West Highland Way: Rowardennan to Drovers Inn

August 31, 2015WHW_Day3-1090515e

A nice, bright morning to start our day as we leave Rowardennan Youth Hostel. Great breakfast, friendly hikers and slept like a rock, so all is right with the world.

westhighlandway3-mapToday we plan on hiking 14 miles from Rowardennan to Drovers Inn located at Inverarnan.

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The arrow reminds us of the Camino de Santiago in northern Spain.WHW_Day3-1090544e

Quick snapshot of the WHW Gang.  We always look forward to seeing Mandy, Karen, Thomas and Allan due to their friendly smiles and fun trail banter covering a wide range of topics. The two on the left carrying heavy camping gear started at the West Highland Way trail beginning sign in Milngavie at the same time as us, so we often see them as they pass us, they stop for breaks so we catch up and pass them and so on…

WHW_Day3-1090557eLove locks bridge meets Scotland… One of the tent campers we frequently greet is on the other side doing deep knee bends with her heavy pack on.  Now that’s impressive!

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We find a picnic table in front of the Inversnaid Hotel and pull our lunch out. I mix powdered peanut butter with water, spread on bread and we have sandwiches and top the meal off with energy bars for dessert. Easy peasy…

Public bathrooms were torn down the year before, but the hotel is very gracious to hikers and allow us to use their facilities and fill our water bottles.

We see two hikers with backpacks going up the hill from the Inversnaid Hotel parking lot and assume this is our path, too.  After hiking up the hill and around the bend, Randy comments that there haven’t been any trail markers and something just doesn’t seem right. Back down we go and, sure enough, the missed trail marker is on the other side of the parking lot. Extra credit of about one mile.WHW_Day3-1090585e

This section of the trail is described in the book, Walking in Scotland:  “The path twists and turns around large boulders and tree roots, a good test of balance and agility.”  They weren’t kidding…WHW_Day3-1090549e

We cross stream after stream when we aren’t scrambling rocks and it seems to take forever to leave Loch Lomond. There are wild ferrel goats in this section that elude us today, but we do hear the loudspeaker from a boat cruise as it comes in close to view Rob Roy’s cave since this is where the famous outlaw allegedly held his captives.

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We are still hiking well into the evening and darkness is inevitable.  We didn’t plan to be hiking this late, but the path has been extremely slow going. This would be particularly challenging in the dark and we didn’t bring any flashlights/torches. (Just a cell phone flashlight). Note to self: Always bring a head torch when hiking even if you think you won’t need it.

We finally get to the Beinglas Farm campground and the little bit of daylight left immediately vanishes and we are enveloped in darkness with our lodging located just over the bridge.  We cross the bridge only to find a massive gate has locked us out. The gate automatically closes off the bridge at night, but has malfunctioned and closed earlier at 9:00 p.m. Great… guess we’ll just sleep on the bridge. The video below has a short clip of a man opening the bridge gate and you can see how dark it really is. The campground authorities are notified and the gate is opened. Yay! It’s 9:30 and we are tired, hungry and ready to have this day completed.

We stroll up to Drovers Inn and notice familiar faces peering out of the bar window. Mandy, Karen, Thomas and Allan come rushing out with excited relief that we are not lost in the woods. The ghost of Drovers’ Inn must have played tricks with my camera as I thought I was turning the video on and was actually turning it off.  Thus, the clip is short, but you can hear Mandy exclaiming about how worried they were. To say we were touched by their concern is an understatement. Thank you for the legendary welcome to Drovers Inn!

Song credit:  The Henry Girls digital download purchased from Amazon. The Henry Girls are three immensely talented sisters from Donegal, Ireland. Check them out at thehenrygirls.com and discover their soothing harmonies and instrumental talents. Thank you to Charlie Roth for bringing their talents to my attention.

Now, what’s all this fuss about ghosts?

 

 

 

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Street Performance… it’s a living.

Street performers add an element to the tourist environment that sometimes defies historical significance of location, but they do add sparkle. I especially enjoy musicians that add their artistry to soften the harsh sounds of daily reality on the streets, subway stations, etc.

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Santiago, Spain

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Santiago, Spain

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Santiago, Spain

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Segovia, Spain

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Madrid, Spain

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Chicago, Illinois subway platform

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Downtown Chicago, Illinois

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Downtown Chicago, Illinois

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Santiago, Spain with a boot to collect donations.

Bea: loyal ~ companion ~ friend

Bea

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Hair has always been a challenge when trying to extract a subject from its background and still have it look natural and not “cut out.”

Below is the original image.

schmitz-2004Refine edge to the rescue!  Rather than reinvent the wheel, I’m posting the link to the Youtube tutorial I found that seems to be the easiest for me to comprehend and follow.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2N4HmM6QOYM

Photo info: Canon 5D Mark 2 | Canon 70-200  L lens with image stabilization | Editing done in Photoshop CS5 | ISO 200 | 2.8 aperture | 1/500 shutter | available light

Light is my inspiration, my paint and brush…

~ Ruth Bernhart

Below we see the final results of off camera flash edited with Kubota Actions in Photoshop CS5.  I like how the lighting from behind accents the “guns” which are the result of many hours in the weight room. The rusty stairway frame on the side of the old Legion hall adds to the texture and character of this shot.

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How is this done?  Below we see the original, straight out of the camera shot…

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Utilizing a pose that used this muscle set, I had the subject flex his muscles to accentuate the hard tone.  Dad is holding an off camera Canon 580 EX2 off camera flash set at ETTL, triggered with Pocket Wizards.  F2.8, 1/250, ISO 200. Front was lit by available light only.

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In Photoshop CS5 I added the Bleach Mike Kubota action.

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Removed Dad but left the flash. I think it adds a special “spark” to the image.  Another option is to remove the flash of light, as well, to not compete with the subject.  Cropped a little, as well.

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Hmmm… maybe black and white would look good.  Bronze God Kubota action.  This is my favorite black and white action.  I have found it best to desaturate the image first before applying the action.

Considering  light, whether it be available or flash, as a paint and brush on canvas is where you begin to think like an artist.  Experiment and learn through trial and error.  You may be surprised to find an artist inside of you, too!

Dramatic lighting ~ Off camera flash

The image below is an example of off camera flash during the day using a pocket wizard and 1 Canon Speedlight flash. The image was captured around 4:30 on a warm, sunny, summer afternoon on the shaded side of the building.  My lovely assistant (AKA his mom) holds the flash set at +2 about 8 feet to the left of the subject or camera right.

F8 at 1/200, ISO 100.  Canon 5d Mark 2.

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