4th – 13th July 2018
Group Size: 8 – Fully Booked
Tour Leaders: Tom Way and Richard Peters On Behalf Of Natures Images
The Shetland Isles in summer is one of the most dramatic and inspiring locations in the British Isles, and a great place for wildlife photography in the so-called simmer dim that these long days offer. We have put together a dramatic programme which includes the splendour of locations such as Hermaness, the photographic pleasures of Puffins on the small island of Fair Isle, a full day stalking Otters and an array of other bird species to be sought out including many specialists to these islands including Red-necked Phalarope, Black Guillemot, Arctic and Great Skua, Golden Plover and Whimbrel. It will be a jam packed ten days looking to take full advantage of the settings, subjects and potentially stunning light that can be found here at this time of year.
Day 1: A day of travelling to Sumburgh Airport on Mainland (or Lerwick if you have chosen to take the ferry) and we will then gather together as a group and head to the northerly island of Unst where we will be based for the next 4 nights. It will have been a long days travelling and with early mornings possible straight away the next day we will have an evening meal, make initial plans and a good night’s rest. We’ll advise you on flight and other travel options to suit you best after you’ve booked.
Days 2 – 4: Over each of these and the next day we will be splitting into two groups. 2 of us each day will be heading out with local wildlife photographers (and otter experts) Richard Shucksmith or Brydon Thomason for an exclusive day photographing Otters. It is only possible to do this in very small group sizes so we have asked them to add their expertise in terms of local families and additional guiding resources to allow us to do this. Everyone will be able to have a full day with them during our time here on Unst. For the rest of the group we will be planning trips to a number of locations which we know well ourselves including the majestic cliffs of Hermaness (great for gannets and Puffins and a moorland walk to get there which is excellent for nesting Great Skua and Golden Plover) the island of Fetlar (home to the small breeding population of the enigmatic Red-necked Phalarope as well as Whimbrel, Golden Plover and Snipe) and a number of other locations in search of Arctic Skua, Black Guillemot, Fulmar, Ringed Plover, Oystercatcher and possibly breeding Twite along with an array of landscape and macro opportunities as well as we look to enjoy the long hours of daylight available to us at this time of year – the so-called Simmer Dim. We will look to manage the itinerary on a flexible basis and to ensure everyone gets the opportunity to visit every location based on their personal priorities during this part of the trip.
Day 5: A final day of otter photography to complete everyone’s time with them and a final broader excursion for the rest of the group will see the day draw to a close as we head back to Mainland and our accommodation there.
Day 6: After an early breakfast we will set off to Tingwall airport for our island hopping flight to Fair Isle. The plane is only a small Cessna and only carries 7 people. So the group will be split between these two flights with a guide travelling with each group. There are weight limitations on the plane given its size and we will talk through the way to prepare for this with the final trip details. One other note at this stage: the weather conditions in the Shetland Isles are unpredictable at this time of year. Sea Fog is our main concern as the planes don’t fly out in these conditions so if we are not able to fly on today we will look at the chances of travelling tomorrow with the additional contingency of a 2.5 hour ferry (small boat) crossing instead so please be prepared for a possible boat journey. The same applies to our return journeys although the boat will be running on the day we are due to be leaving. Fair Isle is one of the remotest inhabited islands in the UK with a population of around 60 people. We will be met at the small landing strip and will then transfer to the bird observatory, which will be our base for the next few days of Puffin photography. After dinner we will head out to the Puffin colony for an evening of photography.
Days 7 – 8: It might seem a lot of effort to make our way to Fair isle but this will give you a complete feel for the diversity of the Shetlands overall as well as the fact that although it is not one of the biggest colonies it is in our opinion one of the finest locations to get images of this beautiful bird – the setting and quality of light here set it apart and there are options for both morning and evening photography so expect a very full day today. There are also good options for Great and Arctic Skua here as well as Oystercatcher and Wheatear.
Day 9: We’ll have a final early morning of photography with the Puffins before catching the planes back to Mainland during the course of the day and returning to our hotel at Sumburgh for a well-earned evening meal and to catch our breath as the trip draws to a close.
Day 10: We’ll catch our return flights (or ferry) away from Shetlands accordingly.
Our accommodation is clean and comfortable with all bedding but you will need to bring a towel and toiletries with you. Any special dietary requirements you may have – please let us know if there’s anything you can’t/won’t eat so that we can let the catering team at the various hotels/hostels know. In terms of clothing you’ll obviously need some warm and weatherproof clothing. The vast majority of your time will involve spending time outside and on windswept cliffs. The weather is also unpredictable at this time of the year. You won’t need serious arctic gear for this trip but the following are very much recommended – a good pair of strong waterproof walking boots, good waterproof overtrousers. For the top half it’s very much a question of having several layers – like a t-shirt, thin jumper and then a waterproof coat. You’ll know your own cold thresholds (but it really is a question of build it up in layers). The weather is difficult to predict at this time of the year it could be cold or it could be very warm, if the latter then you must look into buying some sun block. Midges and Mosquitoes are not usually a problem because of the wind but on still days they can come out in force so it would be worth bringing some protection just in case. As we are flying out you might need your passport or driving licence for identification so please don’t forget it.
In terms of camera kit you’ll need the longest lens you have (300mm or 500mm would be our recommendation/choice) and then up to two supplementary lenses for other opportunities such as a 24-70mm for wide-angle landscapes and then maybe an intermediate zoom (70-200mm or 100 400mm) so that you don’t miss anything in terms of opportunity. You’ll get the chance to decide what you want/need for each session so you won’t be burdening yourself with it all of the time either. Tripods are essential for low light level photography. Bring plenty of compact flash cards with you as well because if you get a good day you will take a lot of images. Power sources are good throughout the day but in the evenings the power goes off at around 11.00pm so you will need to charge up batteries during the day.
Cost Includes: Airport transfer and all transportation on Shetlands, accommodation, meals, island internal flight and ferries.
Cost Excludes: Travel to Shetlands, sundry items and alcohol.
If you have any questions at all about this trip please do not hesitate to get in contact with either Tom (07876 333787) or the team at Natures Images (01952 411436). You are able to book this trip directly through this link: http://www.natures-images.co.uk/holiday/shetland-summer-special-2018/
All images on this page are courtesy of Natures Images