Archive for the ‘Shetland General Photography’ Category

Hogmany at Mareel

2 February, 2017

Just a (rather belated!) post of some photos from the Hogmanay event at Mareel. From early evening on New Year’s Eve through to the early hours of New Year’s Day local band Fiddler’s Bid led a wide range of talented artistes in a musical extravaganza that was as good a Hogmany party as I’ve been to in many a year. It was something new for Shetland and really made the most of this fantastic venue – everyone I’ve spoken to since has said what a great time it was. I know many folk were disappointed at not being there, in fact many were kicking themselves at not having bought tickets!

There was also music in the 1920s-themed cafe-bar while the venue’s two cinema screens played classic American concert films. We had a brilliant time and I’d like to say a big thanks to all the performers, staff at Mareel and sound & lighting crew who all put in such a tremendous effort. A truly great spree to kick off 2017!

Stuck for something to do at the weekend in Shetland? Not sure I believe you.

21 May, 2013

Just a quick round up of what I got up to at the weekend!  First, I got an exclusive preview of the Artisan Academy Exhibition of selected work of 3rd year Shetland College students of contemporary textiles at the Böd of Gremista. And by “exclusive”, I mean just me – before the other press or the private view. That was a good thing though because the Böd is so small that with the crowds expected at the opening, photographing the exhibits would have been difficult. I shall post more photos of the exhibition later.

I went back on the Saturday for the official opening to invited guests and snapped a few more photographs, mostly of the artists and guests, as you can see below.

Later on that evening I went along to an absorbing talk at the Shetland Museum entitled “From Kennemerland to Mary Rose” by Christopher Dobbs. Fantastic stuff for anyone interested in maritime archaeology and underwater finds, divers, historians and anyone just interested in the maritime history of Shetland and elsewhere. Dobbs also gave a fascinating account of the raising and restoration of the Mary Rose in the Solent, including giving the audience an insight into the new Mary Rose museum, due to open to the public on 31 May. The Shetland Museum was packed with more folk than had ever attended one of these lectures and some extra chairs and the stairs had to be used to accommodate everyone!

Sunday morning and I had a quick whizz round the boat show – not that I’m a boaty sort of person, but all those bright colours and beautiful shapes are highly attractive to a photographer! I was particularly taken with some of the older boats, including the 19th century Ann, but also a number of “Shetland model” boats outside dating to the early 20th century and with their history and owners listed.

For more info on the Ann see here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.517678974945272.1073741828.381349481911556&type=1

Sunday turned out to be a bit misty in town but we were headed west and, once over into Tresta it turned out to be the best day of the year so far – we took in the sun (me behind factor 30!) and admired the local scenes, wildlife and kayakers. Coming back, the last photo clearly shows that the misty low cloud was still at the same point that we had left it 5 hours earlier.

DSC_7661Jack Hardy alongside a painting of him and Claire Saunders Smith by Jennifer Hutchison

DSC_7700DSC_7727DSC_7764DSC_7795DSC_7846
DSC_7976 DSC_7900 DSC_7969DSC_8015    DSC_8029DSC_8082DSC_8086

Scalloway Fire Festival

14 January, 2012

It was a superb night for the Scalloway Fire Festival – calm, mild and dry. Let’s hope similar conditions prevail for all the Up Helly-Aa nights this year! Here are a few photos of the procession, galley and Guizer Jarl Simon Mullay, magnificent as Jarl Sigurd the Stout (Sigurd Hlodversson) for the day.

