Making of 40 Photographs #9

This is #9 in my series ‘Making of 40 Photographs’. You can't plan some photos and it's really a case of simply being in the right place at the right time. I know this because I've been to the Isle of Eigg here in Scotland many times, but I've never seen the Cuilins of Rum (the island mountain range you see on the horizon here) covered in a dusting of snow before.

You might be surprised to know that winter in the 'true' sense - those snow covered, wintry shots, are brief here in Scotland. Our winters seem to be mainly damp affairs with some extremely clear light and blue skies too. But snow? Well, it's brief - if it falls, it's here for a few days and then it's gone.

So it was with such surprise for me, this march to encounter a dumping of snow up the entire west coast of Scotland whilst spending time in a nice damp caravan on the isle of Eigg. I was here on a reckie for a workshop I was doing later this year.

It rained and rained for several days and I was slowly developing a mild case of bronchitis whilst lying in my sleeping bag in the damp caravan. With a lot of time on my own, I spent it watching my breath as I breathed out into the dampness of the air. There was a collection of damp books in the caravan too for company, and I found a rather nice one - the Shipping Channel by Annie Proux to read. It has now become a marker for me, a moment in time when these images were created.

I had taken some images in the gloomy weather, often having to wipe the rain of the ND Graduates on the camera, and by the time I'd shot them, the camera was so wet, it needed a good drying off.

A lot of photographers think that cameras need to be put away as soon as the rain comes on, but they're a little bit more robust than one would imagine. I've had my Mamiya 7 completely soaked on a Glacier in New Zealand 7 years ago, and it is still working to this day.

So it was with great surprise when I awoke one morning (after a chilly night), to find that the bay of Laig had been transformed from the gloomy (moody) shot (the latter shown here) to the former shot.

I guess it just goes to show that sometimes when the weather is so dire and you think it simply can't get better again, it often will.