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  • Writer's pictureAlyce Bender

Monthly Review: October 2018

What a month! It started out with me traveling through Nevada in the RV with my pups, transitioned into an adventure in the Scottish Highlands which was interrupted by another amazing visit to the Faroe Islands.

On the road at the start of the month, I was camped out in a relatively well known park called Valley of Fire. Close to my home base, as its located only about an hour north of the Las Vegas strip, this place is home to some very uniquely colored stone formations as well as a variety of wildlife. With the last few storms of the American Southwest's monsoon season upon me, it was an ideal time to be out in the desert waiting for those magical moments that happen around storm systems. I was surprised when, before I could even get the RV set up, this was happening directly behind my campsite.

The desert wasnt done providing opportunities for me to shoot though. Walking up with the sun, I was having my morning stretch when this beautiful boy decided to walk through camp. Such an amazing way to start the day!

I went on to do more exploring of the park as well as take time to write. Photographer's Cooperative, a collaborative mix of photographers from around the world who provide information through articles, interactive groups, and videos, has brought me on board to be the guru around the topic of travel. My first pieces was published on their site in early October. Entitled "Travel: Why Every Photographer Should," you can read it here if you would like.

Winter started setting in early to the north and neither the RV nor I was prepared for that quite yet. So, given the opportunity, I joined James Kelly of James Kelly Photography in Scotland. He so kindly took time out of his schedule to show me around parts of his home country, where we had a mix of weather and stunning fall foliage.

From there we went on to the Faroe Islands, where he once again lead a small group of photographers through his second home. This month we had much harsher shooting conditions, but they made for extremely moody images which is perfectly fine by me. Loved every moment, as this trip felt like I was visiting an old friend and I was more relaxed, taking my time and not feeling pressured to grab just any scene. To read more about my time there and see the collection of images from my visits, please take a moment to review my article Discovering the Faroe Islands.

After eight days in the Faroes, James said his good-byes to the group, myself included, as well all boarded flights for various destinations. I had the leisure to spend a bit more time in Scotland though. This time it was in the tiny town of Dalmally. The draw to this area is that it is a mile from the shores of Loch Awe and Kilchurn Castle as well as less and an hour drive from the famed Glencoe area.

If you are in Scotland I highly recommend a stay in Dalmally. Get a room at the Dalmally station through AirBnB and let Liz and Graham give you a glimpse into rural Scottish life. They are also very talented textile artists, specializing in using wool for things like felting, spinning, and knitting. Due to the weather being very poor several days, I spent some time with Liz in her studio where she taught me how to felt. I even created a wool felted abstract landscape of my own. It was such a pleasure to try my hand at another craft and take some time to branch out, taking the pressure off the photographic aspect of my life.

This will be a place I come back to as there was so much more to see and do. The land was spectacular and full of photographic potential. Even from the train, scenes opened to reveal vistas begging to be captured.

Now, we are in November and I am hitting the road in the RV once again, this time headed south into Arizona for a while. Keep an eye on my Instagram (@abenderphoto) for updates from the road if you want to follow the adventures between now and the next end of the month review.


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