The wild north-west

Dun­can Stew­ard was drawn to spec­tac­u­lar scenery of the Faroe Is­lands and their abun­dance of bird life

NPhoto - - Over To You… -

Af­ter many trips to Scot­land and some to Ice­land, I thought it was time I paid a visit to the Faroe Is­lands. That the is­lands were lo­cated ge­o­graph­i­cally between Scot­land and Ice­land, and re­sem­bled to­po­graph­i­cally a mix of both, was most ap­peal­ing. The fact that ap­prox­i­mately 300 dif­fer­ent bird species have been recorded on the is­lands only added to the pho­to­graphic po­ten­tial from my point of view – es­pe­cially be­cause at the time of year I planned to visit, June or July, the is­lands’ fa­mous puffins are in at­ten­dance.

As a child I had vis­ited Lundy Is­land, and the name Lundy is thought to come from the Old Norse for ‘puf­fin’. That claim that sounds plau­si­ble given that in the Faroe is­lands, the puf­fin

Drop­ping through the dense clouds that of­ten shroud the coast­line, and then glimps­ing the tow­er­ing cliffs, was breath­tak­ing

is known as ‘lundin’. One of my ob­jec­tives was to cap­ture images of puffins, so a visit to Mykines, the most west­erly of the 18 is­lands, was planned. The first glimpse of Mykines when de­scend­ing into Vá­gar Air­port is an ex­pe­ri­ence in it­self; drop­ping through the dense clouds that of­ten shroud the coast­line, and then glimps­ing the tow­er­ing cliffs emerg­ing straight out of the ocean, was breath­tak­ing.

Plans… and backup plans

For pho­tog­ra­phers who want to get close to puffins and other

nest­ing sea birds, Mykines is a dream lo­ca­tion. When­ever I’ve been on short pho­tog­ra­phy trips, I’ve found that re­search­ing and iden­ti­fy­ing pos­si­ble lo­ca­tions in ad­vance re­ally does pay div­i­dends, es­pe­cially when shoot­ing time is in short sup­ply. How­ever, the un­pre­dictable and change­able Faroese weather will put your abil­ity to adapt your plans at short no­tice to the test on a daily ba­sis.

On the first day I ar­rived on Mykines, high winds were a prob­lem, es­pe­cially when at­tempt­ing tripod-mounted long ex­po­sures. Later in the week, low cloud and fog dom­i­nated much of the day, and my travel um­brella saw ac­tion on more than one oc­ca­sion! The fact that it re­mained light from 4am un­til well past 11pm ex­tended the shoot­ing day con­sid­er­ably, and meant that I had time to re­visit missed lo­ca­tions when con­di­tions im­proved.

01 Chu rch at Vi­dareidi settl ement , Vi­doy is­lan d Nikon D7100, Nikon AF-S 18-105mm, f/3.5-5.6G ED, 1/320 sec, f/18, ISO200

02 02 Gásadalu r villa ge, VÁ gar is­lan d Nikon D7100, Nikon AF-S 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED, 1/500 sec, f/16, ISO640

03 Gull with youn g, Mykines is­lan d Nikon D5100, Nikon AF-S 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED, 1/640 sec, f/6.3, ISO1000

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