there are even remains of iron age boats in the loch. The broch itself is dangerous, with partially open chambers. It is not recommended to take children inside the broch, or even adults for that matter, and great caution should be exercised at all times. Access to the entrance passageway should not be attempted as the roof could collapse. This one is just a few yards from the B873, on the very shores of Loch Naver. There is plenty of parking and access is easy, with a caravan park next door. Reproduced by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of HMSO. © Crown Copyright. All rights reserved. Disclaimer: Some brochs were built with military defensive purpose, and as such can be situated in extremely dangerous areas, such as on the edge of cliffs and ravines. Additionally, these are Iron Age structures, most of them in ruins, and they are extremely hazardous, with crumbling stone walls and hidden chambers. Existing walls, lintels, and passages could collapse at any time. The information here is provided free but it is your responsibility to ensure its accuracy, ensure your own safety, and acquire permissions for access where necessary. Accessing brochs is done entirely at your own risk.
  18. George

    Greystell Castle broch

    Greystell Castle broch looks as if it was built on a partly man-made peninsular. It could very well have been built on an island or even a crannog originally, with the loch later being filled in between the island and the shore. The remains of a stone wall curves across the spit of land, and this may well have originally been part of the brochs defenses. Not much survives above ground, the broch being just a turf covered mound, but the broch has never been excavated and there is undoubtedly much of the original broch lying intact below ground. The Picts sure knew how to pick a good spot to build their hoosies. Easy access, with good parking just a couple of hundred yards up the road (marked on the map). Walk down the road to the gate, and then walk down the field and use the stile over the electric fence to access the site. The ground can be boggy and marshy, so boots would be recommended. Reproduced by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of HMSO. © Crown Copyright. All rights reserved. Disclaimer: Some brochs were built with military defensive purpose, and as such can be situated in extremely dangerous areas, such as on the edge of cliffs and ravines. Additionally, these are Iron Age structures, most of them in ruins, and they are extremely hazardous, with crumbling stone walls and hidden chambers. Existing walls, lintels, and passages could collapse at any time. The information here is provided free but it is your responsibility to ensure its accuracy, ensure your own safety, and acquire permissions for access where necessary. Accessing brochs is done entirely at your own risk.
  19. George

    Greenhill broch, Roster

    The ruins of the broch are within a grassy mound, but there are sections of exterior wall showing in places which indicate the broch was around 64ft in diameter. It looks as if there is much still within the mound of archaeological value. Access is a simple affair of accessing a farmer's field through a gate. However, if there is livestock in the field it would be common courtesy to let the farmer know your plans before disturbing his animals. Reproduced by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of HMSO. © Crown Copyright. All rights reserved. Disclaimer: Some brochs were built with military defensive purpose, and as such can be situated in extremely dangerous areas, such as on the edge of cliffs and ravines. Additionally, these are Iron Age structures, most of them in ruins, and they are extremely hazardous, with crumbling stone walls and hidden chambers. Existing walls, lintels, and passages could collapse at any time. The information here is provided free but it is your responsibility to ensure its accuracy, ensure your own safety, and acquire permissions for access where necessary. Accessing brochs is done entirely at your own risk.
  20. George

    Golsary broch

    This large grassy mound has stonework showing intermittently which indicates an overall diameter of around 56ft. It has outer ditches and ramparts, so would have been very well constructed and heavily defended. Take the track from the A9 at Forse. It's easy walking, but quite a lengthy one, and takes you past the Rumster broch. Reproduced by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of HMSO. © Crown Copyright. All rights reserved. Disclaimer: Some brochs were built with military defensive purpose, and as such can be situated in extremely dangerous areas, such as on the edge of cliffs and ravines. Additionally, these are Iron Age structures, most of them in ruins, and they are extremely hazardous, with crumbling stone walls and hidden chambers. Existing walls, lintels, and passages could collapse at any time. The information here is provided free but it is your responsibility to ensure its accuracy, ensure your own safety, and acquire permissions for access where necessary. Accessing brochs is done entirely at your own risk.
  21. George

