If you’ve ever been to Edinburgh around the Christmas and New Year period, you’ll know that Princess Street and the Gardens is just a solid mass of humanity. Setting up a camera on a tripod in these circumstances is next to impossible. Therefore, it’s useful to find locations where you can take photographs in peace, and capture some of the chaotic energy that fills Scotland’s capital during the festive period.
One place to go to is Calton Hill, but we warned: it is very cold and the stairs will be very icy. You’ll also have to have your wits about you, as it is also a dark and secluded part of Edinburgh. There are, though some great shots to be had up here, though. The Nelson Monument was lit up nicely on my visit, offering a great opportunity for a long exposure, capturing the magnificent colours. This image of the monument, which included the National Monument bath in red light, was a 10 second f/8 exposure. I did have to shot another short exposure to capture the search lights in a static pose; which required some intricate layering work in Photoshop to ensure the overlap between sweeps of the search lights had a legitimate look about them.
Another popular shot from Calton Hill is one looking back down towards Princess Street and the Balmoral Hotel. You’ll need a long lens for this, and a tripod in order to get the light trail effect with a long exposure. I didn’t have a telephoto for this shot, and had to limit myself to a 55 mm focal length, necessitating a close crop in post-processing. This was a 2.5 second exposure, shot with an aperture of f/8.
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