The Sound of Mull

Inner Hebrides, Scotland. Day 21-22 , 19th-20th July.

Hebrides, Lighthouses, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, Travel.

Just to be clear, the Sound of Mull is the stretch of water between the Island of Mull and the Scottish mainland, not a rustling of marijuana or a Hebridean pipe band.

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Hebrides, Lighthouses, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, Travel.

The first two images of fishing trawlers are actually in the Sea of the Hebrides; the rest of the images are in the Sound of Mull.

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Hebrides, Lighthouses, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, Travel.

Ardnamurchan Point Lighthouse

This is Ardnamurchan Point Lighthouse, at the end of the Ardnamurchan Peninsula.

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Hebrides, Lighthouses, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, Travel.

Tobermory Lighthouse

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Hebrides, Lighthouses, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, Travel.

As we sailed down the Sound of Mull, the weather was fine and the fog had gone.

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Hebrides, Lighthouses, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, Travel. .

Hebrides, Lighthouses, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, Travel. .

Ardtornish Castle, Castles, Hebrides, Lighthouses, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, Travel.

Ardtornish Castle

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Hebrides, Lighthouses, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, Travel. .

Castles, Duart Castle, Hebrides, Lighthouses, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, Travel.

Duart Castle

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Ardtornish Castle, Castles, Hebrides, Lighthouses, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, Travel.

Ardtornish Castle

We anchored off the ruins of Ardtornish Castle for the night and watched the sun go down.

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Ardtornish Castle, Castles, Hebrides, Lighthouses, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, Travel.

Ardtornish Castle

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Hebrides, Lighthouses, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, Travel. .

Hebrides, Lighthouses, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, Travel. .

Hebrides, Lighthouses, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, Travel, White-tailed Eagle

Next morning, we sailed the short distance back to Oban.  There was a final surprise not far from our anchorage – a white-tailed eagle.

Glassy seas, Inner Hebrides

Inner Hebrides, Scotland. Day 21 , 19th July.

 

Hebrides, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, Travel, Lighthouses, Neist Point

Heading back for Oban in very still conditions.  We are passing Neist Point near the north-west tip of Skye.  You can just see the lighthouse.  It looks very different here from when we saw it on land.

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Hebrides, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, Travel

For a time the mist descended and we could hardly see anything.  It seemed the sort of weather where one might encounter the Marie Celeste.  We didn’t see her but were soon to make other sightings and the sea was amazingly still….

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Hebrides, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, Travel, Wildlife, Orcas, Killer whales

An orca dorsal fin (not the flipper of a whale).

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Hebrides, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, Travel, Wildlife, Orcas, Killer whales

Female orca.

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Hebrides, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, Travel, Wildlife, Orcas, Killer whales

Male orca.  The birds appear to be ringed plovers.

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Hebrides, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, Travel, Wildlife, Orcas, Killer whales

Fishing boat (dredger) in the distance.

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Hebrides, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, Travel, Wildlife, Orcas, Killer whales

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Hebrides, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, Travel, Wildlife, Orcas, Killer whales.

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Hebrides, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, Travel, Wildlife, Ringed plovers

Ringed plovers.

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Hebrides, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, Travel, Wildlife, Ringed plovers.

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Hebrides, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, Travel, Wildlife, Orcas, Killer whales

There are three orcas altogether.  A bull known as “John Coe” and two females.

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Hebrides, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, Travel, Wildlife, Orcas, Killer whales

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Hebrides, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, Travel, Wildlife, Orcas, Killer whales

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Hebrides, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, Travel, Wildlife, Common gull

Common gull.

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Hebrides, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, Travel, Wildlife, Common gull

Common gull.

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Lesser black-backed gull.

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Hebrides, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, Travel, Wildlife, Lesser black-backed gull

Lesser black-backed gull.

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Hebrides, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, Travel, Wildlife, Orcas, Killer whales

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Hebrides, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, Travel, Wildlife, gannet

Gannet.

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Hebrides, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, Travel, Wildlife, dolphins

Dolphins.

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Hebrides, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, Travel, Wildlife, Dolphins

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Hebrides, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, Travel, Wildlife, Dolphins

Altogether, an incredible display in remarkably calm conditions.

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Leverburgh

Leverburgh, Harris, Outer Hebrides, Scotland. Day 20 , 18th July.

Harris, Hebrides, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, Travel.

On our return from St Kilda we stopped in Leverburgh for the night.  This is right down at the south tip of Harris.  You can drive here from Lewis (which is actually the same island) but to go further south to Uist you need to take a ferry.  There was some time left before nightfall so we went for a short walk on land.

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Harris, Hebrides, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, Travel. .

