A Magnificent Islay Geese Week

We have arrived home from a magnificent Islay week which brought us beautiful sunny spells, magnificent light conditions, heavy showers, rainbows and many many geese. This was the first time for us to witness the geese on Islay and it was a stunning spectacle of nature. It felt like being part of a nature documentary, specially to observe them when they come to roost at Loch Indaal or Loch Gruinart. It won't come as a surprise when I say that I took almost two thousand pictures in this week and hundreds from the geese alone. It's just breathtaking to see them all arriving at Loch Indaal by their thousands with one of Islay's famous sunsets as a backdrop.

We didn't come to Islay only to watch the geese, we also managed to visit friends, toured over the island, made beautiful walks, relaxed, enjoyed great coffee at Debbies, visited the Isle of Jura, watched the other wildlife, chased rainbows, enjoyed the light before and after the showers, saw a group of 25 Whooper Swans in the evening sunlight, bored Arra Fletcher during his last days at the pottery and found out that one week just ain't enough. There are so many things we didn't do, we didn't even visit any of the distilleries, but as they say, there is always a next time! Other highlight of the week was the rut of the red deer. Imagine waking up in the morning and hearing the stags outside your bedroom window! The autumn colours were absolutely beautiful and the best I have seen so far. Another great week to remember, it was a very colourful one, as you can see from some of the pictures below:

Sunset and Geese at Loch Indaal

Continue reading......

Islay Jazz Festival Tenth Birthday

From September 12th to 14th, venues across Islay will be awash with jazz sounds for the tenth year celebration of the Black Bottle Islay Jazz Festival.As always, a host of fine musicians from the Scottish jazz scene - one of the most vibrant in the world - will be over, some new and some who have contributed to the great success of the Festival over the years. As always, there will also be special guests from further afield. Coming to Islay for exclusive UK performances is Connecticut-born saxophone star Jimmy Greene. The hard-playing bands of Horace Silver and Freddie Hubbard were where he made his name, but he has also played the bigger stages as a member of Harry Connick jnr’s band. From New York comes the phenomenal Rosetta Trio with an extraordinary style of all-strings acoustic jazz. One of their sets supports vocalist Jen Chapin, daughter of Harry. Continue reading.....

Beautiful Kimberley Where are You

Kimberley. I hope you read this blog. We met in Dunoon. You live with your sister on Islay and was with Rose. We talked about photography, politics and meditation. I gave you a card with blue sky, a crystal and prayer flags. I meant what I said. You are beautiful. You have a pure heart. I post this just to let you know I am thinking of you. Please contact me. With prayers for your happiness and health. Much Love. Robert of London.

The Golden Hour on Islay's Saligo Bay

I always thought that taking a picture of a nice (Islay) sunset had to be done before the sun actually disappeared behind the horizon. There is however another way to take beautiful sunset pictures... When Mark Unsworth of Islay Studios invited us to a late night photo shoot at Saligo Bay he told me that the best "sunset" pictures can be made after sunset. Mark referred to this as the after glow and in photographic terms the Golden Hour. This Golden Hour can take place an hour before sunrise and an hour after sunset, hence the Golden Hour. Most photographers agree that some of the best times of day to take photos are during these hours. I found a very nice description somewhere: "During Golden Hours, the atmosphere is often permeated with breathtaking light that adds ambiance, interest and drama to any scene. There can be spectacular variations of colors and hues ranging from subtle to dramatic during the Golden Hours. Even simple subjects take on an added glow." Sounds good doesn't it? For some reason it never crossed my mind to take pictures during these time periods but that has changed now. Mind you, if you want to try this yourself you need to realise that sunrise on Islay takes place around 4am and the sun sets around 9.15pm in June. That leaves little time to sleep if you want to make the best of these Golden Hours. Visiting Islay outside the summer season is an option if you want to get the most of these conditions. Continue reading......