    Gailiable broch

    This one is in full view of the Kilphedir broch, which is not far down the Strath of Kildonan on the other side of the River Helmsdale. The Kilearnan Hill broch, just a short way further up the Strath was also probably built in view of both the Kilphedir and this one. The broch was built on a low spur and has been robbed of most of its stone. What remains is just a pile of rubble. The base footings of the outer and inner faces can be seen here and there through the rubble, giving an internal diameter of 8.5m and a wall thickness of 4.4m. Access is from the single track road through Glen Loth and walking along a forestry track to the banks of the Gylable burn. The broch is just 100 yds downriver from where the track bends. The area from the track to the broch is rough walking and crawling with ticks. Reproduced by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of HMSO. © Crown Copyright. All rights reserved. Disclaimer: Some brochs were built with military defensive purpose, and as such can be situated in extremely dangerous areas, such as on the edge of cliffs and ravines. Additionally, these are Iron Age structures, most of them in ruins, and they are extremely hazardous, with crumbling stone walls and hidden chambers. Existing walls, lintels, and passages could collapse at any time. The information here is provided free but it is your responsibility to ensure its accuracy, ensure your own safety, and acquire permissions for access where necessary. Accessing brochs is done entirely at your own risk.
  22. When first learning how to post process digital photos, it's important to find a workflow that suits you. Getting into the rhythm of a smooth workflow makes post processing more enjoyable, saves time, and rewards you with consistent results. I always shoot RAW along with a small jpg. The jpg is so I can zoom in to check focus in camera, to ensure I've nailed it. There is nothing worse than going home with what you think is a good photo only to find it's not in focus. I always check focus after every shot, and as I can't do that with a RAW file, I shoot a jpg as well. When I get home, I ditch the jpgs. Everyone's workflow with be different, but to get you started here is my basic workflow for photos which don't require much work. This is a jpg I shot while out canoeing in Loch Fleet. I knew I was going to be working with a RAW file, so I deliberately exposed more for the highlights than the shadows. For some reason it is easier to pull colour and detail out of shadows than it is out of blown out highlights. To do this I had the camera set to spot metering, moved the camera around the horizon until I had the exposure I wanted, half pressed the shutter button to get focus, then kept the shutter button half pressed to lock the focus and exposure while moving the camera to achieve the composition I wanted. Use spot metering to find the exposure you want, exposing more for the highlights than the shadows, then lock focus and exposure with a half press of the shutter button, and recompose for composition. As I had exposed for the sky, the photo is generally too dark. That was intentional as I knew I would be able to work with the shadows in post processing to fix the exposure. As long as all the detail was in the sky, I knew I had an image I could work with. Below is how the file looked when I first opened it in Camera RAW. I use Photoshop Elements, and I don't even have the latest version. This photo was edited using PSE15 which was adequate for my needs. You do not need the full Photoshop to do photo editing. If you use Lightroom or another RAW editor, the principles will be the same. The first thing I did was adjust the clarity, vibrance and saturation sliders to bring a little detail into the water and the trees while also bringing out a touch of colour, as you can see below. If you compare this image with the first version you will notice that the changes are subtle. At this stage all I'm interested in is tweaking the file gently to get it ready for editing. Next, I used the exposure sliders to bring out the shadows. Play around with the sliders to see what they do. The more you work with them, the more intuitive post processing becomes. The histogram is a powerful tool. Above, you can see that both the shadows and the highlights are in the black, which means I'm not missing any detail in any part of the image, but everything is too far left, which is why the image is on the dark side. If you look at this next histogram you will notice that everything is nicely centred and the shadows and highlights are still in the black. When I was happy with the exposure, I then opened the image in Photoshop Elements. Once opened, I then save RAW files as tiffs before going any further. If you check the file name below, you will see it's still a RAF file, which is a Fuji RAW file. If you check the image below that, you will notice I'm now working on a tiff. Tiffs are non lossy, they don't lose quality no matter how much you work on them. I always work on Tiffs and when I'm finished take a jpg from it. I also keep tiffs as backups in case I ever need to work on them again. You will need a powerful computer with a big hard drive and lots of RAM if you intend to do your own post processing on tiff files. I find a 2TB hard drive running duo core i5s with 12 Gb RAM provides me sufficient power and storage space to work on photos. I also have external hard drives I back up to weekly. I only save tiffs of photos that can be used professionally, so if a photo is used only for internet sharing and other personal use I'll bin the tiff and just keep a low ressie 1600 wide jpg. As you can see, there are some flaws in the file that now need fixing. The dark spots in the sky and in the water are caused by dirt on the camera sensor. I find my sensors need cleaning about once a year. Nothing I do seems to prevent my sensors getting dirty. I usually wait until there are half a dozen or so specks showing before sending the camera off. Fixing half a dozen specks in post isn't much work, but any more than that and I send the camera off for a clean. There is also an annoying white speck in the distance above the bow of the canoe that catches