Isle of Eigg - Blessed With Light

It was a pretty dull early morning there on Isle of Eigg, but we decided to go explore the place despite, as we just arrived. It took a few hundred meters to get from the lodge we slept in to the Bay of Laig, the beautiful sandy beach with the amazingly photogenic silhouette of Isle of Rum in view right on the horizon. We found the beach fully naked, with the lowest tide revealing lovely sandy mosaics and structures. They were constantly on the move, as small streams of the water played with the dark and light sands mixing them nicely together. Fascinated I walked carefully on the moving sand looking for some strong schemas for the foreground. The lighting looked awful (to no surprise for me - I'm used), but we have had the entire week for this place so I remained calm and actually enjoyed a lot that I don't need to be in a rush here whatsoever.

Caption: Dull Morning on Isle of Eigg, Camera: Hasselblad H1, Lens: 35mm, Film: Fuji Velvia 50, Aperture: f/16, Exposure: 1m21s, Filters: Lee ND Graduated Hard 0.45

At the time of sunrise, there was no sign of a sun coming out from behind thick clouds. I discovered the above set up with the water streams flowing from the bottom right corner diagonally. I tried a longer exposure of over 1 minute in hope for capturing a movement in the sky but, as you can see, with a little success. It was good though to assure that my 35mm lens, which is not an ultra-wide, managed to include Rum and allowed enough space around it. I worried a bit prior to the trip as Rum seemed (and proved) to be the only subject to work with in the background while shooting beautiful details of beaches of Eigg.

I moved on closer to the sea when the clouds started to create interesting formations that I found worth exploring. Some light from behind also illuminated a small part of the sky. As well, I was carefully looking under my shoes to find the strongest foreground possible. I liked this structure that looked like a flower.

Caption: The Beach Flower, Camera: Hasselblad H1, Lens: 35mm, Film: Fuji Velvia 50, Aperture: f/16, Exposure: 4s, Filters: Lee ND Graduated Hard 0.6

It is interesting to notice a gentle shift in rendition of colors when comparing the two images. The latter is slightly more red / violet as Velvia reacted on the presence of an early light that was subdued and hardly visible by eye.

Just a couple of minutes later I reached the sea line. Right then, apparently a hole on the southeastern sky allowed the rising sun to spot light the Isle of Rum on the horizon. Completely unprepared, I was staring at the theatre of lights and shadows on Rum while everything else around remained dark and untouched. It happened so suddenly that I could only start photographing from where I stood then, unable to look for a stronger composition in fear that it will vanish before I make a shot.

Caption: Anywhere Out of This World, Camera: Hasselblad H1, Lens: 35mm, Film: Fuji Velvia 50, Aperture: f/16, Exposure: 1s, Filters: Lee ND Graduated Hard 0.6

I made few very similar images before it all disappeared. It turned out a week later that this morning had blessed us with the very best conditions of our entire stay on Isle of Eigg. Initially, I felt somewhat sorry that I did not know the Bay of Laig better at that moment in time as I thought I could have gotten a stronger image with a different foreground. But now I think that perhaps a weaker one is eventually serving for the good of this picture, allowing the pure and the beautiful light to stand out and speak loud. It is the best light I photographed in a long time, if not ever. Having said that, I can't wait to be back on Scottish islands later this month!