Traigh Vallay, North Uist, Scotland by Richard Burdon

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We’d been to the Isle of Harris a few times, but our first visit to North Uist proved to be quite an eye opener! Here was an island with a very different character and feel, but it had a stark beauty that we were immediately drawn to. We were heading to Malacleit to search for the famed machair, but we were stopped in our tracks by the beauty of Traigh Vallay. Here was a vast expanse of sand and sea with very few details, so it was going to be a challenge to capture photographically. As I explored along the water’s edge, I came across a rowing boat beached on the sand. I liked the look of the scene, so I set about trying to make an image of it.

As I was working away, trying different compositions, the tide gently rolled in and surrounded the boat. I didn’t like the initial effect of the lapping water, so I fitted a 10-stop ND filter and reshot the image just before the boat started to re-float. This gave the gently textured image I was looking for. At 8 seconds exposure it’s not a long “long-exposure”, but just enough to give a subtle hint of detail that gives the image depth.

Moments after taking this frame, the boat started to re-float, so I was unable to shoot any more long-exposure images, but on reflection, I was happy with what I’d captured.

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