I write to you from the amazing islands that lay off the North Coast of Scotland, closer to the arctic circle than to mainland Britain- The Shetland Isles. A place during this time of year where the sun rarely sets and lights the whole day which can really throw your body clock out. I’m spending a week alone here before my clients on my Stunning Shetland photography photo-tour arrive to enjoy their week with me and this islands wildlife.
There are few places left in the UK where you can be alone and find that solitude we are crave at times, Shetland though is one such place where you can be and see very few people. I’ve had a wonderful week, seeing some beautiful places and wildlife and I hope my clients see the same during their time with me over the next seven days.
One of my favourite places is the most remote point of the UK- Hermness a wonderful and remote places and home to thousands of nesting seabirds. After two ferries I got there and spent two days there camping, photographing the Gannets, Puffins and other seabirds that live there. The cliffs are truly beautiful and they are a picture within themselves. I used them to frame some of my images along with the natural light to create some nice images from my time there.
After a great few days on Hermeness, I then headed to Noss an island that has some of the most spectacular colonies of breeding seabirds anywhere in the world. I took the boat trip from Lerwick and headed to this amazing little island.
Once there the skipper slowed down the boat and for the best part of an hour we slowly drifted around the cliffs there and its an amazing place, the smells, the noises and sites are truly stunning. The following images I hope convey what I saw and the sheer size of this place and the birds.
Its an amazing place and I’m returning there next week with my clients. I spent the next few days just sitting and watching for any wildlife and being at one with nature and the solitude is truly beautiful and something we all seek from time to time. I count myself very lucky to have the great outdoors as my garden as I call it.
Just a few of the wonderful moments I’ve had with nature over the last seven days. I’m hoping the weather holds and the wildlife sightings continue over the next seven days. My photo tour starts tomorrow, and we then head out to Hermness on Sunday, a boat trip with my friend and D-Day veteran Geordie on Tuesday to the island of Noss and in between we’ll visit many sites and places to see the amazing wildlife these islands have to offer.
So goodbye from Shetland and I will post a short blog covering our week. dates and all the information for my 2015 trip are now up on my website, click on my Stunning Shetland trip and its all there, many thanks.
I have a few spaces left on the following photo tours for 2014 if you’d like to join me. I will be visiting the Shetland isles twice this year once in June and then in September where we will be just concentrate on Otters. In between this I will be once more visiting the magical island of Madagascar.
My Stunning Shetland Tour is timed to coincide with the height of summer where daylight lasts for almost 24hrs. Seabird colonies will be frantically feeding their young, waders filling the air with their calls and Otters going about their lives all around us. Working with my friend and expert on the ground in Shetland this tour provides a unique opportunity to see and photograph the best of Shetland’s spectacular nature. After the success of last year’s tour I have a couple of spaces free. To see more information about this tour please click here.
In August I venture back to the amazing island of Madagascar. My last trip there with clients was amazing and this year see’s me running another trip there. I have a few spaces once more for this brilliant trip. On our 11 day photo trip you will see the best this unique island has to offer, amazing wildlife, superb beaches and great accommodation. Madagascar is host to a wide variety of species of lemur – these amazing creatures are found nowhere else in the world and new species are regularly discovered. The different species of lemur are spread throughout a variety of parks and reserves on the island. To see more about this amazing trip and book then click here.
Then I return back to the Shetland Isles to dedicate a whole week working with Otters. This 8 day photo tour among the beautiful landscape of the Shetland Isles will solely concentrate on finding Wild Otters and using fieldcraft taught my myself you will be able to have some amazing moments with these beautiful mammals. We will find various places where Otters are known to live and with a slow and steady pace we will be able to spend as much time at each place we visit during the week. I have a few places available so if you’d like to see more information on this trip then click here.
I have just added for 2015 my photo tour to the Falkland Islands again I have spaces so if you’d like to join me for this amazing trip then click here. My last trip there with clients was just amazing and to read the blog on that trip then click here.
My other trips are full and I will be releasing my 2015 dates for me Tigers of India trip soon and also my Wolves, Bears and Wolvrides trip in 2015. I hope you can join me and I look forward to meeting all my clients on my trips and workshops over the next 12 months, many thanks.
I have just returned from the Shetland Islands, it is a wildlife photographer’s paradise with many opportunities to see and capture the amazing wildlife this island has on offer in beautiful light. I spent sometime on my own before my clients turned up to spend a week with me. Shetland’s 1200 mile long shoreline with its very varied habitat is the main reason why wildlife finds the islands so attractive.
