Defeated by the Beaches of Harris

Wow, crossing from East to West on our journey from the ferry at Talbert to Northton on the A859 and suddenly there’s Luskentyre right in front of you, white sands, emerald sea,  a stunning introduction to the beaches of Harris.

Over the next six days I tried to capture just a hint, a smell, a touch of their beauty, but ultimately headed home defeated. Whether it was due to weather, or timing, or lack of creativity, or an unfamiliarity with the landscape, or lack of technique, I don’t know, but it was certainly not through a lack of inspiration.

But no photographic series on Harris would be complete without a shot of a beach so some feeble attempts and holiday snaps follow.

The Teampall, Northton, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII
Luskentyre, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII
Luskentyre, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII
Scarista, Isle of Harris | Sigma DP0 Quattro
Teampall, Northon, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII
Luskentyre, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII
Northton, Isle of Harris | Sigma DP1 Merrill
Seilebost, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII
Scarista, Isle of Harris, Sigma DP0 Quattro


Northon, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII


Borve, Isle of Harris | Sony RX1rII

If you want to see some photos that do the place justice take a look at Ian Lawson’s Harris Tweed @ . Better still go along if Ian has another exhibition.

Shooting Notes

The shots above are taken with the Sony RX1rII or Sigma Merrill or Sigma Quattro cameras, post processed in Lightroom.

Outtakes – Lofoten Post 12

Some random shots that didn’t make it onto previous posts, but probably should have.


MS Lofoten Bow Study | Sigma DP1 Merrill |

I love this type of subject to point a Merrill at. It brings out the best in the camera.

MS Lofoten Bow Study Reflection | Sigma DP1 Merrill |
Ready for Launch? Balstad, Lofoten | Sigma DP0 Quattro |
Second Home, Lofoten | Sigma DP3 Merrill |
Breaking the Ice, Lofoten | Sigma DP0 Quattro |

Shooting Notes

All shots taken with Sigma, Foveon, cameras, low iso, post processed in SPP and Lightroom.

The Classics – Lofoten Post 7

Some Lofoten classics from Moskenesøy island. You could point your camera in every direction, and there’s busloads of photographers who are, and so it’s now time to get off the beaten track …

Olstind, Reine, Lofoten | Sigma DP3 Merrill |


Olstind, Lofoten | Sigma DP0 Quattro |
Olstind, Lofoten | Sigma DP3 Merrill |
Olstind, Lofoten | Sigma DP0 Quatto |
Hamnoy, Lofoten | Sigma DP0 Quattro |
Nusfjord, Lofoten | Sigma DP0 Quattro |
Ramberg Beach, Lofoten | Sigma DP3 Merrill |

Shooting Notes 

Shots taken with a variety of Sigma cameras, some on a tripod, some not, all ISO100, all post processed in Lightroom. The shot of Hamnoy is a Lightroom HDR of 4 shots.

The biggest challenge of photography in Lofoten is avoiding the hoards of other photographers, nice enough individually, on mass the devil incarnate! Transported around the islands by a high powered fleet of mini-buses, camera’s primed, they’re ever ready to jump out like shock troops and trample a scene to death. The day before the above shot of Ramberg beach was taken it was snowing as we approached, promising pristine conditions, but  pulling into the parking area two mini-vans of shock troops arrived, piled out and immediately trampled the snow; a perfect scene ruined! Later that day on Uttakliev beach I counted  23,734 tripods before becoming bored and walking around the cliffs and away.  I understand why people run these tours, and why people come, but part of Lofoten’s (and landscape photography’s) charm is its isolation and these trips will soon ruin it as a destination.  It’s Greenland next 🙂

Agvatnet, A – Lofoten Post 4

Agvatnet, A, Lofoten | Sigma Quattro DP0 |

Waking up to wind and sleet, we decided to make this a day for exploring in the car, and  headed West to A, the last stop on the E10, the main road that runs the length of the islands. In hailstones, rain and snow, we walked along A’s coastline and cliffs, and crossing the brow of a hill looked down to see Agvatnet, frozen, the mountains reflecting in the rainwater that covered the ice. Even on a bad weather day Lofoten amazes!

