Sunrise over Ben Nevis.
Spring sunrise over Ben Nevis during lockdown.
Lock down is hard and like everyone else we are keeping off the Scottish Mountains, but an early morning dog walk round the back of our house certainly helped. I walked up to the summit of Meall Banavie, Meall means bare rounded hill in Gaelic. The summit path is literally at my front door leaving the camera shooting the sunrise while I carried on as it was to cold to stand around and as I was walking my dog a few hundred metres from the house I did not take warm spare layer.
'"....Ben Nevis is further north than many people realise..."
Moscow is at 55.7558° lattitude while Ben Nevis is at 56.7969° of latitude, meaning Ben Nevis is further north than the capital of Russia.
Being this far north adds some interesting challenges to climbing and walking on Ben Nevis and Glencoe. In winter it means short days with limited amounts of daylight.
While in summer, if you want to watch the sunrise you need to get up early, really early. On the 21st of June the sunrise will be at 04.27. Hardly worth going to bed!
You also need to be aware that the light gets stronger before the sunrise, so you need to be ‘in position’ with plenty of time. Ben Nevis is further north than many people realise.
At least once I have set off with exactly the right time to get to a ridge or summit to watch the sunrise only to get there at the right time and find I had missed the best part, or that anther mountain blocks the start of the sunrise. You will find out my secret weapon to avoid this later in this blog.
"...if you want to shoot a sunrise over Ben Nevis you need to plan..."
For capturing photographs of Ben Nevis and the Scottish Mountains I currently use a Sony RX100 VII as it is light enough to carry but gives a photo quality to match bigger and bulkier cameras. This is the second one I have brought having upgraded from an earlier Rx100. Most of the photos on this website are shot on a RX100.
This timelapse was shot using a gopro on a tripod, might seem an odd choice when I have this pedigree Sony camera in my pocket. But due to the length of time to shoot the timelapse and the fact that I wanted to carry on walking not stand around. I wanted a tough waterproof camera I could leave and not worry about the damp, gust of wind or an inquisitive Highland cow.
If I am planning to shoot a sunrise or sunset or just catch the best time of day I use an app called ‘The Photographers Ephemeris 3D‘ * . A stunning app that lets you view the landscape in 3D on a phone or ipad and move the position of the sun throughout the day with the swipe of your finger to find the best time. Doesn’t guarantee you will get the sun, but at least you will be in the right place if you do. I even use it to plan rocks routes and scrambles. OK you are not going to plan a long complex route based on when the sun is on it, but the extra information can help with the final planning.
I find on my smaller iPhone it is harder to use as the screen size is to small to really be able to use it well, but on my iPad it is superb making timing and route choice when the position and amount of sun is important so much easer.
If you have a sunrise, sunset or view you want to capture why not book one of our guided walks?
*I paid full price for the app and have no links to it.