Whilst I was away up north, back on the Isle of Eigg doing some research for an upcoming photo workshop I have scheduled there this September, the weather turned for the better. An unexpected snow flurry for a whole day left the majority of the west coast covered in a blanket of white. Whilst on Eigg I looked back to the mainland and sure enough, I could see that the Cuilins of Skye were totally white.
So I had to get there!
As soon as I left Eigg, I took a three hour drive north and reached Elgol in complete darkness. I pitched my tent a few hundered metres away from this location with no idea what to expect the next morning. I awoke to the sound of rain and thought ‘oh, here we go again’. But when I got out of my tent, I found that the rain noise was actually the sound of snow. It was very overcast and still too grey and dark, but I got up and with bleary eyes after a cold night in sub zero temperatures (with two sleeping bags lined inside of each other for warmth), I headed down to the bay.
I shot several pictures, and each time I did, I was always looking for a new composition. Sometimes you think you’ve nailed a composition, only to find a stronger one a few minutes later. But I think what made it for me was the surf in the foreground and that lovely little bit of light hitting off the left hand side of the Cuilin range.
On a technical note: Mamiya 7, 50mm lens, 2 stop hard grad placed 1/3 of the way down, long exposure with reciprocity adjustment added so I could get movement/drama in the clouds. Fuji Velvia 50 RVP.
Mountains, Sky and Rocks were all provided for me.
I went back to the Isle of Eigg a week or so ago, and while I was there, I went back to the bay of Laig on the north western edge of the tiny island.
The weather was the usual mix of atmospherics that I’ve experienced before with Eigg. One minute dry and sunny the next, storm cloud brewing.
So here’s a new landscape image, kindly scanned by a friend of mine, as I managed to break the glass tray for my Coolscan scanner.
Isle of Rum, from the bay of Laig, Eigg
When I get images back like this, I know that the Mamiya 7 is a superb camera and I should not give it such a hard time. I do get frustrated with it at times, but as always, the final results always make me fall in love with it.
There is a stream coming down from the land to the sea, and in this shot, the left hand side of the image is actually the widening stream as it enters the sea. I deliberately used a long exposure to soften the current of the stream, so it blends in with the textures in the sand on the right hand of the shot.
It was raining quite a lot, and the sky as you can see was very overast, but soft also. All these things, plus using a nice wide angle to accentuate the foreground sand detail result in a lovely image.
So who says that rainy weather is the time to put away the camera?
This is a portrait I shot using my newest toy, a Contax 645 system with a standard lens. Notice the shallow depth of field? It was intentional, but perhaps it’s too much. I’m not that precious about things and I’m very happy with the image. But perhaps next time I’ll ease off with using f2 and shoot at f4 instead, or perhaps I’ll shoot both?
There’s a softness there and a glow which I feel is only possible with film. Certainly not achievable with a digital 35mm slr system anyway, to my eye at least. It’s purely personal of course and you may feel differently and also have proof to back up your alternative view point? If so – I’d love to hear from you.
I’ve been too busy of late. Far too busy to process and work on my images from Nepal and India, and in three days from now, I’m on a plane again, this time headed for Patagonia and Bolivia. I’ve got three film systems with me. Two systems I know really well – a Mamiya 7 and an Eos 1V. Why 35mm you might ask? Well, because on reflection, it seems that 35mm ‘looks’ better to my eye than digital does, and it has a flexibility to it that is not apparent in the larger systems.
I spent a good week up north on the isle of Eigg (ground work for an upcoming workshop I’m doing there in September – check out my workshop page if you want to come along), and had the most wonderful weather. Lots of snow capped mountains so I’d like to post you some in the coming days – time permitting.