your eye. The Spot Healing brush was used to fix the specks, and I also used the Straighten Tool to adjust the horizon as it was slightly off. With the spot healing brush, only have it as big as needed and as small as possible. Aim to just cover what you're fixing. With the Straighten Tool, draw a line with your mouse along a horizon, let the mouse go and your horizon will snap to the horizontal. After using the Straighten Tool, you may need to crop your image back to a 3:2 ratio. The next step in my workflow is to denoise the image using a Photoshop plugin. I use Topaz plugins, but it really doesn't matter which plugins you use as they're all good these days. Photoshop Elements also has noise reduction tools, but I don't like a lot of Adobe's photo editing stuff as you need a PhD to learn how to use it properly. This particular photo didn't need any noise reduction. I then took the image into Topaz Clarity, another Photoshop plugin and gently adjusted the contrast and colour in the shadows while ensuring the sky remained perfectly exposed. Topaz plugins like Clarity have amazingly powerful masks which you can produce simply by clicking a button and then clicking on the image. Topaz have hundreds of online product tutorials available, as does every other company who make plugins, so go and watch a few and learn how to use them. Again, the changes were subtle as I've been gently preparing the image for editing so nothing breaks in the sky or in the shadows. If you look closely you will see however that there is already more life in the sky and in the water. The image is still fairly flat, evenly exposed, nothing is blown out or blocked up, so I feel it's now ready for some serious post processing. The very last thing I do before saving an image and filing it away is to give it a light sharpening. Sharpening is always the last thing you do. Here is the final product. To achieve this I used Photoshop Elements 15, and the Topaz plugins Clarity, Adjust and Glow. This is much closer to real life than the dull jpg the camera churned out for me.
  23. One often hears the argument that you should strive to take the perfect photo in camera when you click the shutter button so you don't need to post process your photos. This argument is a dinosaur from the days of film cameras. Back then you had no choice but to take the perfect photo in camera or you would waste valuable time and a ton of money developing photos that were rubbish. Now that digital cameras are here, you can take a thousand photos, quickly skim through them on your computer, keep the good ones, ditch the rubbish and it costs you nothing. A digital camera is a computer and they all have software apps inside them which do your post processing for you. Every digital photo begins life as a RAW image which is then turned into a jpg for you by post processing software inside your camera. It is impossible to produce a photo from an image taken with a digital camera that has not been post processed. Not only that, but the software apps inside cameras are generally not very good. Learning how to post process doesn't happen overnight, but it doesn't have to take forever either. It's a bit like learning to play a guitar or a piano. It's amazing how many songs you can play once you've learned just three chords. The more you practice, the better you become. There is an ocean of online video tutorials on post processing that you can dive into. When I started out, I watched a video a day, followed the blogs of professional photographers, and signed up for countless webinars on how to use post processing software. It wasn't tedious, it was an adventure. Here is a jpg straight out of my camera side by side with the same photo after I'd post processed it myself. Does this answer the question for you as to why we should learn to post process our own photos? If you want to learn how to post process your own photos, you will need to start shooting RAW. This is important. When your camera takes a photo, it records the light hitting the sensor and saves it in a RAW file. When you then look at that RAW image, the bright parts of the sky may look blown out and the dark areas may look blocked up in shadows, but the information is still all there in the RAW file. Take this RAW file for example. While out walking the shore one afternoon, I was excited by the light. This is what the RAW image looked like when I first opened it. I've deliberately over exposed the sky so you can see how powerful working with RAW images can be. We will learn how to properly expose for the sky in the next tutorial. From the RAW file, it's difficult to see what it was that excited me enough to click the shutter button. The sky looks just white, there is no contrast in the image, and everything is washed out. If I had shot this as a jpg, the camera would have looked at this image, deduced that the sky was white, produced a white sky and binned all the RAW information. As I had shot this as a RAW file, I was able to bring detail back into the sky, adjust the contrasts, and bring some colour back to the image. In the histogram above, you will notice that the highlights are too far to the right, they are blown out, indicated by the white symbol. This means that detail in the sky has been lost. To fix this, I moved the highlights and the whites sliders until the highlights were safely back in the black. When I then opened the image in my photo editor, I produced this, which is very close to what I actually saw that day. Had I shot this as a jpg and relied on my camera to do my post processing for me, I would have wound up with something only fit for the recycle bin. Shooting RAW and evening out the exposure as much as possible in my RAW editor, I was able to take a photo out of the image. One or two photographers still insist that getting photos right every time in camera without doing any post processing is the only professional way to work. Personally, I think this is only true for journalists who need to meet deadlines and who rely on their editors to fix their images for them. If you want to take control of your photography, learn how to post process your photos and don't rely on your camera to do it for you.
  24. Earlier
  25. George

