The challenges of Photography

Well…….. what can I say about this shot of Stac a’ Phris. I parked up at Dail Beag Beach carpark knowing I had ”a bit of a walk” up to the arch but, I didn’t quite realise how much of a slog it was going to be especially in the wind and rain I was suddenly confronted with. I had to question myself as to whether there was going to be an image at all given the conditions. But, as always in these western Isles the weather is always changing and I held out hope. So, off I went.

Looking into the distance I could make out this tiny arch, I was somewhat aggrieved that I still had the same distance to cover to get to it. At this point, I did think about turning back, I then had a swift harsh word with myself and thought.......... you have come this far Steve! With that thought in my head I picked myself up and carried on.

After what felt like an eternity and many coves I reached some flat area’s of cliff reaching out to sea, so I grabbed an opportunity to wander out to get a view of what little distance was left to reach my goal.

Having looked over the edge of three or so more coves I was happy to have finally come to my subject, the Stac a’ Phris arch in all its glory. The sea was amazing, crashing with such force, it gave me a real respect of the power of nature, it also highlighted how dangerous a place this could be, especially as I was the only person silly enough to be there in these conditions. I said to myself; lets get on with the task at hand and quickly, as I could see the weather was changing and things could be a lot different in a matter of minutes. I stumbled down some rocks on to a rocky outcropped cliff edge to setup as this seemed to be the best angle for my composition. Out came the Camera to start looking at the different compositions and it wasn't long before I found myself moving ever nearer the cliff edge to get a better composition, I settled, teetering on the edge. I then grabbed the Tripod and I soon realised that I had made a bad choice bringing the much lighter more mobile MeFoto Roadtrip tripod as opposed to the heavier more robust Gitzo, the decision was made based on the walking and not the conditions of the location. Keeping the setup static in this wind was going to be a challenge in itself.


I setup as best I could and I was right about the weather, as no sooner had I attached the camera to the tripod, I started being pelted with horizontal rain and sleet with winds of circa 50mph, as you can see in this video that I managed to capture. 

Clinging on to my gear and a rock I figured I was going to struggle to get a shot here, especially with the filters I would require to hold back the harsh light in both the sky and the sea. So, I opted for a quick exposure bracketing method with five Bracketed shots, four stops apart on the hope this would be enough to blend together later in Lightroom and draw out the detail. Thankfully this was the case with the exception of some blown out areas in the sky. However, I was very pleased with what I had managed to capture in the conditions I found myself. I hope you agree, please feel free to tell me what you think in the comment box below as I'm always interested to read what people think of my work.

Stac a' Phris, Isle of Lewis - 14:11 13th February 2018

I would have chosen to hang around a little longer to get a better shot but the weather wasn’t looking like it was going to change for the better as quickly as it did for the worst and it was beginning to feel too dangerous. So, I packed up and headed back to the car walking against the driving wind and sleet. I have to be honest and say that I thought climbing the fells back home in the Lake District were easier than this, this really was a slog, but worth it in the end. The walk back seemed longer and harder but I was happy to have made it to the car for a well deserved coffee.

Thanks for reading, feel free to share and comment, all my images can be purchased via my gallery pages