Rugged—that’s the first word that comes to my mind while gazing through the window of the hired car running the swerving single-lane track along the ridge. All of a sudden the auto slows down. From the front another vehicle stops and the driver waves his hand; it means we can go. The pavement is so narrow that one vehicle needs to stop to make room for one coming in the opposite direction to go through. I am in Skye, the biggest and northernmost island of the Inner Hebrides in Scotland.
Luckily, my good travel mate and photographer Efisio is at the wheel. He does not trust my driving after our trip to Iceland last year—I don’t know why, but I won’t complain. For me it’s a godsend; I get to stare out the window and enjoy the vistas.
I knew little about this region just a few weeks back, when Efisio emailed me with an invitation to tag along. Shamefully, I really have to admit that I don’t know how it was totally off my radar, but after a quick Google search, I was down.
The island of Skye is only fifty miles long, a mighty coastline consisting of a plethora of bays and peninsulas. Somehow connected to the Cuillin Hills, it comes to form a diverse and rich landscape of sparkling lochs, waterfalls, jagged mountains and towering cliffs over the ocean. Just think about it—what else can a landscape photographer ask for, right? Well, we also love good weather, but in Skye you never know. In fact, its name means “cloud island.” Often misty or drizzly, Skye’s climate is almost unpredictable and it changes quickly. Needless to say, we came here to chase light. Dramatic sunsets and sunrises is what we expected, and at least for me it didn’t disappoint. Granted, there were days that we could have been better off just staying inside, but it changes so often that you never know when you’ll have a break in the clouds, just for enough time to create something magical. There were also surprises, like driving to a location expecting a nice sundown, only to get there and witness almost never-ending raindrops, but we had it the other way around as well, so for us the name of the game was just, “Let’s see what happens; we might get lucky tonight…”
Speaking of locations, Skye had plenty of places to keep us busy. Some of the island’s top spots are easy to find and some others aren’t, so with that in mind and in order to try to discover more, we hired the services of Marcus MacAdam, a local photographer who runs workshops and also location guidance. Our guide was his team member Harry Martin; he proved to be very accommodating and wonderful to work with. We hired them for one day, so we started with an early morning shoot and then Harry just drove us around to other locations and left us with a PDF guide that contained 50 different places around the island, including the best time to go, how to get there, etc. If you ever go to Skye—and if you are into landscapes, you should—I highly recommend you work with them.
Some of the places we visited were easy to access, but in general all involved some uphill trekking or hiking on very mushy mud caused by the rain. Was it slippery? Very… rumor has it that I may or may not have fallen, sliding down in the mud puddles a couple of times. Embarrassing… Anyhow, almost anything to get the shot, right?
On the technical side, all the photos were made with the same Fuji Kit I took to Peru. For some reason while processing I’ve applied the Velvia film simulation in Lightroom as my camera calibration; I think the contrasty, saturated colors are working well with these images, or perhaps is just me being in a “colory” mood. I have also used the 6 and 10 stop neutral density filters a lot in order to create some motion in the skies and diverse water locations, but really nothing else or far from the ordinary.
As always, I appreciate the comments. All the photos are available for prints or licensing; just click on them for more information. That’s all for now, more coming soon…