If you’re looking for Photographic Inspiration, look no further than the Isles of Harris and Lewis.
These Western Isles offer an amazing diversity of scenery and creative licence for the photographer. These Isles offer scenery ranging from the white sandy beaches, turquoise seas, rugged cliffs and sea stacks to the windswept plateaus and the spectacular scenery along the Golden Road. An incredible display of light and colour.
For most photographers and especially those who shoot landscapes, it is so important to have a good set of filters at your disposal and so this was a fantastic location to try out my new NiSi Filters. And so it was to the Outer Hebrides that I travelled to put the filters through their paces.
The Isle of Harris has remarkable coastal treasures from the vast golden sands of Luskentyre and Seilebost that will leave you feeling dwarfed to the immaculate miniature beaches of South Harris, such as the one at Bagh Steinigidh. There are so many beaches and all of them have their own characters, each offering something different. There is a raw but natural beauty to this part of the world that gets through to you in a very different way. You’ll be opening your eyes to the most extraordinary remote corner of the British Isles. Expect to fall in love.
Every landscape photography shoot in the Scottish Hebrides is special to me. I love the moody, changeable skies and far-reaching views across the seas towards the other Hebridean islands, which themselves create a wonderful backdrop to any photograph. I love the white sands and turquoise seas that surprise any new visitor who expected a less exotic environment, for there is nowhere else so dramatic and diverse in its scenery within the British Isles.
Of course, it is often very windy and rains aplenty – but that’s part of its charm, and the reason for the dramatic skies that help frame and beautify any landscape photo. On such occasions my favourite 4 stop medium graduated filter really comes into it’s own. The first thing I noticed about the NiSi filter system is its build quality. As a whole, it feels well-built and solid. In particular, the graduated ND filter is made of glass, and it feels very high in quality unlike some of it’s competitors which are made of resin and scratch more easily. The added benefit of being made of glass and shooting along the coastlines was the ease with which a dry cloth was able to wipe away the spray and clean without leaving those infuriating smear marks.
The eyes of the photographer will fall in love with these Islands. Its as though they have been perfectly designed to provide a balance of seeing such vast variety of locations which including the wonderful cliffs and sea stacks along the west coast of Lewis, the impressive Callanish Stones, the amazing stone circles which will challenge your compositional skills as well as the abandoned crofts, moorland, lochans that are dotted around Lewis.
Whilst on these Isles expect to experience fast moving weather systems, which at times can be challenging and a real test of your technical abilities. The light will change throughout the day and you will learn to get the best out of it - this will help the photographer to not only be more productive, it can also foster creativity and make it easier to be more flexible when unexpected conditions happen in the future.
The Outer Hebrides is a magical place and a place which offers the photographer so much creative opportunities. And once visited, these Western Isles will stay with you for the rest of your life. They are dominated by the force of the weather and resemble very little to be found on the mainland. As a part of the “British” experience they are quite unique, and are much further from London and the centres of political power than can be measured in miles.
During my week on the Isles of Harris & Lewis I experienced many challenging weather conditions which were a severe test of me, my photography, my equipment and my filters. I was delighted that at the end of the trip, my equipment stood the test as did the Nisi Filters. Despite the driving rain, the brutal winds and quite frankly some dangerous conditions, the Nisi Filter system was the least of my problems. In fact, quite the opposite. Their ease of use enabled me to concentrate on other issues and when the rain and sea spray completely took over, a quick rub down with a dry cloth and the filters were ready for use almost immediately. The glass coated filters were a pleasure to work with and a refreshing change from my previous resin coated filters which I’m sure would’ve added considerably more time to my workflow.
If the filters were that easy to use in such testing conditions whilst at the same time delivering highly professional results, I am looking forward to using them again in more generous conditions.