Harris, Hebrides, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, Travel.

The ruins of an abandoned croft, probably from the clearances in the nineteenth century.

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Harris, Hebrides, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, Travel. .

Harris, Hebrides, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, Travel. .

Harris, Hebrides, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, Travel. .

Harris, Hebrides, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, Travel. .

Soay

St Kilda, Outer Hebrides, Scotland. Day 20 , 18th July.

Hebrides, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, St Kilda, Travel, Wildlife .

These images are all from the Atlantic coast of Soay (the north-western island of the St Kilda group) as we slowly sail by….

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gannets, Hebrides, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, St Kilda, Travel, Wildlife

St Kildan hunting parties frequently came here to gather birds and eggs from the cliffs of this wild landscape.  There are 40 cleits on Soay, though I didn’t notice any from the ship (and certainly not in this image!).

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gannets, Hebrides, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, St Kilda, Travel, Wildlife .

gannets, Hebrides, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, St Kilda, Travel, Wildlife .

gannets, Hebrides, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, St Kilda, Travel, Wildlife .

gannets, Hebrides, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, St Kilda, Travel, Wildlife .

gannets, Hebrides, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, St Kilda, Travel, Wildlife .

gannets, Hebrides, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, St Kilda, Travel, Wildlife .

gannets, Hebrides, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, St Kilda, Travel, Wildlife .

gannets, Hebrides, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, St Kilda, Travel, Wildlife .

gannets, Hebrides, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, St Kilda, Travel, Wildlife

There are no trees here on Soay, so the gannets cannot use leaves, branches and twigs to build their nests but make do with whatever materials are available, mainly probably flotsam and jetsum.  Notice the number of pieces of rope hanging from the underside of the nests.

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gannets, Hebrides, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, St Kilda, Travel, Wildlife .

gannets, Hebrides, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, St Kilda, Travel, Wildlife .

gannets, Hebrides, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, St Kilda, Travel, Wildlife .

gannets, Hebrides, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, St Kilda, Travel, Wildlife .

gannets, Hebrides, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, St Kilda, Travel, Wildlife .

Hebrides, Photography, Scotland, seascape, St Kilda, Travel .

gannets, Hebrides, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, St Kilda, Travel, Wildlife .

gannets, Hebrides, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, St Kilda, Travel, Wildlife .

gannets, Hebrides, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, St Kilda, Travel, Wildlife

Soay and Am Plastair (small island to right) with Hirta in the distance – Click to zoom into very large image

This is another panorama available in large size.  Click on the image to zoom in for detail.

Stac Biorach

St Kilda, Outer Hebrides, Scotland. Day 20 , 18th July.

Hebrides, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, St Kilda, Travel, Wildlife

We are in the channel between Hirta and Soay.   Hirta is the main island in the St Kilda group and Soay is the large island to the north-west of it (original home of the Soay Sheep).  Refer map in the Arrival at St Kilda post.

It’s a bit hard for me to know exactly what we are looking at here.  The triangular rock looks like Stac Dona but that’s beside Soay and too far away so that must be just a coincidence.  My guess is that the two rocks in the foreground are at the end of Hirta off An Campar (or the Cambir) and are too small to appear on an online map.  The larger rock in the background is probably Stac Shoaigh, seen lengthways and looking closer than it really was due to perspective compression with a long telephoto lens.

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Hebrides, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, St Kilda, Travel, Wildlife

The same two rocks in the foreground and definitely Soay in the background to the right.  Probably Stac Shoaigh again in the background to the left.

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Hebrides, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, St Kilda, Travel, Wildlife

Here we are looking back against the sun at the headland at An Campar on Hirta.  What appears to be a square end to the point is actually a small island (Mina Stac).

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Hebrides, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, St Kilda, Travel, Wildlife

On the left is Stac Shoaigh, showing a hole from a tunnel through it.  The tall rock to the right of it is Stac Biorach.  At the far right is Soay.  The sea mist is a bit heavier here. it comes and goes.

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Hebrides, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, St Kilda, Travel, Wildlife

Looking back at Hirta.

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Hebrides, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, St Kilda, Travel, Wildlife

Stac Biorach in front of Soay.

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Hebrides, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, St Kilda, Travel, Wildlife

Again but closer.  There are innumerable seabirds on top of the stac.

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Hebrides, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, St Kilda, Travel, Wildlife

The bottom of the stac, underneath the mist.

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Hebrides, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, St Kilda, Travel, Wildlife

Here you can see the density of the birds on the rock.

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Hebrides, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, St Kilda, Travel, Wildlife

Birds on rock ledges on Stac Biorach.  I think they are all gannets.

