Winter Dawn

Rural isn't a concept that applies to Edinburgh very readily, it being, you know, a city. So when Piper requested "A snowy rural scene, with dawn or sunset light" I knew I was going to have to make a special effort.


In the south of Edinburgh there's Blackford Hill, a rounded peak with the Royal Observatory on the top of it and rolling fields with gorse bushes beyond. My only real experience of it is when patients (mostly older dog walkers) trip or collapse and call, letting us know that they're "on the hill, near the observatory".


This is rarely useful, the observatory being at the top of a largely circular mount. Ergo, you're on the hill, you're near the observatory.


I digress.


The snow that caused us such issues over Christmas was gone by the time i came to take the photos, so when the forecast warned of flurries over night I knew I had to take the opportunity.


Up in the dark, I parked my car on a nearby street when the tires started spinning too fast to climb any further. Hauling my gear up the hill I was gutted to realise I was too far west to get a decent shot of the sunrise. Looking towards an orange smear on the horizon, the foreground was a mass of streetlights, houses and high rise towers.




I'm goin to have to get up again tomorrow morning and headc out to East Lothian to get the hills in the background. Plus, my tripod is broken so I'll never be able to hand hold the camera in this dusk.


I'm sulking and stomping around the snow, checking out the observatory for an interesting angle when the light kicks into action, silhouetting this sharp wee tree to make me breathe hard.


Twenty minutes later, the snow has soaked through my jeans and long johns and the first of the morning's dog walkers are starting to creep into frame. I'm breathing easy, standing on the hill's peak and beaming at the city spread out at my feet.


Its a beautiful morning, the air is crisp, the shops are open for breakfast and best of all?


The shot's in the bag.

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Taken on January 9, 2011