Old House, Suisinish, Isle of Skye, Scotland by Iain Turnbull

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Picture Story

I was doing a short study of abandoned dwellings in Skye & Wester Ross. This old house is located at Suisinish, one of the most notorious of the settlements cleared of its inhabitants in the 1800s to be replaced by sheep. Most of these people ended up being forcibly emigrated to north America. This is one of the more recent houses that would have been the residence of the shepherd who replaced them, and it has now, somewhat ironically, been abandoned itself.

The settlement is a good long walk from the nearest road, about 1 hour along a track and I was short of time as I set out later than expected and the light was disappearing fast. After only a few minutes at the site the rain started, quite heavily, making further photography pointless. I had little option but to head back for the car hoping I had managed to capture at least one decent shot.

For this image I wanted to capture the sense of dereliction, bleakness and movement in the sky. I opted for a slow shutter speed, partly since the light was not very bright, and partly to achieve that sense of motion in the clouds. The light was challenging because the sky was a lot brighter than the foreground so I used an ND grad filter to acheive a better balanced exposure. In post-processing I reduced the saturation levels slightly to add to the sense of abandonment and destitution which fitted with the mood of the story behind the house and the old settlement.

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