The Isle of Skye is brimming with stunning and incredibly unique photography locations to choose from. Every day I wanted to go somewhere new. But, at least for me, really good photography doesn’t work that way.
I frequently find that I have to visit a location more than once before I make my best images. I think it’s because on the first visit I can become overwhelmed by the beauty, while at the same time I haven’t had enough time to get a true feeling for the place. That’s why I like to scout locations.
During my first visit to the Fairy Pools, I had already been photographing the awe inspiring scenery on Skye for 8 hours and there was a bit of sideways rain happening. I was tired. But since I was close-by, I decided it would be a good time to scout out the Fairy Pools for a future visit.
The first thing I discovered was that the parking was insane and there were a lot of tourists. Note to self: make the return trip earlier in the day.
I didn’t get very far along the trail when I encountered my first obstacle. And I don’t mean metaphorically! There was a riving crossing with strategically placed stones with flat tops, each of which was a very large step away from the one before it. The problem was that the river level was so high that the first stone was underwater and a ton of water was rushing over it.
People seemed to have one of two reactions: some turned back and others took a running jump and made it onto the second stone. I didn’t like either of those options.
Looking down at my trusty Dunnies (rubber boots) that had served me so well on the trip so far, I decided to just step on the underwater stone and use my tripod as a walking stick to help prevent the swift moving river from taking me with it. The water almost came to the top of my boots, but I made it!
I enjoyed the freedom I often feel when scouting a location because there is no pressure to make a great image. I did make some images, but the trail was extremely boggy and slippery and then the sideways rain started, so I just went as far as I could and took it all in noting some good perspectives along the way and thinking of techniques I could use to bring out it’s best features.
A few days later I went back to the Fairy Pools with some ideas and a better understand of the landscape. The river level had dropped so that first stone was no longer underwater, and the trail had dried out quite a bit. I still needed the Dunnies to stand in the river to get the perfect perspective for my favourite photo though!
The atmosphere was perfect. Not so much water that the river crossing was difficult, but enough water that the waterfalls were surging. There was no sideways rain, but lots of fog and mist making the mountains look mysterious.
This is why I love slow travel. I need time to get to know a location and even return to it a few times before all the ingredients for a great photo fall into place. And sometimes they don’t. But I have a much better chance of it happening if time is on my side.
I think if I lived on Skye I would return to this location again and again.