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Chris Higgins

Passing Place: A Hike Through Skye, Scotland (Part 2)

Original image
Chris Higgins

Here's Part 2 of a rather long (10-mile) hike on the Isle of Skye. If you haven't seen it yet, check out Part 1 for background and the first half of the hike.

As we ascended a mountain ridge, the sheep seemed to care much less about us. These are semi-wild sheep, living off the fertile grass of the area without extra fodder, though they are rounded up for shearing on occasion. (We'll get to that in a bit.)

Waterfall; sheep.

This is the thing we would be going up and over. It was really a trek.

Another waterfall along the way.

The path is visible in the foreground (and a little in the distance—that green strip above the gray gravel). You'll note that even a lamb here doesn't seem perturbed by humans.

On the ridge, the path was on a steep angle. On the really steep bits, I stopped taking pictures for fear of falling off.

Looking back, we see Loch Eishort as the sky begins to brighten up.

I came across this stone face (right). It even has a sort of eye.

The face, again.

Continuing, we began to see mountains in the distance.

The path was muddy (and sometimes turned into a small stream), so we often tried to walk to one side of the path. This is where we found the real mud.

The ruined village of Suisnish has been fenced in, so we couldn't get close. There's a sheep barn down there, so we had to walk up the mountain a bit and skirt around it. Suisnish is similar to Boreraig, also cleared by force.

Evidence of long stone walls in Suisnish, from a distance.

At about this point in the hike (perhaps six or seven miles in, and many hours), the sky over Skye began to do this.

And this.

You get the idea.

I was very fond of these sheep. I'm not sure they cared about me one bit.

More sky magic.

At this point, the path became considerably wider. Although it was still rocky, it was a marked change from the sheep trails we had spent so much time on earlier in the day. Our pace picked up.

I couldn't stop taking pictures of cloud formations.

A fellow drove by in an all-terrain vehicle with his sheep dog. His wife also passed us, with several similar sheep dogs. They waved, we waved, and we realized that they must run the sheep barn back in Suisnish.

Rochelle ahead of me on the trail.

Another waterfall.

More beauty.

The pebble beach.

At this point, the road actually had asphalt. We walked even faster, as we were running out of water and still had a few miles to go.

This is a modern quarry, though at the time we were convinced it was the lair of a movie supervillain.

These sheep gave us the evil eye.

This poor guy had a half-coat of wool. He looked self-conscious.

And then this began to happen. About a mile from the end of the trip (back at the ruined church), "golden hour" began. This is when the sun begins to set and casts beautiful light over things. Despite being tired and wrung-out from a day of hiking (and not quite enough water), I had to take pictures of Loch Cill Chriosd. The water was calm, and reeds grew in much of it.

The mirror effect of the loch is brilliant.

More of that.

I had to pinch myself that this is what the place looked like. It was otherworldly.

And so on.

Here's one spot where the reeds became very thick.

This stuck out as a favorite—a typical Scotland "Passing Place" sign (for single-track roads), in just the right spot.

And thus we returned to Cill Chriosd, where the journey began.

Another view of Cill Chriosd, now with a blue sky.

One our drive back to a rented cottage, we were briefly delayed by these furry friends. It was worth it.

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Matt Cardy/Getty Images
pretty pictures
Check Out These Images of Last Night's Spectacular Harvest Moon
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Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Each year, a special moon comes calling around the autumnal equinox: the Harvest Moon. The Harvest Moon—the full moon that falls nearest to the equinox—rises near sunset for several days in a row, making early evenings extra-bright for a few days when farmers traditionally reveled in the extra-long twilight while harvesting their crops at the end of the summer season. And because the moon looks larger and more orange when it's near the horizon, it's particularly spectacular as it rises.

The Harvest Moon
Matt Cardy/Getty Images

October 5 marked 2017’s Harvest Moon, and you may have noticed an extra spectacular sky if you were looking up last night. It's rare for the Harvest Moon to come so late in the year: The last time it came in October was in 2009. (Last year's fell on September 16, 2016.) Here are a few luminous lunar pictures from the event, some of which make the moon look totally unreal:

And if you missed seeing the event yourself, don't worry too much: the moon will still look full for several days.

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Live Smarter
With Help From Photoshop and AI, No One Will Know You Blinked in That Photo
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After 15 minutes of posing for group photo after group photo, it looks like you’ve finally snapped the perfect one. Grandma is smiling, your nephew is sitting still, and even the dog is looking at the camera for once. Then, you find yourself in the corner: The shutter managed to capture the exact moment you blinked. Time to resume the positions.

With a new tool from Adobe, this scenario could become less common. Instead of retaking a picture every time someone closes their eyes, this feature would let you salvage the “ruined” photograph with a few clicks in Photoshop, Gizmodo reports.

The latest update of Photoshop Elements allows users to select the “Open Closed Eyes” option, choose which face in the photo they want to correct, and provide several additional photos of the subject with their eyes open. The software uses artificial intelligence to analyze each picture and determine which pair of peepers best matches the colors and lighting from the primary photograph. It then automatically pastes those eyes over the lids and blends them to make the addition look seamless.

Photoshop Elements (a simplified version of Adobe’s original image editor) offers many features that use AI algorithms to improve picture quality. Elements can automatically generate backgrounds when you move objects in a photo, suggest the best effects, and turn frowns into smiles. It even remembers the look you prefer and suggests personalized tone corrections. All of those capabilities and the new “Open Closed Eyes” tool are available today to customers who purchase Photoshop Elements 2018 for $100 (or upgrade their existing license for $80).

[h/t Gizmodo]


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