Our route up to Fife took us around Edinburgh and over the Forth Bridge (which is well worth photographing if you have time – especially at night). I have visited many places on the west coast of Scotland but had never been to Fife before and the area is very different from what you would expect in Scotland. The land is quite flat and any hills are rolling rather than the typical craggy hills I have seen on my trips to the west. There is also a vast amount of agriculture and farming of the land. What I was keen to photograph were the fishing villages, the beaches and St Andrews. One of my other passions is Golf and I had always wanted to come and see the famous Old Course at the home of Golf – what I found surprised me!
The coastline and fishing villages
The coastline from Ellie to St Andrews and beyond is quite stunning. There are beautiful sandy beaches interrupted by more rugged coastline and fishing villages that have remained mainly unchanged.
The weather was poor for the majority of the trip with rain and heavy overcast skies, but we did have some sun and being early November the light for a good part of the day was low and great for photography. If you are travelling to the area I would recommend paying a visit to Cambo Sands near Kingsbarns where you can park almost on the beach. There is also a great pub in Kingsbarns called The Barns.
I had planned to take photos of the sunrise during the trip. However, the weather wasn”t keen to help me and I only managed to get out once. During this early morning session I headed down to Anstruther with a view to capturing the golden light on the fantastic village buildings. There are other villages close by Anstruther and I managed to photograph 3 in one morning, although I would have liked more time. One of the places of note that I went to was St Monans between Ellie and Pittenweem – a very small village with a tiny harbour. I actually stumbled on the location in St Monans for the photograph of the oyster catchers. It was an idyllic location with a few houses on the rugged beach. I spent sometime here watching the tens of oyster catchers jumping from one rock to the next and I did plan to come back later in the day to photograph them – but never managed it.
If you have ever watch Balamory on CBBC then that gives a very good depiction of the houses. The particular stretch along the south of peninsula where I visited regularly has four villages in a four mile stretch; St Monance, Pittenweem, Anstruther and Cellardyke. Anstruther is the largest of the four and the view from the harbour back to the church offers a great opportunity to capture the quaint houses as there is a wall that hides any cars that may be parked in front of them.
I had not noticed the shadows cast by the light in the water when I took the shot. It was only when I got back home and examined my images in photoshop that I noticed the shadow. Although the composition of this shot is poor it is something that I will try again. It was achieved with a shutter speed of 12secs.
Most of the buildings have raised crow stepped gable ends. I am unsure if this was an architectural feature or to protect the slates from the high winds. However, I found these very interesting and always had in mind that the contrast and shapes of the walls against a blue sky would make a good B&W image.
The coast at St Andrews is equally stunning with ruined castles and long sandy beaches all along the sea front.
This pool of water jumped out at me whilst I was walking back to the car park along the coastal path from the harbour. It was really just a snapshot – but I liked the contrast between the texture of the pool water and the open sea.
St Andrews is an amazing place. The 18th hole of the most famous golf course in the world actually finishes almost in the centre of St Andrews. Being a links course it isn”t manicured and golfers have to battle the strong winds that are frequent on the east coast of Scotland. They had the added problem of heavy rain showers on both days we visited. The buildings in St Andrews are typical of the area with distinctive window frames and colourful painted renders.
It is easy enough to walk around St Andrews and there is certainly lots to photograph from the old Harbour Pier to the ruined Cathedral.
This is one of my favourite images from St Andrews – all that is missing is somebody sat on the seats! Although you couldn”t imagine it when we were there in the summer visiting bands entertain people while they eat ice cream served from the pavilion.