Rafael Rojas Photography

Blog of Rafael Rojas Fine Art Photography

Photo of the Week: The glorious Isle of Skye


As we came back a week ago from Scotland, I am still going through all the developping (lots of film this time), scanning, classifying and raw post-producing. I hope in a couple of weeks I will have my website updated. Meanwhile, I am working on a mini-article about the trip there. Lots of gorgeous opportunities...Scotland in winter is truly magical. For this week I am posting one of those images that are the product of a chase by the photographer. Some might say most of the images made by landscape photographers have been made by the weather and light alone, falling on the land and captured by the passer by. Well, that is the work of the landscape photographer indeed. The only thing is that a good landscape photographer will try to render a view of a place which does not depict the place itself in a documentary way, and that connotes other things than the pure denotations of the place. The landscape photographer looks for transmitting emotions, which could be a fascination for nature, a sense of freedom, mystery, awe, sadness, adventure... Another thing that should not be forgotten is that in the same way a studio photographer chooses his light and sets up his lamps and reflectors, the landscape photographer looks for that specific light he is after and that will render the landscape in the way he needs it to express the idea he has in his head. Exactly the same thing as in the case of a studio photographer, but with one minor difference: the landscape photographer cannot switch on the lamp, and will need to go to the same selected viewpoint again and again till everything falls into place.

This image represents very much what I am  talking about. If you look at it, surely ( I hope) you wont see just a number of hills and the sea. You might feel fascinated by the raw power of nature, the vastness of the land and the drama given by a composition of extreme weather, extraordinary light conditions and a simple but effective and well balanced composition. You might also "see" the spirit of Scotland in it, even if you never went to that place. You might "feel" the sound of the waves, the wind blowing, the cormorans screaming, the smell of the sea. You might get transported to that place, and you might even want to buy a ticket flight to the Highlands straight away. If that is the case, my goal as landscape photographer is achieved.

The viewpoint that appear in this image was searched during the first 6 days on Skye. I was looking for a different view of this well photographed and known island. I did never see an image from this perspective of the Cuillin mountains, and that made it much more satisfying. I never see any point in going to the same known viewpoints to repeat the very same composition other photographers have made, and it is the fact of looking for your own compositions that makes photography so exciting. Once I found this composition, so well adapted to the panoramic format, I went to this very place, at the top of a cliff by the ruins of an old castle, again and again. On the third time, the very last day, fireworks lit the sky. It was one of those moments that will stay with me forever...

Image made with the 617 film panoramic camera and rodenstock sironar 180 lens with velvia 50. Scanned with Imacon scanner and with no PS corrections at all. On the original image, you can see the chimney of the little cottages (invisible in the little image here below) and the sheep grazing in the distant hills...

Thanks for reading and great light to you all.