If you start with a middling photographer who is still learning the finer aspects of a new camera, deliberately mix it with scotch, and garnish that with intermittent cold rain, your concoction will not be a tremendous photographic portfolio. I duly tried my hand in capturing the sights of the remote part of a populous country that is Islay, but have very little to show for it.
This simple picture of the main island road dissecting the peatlands may not be uniquely identifiable as Islay, yet it is entirely symbolic for my sense of Scotland.
I rarely get the roads all to myself, but in Scotland it happens to me rather frequently – and I appreciate it all the more for that.
The view from the porch of our rented house on the northeast coast of the island.
From about the same vantage point, a closer view of the coast of the island of Jura across the narrow strait.
Among the few monuments on the island is the Kildalton Cross, one of the best surviving artifacts from the Celtic era over 1,200 years ago.
The access gate to the cross and the nearby ruined parish church is adorned by this poetic warning.
We nearly unleashed that unenviable fate on the entire island by leaving the responsibility of closing the gate to each other and noticing that no one had actually closed it only as we were about to pull away.
The next shot was taken in the seaside hamlet of Bruichladdich. I thought this wooden bench might be commemorating an ancient clan chief who once held sway over these lands.
In fact, it commemorates a different kind of sway – a local musical hero, a piper and a composer of Scottish tunes by the name of Fraser Shaw.
Leaving the island on a ferry, I took a few pictures of the tiny Port Askaig. The scale of the village in relation to the coastal cliffs makes the houses look like toys – a kind of a natural tilt-shift effect.
At the edge of Port Askaig stands the impressive Dunlossit House, the Islay residence of a billionaire merchant banker.
The last shot is a wide perspective of the mostly desolate island coastline.
Islay’s hospitality is belied by its outward ruggedness and hardiness. I just wish I had a chance to see the island in sunshine.