Rain and wind are regular companions on Scotland’s west coast and so it was no surprise when on our first day on Harris, the first port of call on our recent Island Trilogy tour, dawn arrived and brought with it the wet stuff. I like soft light but there’s only so much filter wiping you can put up with and after several hours of frustration, our group and their sodden clobber retired for a creamy hot chocolate at the rather excellent Hebridean Art Café overlooking Luskentyre. The following day was bright and blustery. Game on.
Early starts are not something that most folk take kindly to but in April, they’re a necessity. Each evening our group would look pleadingly at me as I outlined the following day’s plans and without mercy, I routinely dashed their hopes of a lie in. No pain, no gain.
After Harris we hopped back onto Skye, where the landscape was bathed in a rather unnerving sunshine, a rare heat wave whilst the rest of the country struggled. There’s only one thing worse than rain for a photographer and that’s unrelenting bright sun. We ate our sandwiches, we grabbed another hot chocolate, we even succumbed to ice cream but really, photography was out of the question until very late in the evening and even then, clear skies provided little interest. A very (very) early start saw us on the Old Man of Storr for first light followed by a full Scottish breakfast – both magical experiences in their own right.
After a short ferry hop to the Isle of Eigg via Mallaig (and a particularly disappointing breakfast at The Fisherman’s Mission – sorry guys, I like to support such establishments but not when the service is this bad), we embarked on the third leg of our Hebridean adventure. Without a vehicle we were inevitably slowed down and this in my view, is no bad thing. It’s easy to get carried away chasing the honeypot landmarks without ever doing one place proper justice. With repeated visits to a lovely beach just outside our accommodation, we had the chance to explore different light and at different times of day (still early and late you understand).
Landscape photography is all about weather and for April, we got less of the tumultuous and more of the tame. The great thing about photo tours however, is that you’re effectively forced to make the most of what’s in front of you. There’s no office to retire to; there’s no car to wash; there’s no lawn to mow: you’re there to photograph.
Thanks as ever to our group. I suspect most of them will still be reeling from 4am starts but as I kept reminding them, it’s only a number.
Here’s just a few images off the processing production line.