Shedding Light on the Landscapes of Eigg

Creativity is a funny thing. Sometimes my urge to write and capture images burns brightly for weeks on end. At other times that desire can be as fleeting as a shaft of light on an overcast winter’s day. One thing is certain though: the urge will always return. 


I couldn’t publish my posts fast enough over the winter months. The ideas were overflowing and I wrote some of my best work to date. It’s springtime now and it feels like the well has dried up slightly over the last month as I’ve been sidetracked with making grand plans for the year ahead.

Rum from Cleadale, Isle of Eigg
Rum from Cleadale at sunrise, Isle of Eigg. I climbed to the cliff top at the northern end of the island and was rewarded with this view.

Nowhere to hide

Long story short: – it’s been a month since I last obsessed about getting out and about with my camera. However the theme of this week’s WordPress photographic challenge is ‘landscape‘, meaning that there’s really nowhere for me to hide. So, I’ve loaded up the laptop late at night when I ought to be tucked up in bed, to see what comes out on the keyboard. Given the lack of recent photographs, I’ve decided to look back on a couple of sunrise and sunset images which you may have missed in a previous post and dig out an old panoramic shot which will be new to all.

Laig Bay pano edit2_-2
Concretions, Bay of Laig, Isle of Eigg. These boulders formed as a result of the precipitation of calcite within sandstone. Over millions of years the soft sandstone has eroded away and these hard concretions have dropped on to the surface below.

As far as photography is concerned, writing about landscapes in isolation is only telling half the story. As you may already know, I’ve felt an affinity with the Scottish scenery since early childhood and that was my inspiration for picking up a camera at a young age. My passion for light, however, evolved many years later. 

Landscapes and light

For me, nowadays, landscapes and light go hand-in-hand and there’s nothing more frustrating than having one without the other. Imagine being in beautiful surroundings on a day when the light is flat, or seeing a shaft of light or a rainbow in a less than scenic environment, and you’ll know what I’m getting at.

As a landscape photographer, there’s nothing more thrilling than that moment when the light and land combine and something special is recorded on the memory card. It doesn’t happen often enough though. The demands of day-to-day life get in the way and sometimes that elusive ray of light fades away while I’m still setting up the camera, but all the frustrations and failures make the joys and successes even more rewarding.

Sunset over Rum, Bay of Laig, Isle of Eigg
Sunset over Rum, Bay of Laig, Isle of Eigg. Looking at this sunset, you could almost believe that the remnants of Rum’s ancient super volcano had burst back into life.

On the whole, I’ve been fairly lucky with the weather on the west coast over the years but, inevitably, there have been times when I’ve booked my annual leave, travelled a long distance (in Scottish terms), only to arrive at my destination as the sunshine fizzles out and the rain sets in for several days.

Sunrise, noon and sunset

I’ve only visited the Isle of Eigg twice but I’ve been blessed with sunshine and photogenic light on both occasions. The three images shown in this post were all captured within a mile or so of each other at different times of the day: sunrise; solar noon; and sunset. The foregrounds are strikingly different but the dramatic mountainous profile of the Isle of Rum remains constant.

I’ll let you judge the photographs for yourself but I think it’s fair to say that the landscape is spectacular in its own right but what really brings it to life is the light.


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57 thoughts

    1. Thanks very much Suzy. The sunset has to be my favourite too. I have a print hanging in my living room and so I get to enjoy casting my mind back to Eigg every day.

  1. Beautiful work…..and I can only agree with you that the perfect mix is stunning landscape and delicious light😊Scotland certainly can weave these beautifully together for us photography lovers…..and fill us with frustration when the light is denied us😁

  2. The marriage of landscape and light, you officiating! The image of you waiting for shadows to recede reminds me of Ansel Adams waiting all night for the light to be right. That’s why I enjoy photographing in my one particular place: there’s a chance of catching it in all its moods.

    1. It’s a match made in heaven! I’m pretty patient when it comes to photography and will happily hang around for an hour or two waiting for the light to change or for the wind to drop. However I take my hat off to Ansel Adams for waiting the whole night through! I would love to have more time to visit the dramatic landscapes of Scotland’s west coast and islands but, like you, I find photographing my local patch in all its moods incredibly rewarding.

  3. I didn’t even notice that the photos all had the same mountains in the background till you mentioned it, because all the photos are so different. Great photography lesson. Glad to hear you’ve had such a productive winter!

    1. Thank you Peggy! It really is quite incredible how the light can change a scene. Throw in the different seasons and you could be pretty busy in a small area for a while!

      1. Totally! I was in Salzburg the other day. I arrived at 11am, and I basically didn’t even shoot. The light was just so bright and directly overhead, it wasn’t worth it. But I stayed all day, thankfully, so I was able to go back to some of the things I wanted to shoot before I left and actually do a tiny bit of justice to beautiful Salzburg with some photos with interesting light. If only we could be magicians and control the light, wouldn’t our lives be so much easier? 😉

        1. Life would certainly be a lot easier! I guess we have to settle for being able to predict what the light’s going to do. That seems to be an art in itself! I’m glad you saw Salzburg in sunshine and managed to capture some photos that you’re happy with. I’ve never been but am sure it would be an amazing place to visit. 🙂

  4. Great photos Karen 🙂 And you’ve very nicely put the frustrations of being a photographer in general, but even more so for a landscape photographer, the tying together of wonderful landscapes and lighting, and the urge to get out and be creative. But when those things do all line up, as can be seen in most of your photos, the rewards are worth all of those frustrating times!! 🙂

    1. Thanks Andy! 🙂 I guess if photography was as easy as I would sometimes like it to be, then it wouldn’t be quite so rewarding! My camera’s been a bit neglected these past few weeks but I’ll be back out and about again soon! 🙂

    1. Yes, the light was spectacular! It’s been nearly two years since I captured this shot and I haven’t witnessed a sunset like this since. I was very fortunate to be in the right place at the right time!

    1. Hi Becky. Many of them are a metre or more in diameter. Seemingly a concretion half a metre across would have taken about three million years to form, so it’s not a particularly speedy process!

    1. Thanks Kim. I’m glad you enjoyed them. The Scottish islands are an endless source of inspiration. I’ve been a bit sidetracked lately with other things but will no doubt be out and about with my camera again soon!

      1. You are welcome! Love your work. BTW, is Scotland part of the UK or part of the EU?

        1. Ah, thank you. I’m delighted to hear that. I’ve been a bit quiet lately but I’ll be publishing my next post today.

          Scotland is currently part of the UK and the EU. Last week’s referendum result is monumental. England and Wales voted to leave the EU, yet Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain. There’s a lot of ill-feeling on both sides of the debate and a lot of uncertainty regarding what lies ahead. One possibility is that Scotland might break away from the UK in order to remain in the EU.

          1. Yes, I had heard this about Scotland / EU. By the way, have you considered putting your pictures together in a book published on KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing)?

          2. A book is something that I’m certainly thinking about in longer term. Thanks for the tip re KDP – I will definitely give this some thought!

          3. Helps avoid the frustration of being turned down by conventional publishers (who only pay 3% royalties anyway) and the terrifying expense of “vanity publishers” who charge thousands of dollars. (And, I like the 70% royalty rate of KDP! 🙂 )

  5. Heya !!! Images clicked by you are breath taking !!! Extremely glad to visit this blog. Will be visiting back for the amazing clicks captured by you. Stay blessed 🙂

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