Monday, September 2, 2013

On the Outer Hebrides and How to Take a Good Photo

Here is a photo process:

1. Take a million photos. Plus or minus a billion. Make these photos difficult to achieve: force whoever is driving to pull over as often as possible. Crawl in ditches. Climb a ridge. Scrape your knees. Wait until everyone you're with is bored and mildly irritated. Then take a half dozen more.

2. Upload the photos to your computer.

3. Immediately delete at least two-thirds. They're horrible. Temporarily consider throwing away your camera.

4. Resolve the following: no more taking photos of old things rusting in the grass. Fence posts. Beaches from ground level. Rocks. Birds. Picnic benches. Decide to throw away all nature calendars when you get home due to their bad influence.

5. Skim the remaining third. Flag the ones that may have potential. Your original 2000 photos should now number around 50.

6. Of the 50, take the ones that make you shrug and toss them.

7. Take the remaining two dozen photos that are left and put them on the internet even though you're still not sure because you can't tarry any longer get them UP.

8. Email your mom to tell her you've done it so she goes online and posts about how wonderful you are.

9. Now pat yourself on the back. You've done it! Totally worth it.

And now introducing....The Outer Hebrides! The Isles of Lewis and Harris, specifically, as enjoyed over a long weekend: 

The beaches of Harris. Except for the bottom right, which was taken at the outermost point of Great Bernera. Another pro tip: when you read about an old Iron Age home excavated on a blustery beach and it takes an hour of driving across wild landscapes, ridges, and a bridge to a mini-island to get to it, make sure you've got weary family in the car. It gives the whole experience a thrilling edge you may not get otherwise. There is all the chance in the world that when you leap out of the car 'just to get one shot!' they will leave you there.

These photos were taken on Stornoway Point. Ridge-climbing happened here. Pro tip: Don't climb the ridge. For one, the top looks a lot closer than it actually is. Also, it's marshy. Also, seagulls will scream and circle you while you're out there alone, sounding for all the world like braying dogs on the hunt.

Take as many bleak photos as possible. Later, when you're moodily scrapping hundreds of pictures, these are the ones that will feel relatable. 

Castles. Flags. You know.

Moody sunsets. You know.

These were taken on the drive home through Glencoe. It was vastly different from the winter perspective, which can be seen in a previous post. Glencoe spooks people because it has bad juju from some bloody history, but that just makes it all the better. You can just FEEL the screams at nightfall. * shudder of delight * 

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to email my mom. I've posted!

Big hugs and lots of love,


  1. I had to laugh as I read this post! Yesterday as I handed my phone to Hunter to take some photos, I said,"just keep clicking, we might get a few keepers"
    Fabulous photos! Can't wait to see them on my laptop, I'm sure they will be even more spectacular!

    1. haha! You can never learn the art of futility too young!

  2. I just wrote a long and mildly amusing comment, and now it's gone, and I'm feeling too petulant to re-write. But I like your photos and laughed at your captions, and totally empathise with the mountaintop-that-cruelly-always-looks-closer-than-it-really-is experience.

    1. I am so glad I'm not alone. From the car, I was like, 'Only a hop and skip away! Be right back!' and then 15 trudging minutes later with wet feet and ankles, I'm all, 'where IS it, and why can't I see the car anymore?!'

  3. You forgot to mention you emailed your older sister who's trying to work (but secretly is surfing the internet and FB and emailing) and GOADED her into declaring how fabulous you are! And you are just an amazing artist! These photographers at this art festival can NOT compare!

    1. buwahahaha! I have to keep SOME secrets, sissy! You are my ace in the hole.

  4. AMAZING photos! And brilliant tips! And HURRAH for posting ^_^ You made me laugh today; I needed that! Thank YOU! That is all :) xxxx

    1. Yay!! I miss you!! I must come to Cambridge for a visit!!

  5. If I could live two lives, one of them would definitely be at your side.

    1. That would make me the happiest! We are meant to be!


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