I am always watchful of changing weather patterns and at this time of year a developing high pressure over Scandinavia often provides interesting sunsets across the west coast of Scotland. I am particularly attracted to this location near Kyle of Lochalsh not only because it provides an excellent view of the distant Red and Black Cuillin but also because one can almost guarantee a composition incorporating a wide and dramatic skyscape.
My decision to visit on this occasion was entirely speculative and when I arrived on location I feared disappointment. A significant bank of cloud remained stubbornly over the western sky casting a dark and unwelcome shadow over most of the mountains of the Isle of Skye and the waters of the Inner Sound. However, determination and patience were to finally win the day. As the sun slowly descended through the multiple layers of cloud it created ever changing patterns of colour and light along the way. Its final pulse painted the entire scene with a resplendent burst of orange and gold.
The 'starburst' pattern and characteristics are down to the construction of the lens and the overlapping nature of the aperture blades, and not the use of any external filters. Success with a shot like this is down to assessing and maintaining the correct exposure of the composition before the sun appears in it, and then capturing the sun at the precise moment that the rays of light emerge. It follows that the focus and exposure were carried out manually. I do not normally work with apertures smaller than f8 or f11, but I did so on this occasion to produce the desired effect.
Time of Year : November
Location Map Reference : 755288 : Badicaul, Kyle of Lochalsh : Time 1555 GMT
Equipment : Nikon D810, Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 G AF-S ED Lens @ 40mm. Gitzo tripod, Arca Swiss tripod head.
Camera Settings : Shutter 1/10 sec, Aperture f22, ISO 64.