One of the best ways of travelling, and for us the best way of all, is on the road: you study your route based on what you want to see, plan stages and stop-offs, where necessary booking hotels but, above all, you take all the time you need to stroll around, take photos and discover cultural gems that would have been difficult to find otherwise. Scotland is ideal for a road trip, which can be organised in different ways based on your personal preferences: in this case, we will tell you about our journey in discovery of the most important castles in the Scotland.
It begins in Edinburgh, whose castle, located at the end of the Royal Mile, is worth a special visit just to admire the majesty of the place; the inside tour lasts 3 hours but, if you are not great fans of this type of visit, the tour of the outside and the view that you get from the square opposite the entrance are enough on their own. Especially in the evening.
A few miles from Edinburgh by car is Tantallon Castle, one of the most visited in Scotland: its proximity to the capital makes it one of the places that can easily be reached for a half-day guided tour, which means that it is really difficult for a photographer to find an isolated corner in which to take a few pictures without someone getting in the way.
Travelling north, in the region of Inverness, there is the unmissable Urquhart Castle on the lake of Lochness: a truly fascinating place, ideal for anyone looking to immortalize a piece of popular Scottish culture. Admission to Urquhart isn’t free and, given the notoriety of the place, even here it can be a challenge to find a little corner of paradise in which to take a few pictures. However, all you need is a bit of patience and position yourself in a strategic area in order to find the perfect moment.
Further north and off the beaten track, you find Dunnottar Castle, in the place of the same name: what strikes you about this place are not so much the castle ruins (again with paid admission) but all the surrounding area. The castle stands on a promontory and looks down over the sea and surrounding hills: my advice is to photograph it from below to admire its great size and also to give you a different, original and unusual view of a classic tourist attraction.
In Dornie, you find Eilean Donan Castle which, situated beside the main road, is one of the most photographed and visited. You can visit the castle itself but the ideal photographic perspective is from outside and far off, bearing in mind the fact that the light, especially in winter and spring, can be hindrance and the fact that the castle undergoes continuous renovations with the scaffolding in full view on all sides.
Certainly out of the way and, therefore, even more captivating due to its spectacular location in the middle of nowhere, Kilchurn Castle is irresistible not on an architectural level, but because its location is probably one of the best in Scotland: indeed, it is found at the start of a lake and is reached by way of a rough track. A visit in the early morning or evening allows you to best enjoy the peace, tranquillity and relaxation. We visited it in April on a particularly gloomy, cold day, in total solitude.
Finally, there is Stalker Castle, another that is fairly well hidden and reached only via private road: the castle isn’t open to visitors but the location is truly one of a kind. In this case, too, if you go at a suitable time of day or wait for particularly favourable weather conditions, it can really help you create some unique and unusual images.
A few tips for photographing castles in Scotland
There is no one way of taking pictures of static elements, such as castles and palaces; instead, it is all down to the eye of the photographer, to his sensitivity and his style, to decide when, what and how to shoot. However, here are a few technical tips to bear in mind on your next trip around the Scottish castles:
- Stick to an aperture that allows you best to get the image in focus, based on your focal length: an aperture of f8/f11 with a focal length of 14 to 24 mm (35mm equivalent) or an aperture of f11/f16 with a focal length of 28 mm or more;
- Use a tripod to stabilize your camera at times in which, for these apertures, you need to slow the shutter speed;
- To photograph moving clouds or water, use ND filters or make use of minimum aperture to keep the shutter speed low and thus capture the movement;
- Use wideangle lenses if you want to capture the area surrounding the main subject as well;
- Try to keep the ISO values low to keep the image as clean as possible.
The results will definitely not be boring and will be a reflection of both the journey made and, above all, the person who made it.
Article: Veruska Anconitano
Photos: Giuseppe Milo
La Cuochina Sopraffina is a food and travel blog by Veruska Anconitano. I work in marketing and communications, in very close contact with Giuseppe, the photographer responsible for the images and the technical aspects of my website (and who is also my husband and work partner!). It is very hard to pin us down because, for us, taking a flight is as habitual as brushing our teeth each morning. Together, we travel in discovery of the world with our photographic equipment and knife and fork always at the ready.
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