ROCK OF AGES
The extraordinary hexagonal pillars and abyssal caves of the Isle of Staffa proved a rugged and beautiful muse for photographer Samuel Hess, finds Morag Bootland
The Isle of Staffa's magnificent geological beauty acted as the perfect muse for photographer Samuel Hess
The geological beauty of the imposing basalt columns have made the island famous
The Isle of Staffa is on many a traveller’s bucket list and it’s a place that Swiss photographer Samual Hess had long wished to visit. The geological beauty of the imposing basalt columns and deep caves that have made the island famous called out to be captured on camera; just as the acoustics created by the waves crashing against the pillars in Fingal’s Cave on the island inspired Felix Mendelssohn to compose his The Hebrides overture following a visit almost 200 years before.
Staffa is the Old Norse word for pillar and it is said that the hexagonal, volcanic rock formations – which can also be seen in the Giant’s Causeway and Rathlin island in Northern Ireland – reminded the Vikings of their houses, which were built from vertically-placed tree trunks.
Hess’ visit to Staffa to capture these dramatic and impressive images of the island and some of its most colourful inhabitants came on a day when the weather was kicking up a storm. Despite doubts that the boat he was scheduled to catch from Fionnphort on the Isle of Mull would sail, the crew and a small group of tourists braved the swell and got a thorough soaking in the process.
I’m sure you’ll agree that the resulting images are well worth any discomfort the weather may have caused. The clouds and sea spray only adding to the drama of the fascinating geology of Staffa.
Hess’ visit to Staffa to capture these dramatic and impressive images of the island came on a day when the weather was kicking up a storm
Rock n’ roll: Hess and his fellow travellers were drenched despite their colourful waterproofs.
Above left: Staffa main harbour. Top right: Dramatic skies meet sea swell on route to Staffa. Above right: Puffins nest on Staffa in the spring and summer. Left: Togged up for the weather and surviving the swell.
Above left: Picking their way around the columns. Above right: The power of the sea. Right: Hess captures Tobermory on the Isle of Mull before braving the journey to Staffa. Left: Meeting some of Staffa’s puffins.