Outer Hebrides Trip – Benbecula and Barra

In my last post to the blog I mentioned that I was going to the Outer Hebrides, I’ve now returned from that trip complete with a selection of photos that I’m very happy with. The trip was quite a marathon in terms of the distances travelled in just a short space of time, I never really considered quite how big the islands were until last week!

After an early start on Monday morning I had to head down to Leverburgh on South Harris to catch the ferry across to Berneray and then drive down to Benbecula to do a job there. I was very impressed with Harris, the North is pretty mountainous and the views you get as the road drops down to sea level in the South are lovely.

On Monday evening I had a chance to head out for photos. I’d decided to go to Culla beach which was just a few miles away from the hotel. I walked the entire length of the beach while waiting on the sun to go down and as nice as the beach was I didn’t really feel inspired. That soon changed once the sun started to set, the clouds started to break up nicely revealing a colourful dusk sky. Here are some images that I got on Culla beach.

Culla beach turned out to be a good location.

The following day I had drive down to Eriskay to catch the ferry across to Barra. My work on Barra didn’t take too long to complete which left me with just over three hours to kill until the next ferry back to Eriskay. Someone recommended that I should head across to Bhatarsaigh (Vatersay) which is linked to Barra by a short causeway. I headed across and drove to a location known as Uidh where there is a little cove which looks back across to Castlebay – the main town on Barra. The photos below were taken at Uidh. I don’t normally take photos in the middle of the day in conditions like these as the light is simply too harsh, however seeing as this was the only time I was going to have on Barra then I didn’t really have any choice.

While I was taking pictures here I was joined by a little dog who kept coming up to see what I was doing and following me about the beach. She was very cute and very friendly, a nice wee dog.

After this location I decided to go for a drive around the Island which if I’m being honest didn’t really take long. I ended up round by the airport – the one where the runway is the beach! Unfortunately I didn’t see any planes landing or taking off there but it is quite some beach that’s for sure. Just a few miles beyond the airport is a beach at a place called Eoligarry. I stopped at the side of the road on my way to the beach because of something that had caught my eye. Heaps of snails were grouped together on the fence posts, the photo below will show you what I mean. I’ve never seen this before.

The images below were taken on the beach at Eoligarry. I don’t think they do the beach any justice due to the harsh daytime light as mentioned earlier.

Overall I was pretty impressed with Barra and I think I would definitely like to go back there sometime in the future for photos at more favourable times of the day for photos.

Once I’d finished here it was time to head back to catch the ferry over to Eriskay and drive up to Lochmaddy on North Uist via Lochboisdale (South Uist) for work related stuff.

2 thoughts on “Outer Hebrides Trip – Benbecula and Barra

  1. Rupert

    Think your images are absolutely stunning! Am from Scotland myself although not lived there for quite a while and it’s made me feel very homesick! I am trying to get better at photography myself. (Any feedback from my site would be appreciated!).
    Also – can you share any wisdom on how youa re exposing the sky so well? What kind of filters are you using?

  2. theboss

    Hi Rupert

    Thank you for your kind comments, I will have a look at your site.

    Exposing for the sky – the best advice I can give is to invest in a set of Graduated Neutral Density filters – I use Hi-Tech filters made by a company called Formatt. There are other brands of filters out there – Cokin and Lee, the latter being the most expensive. There are different strengths of filters out there 0.3ND (1-Stop), 0.6ND (2-stop) and 0.9ND (3-stop), I would recommend getting one of each. I also carry a 1.2ND (4-stop) grad filter for when there is quite a bright sunset sky. In general I tend to use the 0.6ND although I have found myself reaching for the 0.9ND or 1.2ND a bit more often than I used to. I generally expose my images for the foreground and use a handheld spot meter to measure the difference in exposure between the ground and the sky, from that I can work out which strength of filter I need to use. Modern digital SLRs have good meters on them and generally give good readings with an ND Grad filter in place.

    The only other advice I can give is simply get out there and practice, learn the limits of your camera – doing this will help you to learn how your camera handles extreme lighting conditions.

    If you are shooting at sunset remember that daylight lingers for a while after the sun has dropped below the horizon – this is normally when I start taking pictures because the light is much softer than when the sun was above the horizon. Don’t stop taking pictures when the sun has set.

    I hope that helps – I could go on for a long time but I think what I’ve said will set you on the right track.

    Best wishes


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