PetaPixel

Braveheart’s Legacy: A Landscape Photo Series by Kilian Schönberger

braveheart

Fascinated by the landscape and the mystical mood of the movie “Braveheart,” Scotland is always on my mind when it comes to mystical mountainous landscape photography. So I was happy that I found two fellow photographers who were willing to accompany me for a two-weeks road trip to the Scottish Highlands.

Braveheart_by_ Kilian_Schînberger (19)

Braveheart_by_ Kilian_Schînberger (2)

Braveheart_by_ Kilian_Schînberger (3)

The journey from Germany to Scotland was quite adventurous in and of itself. My car was almost too small for three photographers and their equipment. A recurring challenge was the search for a place where we could put up our tent at the end of a day… sometimes there wasn’t a campsite next to the locations we visited and the mix of rugged terrain and strong wind made it even more difficult.

But we made it, and we were able to see a lot of impressive natural, cultural and historical sites on the way. Landscape photographers on the scent of Braveheart, always curious about his legacy in the Scotland of today. My aim was not just taking pictures of natural scenes — rather, I wanted to create visually accessible places where the viewer can virtually experience the wild Scottish landscape and some historical sites, too.

Braveheart_by_ Kilian_Schînberger (16)

Braveheart_by_ Kilian_Schînberger (17)

Braveheart_by_ Kilian_Schînberger (18)

Scotland is famous for its ever-changing weather conditions. You never can be sure what conditions await you at the next location.

I studied geography at university and meteorology was an important part of my studies. Therefore, I always have one eye on the sky to discern even little changes in weather and lightmood. But Scotland was a challenge, because if you try to cut your own path as a landscape photographer you have to understand that weather and landscape can’t be divided into two separate variables that influence your photography individually.

Both have to be seen as one entity. And when you photographically approach a new area you have to find out what will be the best weather and lightmood for the landscape you want to capture with your camera. I think this was the most important lesson my tour through Scotland taught me: Find out what weather fits the landscape you want to capture best!

Braveheart_by_ Kilian_Schînberger (4)

Braveheart_by_ Kilian_Schînberger (5)

Braveheart_by_ Kilian_Schînberger (6)

Scotland somehow needs those rainy days to act as the mystical country that we have in mind when we think of the movie “Braveheart.” Bright sunshine is good for a nice holiday… but rain, wind and fog are the conditions I recommend for atmospheric pictures of Scotland.

Furthermore, when you finally do get some sunlight during the last minutes of a day — just before sunset — these moments are much more impressive and picturesque than they would be if you had enjoyed sunny conditions the whole day. Wet grass, fog around the mountain peaks and a glimpse of sunlight — just perfect! Truly fairytale-like.

Braveheart_by_ Kilian_Schînberger (8)

Braveheart_by_ Kilian_Schînberger (7)

Braveheart_by_ Kilian_Schînberger (9)

Legends and local fairy tales are always a great way to get in mood for landscape photography. Especially in mountainous regions like the Scottish Highlands where you’ll find many fairy tales about strange rock formations like the Old Man of Storr or castle ruins like Dunnottar Castle.

In ancient times, people were fascinated by those locations. It’s logical, then, that these places are great for mystical landscape photography, too. Generally I like to read stuff about the areas where I am taking my photos — I think this provides a more intense understanding of the natural and cultural peculiarities offered by a specific landscape.

Braveheart_by_ Kilian_Schînberger (10)

Braveheart_by_ Kilian_Schînberger (11)

Braveheart_by_ Kilian_Schînberger (12)

Also, it was very interesting to drive along the narrow streets through the Highlands and on the Isle of Skye. I think the Isle of Skye is my recommendation for anyone who wants to spend some days in Scotland for landscape photography.

This island has it all: Steep mountains (Black Cuillins), impressive cliffs and rocks (Old Man of Storr, Quiraing, Lighthouse at Neist Point), castles, church ruins, waterfalls and green glens. Mossy groves, little lakes, rocky mountain tops, white water creeks and eerie moor landscapes are ubiquitous — it’s a landscape photographer’s dream.