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Hebrides, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, St Kilda, Travel, Wildlife

The St Kildans were expert climbers and had no trouble climbing stacs like these.

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Hebrides, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, St Kilda, Travel, Wildlife .

Hebrides, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, St Kilda, Travel, Wildlife .

Hebrides, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, St Kilda, Travel, Wildlife

Gannets against Stac Biorach.

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Hebrides, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, St Kilda, Travel, Wildlife

A closer view of a gannet.

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Farewell to Hirta

St Kilda, Outer Hebrides, Scotland. Day 20 , 18th July.

photography, travel, archaeology, history, landscape, architecture, scotland, st-kilda, hebrides

Early in the morning, before we left, I took some shots of Village Bay from the ship.  This first one is a wide angle and you can see some naval buildings in front on the far right and a little of them on the far left.  “The street” stretches across the middle, with stone fences, enclosures and cleits behind.  (You can always click on the image to see that better).  There’s still some fog but the weather is much clearer than either of the previous two days.

Much of the sea wall at the top of the bank behind the “beach” was demolished by the navy years ago but remember that after the huge storm of 1860 the houses along “the Street” were knee-deep in water.

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photography, travel, archaeology, history, landscape, architecture, scotland, st-kilda, hebrides

This image and the following ones were picked off with a 300mm lens, though some combine multiple images for a panorama.  This shows a little of the density of cleits, walls and enclosures behind the houses.

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The cleits and enclosures continue behind the “head dyke” or back wall.

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photography, travel, archaeology, history, landscape, architecture, scotland, st-kilda, hebrides

A view of the Feather Store from the front and the wharf in front of it (with the tide out).  You can see why landings can be difficult in rough weather.

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photography, travel, archaeology, history, landscape, architecture, scotland, st-kilda, hebrides .

photography, travel, archaeology, history, landscape, architecture, scotland, st-kilda, hebrides

Lady Grange’s house in the mid left foreground.  Behind that is the street and behind that the cemetery.  You can see the cemetery gate if you click on the next image and zoom in, though you can only really see the front wall of the cemetery.

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photography, travel, archaeology, history, landscape, architecture, scotland, st-kilda, hebrides

Click to view much larger image

The image above is a panorama comprising six images.  You won’t see much detail in it as it sits on this page, but you will if you click on it.  If you click on any image in the Blog you’ll see a larger one, but in this case you go to a huge image that you can zoom into.

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photography, travel, archaeology, history, landscape, architecture, scotland, st-kilda, hebrides .

photography, travel, archaeology, history, landscape, architecture, scotland, st-kilda, hebrides

The cleits continue up the hills and beyond the horizon.

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photography, travel, archaeology, history, landscape, architecture, scotland, st-kilda, hebrides

Our last glimpse of Village Bay – these are some enclosures on the cliffs of Hirta near Dun, just south of the village.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Hebrides, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, St Kilda, Travel

Looking back from the North-East coast of Hirta.  Village Bay is out of sight behind the headland and Dun is in the distance at the left.

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History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, St Kilda, Travel

Sgeir nan Sgarbh

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Hebrides, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, St Kilda, Travel

Stac an Armin, Stac Lee and Boreray

These are two stacks and a corner of the island of Boreray, some miles away.  Stac an Armin, on the left, is where three men and eight boys survived for nine months when the smallpox epidemic laid waste to the residents at Village Bay on Hirta.

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Hebrides, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, St Kilda, Travel

Sea Cave

There’s a small line of black-and-white guillemots perched on a ledge high inside the wall of the sea cave.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Hebrides, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, St Kilda, Travel

Abhainn a’ Ghlinne Mhoir at Gleanne Mor

This is our last glimpse of settlement on Hirta.  The creek is called Abhainn a’ Ghlinne Mhoir and the area is Gleanne Mor.  If you look closely there are a number of cleits in the landscape.  To the left of the creek, out of sight here, there are the remains of a number of interesting structures.  These include sheilings, or summer huts and the “Amazon’s House” (Taigh na Banaghaisgeich), thought to be a Pictish-era residence dating from 400AD to 900AD.  Mind you, there should also be sheilings within our field of view, though you’d have to be walking around to have a chance of identifying them.

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Hebrides, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, St Kilda, Travel

Mina Stac off Conachair

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Guillemots, Hebrides, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, St Kilda, Travel

Not so long ago, the inhabitants of St Kilda would have lowered themselves down these cliffs on homemade ropes and swung sideways to get to the birds and their eggs.

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Guillemots, Hebrides, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, St Kilda, Travel

The birds are guillemots.

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Guillemots, Hebrides, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, St Kilda, Travel .

