As soon as the words fairy and Isle of Skye in Scotland are mentioned, everyone's thoughts go straight to the Fairy Pools and their stunning location. However, there is another area on the island called the Fairy Glen, a fairly small location just out of Uig that doesn’t receive many visitors. For some time now I have been meaning to pay a visit and as I was looking for something new the last time I was there, I headed for the area.
It is not hard to find the location and it doesn’t look much once there. There is a small pool right next to the road that has potential under the right conditions. The pool is capped by a high stack that is obvious due to its protrusion from the high ground.
I was there with friends and not much time to spend, so decided to go for a short walk just behind the pool. I didn’t have to walk far; just a hundred meters up and the view was already most impressive. I waded through the dry red bracken and stood there admiring the ghostly, dry outcrop. There were some young trees around it, holding tight for their life as the wind has been trying to rip them off the rock during the years. The sky was blue and the white fluffy clouds moving fast like galloping white stallions. I am not a great fan of blue skies with fluffy clouds so I had to improvise; my first thought was to slow down the shutter speed and stretch the jaws of time as much as possible. I understand that some people are not keen in long exposures but in the end, it is a matter of taste.
There was an area of green grass that was resisting the bracken occupation. I decided to include this small but adequate empty space in the composition. All I had to do now was to reach for my viewfinder card and find the right framing. Ten minutes later I knew exactly what I wanted in the composition – the final framing was going to be in a 4x5 vertical format, perfect for this scene. I opted for a very long exposure in the end as my first attempt failed to deliver the desired results. This time 224 seconds were enough to produce the line effect in the clouds. I had to pull the highlights slider in Lightroom 100% as the exposure was very tricky. I could only use a 1-stop ND grad to balance the exposure between sky and land and that had to be soft so it wouldn't darken down the rocky outcrop.
Although I prefer not to use an aperture as small as f/16, this time I had to do so. The bracken at the bottom of the frame and also the branches of the tree at the top of the outcrop had to be in acceptable focus. Thankfully, my old reliable Canon 24-105mm lens has delivered superb results.
I don’t feel I have done the place justice and very soon will head back, as there are a fair number of images to be captured all around the area and the potential is vast. Small the area may be, but mighty it definitely is.