Just back from 5 days on Skye with Guy Steven and Lee Fleming. The plan was to climb and shoot as much of the ridge as possible, get a bivi on the ridge and get some of the classic rock routes in as well. My track record with Skye isn’t good, most of the times I’ve planned to be there the weather has been rubbish and even when the weather is reasonable, its still pretty bad by any ordinary standard. But, this is Skye, and the light, when you do get it, is amazing. The week before we were heading out, Lee Facebooked me saying the weather forecast was terrible but I have an alternate website to the gloom mongers that is MWIS, yr.no is a Norwegian website that, as far as its possible to give a forecast, seems to come up with something that can be pretty reliable 9 out of 10 times.
The first day, was dodging rain showers, hanging out in a cave brewing tea waiting for the clouds to lift and lift they eventually did giving some cool shots of the ridge and a chance to get some fisheye action in. I’m really pleased with the Canon 8-15mm f/4L fisheye, gives amazing perspective, and as long as its not overdone, can add another dimension to an editorial feature, and its not too heavy to carry as a second lens. My only concern with it is how vulnerable the front element is in harsh environments and if there a risk of ice chips or debris flying around, I’d leave it in the bag.
Day 2 we headed over to do some rock routes as the ridge looked pretty claggy all day, Kilt Rock in the morning to shoot and climb the classic Grey Panther (E1 5b), then Elgol in the evening light, again dodging rain showers and trying to get good light on the routes. Guy was rocking some rad colours with the Rab Torque Pants and the Vapour-rise Guide Jacket , both of which he raved about. For some reason, Brits seem to love black trousers which is pretty rubbish from a photographic point of view as the limbs can easily disappear into shadows but these red trousers are uber bright and very Euro, Rab have got a great product here, lets see how many Brits buy it.
Day 3 was supposed to be another ridge day but I was keen to get some shots of the fairy pools at Glen Brittle so Guy and Lee headed on up in the rain and clouds and I headed for the pools . Slowly, the clouds lifted, the rains stopped and the ridge came into view. The pools are a real magnet for landscape photographers and the tripods were out in force. I was shooting with a Lee polariser to cut the reflections from the water and allow the shape of the stones in the river bed form the foreground interest and the waterfall lead in to the peaks. In fact, in the 4 times that I’ve been on Skye, it was the first time I’ve actually seen Sgùrr nan Gillean.
The final day forecast was rain and gale force winds with heavy showers starting from midday, so an early start saw us at Sligachan at 6.30am and at the base of pinnacle ridge at 8.15am. I had visualised a number of different shots I was hoping to get, but the cloud base and rain meant that mostly I didn’t get the shots or the light I had hoped for. I was shooting with the 17-40L only as its a light lens with a reasonable focal range. All in, it was a good trip and some ideas for the next shoot are taking shape . Thanks to Guy and Lee for being such patient and willing models.
Nadir Khan - originally published on Nadir Khan Photography