Light and lambs

Hello everyone, it’s Tom here. I thought I’d pop in to share some of my photos from our recent Hebridean trip to the isle of Berneray (Eilean Bhearnaraigh). As a photographer, I find the ever-changing weather and shifting quality of light in Scotland’s Western Isles really stimulating in my work. On this trip we were blessed with extraordinarily fine weather enabling us to get out and about every day and enjoy the outdoors.

The light on this trip was remarkable at all times of the day. The bright, breezy weather on morning walks along west beach made rainbows appear in the spray of breaking waves…

… as afternoon rain clouds gathered, the light became cool and desaturated, with dramatic big skies.

The views across Bays Loch were especially arresting as the evening closed in and the setting sun created calm tones of pink and blue upon the water…

… before the last rays of sunlight set the sky ablaze.

With fine weather and good light, being out and about also provided the opportunity to photograph some of the local fauna. The seals, basking out in the bay, were clearly making the most of a fine day.

The machair was alive with the distinctive calls of skylarks, lapwings and skittish oystercatchers.

And early each evening, a short-eared owl quietly patrolled the surrounding crofts.

Livestock across the islands were also enjoying the sunshine, and the promise of fresh green growth on the dunes and machair.

. . . and as Berneray’s lambing season had just ended, our friend Meg took us to see some very young Soay lambs on a nearby croft.

As many of you will know, I have a bit of a thing for photographing sheep. Our book, Shetland Oo, featured many sheepy “portraits” amidst the images of the people who work with wool in the Shetland Isles. Shetland sheep, like Hebrideans, are hardy and characterful. But I think I would have to say that these Soay lambs are amongst the most appealing little lambs I have ever photographed.

Soay sheep are a primitive breed descended from the feral sheep native to St Kilda. Small, hardy and agile, the lambs from these sheep are almost deer-like in their appearance – long-legged and nimble. The temptation to scoop one up and take it home was pretty difficult to overcome . . .

. . . though I suspect the carefully protective Soay ewes would have something to say about that!

Our visiting fauna also enjoyed spending each day outside in fine weather and this unique landscape, which we all love more with every visit.

Thanks for reading.