Isle of Lewis – Cliff beach, big waves and high winds

Photography kit, Scottish Islands

After our initial hour’s worth of glorious sunshine the day we arrived in Lewis, the weather has given in to the promised high winds and heavy swells. Probably most people are sympathising at this point ...having a week’s worth of dreadful weather ahead on your holidays. But not me! I love a good storm as it produces some conditions that can be fabulous to photograph. Great skies, crashing waves, wild stormy vistas. And we definitely have that all at the moment.

Yesterday, I decided to get in the water with some of the small waves at Reef beach. They looked small until I was actual amongst them anyway! The highlight was a seal who bobbed about with me, just watching and wondering what I was doing I guess.

Today I used a different tactic and climbed down the hillside at Cliff beach - the waves were approx 13ft according to the surf forecast. I had thought it would be good to get closer to the waves as they turned. But, the closer I got, the more I was drawn to the jutting out headland where there were enormous crashes of waves hitting the rocks. Now, for safety reasons, I wouldn't recommend doing this  ... but I crept out there and clung to a high rock waiting for each crash. My camera got a good soaking and so did I but what an amazing feeling to watch such an incredible force of nature so close up!

My trusty 28-300 Nikon lens did me proud, combined with my fabulous Nikon D800 it was light and easy to carry. I also took with me a lens which I bought a long time ago for a one-off job photographing a boat - a 150-500mm sigma lens. This has proven so useful and so sharp that I have kept it and when wanting to pull closely into waves from a distance, it just works a treat.

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