Torn trousers and moaning about the weather

no job too small, handyman, derelict, abandoned, house, home


Slim pickings from last month’s full moon period. All told, 2012 hasn’t been a great year in terms of favourable weather conditions for full moon night photography in the Outer Hebrides. I got a few shots in February but January, March and April were complete write-offs due to heavy cloud and rain. May, June and July are always a no-show due to the long summer days we see at our northerly latitude i.e. it never gets dark enough to achieve those saturated dark blue skies I can capture when the days are short and nights are long. Heading into the colder months I was hoping for some clear, crisp nights. Conditions haven’t been great so far but I was lucky enough to get a few breaks betweeen showers during last month’s full moon…

Setting off from home around 10pm I headed north for Hushinish in North Harris. A couple of miles up the road I stopped off to shoot this scene. The sight of a cannibalised handy man’s van parked outside a derelict house appealed. It took the best part of half an hour to  get the result I was looking for. I took a total of three shots, this being the last of the three, each exposure lasting six minutes – the only difference being slight tweaks to the lighting I carried out while the shutter was open. You can see from the shadows on the ground that the gable end and side of the van were shaded from moonlight. I lit the dark side of the house and van from various angles with an LED torch. The interior of the van was lit by placing a red gelled flash inside the back door, firing it remotely via wireless trigger.

Time flies when you’re experimenting with long exposures at night…. 3 x 6 minute shots plus evaluation time and before you know it, half an hour has passed.

Back in the van. Head north. It starts pouring down – sleet showers as well as rain. The forecast had been promising earlier in the day. After driving for an hour, I pulled over, dug out the flask and hit the caffeine. Hung around for an hour near Bunavoneadar whaling staion waiting for the sky to clear. It ain’t happening. Head back home. A three hour trip for the one decent shot I got five minutes from home.

A few nights pass and the weather’s picking up. Set the controls for Hushinish, again. I really want a photo of the tennis court at Bunavoneader. Surely one of the most bizzare locations you could dream of for a tennis court! I pulled over and decided to wait for the clouds to clear. After 40 minutes I gave up and moved on. I’ll get it one day night.

By the time I got to Cliasmol, the moon was shining bright. Spotted this  little building down below the road. The camera position involved clambering over a barbed wire fence and trashing a pair waterproof trousers:


Continuing on from Cliasmol, I carried on to the road end at Hushinish. A picturesque setting but  the rain clouds had moved in again, ruling out the shots I had in mind. Hung around a while, consumed more coffee but eventually called it quits. Heading  for home, a brief break in the cloud coincided with my arrival at the junction for the village of Govig:


A couple of rainy, cloudy nights later, the weather picked up. The full moon was fading but there might be just enough moonlight to get a few shots. Deciding to stay closer to home this time. I revisited Quidinish, where  I’d previously photographed a caravan and wind turbine on the site of the former Finsbay Lodge in February 2010:

If the caravan's a rockin' - Feb 2010

I was disappointed to discover the caravan was no longer present and the little wind turbine appeared to have completely siezed – first time round it was whizzing around like crazy in a moderate breeze. I’d trudged up the path so decided to take a photo anyway. A different angle, but featuring the same wind turbine:

Off the grid

After the Finsbay Lodge stop-off, I headed over to the west side of Harris, stopping off in Seilebost at a spot I’d visited previously in 2010:

Finlay's Brother's Place, Seilebost

Weather conditions were similar back then. You can see in the pic above that the clouds were moving in fast! This time around I decided to photograph the nearby croft house. I managed a couple of shots before conditions similar to those of the previous shoot put an end to proceedings:

Trailer and house, Seilebost

Same house, different angle:

Seilebost, Isle of Harris

Duration of outing: 5 hours
Number of photos:  3

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