The Last Pine by David Russell
David Russell's picture

The Last Pine

February 10, 2019

This was one of those very rare ocassions for me when inspiration, idea and execution of a photograph all happened exactly as planned.

Several weeks prior I spotted this pine tree halfway up the mountainside in Glen Einich. 4000 years ago this whole glen was forested. Today this is the only tree growing this high. As far as I know, it could be the highest mature pine in Scotland.

From it's location I knew it was extremely unlikely it had ever been photographed before. Even close to it, you can hardly see it against the boulder field it grows from. It's not easy to reach and not in a place that would draw anyone but a bird or landscape photographer.

I knew this would have to be a winter shot as the sun would need to be as southerly as possible at sunset, yet having never visited the spot until I took the shot I had no idea if the composition would work. The ideal conditions in my mind were heavy clouds and a dramatic sun break - the kind of conditions you can never predict. Yet if there's any place where it will happen it's Glen Einich.

On the hike up I was engulfed in rain and hail, and the wind was blowing up to 50mph in the strongest gusts. But the light was timed to perfection. Almost the moment I arrived the sun burst out of the clouds and gave me a solid 30 minutes of light (mixed with rain, hail and eyeball peeling wind). I just kept shooting and wiping the lens off for as long as it lasted.

I could hardly believe that everything came together on the very first try. It leaves me wondering if I'll ever try to shoot it again or if to do so would just take something away from the experience.

Check out the vlog of the day here:

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Magnus Ådegren's picture

Incredible landscape shot. So great work!

David Russell's picture

Thanks a lot Magnus it was a pretty perfect moment :)

Matt Chesebrough's picture

Brilliant vista.

David Russell's picture

Thanks Matt, much appreciated :)