Winter Photography Workshops vs Summer on the Islands

outer Hebrides photography workshop

Some people initially question why I run my photography workshops and why I shoot most of my work in the winter months. I am writing this in the summer after a trip so I thought I’d write about it!

I am writing this in the summer after a trip to the Hebrides that involved full ferries, having to stay in my van as accommodation is all booked up and grey cloudless skies for 3 days with no waves! Worst of all – footprints on beaches! Can you imagine? actual footprints along Hebridean beaches!

I begin to long for those wonderful winter days again as I cut my trip short and head home. So here are some of the reasons I came up with for shooting on the Scottish islands out of season.

* You don’t have to get up at 3am for sunrise or stay awake till midnight for sunset. Winter months bring sociable times of day when the light is soft and lovely.
* When it rains in the summer it is just what the Scots describe as dreich – A bit bland and continuous grey.
* When it rains in the winter months, you can often see shafts of rain or hail creating soft vertical patterns in the sky where it falls. It often passes and makes way for sunshine, shortly followed by new shafts of rain, rainbows and brewing clouds.
* The low angle of the sunlight in the winter can be just divine but snowy, cold skies also make for fabulous images. It is changeable and wild and wonderful.
* The summer months bring with them difficulty parking and people on beaches, car parking spaces are usually taken.
* In the winter months most places are simply deserted.
* The waves and drama can be huge in the winter!
* You can catch ferries at will and switch to other ferries without them being fully booked.
* When you do catch that ferry it is lovely and quiet and peaceful without packed-out lounges and noisy restaurants.
* Summer months – accommodation is extremely limited whereas you have your pick of fabulous accommodation in the winter.

You can probably tell that I enjoy the winter enormously with its peacefulness and amazing light conditions. It does come with challenges, but the cosy evenings and the feeling of being out in the bracing weather is like no other. The only downside I did come up with is that my favourite eating establishments on Harris shut down in the winter so Croft 36 and the Butty Bus are only to be enjoyed in the summer. Quiet understandably. But with all the other odds against shooting in the summer months, I’ll stick with the amazing out-of-season travelling.