Documenting the Seasons

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Photographer Richard Gaston documents the dynamic Scottish Highlands by returning to Glas-allt-Shiel each season.

My project documents the subject ‘Glas-allt-Sheil’ and its surrounding landscape over the four seasons. Glas-allt-Sheil is a bothy based in the Balmoral Estate, on the shores of Loch Muick to be precise. The bothy is owned by Queen Elizabeth II, however was built by Queen Victoria in 1868. She called it ‘Glassalt’, translating to ‘widow’s house’, where she would escape following the death of her husband, Albert, Prince Consort.

I have always been intrigued by the impact Scotland’s climate has on the landscape, especially when the seasons are so defined, so for me this project was about curiosity. I decided to focus on a subject which identifies a lot about Scotland; the bothy culture, moody weather and the famous Munro, Lochnagar as a backdrop. Furthermore, trees were of significant importance for the project as they demonstrate seasonal changes, so I returned to the same location, once a season. I chose my shooting spot on top of a recognisable rock which protruded from the long grass and gave me a direct viewpoint of the bothy. It was important that I waited for the ideal conditions each season; low, evening light with breaks in the clouds, in order to capture the vivid atmosphere of the Cairngorms and Scotland in general. The change in landscape was spectacular to review upon completing the project, notably in the Scots Pine trees.

Words & Photography: Richard Gaston

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