Photographic Journeys in the Outer Hebrides with Steve Walton

My photographic journeys and annual Wild Light landscape photography workshops in the Outer Hebrides continue to be popular with my photography workshop clients.  The dramatic light, changeable weather and stunning unspoilt beauty of the Outer Hebrides are the reasons why the Isles of Harris,  Lewis and the Uists are so popular with landscape photographers. 

I've held Wild Light Photography Workshops in the Outer Hebrides for the past several years and some of my clients return with me to the Islands for more Outer Hebrides workshops and fun!   After the many visits I have made to the Islands during the past few years, I know my way around and there are still plenty of hidden locations to explore, despite the popularity of the Outer Hebrides as photography workshop destinations.

The Isle of Harris is the more scenic of the main Island mass of Lewis & Harris with extremes of topography within a very compact area. There is machair, dunes, mountains, moorland, deserted white sand beaches and blue seas.  The southwestern side of Harris, especially the beaches at Luskentyre, Seilebost, Borve, Huisnish, Scarista and Horgabost have the potential for some of the most amazing light and cloud formations in the entire British Isles.  These beaches have a certain pinkish glow that has to be experienced. On a very dull day, you know when you are nearing Seilebost or Luskentyre because the light changes dramatically from cold grey to warm yellowish pink hue.  Even on the most persistently wet and blustery of days, your spirits will lift with the Luskentyre glow!

 Taransay at sunset
Taransay from Luskentyre Beach at sunset
From my Wild Light Outer Hebrides Photography Workshop in October 2016



Deserted Crofts
There is an long tradition on the Outer Hebrides that crofts are left untouched as lasting memorials to the final inhabitants when they have passed on.  Many of these deserted crofts are derelict but still contain the possessions of their former owners. It's inevitable that many visitors want to enter these places, mainly through curiosity.  There is another, less welcome kind of visitor and it has progressively saddened me to see some of the more accessible crofts being damaged and the contents abused by thoughtless people.

Old deserted crofts deserve to be treated with the utmost respect. They each have their own story.  Families were raised there, lives were lived, there was conversation in Gaeltacht by the peat fire, meals cooked on the 'Modern Mistress' range, laughter, love and eventually death.  These places are a sacrosanct link with those who have passed on.

Visit them, touch nothing, move nothing, take nothing.  Simply experience the intensity of the moment and the privilege of being there and offer thanks for the departed inhabitant's life.  Treat these places with respect.

Abandoned Croft, Isle of Harris
Abandoned croft, Isle of harris
Abandoned croft, Isle of Harris.  From my Wild Light Outer Hebrides Photography Workshop, October 2016
Deserted croft, Outer Hebrides
Abandoned croft, Isle of Harris.  From my Wild Light Outer Hebrides Photography Workshop, October 2015


Callanish Standing Stones
The Prehistoric site at Callanish is the jewel in the crown of the Isle of Lewis and photographic journeys in the Outer Hebrides would be incomplete without visiting this incredible place at sunrise and sunset.

As with all popular landscape photography locations, Callanish does tend to get busy during peak periods, especially at auspicious times in the Pagan calendar and various moon phases and equinoxes.  However, it is worth being patient and I have never left here yet without a worthwhile image.
Sunrise is my favourite time at Callanish and I have witnessed some amazing light during my visits here.  One benefit of timing my workshops for slightly later in the year (October) is that the days are shorter and an early start from our base at the Harris Hotel in Tarbert to get to Callanish in time for the best light is usually around 5am.

Callanish Standing Stones, Isle of Lewis
Callanish Standing Stones
Callanish Standing Stones at Sunrise.  From my Wild Light Outer Hebrides Photography Workshop in October 2016

Super moon at Callanish Standing Stones, Isle of Lewis
Supermonn Callanish Standing Stones
Super moon at Callanish Standing Stones.  From my Wild Light Outer Hebrides Photography Workshop in September 2014

Sunrise at Callanish Standing Stones, Isle of Lewis
Stormy sunrise at Callanish Standing Stones.  From my Wild Light Outer Hebrides Photography Workshop in September 2016

Hebridean Beaches
The Outer Hebrides has some the finest beaches in the world and they are invariably deserted.  Low tide at Luskentyre reveals these amazing sands and the tidal pools and rivulets make perfect leading lines and foreground interest to aid composition. Hebridean beaches do not end with Luskentyre, though!  There are many more beaches throughout this 130 mile archipelago and even after many visits to the Outer Hebrides, I always find  new locations, coves and beaches that I had not previously visited.  The best beaches are along the western side of the Islands and sunsets can be particularly rewarding, especially in periods of unsettled weather.   You will find peace and tranquility on a Hebridean beach, light a driftwood fire and watch the sun go down with the familiar calls of curlew and redshank.  You may even want to make some images too!

Sunset at Mealasta, Isle of Lewis
Mealasta beach Isle of Lewis
Mealasta, Isle of Lewis.  From my Wild Light Outer Hebrides Photography Workshop in September 2017

Taransay, Outer Hebrides
Evening on Taransay
Taransay, Isle of Harris.  From my Wild Light Outer Hebrides Photography Workshop in September 2017

Uig, Isle of Lewis
Uig Beach, Isle of Lewis
Uig, Isle of Lewis.  From my Wild Light Outer Hebrides Photography Workshop in October 2016


Luskentyre Beach, Isle of Lewis
Luskentyre beach
Luskentyre, Isle of Harris.  From my Wild Light Outer Hebrides Photography Workshop in September 2014

I hope this blog post has inspired you to visit these wonderful Islands.  If you're thinking of taking a UK photography break for a few days and would like itinerary and booking information for my landscape and seascape photography workshops, please contact me.  I run at least one Wild Light Photography Workshop each year, places are limited to four attendees and we are based at the Harris Hotel in Tarbert.  Our next workshop is scheduled to take place in October 2018.
My contact details are on the website: Wild Light Photography Tours and Workshops


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