Our photo-tour was timed to coincide with the height of summer where daylight lasts for almost 24 hrs. Sea bird colonies will be frantically feeding their young, waders filling the air with their calls and Otters going about their lives all around us. I also loved the islands Shetland Ponies as captured in the image below.
What makes these Shetland Island sea birds so special is not just the quantity and variety of birds but their spectacular setting. Nowhere else in Britain, and hardly anywhere in Europe, can you get so close, so easily, to so many sea birds in such awe-inspiring scenery. It’s one of the best places also to see Otters playing, feeding all along the shores of this incredible island. The Shetland islands remind me of the Falklands Islands with the open landscape and vast areas of rocky outcrops and high peaks leading to mountains.
Once I had picked up my clients we had a wonderful afternoon firstly at Sumburgh Head to photographing the beautiful Puffins and other stunning sea birds that live on this south coast of the Shetland islands. Then it was on to our cottage and then straight out to encounter the amazing and varied wildlife Shetland has to offer. The pattern of each day was almost the same travelling to the well known areas for Otters, Waders and other amazing wildlife this island has to offer.
Each offering unrivalled views of some of the most amazing nesting colonies of Gannets, Razorbills and other seabirds all clinging to this vast cliffs at both of the places. On the Monday we took the boat to Noss, a small island home to one of the biggest colonies of breeding gannets anywhere in the world.
Once you witness this place you feel dwarfed from your small craft, looking up at the vast cliffs and hearing the noises of these birds all communicating to each other. The smells too are very strong but the sheer size and scale of this place is unbelievable and my clients were completely blown away by it all.
I had an amazing encounter with a female Otter during those first days on the island. She swam around then brought ashore a large fish and the key is to try and work out where and when she would come ashore. This time I got it right and she came ashore some twenty foot to my front. The wind direction was in my favour, blowing away my scent and the noise of the waves broke any shutter noise up. These images capture a magical fifteen minutes with her a really special encounter.
On the Tuesday we took another boat trip, this time to ferries to reach Hermenss nature reserve. After the tough walk to the cliffs what awaits you is just stunning, truly stunning.
You carry on for sometime, carrying your full kit, it does get you warm to say the least. Once you start to reach the cliffs to your front, the noise and pitch of the noise and calls begin to increase, its almost like your getting closer to a massive speaker system. The land to your front starts to level out and you see the sea at first. As you then start to double check where you put your feet as the ground starts to slope off in the direction of the sea. What then comes into view is one of if not the best and biggest breeding colonies of Gannets anywhere in the world and you cannot fail to just stand there and admire what you are now viewing, wondering is this place real.
The sheer size is something you have to see to believe and I walked around the top of these cliffs and came across a lone female sitting on her egg, tucked right up inside a small ledge with the background in a shaded part of the cliff. By under-exposing I was able to throw out the background light and create this dark effect which features strongly in my work and always has done. I waited to see if she would move or change her position and I was rewarded with her grooming and looking around her captured with these images.
Iain who helped my with my trip and lives on the Shetland island took this image of me at the top of the cliffs looking down on this lone female and the view was just amazing.
Both days offered some amazing images for all clients and they duly filled many memory cards with brilliant images from both boat trips I had planned.The rest of the week we looked for Otters and at times the weather was often against us with pouring rain making looking for those Otters just that but more difficult with choppy sea conditions replacing those calm conditions that help you when looking for tale tell Otter signs. My clients did see Otters but getting them ashore proved harder that it looked.
While looking for Otters and laying in wait at several top sites there was an abundance of wildlife around us. This place is just amazing for its wildlife and dramatic coastlines of rugged cliffs and pounding seas. Each day was rounded off with a lovely, home-made three course meal made by Iains wife that was the perfect end to those long days.
Its hard to do this place and its wildlife justice with these few images but I have chosen a mixture of my favourite ones for you. from Otters, to waders, and Seals to the varied flowers/amazing orchids and fauna this island offers up. All my clients had some amazing images from the week and I would like to thank them all for their company and the many laughs we had along the way.
The seas around the Shetland Islands support so much wildlife too the place is just amazing,
A massive thanks to Iain and his wife Anne who are good friends and live on this amazing island for their help in making my Stunning Shetland photo tour a great successes. I have put up next years dates now and interest has been amazing already from my updates on Facebook and Twitter I posted while I was there. If you would like to join me next year in July where I will show you some of the beautiful islands wildlife during the week long photo tour at the same time improve your own wildlife photography then click on this link for all the details and information, many thanks.