Toby Smith

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After an incredible 1st day touring the Breadalbane area I had decided upon my “resting” place for the night. In the shadow of the incredible Ben Lawers mountain lies ‘Loch Lawers’. This artificial body of water is capped by a huge concrete buttress dam holding back millions of tonnes of water above the Killin area to be released as kinetic energy.  At an altitude over 1000m and the savage winter much of the loch was frozen and the surrounding slopes still covered in a thick blanket of snow.

I drove slowly through the drifts and ice to reach the far end of the loch with the dam and incredibly the faintest glow of Killin town in the distance. The pink glow of light pollution peeking from behind the horizon. A glorious day of sunshine and clear skies lies hand in hand with twinkling starlight and hard moonlight.

As the temperature dropped quickly to -12 I setup a camera to record a Time Lapse of the moonlight rotating around the mountain.  The temperature quickly frosted everything but the lens glass coating and fully charged batteries last only a fragment of the time as the temperature dropped.  Pesky electronics, where’s my large format camera…

The images presented here are digital lighting tests ahead of 5×4 shots.  I warmed the film on the truck’s heater as I loaded the slides hoping the temperature increase would help the film’s reaction to the low light and help the initial detail in the shadows. Having the dual effect of removing any moisture on the emulsion that could frost. (Fuji take note)

I struggled to focus the ground glass with my breath frosting the loop. Finally resorting to placing my torch on the stream bed in the foreground to create the faintest focusing point.  These digi tests I hope only hint at the detail and colours the final images will show.. The unprocessed 5×4 negatives are sat safely unloaded in my ammo tin in the bottom of the truck. I am nervous and excited to see what the 2 hour exposure time has produced on the first 5×4 shot of the project. However this can wait.. I have an appointment with Lochay Power Station as soon as I defrost my jerry can and get the kettle on..