On behalf of a Hydro Nation PhD student based at Stirling University, Liz Thomas prepared a series of photomontage visualisations for differing management scenarios on Loch Lomond and Loch Leven.


The brief was to support research being undertaken as part of the Scottish Loch Survey, to understand public opinion on landscape changes to Loch Leven and Loch Lomond. The research team developed scenarios in which poor maintenance results in restricted recreational access. For example, invasive plant species reducing loch views from viewpoints, paths becoming worn or degraded, invasive grass species making paths overgrown and unsafe. The process of developing a hypothetical scenario and assessing public willingness to pay to accept or avoid this scenario is known as a contingent valuation (CV) experiment. Valid CV experiments must be believable to participants and it is therefore of great importance that landscape images are generated professionally.

Photographs of the sites identified by Liz and the team were taken on publically accessible land, and stitched; a range of viewpoints were visited in order to select the view which best represented the study's intended application.

Representation of the 'after' scenario was built up using photo realistic layers in photoshop. For each location a catalogue of reference photographs was taken to build a library of landscape condition and vegetation cover at a visually similar state i.e. early spring, same time of day, similar light conditions. Vegetation overgrowth was then based on increased vegetation cover of the existing species e.g. Willow, Alder, reeds and sedges, coarse grassland, broom and gorse. This was to avoid a separate dialogue relating to invasive / contentious species.

It was an absolute pleasure carrying out the project with HERE+NOW ā€“ the images are great and the service was excellent. Iā€™m currently having the images reviewed by academic exerts in lochside management and the feedback has been amazing.
— Craig McDougall, Hydro Nation Scholar

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