The Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides
I have an affinity with the Isle of Lewis that is different from the Isle of Harris. I have spent almost 12 years now going back and forth to the island to photograph weddings. I have got to know the local families and enjoy many a time being well fed by brides parents before a wedding. I adore the island - technically, they are joined, but they are very different from each other. Lewis has large open spaces and a rugged landscape which can seem bleak to many, but to me has a charm and history of its own.
It was unusual for me to stay on the Outer Hebrides in the summer months. But this year is very different from anything I have known before. Holiday homes are available, and the island was relatively quiet. I generally pop over for a wedding and head straight home in the summer months. Because I love the island's quietness, it feels counter-intuitive to be there when it is busy with tourists. But this summer it wasn't. A week of pure sunshine greeted me along with calm winds. This year, I had set myself a little project -something I rarely do. I usually do not need to, as my head is always full of things I want to do.
But this summer, I needed to travel light when I was out. Still not carrying my proper kit with me as the bag was just too heavy whilst I was recovering. Anything apart from a very small bag was too much to consider on top of the walk onto the beach. So I bought underwater housing from Axisgo for my I phone. I have explored water / underwater photography for many years in different forms. Something that keeps cropping back up in my life. You tend to find the things that keep going back to you and stay with you. At university, I took those little disposal underwater cameras out on my surfboard with me. In Dundonell, I snorkeled with one. I still have a love those images, and they were all shot with a simple disposable camera...!
I have proper dive housing for my Nikon kit that I have had for a couple of years now. However, I never quite got to grips with it - mainly because it weighs an absolute ton, and carrying it to the beach would be a feat for anyone.
We all need, at times, to do some photography just because it is fun. No reason, no massive file size, no looking towards exhibiting it or selling it. Simply because we enjoy it. And what could be better fun than splashing around in the Hebrides sea with an iPhone! My love of swimming outdoors does help, I have to admit. The sea is cold, and I tend not to be fully wet-suited up, so it's usually quite brief!
My first trip out led me to Reef beach because you can often find some calm, clear water here if the wind is low and there is no swell. I hit lucky with the combination of sun and calmness. The drone images show you what the water actually looks like, and the underwater shots give you a glimpse into the conditions underneath. Crystal clear, turquoise, and stunningly beautiful. To me, this day was a perfect one. I couldn't ask for much more.
The sunny warm days continued along with the surreal feeling of being in a paradise that no one else had yet discovered. I have made my experiences and trips a priority in my life, and everything I do is working towards spending more time out in these unique places, feeling and absorbing the quiet. I rarely spend anything at all on anything else and have little regard for material possessions. But creating and being on the Scottish Islands, is what makes me happy. And after all, if you want to be happier, just do more of what makes you happy.