Hebrides, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, St Kilda, Travel .

Hebrides, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, St Kilda, Travel .

Hebrides, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Scotland, seascape, St Kilda, Travel .

St Kilda Monochrome and Infrared

St Kilda, Outer Hebrides, Scotland. Day 18-19 , 16th to 17th July.

 

photography, travel, archaeology, history, landscape, architecture, scotland, st-kilda, Hebrides, Monochrome, Black and White, Infrared.

This is a series of monochrome conversions of selected images from the previous six posts on St Kilda.  In those posts these mono images appear as colour and there is often detailed commentary including historical notes.  For information and context about St Kilda and these images, see those previous posts starting at Arrival at St Kilda.

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photography, travel, archaeology, history, landscape, architecture, scotland, st-kilda, Hebrides, Monochrome, Black and White, Infrared .

photography, travel, archaeology, history, landscape, architecture, scotland, st-kilda, Hebrides, Monochrome, Black and White, Infrared .

photography, travel, archaeology, history, landscape, architecture, scotland, st-kilda, Hebrides, Monochrome, Black and White, Infrared .

photography, travel, archaeology, history, landscape, architecture, scotland, st-kilda, Hebrides, Monochrome, Black and White, Infrared .

photography, travel, archaeology, history, landscape, architecture, scotland, st-kilda, Hebrides, Monochrome, Black and White, Infrared .

photography, travel, archaeology, history, landscape, architecture, scotland, st-kilda, Hebrides, Monochrome, Black and White, Infrared .

photography, travel, archaeology, history, landscape, architecture, scotland, st-kilda, Hebrides, Monochrome, Black and White, Infrared .

photography, travel, archaeology, history, landscape, architecture, scotland, st-kilda, Hebrides, Monochrome, Black and White, Infrared.

photography, travel, archaeology, history, landscape, architecture, scotland, st-kilda, Hebrides, Monochrome, Black and White, Infrared .

photography, travel, archaeology, history, landscape, architecture, scotland, st-kilda, Hebrides, Monochrome, Black and White, Infrared .

photography, travel, archaeology, history, landscape, architecture, scotland, st-kilda, Hebrides, Monochrome, Black and White, Infrared .

photography, travel, archaeology, history, landscape, architecture, scotland, st-kilda, Hebrides, Monochrome, Black and White, Infrared.

photography, travel, archaeology, history, landscape, architecture, scotland, st-kilda, Hebrides, Monochrome, Black and White, Infrared .

photography, travel, archaeology, history, landscape, architecture, scotland, st-kilda, Hebrides, Monochrome, Black and White, Infrared .

photography, travel, archaeology, history, landscape, architecture, scotland, st-kilda, Hebrides, Monochrome, Black and White, Infrared .

photography, travel, archaeology, history, landscape, architecture, scotland, st-kilda, Hebrides, Monochrome, Black and White, Infrared .

photography, travel, archaeology, history, landscape, architecture, scotland, st-kilda, Hebrides, Monochrome, Black and White, Infrared .

The following eight images are infrared, shot using an R72 filter.  Some are colour and some are mono conversions.  None have snow; that’s just how grass and leaves can come out in infrared.

Unlike the mono images, there are no colour versions of them in other posts.  The exposures were all taken within a half hour period.  I brought my monopod to shore (though it should really have been my tripod) and I then discovered that I had left the head for it on the ship.  Consequently they are all hand-held at high ISOs.  This produced a lot of noise but then this is in line with the excessive grain often found in monochrome infrared film photography and I think actually assists the images.

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photography, travel, archaeology, history, landscape, architecture, scotland, st-kilda, Hebrides, Monochrome, Black and White, Infrared .

photography, travel, archaeology, history, landscape, architecture, scotland, st-kilda, Hebrides, Monochrome, Black and White, Infrared

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photography, travel, archaeology, history, landscape, architecture, scotland, st-kilda, Hebrides, Monochrome, Black and White, Infrared .

photography, travel, archaeology, history, landscape, architecture, scotland, st-kilda, Hebrides, Monochrome, Black and White, Infrared .

photography, travel, archaeology, history, landscape, architecture, scotland, st-kilda, Hebrides, Monochrome, Black and White, Infrared .

photography, travel, archaeology, history, landscape, architecture, scotland, st-kilda, Hebrides, Monochrome, Black and White, Infrared .

photography, travel, archaeology, history, landscape, architecture, scotland, st-kilda, Hebrides, Monochrome, Black and White, Infrared .

photography, travel, archaeology, history, landscape, architecture, scotland, st-kilda, Hebrides, Monochrome, Black and White, Infrared .