By Harry Martin
Standing on deck aboard a ferry bound for the Isle of Eigg in mid-May was almost surreal. With a group of five photographers, it was the first workshop and photo holiday we had been able to run since the start of March 2020 and the onset of the dreaded “C Word”! Fifteen months of patience, planning and trying to remember how to use a camera was finally over!
Alongside Adam Bulley and Marcus McAdam, I was running our very popular 4-night trip based on the beautiful Isle of Eigg, a part of the Small Isles which sit to the south of Skye. We run this workshop in conjunction with Kase Filters, taking multiple test kits for participants to use and get to grips with.
I have been fortunate to photograph landscapes around the world, such as the Canadian Rockies, the Himalayas, South America and more. However, the Isle of Eigg gets me more excited in terms of landscape photography than all of those places. It is no exaggeration to say there is limitless potential for images to be created there. Over the course of the trip we utilise two main locations; Laig Bay and the Singing Sands. By visiting the same places multiple times we encourage our groups to look for foreground elements that appeal to them, identifying what works, when it might work best and working towards a couple of perfect shots. It is immensely satisfying to watch people’s creative eye develop over the course of a few days and create images they are truly happy with it.
Combine the outstanding photographic potential with the gastronomic delights whipped up by our host, Sue, and there’s little left to want. We enjoyed a full three-course dinner each evening, and started the day with a cooked breakfast – perfect fuel for all the walking to and fro across beautiful beaches. Between the choruses of “Mmmmm…”, “Oh man”, and “Good God”, were announcements such as, “This is the best Crème Brûlée I’ve ever had.”
We don’t take any vehicles onto Eigg, so everywhere we go we access by foot. Laig Bay is immediately below our accommodation, and takes only five minutes to walk down to. It is a large bay, though, and you can walk a fair distance across sand and rocks in search of the perfect photograph. After introducing the group to our two main locations it is very much up to the individual where they’d like to spend their time shooting, and how far they want to venture.
Over the course of two back-to-back trips our groups enjoyed some brilliant weather. A mix of sunshine and cloud was perfect for photography. The Isle of Rum provides the backdrop for most of the images taken and at sunset, if conditions are right, the sky ignites with a whole plethora of colours from intense red and orange to calming blue. It is a truly world-class location.
Despite that world-class view, one of the images many of the group loved more than anything else was a stunning isolated waterfall that appears in a crack of rock on one of the beaches. It’s a unique little fall, and if timed just right sunlight bounces around on wet rock to create a mini-masterpiece.
The magic of Eigg was summarised on the very last evening we were there. With heavy cloud sitting over the Isle of Rum, Adam and I exchanged anxious looks, unsure whether we going to see any light at all for our final shoot of the trip. As we ventured across the myriad of geological wonders, picking a safe route to our intended set of rocks for the evening, our anxious looks began to turn to excitement as we saw the potential for an incredible display; heavy cloud with a small break right at the horizon, the holy grail of landscape conditions.
Sure enough more than an hour away from sunset there was already colour building into the cloud and we ensured our group were prepared and ready as the firework display began. The colour was almost too intense to be real, and combined with the unique geology of Eigg and the backdrop of Rum, the result was some awe-inspiring imagery.
We are incredibly fortunate to be able to make our living sharing amazing places like the Isle of Eigg with photographers, and hope we can continue to do so.
“I had an absolute blast and arrived home with a real enthusiasm to get out with my camera more!”
“You were both so relaxed and friendly but quick to see where I was at, and suggest something helpful and practical to try next, and all without making me feel any more the newbie at this level that I surely was.”
“I hope you get the general impression that I was blown away by it all and I hope the change of approach that you introduced me to is something I’ll keep working on and enjoying. And more Mc2 trips, of course!”