Introducing Karen Thorburn Photography

Photography has been one of my greatest passions in life since a young age. I was born in Perth in 1985 and spent my childhood holidays caravanning throughout Scotland; walking, cycling and island hopping. I got my first camera when I was six years old and upgraded a number of times throughout my childhood and teenage years. I was always keen to improve my shots and I showed my prints to anyone who would look at them. I studied Geography and Environmental Protection and Management at Edinburgh University, graduating in 2007 and again in 2008, before beginning a career in the renewable energy sector.

I approached photography from the artistic side – I always felt that I had an eye for a good composition – and I had to learn the technical side from scratch. I purchased my first digital SLR camera in 2009 before joining three photography workshops in the Highlands in 2009 and 2010 and completing a Diploma with the Photography Institute in 2011.

My professional kit comprises a Nikon D810, a Nikon D300, a 3 Legged Thing carbon fibre tripod and ballhead, in addition to a number of lenses and polarising and neutral density filters. I shoot in the RAW file format and process my photographs using Lightroom and Nikon Capture NX2. I aim to perfect my images in-camera and keep my photographs true to life, only using filters and post-production technology to do justice to what is already there. Shooting landscapes at dusk and dawn is my greatest passion but I also enjoy capturing small-scale details, such as pebbles, seaweed, waterfalls or flora, when the light is flat. I continually strive to develop my style and have begun work on a number of portfolios with a view to one day writing a book.

To date, I have had my work published in the 2008 St Kilda Mail and 2012, 2013 and 2016 St Kilda Club calendars. My image ‘Towards Boreray’ formed the front cover of the 2013 calendar celebrating this iconic UNESCO World Heritage Site. I also regularly blog about my photography and adventures in Scotland’s great outdoors at

Since 2013 I have lived on the Black Isle near Inverness in the Highlands of Scotland. When I’m not looking through a lens or staring at a screen, I enjoy exploring the Highlands and Islands, walking, cycling, kayaking, canoeing and bird-watching, as well as listening to folk, classical and rock music, learning Gaelic and playing with my guinea pigs!

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4 thoughts

  1. Great to hear that you are out and about again with your camera taking marvellous images. Black Isle is my ancestral home – John Fraser farmed there in the 1830’s and married a Macdonald in Redcastle. Later generations were around Avoch, before moving to Peterhead. I hope you will be happy there. I had a great time last year on Lewis and Harris, but the weather was against a trip to St. Kilda. Must update my website!

    1. Hi Lachlan! Good to hear from you. I hope you’re well. It’s great to be out and about with my camera again after having not done much photography for the last couple of years. I didn’t know that your roots are up this way! I’ve settled in now and am really loving life on the Black Isle. We’ve bought a house in Cullicudden, between Culbokie and Balblair. Good to hear that you had a great time on Lewis and Harris. Bad luck about St Kilda though! Harris is one of my favourite places, particularly Luskentyre – so beautiful. Did you do some painting/photography while you were there? Best wishes, Karen

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