The Scottish Weather is Seriously Underperforming

My crazy friend Beth, who was born in Scotland, did her best to prepare me for the armageddon weather I would experience whilst visiting her homeland. Well so far it’s been nigh on perfect. In fact I’ve had worse weeks of weather in Hawaii. Nothing quite like hiking and scouting in short sleeves and sun glasses. But I’m quite sure that there is still time for the, now angered, Scottish Weather Gods to smite me with some proper Shetland weather.

Fair Isle Scotland – Day 2 (Wednesday  29 August 2018)

Having mostly recovered from the crazy outbound trip, I decide to jump right in and hike to the Fair Isle North Lighthouse. This is about an 8 mile round trip hike from the South Light, but I added a short detour to the Fair Isle Bird Observatory and the Ferry Dock.

The weather during this relatively easy trek was just about perfect with the exception of a single passing rain cloud that that hit just as I was getting to the lighthouse. After 10 minutes of hiding under the lighthouse eves, it was over and done with.

But a few other clouds happened by and this allowed me to use a long exposure to capture a stormy Scottish lighthouse pic on an otherwise bright and sunny day.

 Fair Isle North Lighthouse (Skroo)  Fair Isle North Lighthouse (Skroo)

This was also my first glimpse of, what I imagined was, the wild western coast of Fair Isle. And it was amazing and exactly as I had hoped. During my planning for this trip I had a few definite photo ideas in mind: Lighthouses (of course), coastal seascapes and seastacks, and old churches, building etc. Seems I’m off to a great start.

 Oa Stack Oa Stack

So far most of the images I’ve taken have been “scouting” pics using my handy iPhone SE. I’ve occasionally taken out the Hasselblad, but mostly I’ve been trying to get to know Fair Isle a bit better. I know, an impossible task in just one week. But I do what I can.

These are straight out of camera jpegs that I just use to record ideas and gps tag interesting locations.  I’ve taken to shoot my scouting pics in B&W to add info on tonality and better train my eye to see light in addition to color.

I ended day 2 with a proper Scottish dinner of Hagis and an evening twilight shoot of the Fair Isle South Light. And yeah, if anyone thought I was done shooting this stunning lighthouse, well that’s just not gonna happen. So you’ve been warned.

 Fair Isle South Light Fair Isle South Light

Fair Isle Scotland – Day 3 (Thursday 30 August 2018)

Needing a bit of a break from the moderate hike to the north end, I decide to scout the southeast portion of the island. I still took my full camera pack and took the Hassy out once or twice, but mostly it was more iPhone SE scouting pics.

I find that I’m having the same struggle photographing Fair Isle as I do the Palouse region of Eastern Washington. The beauty is overwhelmingly stunning and I find it difficult at times to isolate a single image worth. But that usually gets a bit easier as I get to know a place. The southeastern coastline of Fair Isle really inspired me. And I did drag the Hassy out a time or two. The midday light was pretty harsh but I’ll most certianly be back to this location in search of better light.

 Sheep Rock Sheep Rock

And here are the obligatory B&W scouting pics.

More scouting in afternoon as I decided to head back up to Malcom’s Head. This time making it all the way to the top. And this location provides a stunning view overlooking the entire south end of the island.

 Fair Isle Shetland Fair Isle Shetland

In addition to the stunning island view, Malcom’s Head also opened up the southwest coast revealing Lang Cole, Swaabi Cole and a multitude of sea stacks.

I was struggling to decide whether I preferred the color or the black and white version so I included both.

 Lang Cole, Swaabi Cole and Sea Stacks Lang Cole, Swaabi Cole and Sea Stacks  Lang Cole, Swaabi Cole and Sea Stacks Lang Cole, Swaabi Cole and Sea Stacks

And of course I couldn’t help myself and grabbed another image of the Fair Isle South Light on my way back down the hill.

 Fair Isle South Light Fair Isle South Light

Although still mostly in scouting mode, I’m starting feel more at home on Fair Isle. I’ve got a number of inspiring locations that are just waiting for stunning light.  And so far Fair Isle has been nothing but cooperative.

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