Rainy and foggy days fit very well to this landscape in the north of Great Britain. And if you leave the beaten path, you’ll find places that aren’t known to a larger touristic (photographic) crowd. The natural and historical locations, combined with the melancholic landscape of harsh beauty, are a unique experience that every landscape photographer would benefit from.


About the author: Kilian Schönberger is a landscape photographer and geographer from Germany. Despite being colorblind, he still takes incredibly compelling landscape photos and has been featured in myriad publications both on and off the web. You can see more of his work on his website or by following him on Facebook.


 
Get the hottest photo stories delivered to your inbox.
Get a daily digest of the latest headlines:
  • Daire

    Wasn’t braveheart shot in Ireland ? :-D

  • http://slrman.wordpress.com/ James Smith

    I think it was. Scotland was too dark and gloomy for making a film.

    It’s also why so many of the Irish have Scottish names. Even the Scots can’t stand it. That includes my own ancestors who also left for more balmy climates. :D

  • Daire

    “It’s also why so many of the Irish have Scottish names.”
    .
    .
    :-O
    .
    .
    *backs slowly away from thread*

  • Brian MacLochlainn

    It was mainly filmed in Co Wicklow just south of Dublin in Ireland

  • Ben

    These are breathtaking! I’m wondering though, would it be possible for PetaPixel to leave the exif data intact? I’m always curious what settings were used to create these images.

  • Hartense Small

    These are beautiful shots, it almost make me think that I have been there

  • http://slrman.wordpress.com/ James Smith

    Well Played! :D

  • clipper

    From wiki
    While the crew spent six weeks shooting on location in Scotland, the major battle scenes were shot in Ireland using members of the Irish Army Reserve as extras. To lower costs, Gibson had the same extras portray both armies. The opposing armies are made up of reservists, up to 1,600 in some scenes, who had been given permission to grow beards and swapped their drab uniforms for medieval garb

  • clipper

    Being a local – find their kinda run of the mill shots – far better ones on flickr, etc. Maybe his colour blindess explains the weird tones ?? ….

  • DLCade

    We never strip the exif data, Kilian just sent us the images this way. We can get in touch and see if he’ll reply to your comment and give you some details though :)

  • kaiman

    I especially like the second image. The waves, the shore, nice symmetric lines and them covering the same space of the photo. Really nice and thoughtful shot.

  • Kilian

    mhm.. exifs havent been stripped consciously. I used a Canon 5D MKII, the 24mm TSE II for the wide angle shots and the 70-200mm 4.0 for the tele shots. Aperture should be mostly between f8 and f13. ND 3.0 for the lake shots, ND 1.8 for the creek / river shots. Hope this was somehow helpful…

  • Electrofairy

    BEAUTIFUL :D

  • DLCade

    Our favorite is either the lit up castle in the distance or the boat. What about everybody else. Which of these shots do you like best?

  • seoras

    Nice images, if a bit cliche. As a Scot they do fall rather into the chocolate box, standard view version of Scotland. He obviously followed the tourist route. HDR, it seems is the get out of jail card for a lot of photography in Scotland, given the weather – as Albert Watson required in a recent documentary. And sometimes an ND filter is not required ;)
    The images actually look a lot nicer on his website, where he has some more interesting work.

    Braveheart was a complete rewrite of Scottish history let alone being principally made in Ireland where they got tax breaks on its production.

  • Sween

    There’s always a bigger fish . These are still really nice shots, you just can’t cater for all tastes .

  • Sween

    I really like the crop of trees in the middle of the lake, the wide more so . There’s no other tree of notable size present in the rest of the landscape .