December events and views

30 December, 2011

Some landscape shots taken this month, together with a couple of flash mobs for good luck! First, are 4 shots of the Moon and Jupiter from early in the month. Next, a couple of snow scenes in Lerwick, followed by the Moon, partially eclipsed. A sunset and the Moon again, this time just before dawn, are followed by the Sandyburn Singers, who “flash mobbed” the Toll Clock shopping centre, and shoppers rushing to get their Christmas shopping completed just before Christmas. The calm before the storm at St Ninian’s and Breiwick are followed by another “flash mob” of young people from all over Shetland putting on a dance act at the Market Cross on the last late night shopping night before Christmas. Christmas Day raged a wild storm that caused some damage throughout the Isles, this garden was wrecked at our friends’ house in Nederdale. Off over to Burra for the next and all but the last photo. A rope at Meal, follwed by the sea washing over the coast at Lottra Minn and the Kame of the Riven Noup. Last one is the sun, showing (from L-R) sunspots 1389, 1388 1386 and 1384.

5 Wonders of Shetland

15 December, 2011

I posted these photos on my Facebook page earlier this week and they generated a lot of interest and a request from my dear friend Marjolein that I post them here to make them more widely available – so here they are! Most of them are on my main website but they aren’t yet together as a group yet! Anyway the story behind this post follows and I tried to pick an appropriate image for each “Wonder”.

There has been quite a lot of positive publicity about Shetland at the moment and the Auld Rock is riding high and I thought “why not put together a 5 wonders of Shetland album?” “Why 5?” you may ask. Well, I’m sure I could have made it 7 but that might come later! So here goes. It’s already well known that Up Helly-Aa is Europe’s biggest fire festival; with the growth of the internet this fame has spread far and wide and it’s regularly featured and recommended in the media worldwide. The most recent accolade is in Up Helly-Aa being chosen as the best winter festival in Europe, according to Wanderlust. Also last week Islesburgh Youth Hostel was chosen as the best youth hostel in the world by Hostelling International; that’s an exceptional achievement in itself but comes on top of coming runner up last year! Talking of last year, the Shetland Folk Festival was crowned Event of the Year in the Scots Trad Music Awards. This year will be the 32nd Shetland Folk Festival and plans are already well ahead to make it another fantastic festival

Moving to natural wonders, anybody who has seen a television over at least the past decade must know by now that Shetland has some of the best opportunities for viewing wildlife anywhere. When, 20-odd years ago I started telling folk that Shetland is of worldwide importance and a global destination for landscape and wildlife eyebrows were raised. When I said it was as important as the Galapagos I found few who openly agreed. But pose that question today to Promote Shetland, or any of the highly successful companies providing wildlife and visitor experiences to Shetland and they will all tell you that’s precisely what their clients think and why they come. Whether it’s orcas or marine wildlife generally; stunning seabird cities or mega-rare vagrants; or the humble mountain hare, there’s always something to see. Also on the natural wonders front is that elusive phenomenon Aurora borealis, aka northern lights, or “Mirrie Dancers” in Shetland. Perhaps less well known outside Shetland is the fact that this is one of the best places in the UK for viewing the northern lights! Wow – it’s just awesome! And there are loads more things to see and do too. Have a look at some of the wildlife, landscape and night galleries over at my main website Austin Taylor Photography for some inspiration or just browse the stock images gallery to get an overall flavour.

Here again are the 5 photos I posted to my Facebook Page in celebration of these wonders.

(Partial) Lunar Eclipse

10 December, 2011

Shetland was the only place in the UK where it was theoretically possible to see today’s total lunar eclipse. I say “theoretically possible” because, here in Lerwick there was just 4 minutes from moonrise to end of totality and keen moon observers will know that is a challenge in ideal conditions – i.e. dark; but sunset was at almost exactly the same time so it was still quite light. One could have gained a few minutes by travelling to Shetland’s northernmost point (both earlier moonrise and earlier sunset) and I would have considered doing that but for one other factor – rain and cloud, both of which were in plentiful supply during the day! However, forecasters were suggesting a “50% chance” of a clear view – a suggestion that was heavily reported by local and national media.

