Isle of Skye

Ever since l discovered my passion for landscape photography, Isle of Skye has been on my bucket list of places to visit. Looking online you'll find photograph after photograph showing the landmarks Skye has to offer, but you really do need to see it to believe it!

We decided to book up for a week between the 20th and the 27th of August in a beautiful modern cottage situated in Glendale, just outside Dunvegan. We arrived on the Saturday around 3pm, but after nearly 6 hours of driving we were really tired so decided to relax for a few hours. We discovered that Neist Point was only a few miles away, so we hopped in the car and made our way there.

Neist Point during sunset 20/08/2016.

Neist Point during sunset 20/08/2016.

By this point, it was approximately 7pm and the sun was sitting really low in the clear sky so the lighting was breathtaking. It really amazed me to see that the car park was full, but then I suppose we were at one of the most beautiful parts of the Island close to sunset. I got my camera gear out the boot of the car and we made our way to the cliff edge to be greeted by one of the most spectacular views I've ever witnessed. Although it was a beautiful night, the lack of cloud took its toll on the photo's, but I had all week so I didn't mind. I knew I had to come back... 

So Sunday was our first proper day in Skye, and where else to go other than the legendary Fairy Pools! It took us roughly 50 minutes to arrive at the pools from Glendale, but the drive was beautiful. At some points it's difficult to keep your eyes on the road! Getting closer and closer to the Cuillins we finally made it to the fairy pools, again we struggled for a parking space but we eventually got parking at the side of the road. It's roughly a 10 minute walk from the main road to the pools, it's not a difficult walk but you do have to watch your footing.

Photographing the Fairy Pools 21/08/2016.

Photographing the Fairy Pools 21/08/2016.

The Fairy Pools were nothing short of stunning! I walked up and down a few times scoping out different falls to find "that" photograph. I found my location, it did however involve stepping on stepping stones conveniently placed in the middle of the water. I took a few test shots, changed composition a few times till I was completely satisfied. However, being so busy It was incredibly difficult to take a long exposure without other tourists walking in front of the scene I was trying to photograph, but of course this is expected. Eventually I was able to take my photograph without any interruption and my god was I happy with the results!  

The Fairy Pools! 21/08/2016.

The Fairy Pools! 21/08/2016.

Remember I said we'd re-visit Neist Point? That's exactly what we did on Monday night! The weather was poor in the morning right through till late afternoon eventually clearing up as the day went on. The clouds had broken up and the sun was starting to go down. Quickly we got organised, packed the camera equipment into the car and made our way to the point. Once we had arrived, we walked back to the spot where we had previously been too only to discover their was another photographer set up and taking photographs. This forced me to reconsider my composition but I quickly found one I was happy with. We stood for about 25 - 30 minutes just waiting for the magic to happen and guess what? We weren't disappointed!

Neist Point during sunset 22/08/2016.

Neist Point during sunset 22/08/2016.

The sunset was just phenomenal, I couldn't believe what we were witnessing. I decided to use my Lee Big Stopper which is a ten stop neutral density filter, which meant my shutter speed was 8 minutes long! As well as the Big Stopper, I used a  Lee 0.9 Medium Grad to darken down the sky a touch and allow me to bring out some cloud detail. The wind was very strong, so I had to act as a human shield for my camera and tripod and hope for the best and boy was it worth it! Do you see the difference? Sometimes you've just got to accept the conditions aren't right the first time and try again another day!

Tuesday's weather again was pretty poor in the morning but things started to clear up by lunch time. We popped out for some lunch in Eilean Iarmain which is pretty much the opposite side of the island from where we were staying. My friend Graeme runs the hotel, it was great to see him after so long. We had lunch, spoke for a while and said our goodbyes and made our way back to the cottage as my friend Paul was on his way from Glasgow to spend a few days with us to explore Skye. Paul eventually arrived, we had dinner and watched some TV. The sun was pretty much set, I looked up at the sky and it was mesmerizing! I decided to grab my camera and tripod and take a photo of the cottage with the hope of capturing the milkyway behind it, but instead this happened...

Valley View 23/08/2016.

Valley View 23/08/2016.

Ever since picking up a camera, my biggest dream has been to capture the northern lights ( Aurora Borealis ), and it was happening right in front of me. Excited was an understatement! I couldn't believe what I was seeing, I quickly imported the photo into lightroom to see exactly what I had captured. This is a moment I'll never forget.

So Wednesday was Paul's first day, unsurprisingly the first place he wanted to visit was the Fairy Pools! We had no objection. The weather was beautiful, so we decided to take a towel and swimming shorts just incase we were feeling a bit adventurous! It wasn't long before we were in the water, never in my life have I been so cold! I managed to ease my way in one step at a time and eventually built up enough courage to put my head under. Gopro in hand, of course I had to take a selfie!

Swimming in the Fairy Pools 24/08/2016.

Swimming in the Fairy Pools 24/08/2016.

Paul managed to build up the courage to jump off a rock straight into the pools, he's a braver man than me!

Paul jumping off a rock into the Fairy Pools! 

 So after the Fairy Pools, it was time to make our way home. We had dinner, chilled out for a while and I had a look at the footage that I had captured from todays adventure. The night went on and the darker it got the more I realised we were sitting underneath the clearest sky yet! So naturally I grabbed my tripod and got my camera set up and stepped outside. Right outside the cottage was a little brick wall with an old gate attached, it was perfect! I began to take some test shots and it became apparent just how beautiful the night was. 

The Milkyway 24/08/2016.

The Milkyway 24/08/2016.

We decided on Thursday to get our hiking boots on and head further North, of course we had to visit Old Man Of Storr! Legend has it that Old Man Of Storr was a giant who lived in Trotternish. When he died, he was buried with his fingers left sticking out the ground, creating the ridges that have become such a famous landmark. It was roughly an hours walk, it was relatively easy but got steeper the closer we got to the rock formations. The views were spectacular, we stopped and gazed for miles and I remember thinking, how beautiful is my Country! 

Walking up to Old Man Of Storr 25/08/2016.

Walking up to Old Man Of Storr 25/08/2016.

We got to the top, I got my camera out my bag and got my tripod set up and began looking for a composition. It didn't take long before I was taking photo's and continuing to look at sheer amazement at how beautiful Old Man Of Storr really is!

So after Storr, we decided that we would relax the remainder of the holiday. As much as it was a photographic trip on my part, I also had to appreciate we were here for a break. Isle of Skye has been everything I'd expected and more, I have no doubt in my mind that we will return very soon and continue with our adventures across the most beautiful place I have ever had the pleasure of visiting. Isle of Skye... you rock!