Learning Lesson The Hard Way

Janet and I have been regular visitors to the Isle of Mull for many years and usually stay in a wooden cabin, in a secluded bay overlooking the islands of Rhum, Eigg and Skye and only 50 yards from the sea. In fact, it’s so remote and the track so rough, the last mile takes a full 10 minutes to drive in. The cabin used to be a bit basic, but we’re only fifty yards from the sea, but it really is worth it for the view as its world class!

The grassy area between us and the white sandy beach teams with wildlife, it’s like our own private David Attenborough program. We get everything from oyster catchers to sea eagles and peregrine falcon. Rabbits to otters! It’s our little piece of heaven on earth! We can sit there for hours watching the wildlife go about its business.

Way back in the early noughties, I’d been working hard and I was tired before we set off, so I was ready for some rest by the time we got to the cabin. The following morning, I looked out of the window around 4.30am and the subtle sunrise over Rhum was simply stunning, but I turned over and went back to sleep, reasoning I’d get the shot another morning when I wasn’t quite so in need of sleep.

How wrong can you be? Twenty years on and many visits to this cabin later and I still don’t have an image to compare with the one I would have got if I’d dragged myself out of bed that morning. Fast forward to May 2021 and we’re here again; we never tire of sitting here watching the light paint ever changing pictures on the hills of Ardnamurchan, or see Rhum come and go as the weather changes through four seasons in a day.

This time we arrived feeling remarkably fresh after a journey of eleven hours door to door and promptly settled down to have our evening meal while watching the light play on the islands. Then around 7.30, the light got really magical, and I heard myself say, it’s OK, I’ll go out and shoot it later when I’ve finished eating. Wrong again! Time, tide and light waits for no man, so take the shot when the light’s there. As my good friend Paul once said, “You’re a long time dead”, so if you really want that shot, sleep and dinner can wait!

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