Tag Archives: Scotland

Ruined, in Harris

Photographers can’t resist a ruin, especially one as decrepit as this on Harris. On a moody, rain-filled day, here is a place to escape the weather and get some images. Mind you, there were so many holes in the roof that the weather chased us inside…!

There is a strong sensation of ghosts in places like this. Not literally, but a feeling of lives lived here and now gone. Mouldering away, all quite eerie.

The goosebumps are certainly prickling when you spot that a sheep has wandered in, some time ago, not escaped, and left its skull as a decorative element in the kitchen…

Upstairs is empty and forlorn, silent apart from the curtain in the wind.

Whoever did live here just got up from their chair and departed. The last cup of tea left to go cold and stale on the sideboard. Ruined, in Harris.

(Ruined House found on Quest workshop trip to Harris, Lewis and Durness. 2019 brochure here)


Harris Colour

Inspired by Roy Essery’s cracking website (here) I thought it about time to upload some of my images from our recent workshop to Harris. The Outer Hebrides being so far north, and so far into the Atlantic, it’s no surprise that this is a world of contrasting weather and contrasting colours. It’s a wonderful place for black and white, but I’ll leave that for another day…

 

These colours are barely tweaked at all in PS. Vivid green, purple, blues and oranges, all very typically Scottish…, and all very photogenic!

 

 

 

 

There’s no Scotland trip planned for 2019 (check out the brochure here), but Harris pulls strongly, so we’ll be back there the following year. Now, to have a look at the monochrome images…


Hebridean Abstracts

Now I love this image, but sure as hell the judges in the photo club don’t! Too difficult, too abstract, just too weird. Even with a literal title – ‘Wave On Beach’ – it’s still doomed to failure. Shot down in flames, twice. So it’s not a photo club photo, but heck, I still like it…

 

Lewis Beach

Lewis Beach

 

Maybe this one would work better… Bit of foreground interest, lead in line, wave breaking in mid distance and a moody sky in the far background. More obvious certainly, but it’s an anyone shot, it’s ok, but just ok.

 

Wind on sand plus waves

Wind on sand plus waves

 

This is more like it. A real weird one! Panning to the right during a 2 sec exposure whilst the wave breaks to the left. I’ve not even considered this as a competition image. It would get blasted straight away for being ‘blurry’….

 

Breaking wave

Breaking wave

 

Maybe I should compromise. How about this? Rock on beach – a point to focus on, still a bit abstract-y with the black peat showing through the tawny sand. Bit of a curve to take the eye through the pic… On second thoughts, this is still to way-out for a 30 sec analysis in a club competition. It stays on the blog site. Hope you enjoy it!

Lewis beach abstract 2

Lewis beach abstract 2

 

(Now if you did like these, then check out some lovely rocks… or indeed some more beaches in Scotland! Let me know what you think…)

 


Nice Gneiss!

How often do you stop and look at something? Really look – very closely? So much that you actually see…

Lewisian Gneiss

Lewisian Gneiss

 

It’s quite a difficult thing to do. We all rush around in our hectic lives, so to stop and truly see is quite different. Almost feels strange to spend so much time just looking…

Ancient rock

Ancient rock in the waves

 

I spent some time doing just that recently on a beach in Lewis. At first all you see is rocks, but then the colours and the shapes become more apparent. The first photographs are difficult. Then it becomes easier. I begin to see. As if the rocks pose to have their portraits taken.

 

Circles touching

Related rings in the rock

 

These particular rocks are 3 billion years old. 2/3 as old as the Earth itself. The heat, pressure and then ice and waves have created fantastic colour and fantastic shape. The rocks will be here long after I have gone. So I’m glad I spent some time looking at them. I slowed down, took some time, and looked. Nice to share some time with the Gneiss. And not to hurry…

 

Bedwell_rocks2

 

(If you liked these photos, have a look at Sunny Scotland won’t stop me taking photos)

 

 

 


Sunny Scotland won’t stop me taking photos!

What sort of weather do you associate with the far north of Scotland? I mean – right up the top. Not even the Hebrides…, the Outer Hebrides? It’s got to be rain, correct? Big, moody, storm filled skies. Huge rolling breakers coming in off the Atlantic all the way from Greenland. Wet! The Scots even have their own word for it, dreich: drizzly, wet, heavy, grey. That’s what I wanted for my trip last week. I wanted moody and dramatic. Storms! What did I get? Sunshine and blue sky. I can’t believe it!

 

A break in the sunshine, some clouds, & I got snapping!

A break in the sunshine, some clouds, & I got snapping!

 

OK, OK, so the first image looks a bit grey-ish. I had to work hard for that. This was perhaps a 10 minute cloud passing between almost incessant sunshine. Photographers have to seize every opportunity…

 

Luskentyre beach

Luskentyre beach

 

This was more like it. Great big blue sky reflecting off the wet sand. You’d think it was the Bahamas. In fact it was so warm it felt like the Bahamas! Mind you, one big advantage over the Bahamas – the Isle of Harris was deserted, completely!

 

Cotton wool wave

Cotton wool wave

 

Now this one could be bluer, but the long exposure filter has toned it down (to blur the wave) and I’m fond of it so it’s staying that way… Mrs P has deigned to comment that she likes this one, so I know I’m forgiven for disappearing for a week…

 

Empty beach. Not like the Caribbean...

Empty beach. Not like the Caribbean…

 

A week of empty beaches, dramatic scenery, uninterrupted photography and the odd wee dram of whisky. Heaven. Couldn’t have been better…., well, apart from the weather!

 

(Thanks to Aspect2i for a fantastic photography week. If you’re interested in truly inspirational photo workshops then check them out: http://www.aspect2i.co.uk )


Meditating on the Isle of Skye

Skye view

Skye view

I have a good friend who meditates. Every day, at least 40 mins. He empties his mind, lets his thoughts go. He says he can watch individual thoughts leave his body/mind and drift away. As a result he says he feels calmer, more grounded, less stressed, more happy. I’m rather envious…

A sea loch

A sea loch

In a way photography has a similar effect. Certainly landscape photography. Slow down, look, then really look, set up the tripod, get the camera out, look again, ponder, frame up, decide on exposure and only then trip the shutter. It’s a slow process and all the more meditative for it. There’s no point in hurrying, the photos will just be worse.

Isolation on Skye

Isolation on Skye

I started to learn this about 10 years ago when I did my first photographic workshop – 4 days on the Isle of Skye. There was just me and the tutor and all this expansive land, sea and sky-scape. The isolation helped slow everything down, empty the mind of the rat race in the big city. Hugely quiet and empty. There was just no-one there. Time and space to look and reflect.

Reflections

Reflections

This was the view of the loch just below my B&B. I watched a sea otter fish along these shallows (I’d just gone for a short stroll without my camera, how typical!). It was a big otter, at first I thought it was a dog in the water. Must have been a good 2-3 feet long. That’s one for the memory bank rather than the hard drive.

Classic Skye thatching

Classic Skye thatching

So I think landscape photography is a bit like meditation. Very inwardly focussing, rather solipsistic, even a bit selfish. That would certainly be the reaction of the rest of family (sighing and groaning if I show the slightest inclination to get the tripod out…I always ignore them). But not so easy to do on a day-to-day basis. Maybe I’m going to have to have a go at the real thing. I wonder if meditation might improve my photography? We shall see…

Skye - real isolation!

Skye – real isolation!