I remember, many years ago, one of the first times looking at an image from the Isle of Harris and thinking to myself, what pre-set or plug-in had the photographer used to enhance the light in the image - the colour, the mood, the feeling, it was like nothing I had even seen before.
Those colours couldn't be real - could they ?
Well tonight, while driving through the North Harris Hills I witnessed that light in person. No plug-in needed.
As soon as we had made our rough plan for spending 3 months in the van in Western Scotland there was one location that filled me with more excitement than the rest put together - Harris. A location that I've wanted to visit since first being introduced to Bruce Percys' work many years ago and more recently the work of Rachel Talibart amongst others.
I've been here a week so far, and to be honest I've struggled immensely with the place. I've hardly taken my main camera out of the bag, instead sketching with the iPhone, walking amongst the dunes or simply sitting watching the light which has varied from windswept and interesting to Oh My Dear Lord is that even possible? Actually a good part of the time has also been spent hunkered down in the van being rocked by 60+ mph winds.
I've already made peace with the fact that I won't create work, here on Harris, this time that will be worth shouting about. It would be simply impossible. This place needs time, and lots of it. I think (??) I'm okay with that. I mean don't get me wrong, I'd love to get the main camera out, work on a location and create something meaningful, but it's okay if I don't.
I think part of the issue I'm finding is in myself. To this point I've only seen the island through the eyes of other photographers and trying to distance myself from their work while also being influenced has been difficult. I have also put a lot of pressure on myself to try and create something meaningful and that in itself is never a good place to start.
So for now I will continue to bimble, to sit amongst the dunes and to simply try and soak up (sometimes literally) as much as this phenomenal place has to offer.
I’m hoping this will be a long and lasting relationship.