For almost as long as I can remember, photography for me has meant using a tripod, mirror up, cable release and square filters. Whilst this approach tends to make me slow down and be more measured in my approach, it can also be more restrictive, particularly now I use a backpack rather than a shoulder bag, I tend to be much more reluctant to stop and take the odd quirky detail shot. This has led to my photography becoming much less spontaneous.
In the past when on week long trips like this, I end up getting tired of carrying the heavy backpack and tripod and eventually give up and go for walks without a camera, just to get a rest from it. This usually resulted in my regretting not having a camera when I spotted something interesting. My solution was to buy a Canon G1X compact camera. My first impressions of this camera were that it was excellent and produced first class results, but as I pushed it harder in less favourable light conditions, it soon became apparent that it had some limitations, particularly in low light, so it soon lost favour.
This trip to Cape Wrath has proved to be so windy that using a tripod at all has become almost impossible, so I’ve had to resort to using the camera hand held and I must say I’m finding this quite liberating! I’m able to travel light with just the SLR fitted with the 24-120 lens and a screw on 2 stop ND grad. No tripod to carry and no big weight around my neck. I can walk for miles without suffering stiff shoulders and I’m free to shoot all those quirky details such as interesting rocks and seaweed patterns and suddenly my photography is much more spontaneous again. It’s very liberating!
I’m not really into gear, I think the best piece of advice we could give anyone is use the camera you have and learn how to master it, but I’ve long been looking to replace my beloved Olympus AX film compact. This great little camera travelled the world with me and its superb quality lens and unrivalled low light metering meant we were able to capture some great shots by virtue of always having a camera with us. We shot balloons and rallies at night and it way outperformed my state of art modern SLR I currently use.
When it finally died full of African dust, I tried many other compacts such as the Minox and the much vaunted Ricoh GR1 and found they didn’t compare. Come the digital age I looked at many offerings from Nikon, Canon and Fuji and hated them all, but I’ve finally found one that meets my requirements. It’s the Canon G1X and initial impressions are that it’s an awesome piece of kit, with great picture quality and very good handling. The downsides are that it’s expensive, large and heavy, but the build quality and controls rival most high end SLR’s, so it would be a great camera for anyone travelling who wants to produce good quality photos.
At last, the Lofoten Island trip is sorted, all we need now is some snow, Auroras, & great light…….
The second week in May saw us on the lovely Isle of Mull, staying in a cottage on the north west corner of the island. Our cottage is less than 50 yards from the sea, with views to the north over Skye, Rhum and Eigg, with Coll and Tiree to our left and Uist far off in the distance.
We spend our evenings watching the light paint ever changing pictures on Ardnamurchan and the light coming and going over Rhum. The rabbits and birds entertain us by going about their daily business and the otters are regular visitors to the bay.
Who needs David Attenborough, or the television for that matter.
Wednesday night looked promising, with a thin layer of cloud over Rhum that looked as though it would light up at sunset. We sat there with a glass of wine watching the ever changing light develop, then a squall slowly moved in from the east. It was going to be close, would the sun set before the squall obscured Rhum altogether!
At 9pm I finished my glass of wine, put on outdoor clothes and walked a couple of hundred yards to the headland to capture the sun setting over Coll. Meanwhile Janet kept a watchful eye on Rhum and captured this dramatic shot as the squall passed over the island.
Back at the cottage by 9.30 for more wine, feeling very pleased with our evenings work.