I left my house in near daylight, even though it was after 10pm. The cloud cover and threatening rain doing nothing to dampen my spirits. Given that this is a leap year, the date of the solstice – or the longest day – fell on the 20th of June as opposed to the 21st. The 21st is the day when my partner and I had our first ‘date’ 🙊 nearly twenty years ago. On that day, my parents dropped me at the gate of his friends house and we walked through the town in the late evening sun. We self consciously ate our way through a bar supper in a harbour front restaurant, surrounded by people with tanned skin and faraway tongues. We parted company at an agreed collection time and began a romance (?) that took us into the twenty first century.
Two decades later, I left L to keep watch over our sleeping children as I headed out. I drove north along empty roads meeting nothing other than the occasional farmer heading home in his tractor after a day’s toil. The relatively long drive to the ring of brodgar made easier by the company of a friend and a stop off at the supermarket for chocolate supplies 😂 for the late drive back. On arriving at the historic site in the west mainland parish of Stenness, we joined a handful of cars in the parking bay, and headed a short distance to the stones. The sky was bright to the west, illuminating the loch and the many little boats anchored at the waters edge.
According to VisitScotland.com it is one of the finest stone circles in the world. Dating back from 2000 to 2500 BC, it is 140 metres wide and originally contained sixty stones compared to the twenty seven that remain today. The ring is surrounded by a large circular ditch. I can only imagine the effort undertaken in dragging these stones to their final upright resting place all those years ago. And a few fun facts – the comedian Billy Connolly once danced naked around them at dusk and they also featured in the Disney animated film, Brave.
As we made our way around the stones, it was nice to see so many others with the same idea, the flashing squares of their mobile phones briefly lighting their faces. I set my camera to a long exposure which meant that it captured the movement of those walking amongst them, giving them an almost ghostly appearance. I did also get a nicely lit picture of the bog cotton which grows in the centre of the ring but I deleted it when I was transferring images. Oops.
I’ve got so much to learn with night photography, and I’m just pleased that I captured the images I did. Do you have any tips or advice for shooting in low light? Which measures do you take to ensure you get that shot?
Thanks so much for reading x