Posts Tagged ‘Shetland’

Highland Challenge – Result!

11 April, 2017

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I’m a member of Islesburgh Photographic Club (and Facebook page ) and the Club enters a number of competitions with other clubs up and down the country throughout the year, having 2- and 3-way contests with them. Islesburgh usually does quite well, occasionally winning, which is a measure of the talent among the members. Once a year we enter 10 images into the Highland Challenge, which is a major battle involving 9 clubs across the Highlands and Islands and the judging took place a couple of weeks ago. Islesburgh came second, which is a great achievement and up from 3rd-equal last year and 6th the previous year – steady progress!

Last year I was very pleased to be overall winner of the Highland Challenge with my image of aurora at Wadbister, which you can see here. That was very satisfying, especially the Ffordes (FB) gift voucher that accompanied the trophy! That image took a lot of effort, both in the capture (I took it about 3 AM, having waited for just the right amount of pre-dawn light) and in the processing (it’s quite a complex stitched panorama). However, this year I won first prize in the Monochrome Digital Image section with this image of Hazel. This was particularly satisfying for a number of reasons. Firstly, it’s black and white and I don’t often do black and white portraits, though it’s a style I very much like. Secondly, I was very much intending the finished image to be square right from the time I initially set it up and am pleased with the final composition. The light, Hazel’s expression and stance and all the other details that make the image work are all key elements of the image but there’s an element of luck in that the catch-light in the hair just caught on a stray breeze at exactly the right moment. Finally, this is one of my favourite images and, unlike some others which I really like but will be replaced by newer favourites, I think this will remain one of my favourites for a long time, mainly because I still think “wow, I created that stunning image of Hazel” every time I see it.

And here’s me receiving my trophy and certificate from Sidney, of Islesburgh Photographic Club… 🙂
https://www.facebook.com/IslesburghPhotographicClub/photos/a.222857797826556.43677.219533081492361/1166067316838928/?type=3&theater

Milky Way at St Ninian’s tombolo and over Ireland, Shetland

4 October, 2016
I thought I’d missed the best chance to photograph the Milky Way on Sunday night, which had been exceptionally clear and wind free, whereas Monday evening had turned cloudy and there was a strong wind. But later on the sky cleared for about an hour so I thought I’d try my luck. So I headed out to St Ninian’s, which I thought would provide a nice environment for the photos. These are both composite images; one vertical, one horizontal. I was lucky with both images; for the first one I was surprised by a car that happened to drive down the track shining its light over the tombolo. Initially I was a little put out, with my darkness all gone just as I was about to take the first photo of the composition. But then I saw the beauty of the whole tombolo lit up just for a few moments, long enough for me to take the first image, creating an amazing illuminated foreground. The image with the aurora and Milky Way was quite lucky too – the aurora had been good in Shetland for the past few days but it wasn’t expected this night. However, as I was taking my photos looking south, I kept checking to the north and could see a faint glow developing; then the aurora brightened, just long enough to create the second image. http://bit.ly/1lzUb8j

Autumn Birds day

9 September, 2014

I can hardly believe that it’s 4½ years since the last time I went on a birding day out with Paul Harvey from the Shetland Biological Records Centre – I thought it was just a year or two ago! With Paul was Rory Tallack (one of the Rangers) and a group of about a dozen folk keen to see and learn more about autumn birds in Shetland.

Well this past Sunday was an awful day of rain and wind, quite a contrast to the day before, which had been glorious and warm sunshine all day. So our hopes were not that high and we set out generally looking for larger birds and those less likely to “hide” in such poor weather. We weren’t disappointed though and saw a good number of bird species – about the same as is usually seen on these courses that are generally held a couple of times a year. That we saw so many species is down to Paul’s ability to see and identify birds when most of the rest of us can hardly even see through the rain on the minibus windows.

So, unlike the post from 4½ years ago, the photos in this post are very poor and I’m just posting a few record shots of some of the more unusual species we saw. In fact, most of these are firsts for me, including the Kestrel which isn’t common in Shetland and, whilst I’ve seen it many times on the UK mainland, I don’t recall ever seeing one in Shetland before. So, given these are mostly new to me it was such a shame the rain prevented any decent photos, but I think it’s still worth posting them, not least to show the good work of the Shetland Biological Records Centre in running these courses.

You’ll see a couple of photos are not birds – we were very lucky to see a pod of 20+ porpoises at Scousburgh and they were very active, allowing good views.

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

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