  • Mike Burchard

    Clipper,
    If these extraordinary images are “run-of-the-mill” to a “local”, then it appears to this non-local that you must live in a truly magical land. I hope you never take it for granted.
    Best wishes,
    Mike

  • Mike Burchard

    Kilian,
    I thoroughly enjoyed both your images and your story.
    Thank you for sharing them.
    Cheers,
    Mike

  • Veldask Krofkomanov

    This is typically the case with a local in most places. What they see everyday in a sense becomes a little more bland. The fact of the matter is, everyone ends up taking it for granted a bit more than the once-in-a-lifetime visitor; you get used to it, and the sense of amazement is a chemical response in your brain, similar to a dopamine release when doing cocaine. Over time, it fades. It’s simply how nature works. That’s why for Clipper, these don’t suit him, and it takes the rare viewpoint or rare angle to impress him.

    I live about 5 miles away from the rim of the Grand Canyon several decades ago for a few years. Sure, the first day I saw the Grand Canyon I probably said “oh my god!” countless times. A year later, I wasn’t saying it. I sure appreciated it still, and loved being there, but that same raw emotion wasn’t there any more. It’s simply not humanly possible to derive the same amount of satisfaction for that long of a period from the same exact stimulation.

  • PP’s Guest

    Agree about the higher quality on his website; the images definitely need to be viewed there. I find this series to be rather striking! It’s a moody and welcome change to my beautiful, yet familiar Canadian landscape.

    Some of the images looked like they were edited with VSCO … perhaps this or whatever his post work is explains the tones Clipper was mentioning.

    Thanks for sharing, Kilian!

  • hapinessey

    It was shot in Ireland, Scotland and a tiny bit in Arizona.

  • hapinessey

    Not true. It was shot in (many counties of Ireland and in several parts of Scotland and a tiny bit in Arizona.

  • Zos Xavius

    good work!

  • clipper

    I’ve given up on flickr but search there for ‘eilean donan night’ if you want to see more of the castle …… and see what I mean.

    Must agree with others – familiarity makes it harder to do something new, original or different. I always ask myself would/could I have produced the same image if I were there …..

    Albert Watson – and his posse of flunkys – even wiping his lens, setting the tripod, generating smoke (ie atomsphere) etc, etc – on Isle of Skye is on the beeb iplayer (if available to you) http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b03y85dl/what-do-artists-do-all-day-11-albert-watson
    I really like Paul Wakefield’s Scottish work if you get a chance check him out.

  • clipper

    I’ve given up on flickr but search there for ‘eilean donan night’ if you want to see more of the castle …… and see what I mean. This may work http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=eilean%20donan%20night

    Must agree with others – familiarity makes it harder to do something new, original or different. I always ask myself would/could I have produced the same image if I were there …..

    Albert Watson – with his posse of flunkys – even wiping his lens, setting the tripod, generating smoke (ie atomsphere) etc, etc – on Isle of Skye is on the beeb iplayer (if available to you) http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b03y85dl/what-do-artists-do-all-day-11-albert-watson
    I really like Paul Wakefield’s Scottish work if you get a chance check him out.

  • EyesOnTheWorld

    It seems you may be losing your control of your faculties.

    You stupid fat-ass american excuse for a human being. Please, ask the nurse to check your diaper on her way out or you could be sitting in your own filth all night.

  • Truth Teller

    You are a typical internet coward. You hide behind your keyboard to say things you would never dare say to my face.

    Any time, anywhere, you PoS.

  • Martin Baines

    You look very like that other old sack of sh1t that you’re trying to
    defend and your comment certainly suggests you are the same person. Are
    you aware that depending on your location, posting from multiple
    accounts on the same site could be a felony?

    Aside from this, it
    is pitiful that you need to switch to a fake ID to post insults to
    EyesOnTheWorld, clearly afraid of getting your old ass kicked you feeble
    coward.

    Your comment is total horse sh1t as well you miserable
    fat fukc. You have no idea what you are talking about. You clearly know
    nothing about Scotland or Ireland and are extremely badly educated.

    Why are you wearing a hat in both of your pictures?

  • EyesOnTheWorld

    Who the f* asked you? You look like a stupid fat-ass american excuse for a human being as well. Watch it.