With a good audience for The Little Book of Gaiku, the new Luinneagan writing and photography project coming along nicely and learning new techniques for interpreting landscape visions, I have to keep in mind why I wander the mountains with my camera and notebook. It was always for fun and should always be. Yes there’s a serious side where I sit down and gaze on those wonderful Cuillin mountains (did they really arise from an asteroid strike?), scribble in my notebook, brew up a nice coffee on the stove and watch the steam rise into the cold-clear mountain air. But equally there are the days of fun, running down scree, scrambling up cliffs and along ridges and watching the ravens having even more fun!
So it was we went up Beinn na Caillich above Broadford recently on a clear winter’s day when I took the latest member of the Gabbro team, the inestimable Dr. A.H.B. Man (named in the style of the mountaineers of old). It’s great fun stopping and photographing the good doctor on the ascents and he enjoys cracking views from my rucksack pocket where he peers over the top at the passing landscape. There’s also educational value in the good doctor’s presence as I can play with portraiture, lighting and depth of field as he’s always a willing model. A little too willing sometimes. I think he might be over-fond of the lens to be honest!
So if you’re bogged down in technical or interpretational angst, agonising over which poetic form to make a hash of or which witty motes to drop on the page, remember to forget all that for a while. Take your camera out, perhaps even with a friend, real or plastic and have some fun. It’ll do you the world of good.