Monday, August 02, 2004

Right time, right place 

It had been a long day. An ascent of Ben Nevis, carrying full winter gear as the last 1,500 feet of ascent were on snow and ice, but on a warm day for early March so that most of the gear ended up being carried in rucksacks, where the load is most keenly felt. We took a leisurely drive back from Fort William to Glencoe, stopping once or twice for photo calls looking out over Loch Linnhe. By the time we reached the Ballachulish bridge just before Glencoe we were pretty tired, and had it not been for the row of photographers lined up at the end of the bridge, we might not have noticed the view out to sea that had been behind us until the right turn a few hundred yards back. Following the line of their lenses, tiredness evaporated instantly:

We pulled into a handy side turning, grabbed cameras, and ran, preparing camera settings as we went. The sun was already disappearing fast, precisely into the v-notch between the hills on the far side of the loch. In a few seconds we ran off as many shots as we could, four cameras between the two of us.

In a matter of moments, the sun had gone. It didn't take long to realise that this was probably one of only a handful days in the year when this shot was possible. Maybe even one of the only two days in the year, one in spring, one in autumn. Not only was this the right day, but the atmospheric conditions were near-perfect. Some of the other photographers there looked pretty well prepared, with multiple cameras on tripods and cases of gear spread out on the ground. Presumably they knew in advance the course the sun would take down into that notch. If we'd been thirty seconds later, we'd have missed it. If we'd have been more than ten minutes earlier, we might not have realised what was coming.

Fortune smiled, and for one of those rare occasions we were by pure chance in just the right place at just the right time. And with cameras ready.

[This one's for Photo Friday 's current theme of Sunset.]

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