Playing The Long Game: Outdoor Photography With Telezooms

David Clapp's journey to the Small Isles

David Clapp's trip around the Small Isles continues.

| Landscape and Travel

Words and images by David Clapp.

OK, a couple of extras before the final part. Again, my apologies for the late post, I have had a large amount of writing work that has taken priority, along with administrative tasks. It's far from easy running a photography business when you are one person.

I am running out of Eigg images now, but I hope you can see the potential of this wonderful island, considering I had just two days of good weather out of five. Eigg is a magic location, a total escape. I explored just two beaches and even in this short time, I think it could possibly be the best coastal location in the UK.


David Clapp's journey to the Small Isles: Laig Bay on the Isle of Eigg, looking towards the Isle of Rhum

Our Dying Brains - 1Ds MkIII, 17-40mm f/4L at 21mm f/16 for 1/15sec ISO100.

Our Dying Brains - Continuing with the bizarre coastal landscape, the section of shoreline between Laig Bay and Singing Sands provided all manner of opportunities for classic compositions. The focal length is critical to get the right balance between foreground rock and the Isle of Rhum. The conversion to black and white eliminated some of the lackluster colours and with some extra toning boosts dimension.

The suns, azimuth was very low to a cliff on the perpendicular to this viewpoint. With the sun literally rolling along the top of it at this time of year, I chose to shoot this image with the sun half diffused, on its way downwards, to eliminate any hard shadows, or that's what you may read in photography magazines. What actually happened was I got there slightly too late, despite all my running and staggering around on the cliff edges. Still, it worked out none the less.

David Clapp's journey to the Small Isles: Laig Bay on the Isle of Eigg, looking towards the Isle of Rhum

I Follow to the Edge II, - 1Ds MKIII, 24mm TSE MKII, f/11 without any spectacular lighting, the lower light and soft magenta hues compliment the striations in the volcanic sand.

I Follow to the Edge - The most wonderful thing about shooting remote locations is the undisturbed sand. In the two good days of shooting the beach, I saw the same person taking a twilight walk, and a bloke walking his two dogs in the rain on the first day. No footprints whatsoever and with sand this impressive, it feels like sacrilege to walk all over it.

This shot demonstrates the mind-set that is used to get foregrounds without regret. By staying away from the waters edge and constantly looking to the right, shapes and textures were spotted from a distance. Then the approach was planned carefully, walking in looking around. After shooting, I walked back out the same way. This meant that if the lighting conditions change for the better, it was easy to find my way back in.

David Clapp's journey to the Small Isles: Laig Bay on the Isle of Eigg, looking towards the Isle of Rhum Sandlewood - Canon G11, taken in the pouring rain in twilight. I was rather annoyed I didn't have my DSLR with me.

Sandlewood - On the first day I walked all along the beach in the rain, to look for locational possibilities. The day before had been torrential, with howling winds, so rather than just sit indoors looking out the window, it was time for a wander. I went up over the headland to Singing Sands and walked for a few hours across the slippery rocks around to Laig Bay, picking up seashells, looking at sand patterns and getting thoroughly absorbed.

This G11 grab shot shows some of the remarkable potential for close up work. I can't work out whether it looks like waves or trees, but either way it captures my imagination. It is hard to imagine this is actually flat sand as the toning and density has such depth to it. With shutter speeds as slow as 1/10th at ISO400, there was barely enough light to capture it. I now regret not having my DSLR with me.

David Clapp's journey to the Small Isles: The Top House in Cleadale on the Isle of Eigg Eigg Shell - Away from modern living, the house has no TV, just books and a wood burner. All you hear is the sound of the wind. Perfect.

Inside the Eigg Shell
This is inside the control room. What a detachment from the normal trappings of modern living. I have a TV at home and to be honest I can't stand it. It sucks the spirit out of the room and when it's turned on, I go upstairs. A week in a house without it made me realise how much I want to forget what the rest of the world is doing and lead a more simple life, for a while at least. These pockets of escape make it feel that some day it could become a reality.

Next, we blast into space. I am off up north next week once more, but before I go there is my last blog post from Eigg, which I hope will inspire you to reach for the stars and experiment yourself.

David Clapp's previous blogs:

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