    Ferry Wood broch

    This one is just a pile of overgrown rubble in the middle of a forestry plantation, and it's not possible to check line of sight with other brochs because of the trees. I would guess it's in view of the Sallachy, AlltBreac and Dalchork brochs, and perhaps even the Shinness. One thing is for sure though, after seeing this one, it's unquestionable that there must be many more unknown brochs which have been completely plundered of stone through the centuries and have since disappeared underground. Access is from the visitor centre at Lairg, marked on the map, which has ample parking, and then walking through the wood keeping to well maintained paths. The broch is signposted and you can't miss it. A bonus here is getting up close and personal with the Lairg Hydro dam. This is one for the family. Reproduced by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of HMSO. © Crown Copyright. All rights reserved. Disclaimer: Some brochs were built with military defensive purpose, and as such can be situated in extremely dangerous areas, such as on the edge of cliffs and ravines. Additionally, these are Iron Age structures, most of them in ruins, and they are extremely hazardous, with crumbling stone walls and hidden chambers. Existing walls, lintels, and passages could collapse at any time. The information here is provided free but it is your responsibility to ensure its accuracy, ensure your own safety, and acquire permissions for access where necessary. Accessing brochs is done entirely at your own risk.
  26. George

    Feranach broch

    There are original walls still showing here, and a couple of chambers have been opened in the rubble, including an entrance chamber. Much of the broch has been robbed to build a house and drystone dykes nearby, which are also now ruins. Access is through the Borrobol Lodge, farm, and private dwellings, so permission must be sought from the Borrobol estate for access. Although there is a track marked on the map on the south bank of the river, it is much easier to cross the river and walk to the broch up the north bank, as marked on the map. Reproduced by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of HMSO. © Crown Copyright. All rights reserved. Disclaimer: Some brochs were built with military defensive purpose, and as such can be situated in extremely dangerous areas, such as on the edge of cliffs and ravines. Additionally, these are Iron Age structures, most of them in ruins, and they are extremely hazardous, with crumbling stone walls and hidden chambers. Existing walls, lintels, and passages could collapse at any time. The information here is provided free but it is your responsibility to ensure its accuracy, ensure your own safety, and acquire permissions for access where necessary. Accessing brochs is done entirely at your own risk.
  27. George

    Eldrable broch

    The Eldrable broch is directly across the River Helmsdale and slightly upstream from the Kilphedir. The broch is set on a knoll and there is evidence of what is probably the remains of an outer defensive wall. There appears to be further defensive works at the base of the knoll which only seem to occur north and west where the natural defences are strongest. Access is difficult, as you have to cross the River Helmsdale. There is a sheep bridge for farmers use only (marked on the map), but you would have to contact the Torrish Estate for access and for permission to use it. If you ford the river, you would need waders, but if the river is high, that might not be possible. Do your homework with this one before setting out. Reproduced by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of HMSO. © Crown Copyright. All rights reserved. Disclaimer: Some brochs were built with military defensive purpose, and as such can be situated in extremely dangerous areas, such as on the edge of cliffs and ravines. Additionally, these are Iron Age structures, most of them in ruins, and they are extremely hazardous, with crumbling stone walls and hidden chambers. Existing walls, lintels, and passages could collapse at any time. The information here is provided free but it is your responsibility to ensure its accuracy, ensure your own safety, and acquire permissions for access where necessary. Accessing brochs is done entirely at your own risk.
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