Probably the number one factor in all of the Big Ladder images is weather and with a forecast of “several inches” of snow for the Scottish Highlands last week I decided to drop everything and jump on a plane to Glasgow.
The resulting image of The Glenfinnan Viaduct covered in snow appeared the next day in 4 National newspapers including the The Guardian, The Daily Mail, The Daily Telegraph and The Daily Star. In addition it has been purchased by private collectors across the UK.
The image was possible with a bit of skill and a lot of luck. The luck being the weather. The drive from Glasgow airport was fraught with difficulty navigating the very heavy snowfall, driving through Loch Lomond the sideways rain suddenly turned to the heaviest snow I had ever seen. The drive though Glencoe was probably the most memorable drive I’m ever likely to do. The blizzard conditions although not very favourable for drone photography were simply incredible to witness. The Three Sisters Of Glencoe were stunning. Upon arrival in Glencoe I enquired of a local as to how long it would take to get to Glenfinnan Viaduct….40 minutes was her answer. It was 3.30pm now and I knew sunset was 4.45pm (sunset is later in Scotland). Would I make it in time….I knew a snow covered viaduct could make an incredible image so I decided it was at least worth a try. I set off for Fort William. Upon arrival here the snow had turned to sheet rain again with zero snow on the ground making me a little disheartened. However thankfully I decided to continue the 10 mile drive to Glenfinnan with the light now failing, however, much to my childish excitement the snow returned just 5 miles out from the viaduct.
Turning the corner into the small township I was greeted with a scene that you would only normally see in a Lord of The Rings film….or indeed…Harry Potter. The weather had incredibly cleared enough for me to see the entire Loch in front of the bridge. I knew the shot I was about to capture was simply stunning….just don’t screw it up! With drone photography there are a lot of technical problems that can pop up and ruin the party. However I launched the drone across the bridge and took several bracketed frames of the scene, I then decided that I would record a bit of video (This can be seen on my Big Ladder Facebook Page)…however as soon as I hit record on the controller…the hail started. I could see it pelting the drone camera, this I will admit made me panic as I had this great image but heavy hail had the ability to bring the drone down. I aborted the recording and hit return to home while saying a small prayer. The drone landed very safely and thankfully the image went on to make 2 double page spreads and 2 half pages in the papers the next day as seen below…It should be added that the snow was gone the next morning.