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Spectacular Shetland

I have recently returned from co-leading the Natures Images Shetland Spectacular Trip with Mark Sisson. This was my first time heading this far North in the UK and I was looking forward to the seeing the wildlife immersed in such dramatic scenery – it did not disappoint.

Our first stop was the island of Unst where our main focus for the group was Otters. We split the group into pairs and each day two different members were led by Otter photography experts, either Richard Shucksmith, Brydon Thomason or Josh Jaggard. Whilst these two guests enjoyed great otter sightings, Mark and I led the remaining guests to various highlights on Unst, Yell and Fetlar to photograph a variety of wildlife from huge gannet colonies at Hermaness to Black Guillemots and Seals on small and serene beaches.

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For me one of the most enjoyable subjects to photograph on this trip was the Fulmar. Delicately beautiful and so graceful in flight. We had many opportunities to position ourselves high on the jagged cliff tops which overlooked various Fulmar colonies. For the large majority of our trip we were blessed with glorious sunshine which enabled us to try some artistic imagery against dark backgrounds. When the weather changed with the wind picking up and the skies clouding over, it then gave our group a chance to try some more creative images with a backdrop of the stormy ocean below.

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After spending 6 nights on Unst, it was time to head to arguably the best island in the UK for photographing the extremely charismatic puffin; Fair Isle. With our excellent accommodation only a 5 minute walk from two different puffin colonies, we spent most of our time out on the cliff tops. The pink thrift was in full bloom and this provided a great pastel foreground to our images in the right weather conditions.

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As we were visiting Shetland in the height of summer, the daylight hours on our trip were long and rewarding. On our penultimate evening the group stayed out until 22:45 to capture the Puffins against the ever changing colours of the sunset. In the back of my mind this was an image that I was personally looking for on the trip and I was delighted when all the factors came into place.

The trip was a great success, not only from a wildlife photography point of view but because the group was such great company to spend time with. Thank you to everyone who joined us on this Shetland Spectacular trip, I am certainly looking forward to meeting you all again in different yet equally beautiful locations.

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