Elgol on the Isle of Skye is well-known to most UK landscape photographers. As is the case with so many other popular landscape photography locations around the British Isles, Elgol was probably catapulted into it’s popularity by Joe Cornish. Staithes, a small fishing port on the North Yorkshire coast, is another example where photographers will attempt to photograph from the well-known viewpoint above the village. It was interesting on this particular morning at Elgol. I had arrived late the previous evening after a long drive from the Midlands and as my van is outfitted for stealth camping I was able to get a few hour’s sleep before setting the camera up for some sunrise photography.
I had the beach to myself and I was later to find out that this is a definite bonus. A later conversation with another landscapist friend about his experiences at Elgol was quite shocking. He had been verbally abused by a pair of late-arriving ‘photographers’ who insisted on setting up directly in front of him, ruining his composition. It saddened me to hear this story, serious UK landscapists are traditionally a close-knit and invariably friendly group. Even when some of us have never met, we generally have heard of each other and this incident is a disappointing turn. I’m optimistic that it’s an isolated one and not evidence of a trend. The popularity of Elgol became clear to me some time after sunrise as more photographers began to arrive. That was my cue to put the big Fuji GX617 away and enjoy the peaceful tranquility of the place, fortunately the photographers who turned up on this morning were cooperative with each other!
Looking across to the spiky Cuillins with their remaining dusting of winter snow was an inspiring sight. Elgol is an evocative place, even the name has a certain mystical mystique about it and it’s sobering to remember that we are the guardians of these places. There’s no room for selfish competitiveness here. There is far more to being a dedicated landscape photographer than that. Elgol, Staithes and so many more locations have been beautifully photographed by household names. It’s right that we landscape photographers should be inspired and encouraged to find our own voices, but these locations should be considered and appreciated first and above all for what they are before any ambition to ‘own’ them.
Elgol, Isle of Skye.
Fuji GX617, Fujinon SWD 90mm, Fuji Velvia 50