I set up my camera in a place just outside town with a view of the horizon down to sea level in good time but wasn’t optimistic – it was still fairly light but, more importantly, there was quite thick cloud on the horizon – though there was a patch of blue sky above. Sure enough, from just before three till well after there was no sign of the moon – so I didn’t see totality. However, about 3:20 PM I caught a tiny glimpse of the moon and, over the next half-hour or so I was given increasingly good views of the advancing partial lunar eclipse until it again disappeared, first behind hazy clouds and then a more dense blanket, rapidly followed by rain. Not a patch on last year’s total lunar eclipse but nonetheless a very nice sight.

Jupiter and the Moon in mid winter get-together

6 December, 2011

What a wonderful sight! Tonight, the Moon and Jupiter are just 5 degrees apart as I write this. What’s more, the sky has been clear for much of the evening, affording superb views here in Shetland. I took the opportunity to capture a few images and am pleased with my efforts. The snow added a nice setting for the pairing and I added a couple of fun images too, with me viewing the event and a seasonal shot with our local Christmas tree.

Fireworks, Crafts and time to reflect

24 November, 2011

This year the annual fireworks display put on by Islesburgh Pyrotechnic Display Club coincided with Guy Fawkes Day and fell on a Saturday. The evening was clear and calm and made for a splendid 15 minute long spectacle. I have been photographing the display from Staney Hill for quite a few years but this year chose quite a different position to normal. Even though it’s only 10 or 15 minutes walk off Cunningham Way and I knew where I was going, it was still a challenge in the dark with a headtorch to avoid the boggy areas! But it was all worth it and I was pleased with the results – I feel that, from this angle, the lights of Lerwick form a better setting than I have previously achieved.

Later in the month I attended the annual Shetland Arts and Crafts Fair with a wide range of Austin Taylor Photography products and was delighted the Fair was so well attended, both by many new exhibitors and the public. I should like to say a big thank you to everybody who took the time to visit my stand.

On a more sombre note, Shetland has been fortunate in being able to host the travelling photographic exhibition highlighting the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings of August 1945. My photo shows visitors to the Town Hall  in Lerwick, where the exhibition was displayed in the middle of November. I took time to view the photographs, which are at the same time intensely moving, sometimes graphic and yet, inspirational – partly in the sense that it remains urgent to permanently rid the world of nuclear weapons. More important than that though remains the greater need to achieve a sustainable future for the planet; only then, with genuine equity between all human societies and with all of the natural world will there be any hope of an end to the mistrust that creates such waepons.

June

31 August, 2011


This is a rather belated post for June, with a few photos. I’ve been really busy these past summer months so not had much chance to post photos or update the blog due to various trips south, the Tall Ships visit, very busy with my photography business and, well, just summer stuff. It’s perhaps a good thing that I’ve spent less time in Shetland than I usually do this summer because the weather has been pretty poor here this year. I achieved a few firsts for me this June, including my first trip out to Uyea, where I walsked out one fine day with my daughter. On the way I managed to get a couple of good photos of a Dunlin and, later in the month got my first decent photo of a Shetland bumblebee – though, of course, I’ve seen many of these. I also saw some noctilucent clouds and we visited Unst, where I managed to photograph Muness castle in the sunshine – almost another first!

Also in June we headed south to a wedding of some good friends in Devon and while there captured images of dipper, water boatmen and dunnock; I had previously not photographed any of these before. I’ve also included photos of a few other animals and birds, not all of them wild and some that we saw whilst at the Eden Project.

Mammatus clouds

19 May, 2011

These photos are of mammatus clouds that are, apparently, often seen after a thunderstorm. We seldom get them here, possibly because we don’t often get thunderstorms and I don’t remember seeing clouds like this before in real life. There had just been thunder, according to a friend living locally but it was by chance that I looked out the window and said out loud to myself: “wow!” I’ve been hoping to see mammatus clouds for a long time – I’ve seen photos of them and they looked a good subject to photograph! But I think I was lucky because the ones I saw seem to be really good – partly because they were lit by a low sun, which emphasised their appearance. But they were moving quickly across the sky and within 10 minutes they had gone!