Shooting Notes

The image is stitched from three images taken with the Sigma Quattro DP0 at ISO100, with the camera on a tripod, and post processed in SPP and Lightroom.

The main challenge was finding a clear area to get a panoramic sweep and keeping the camera dry as the weather swept in! I also took a panoramic with the DP1 Merrill, but the colours on the Quattro just looked better to my eye.




Sigma DP0 Quattro Comparison – Leeds

The comparisons of the Sigma Merrill and Quattro have remained by far the most popular posts on this website throughout 2014 and 2015, with the test shot of Leeds (below) the most clicked upon.

The two shots below, taken a few days ago, complete the set with a comparison of the Sigma DP1 Merrill and Sigma DP0 Quattro.  Both shots were hand held. Both have been post processed in SPP and Lightroom, using the same settings. Both shots were taken at ISO100 at f5.6. On both the colours come straight from the camera. The Quattro shot has been cropped to aid the comparison.

Leeds | Sigma DP1 Merrill |
Leeds | Sigma DP0 Quattro |

With the Quattro I’ve struggled to control highlights, but a B&W graduated  ND filter,  soldered onto the camera, seems to have sorted the problem.

On previous comparisons the Merrill has always come up trumps on resolution and micro contrast, but taking into account the different focal lengths between the DP0 and DP1 to my eyes it’s too close to call.  Both are fantastic image producing machines and both deserve a place in my camera bag.

Please note the above is an unapologetic, unscientific comparison.

Spurn Point 2015

Inspired by finding the 2011 shot of Spurn Point (the subject of the last post), and realising it had been nearly five (eventful) years since I last visited, on Sunday I plugged the Point’s co-ordinates into the Sat Nav, turned on the engine, and headed due East.

Spurn Point | Sigma Quattro DP0 |
Spurn Point 2015 | Sigma Quattro DP0 |

Two hours in,  and five minutes before it was deemed too dangerous to cross, I was stumbling across the sand, silt and mud of the breach that at high tide turns the Point into Yorkshire’s only island.  I was now trapped! … at least for the next hour and a half.

Spurn Point | Sigma Quattro DP0 |
Spurn Point | Sigma Quattro DP0 |

Heading down the three miles to the end of the Point my motivation and inspiration were low, the tide too high, the wind too strong, my patience non-existent; I wished I’d headed up the coast, to Scarborough, or to Robin Hood’s bay, but I was stuck!

Spurn Point | Sigma Quattro DP0 |
Spurn Point | Sigma Merrill DP3 |

Rounding the tip of the Point I watched the boats go past, taking their cargo up the Humber, and then began the slow slog back to the car.

Spurn Point | Sigma Merrill DP3 |
Water Tower, Spurn Point | Sigma Merrill DP3 |

Stopping to take some shots of the old water tower, I noticed the sky taking on a pink tinge, but it did nothing to lift the mood.

Spurn Point | Sigma Quattro DP0 |
Spurn Point | Sigma Quattro DP0 |

But as I marched up the sands, the tide was literally turning, the spit widening, the sky becoming more interesting …

Spurn Point | Sigma Quattro DP0 |
Spurn Point | Sigma Quattro DP0 |

… and the last 30 minutes I found myself, as I often do, lost in the moment.

Spurn Point | Sigma Quattro DP0 |
Spurn Point Sunset | Sigma Quattro DP0 |
Spurn Point | Sigma Quattro DP0 |
Spurn Point Sunset | Sigma Quattro DP0 |
Spurn Point | Sigma Quattro DP0 |
Spurn Point Sunset | Sigma Quattro DP0 |

All good things come to those that wait!

Shooting Notes

Sigma Quattro DP0 & Sigma Merrill DP3, ISO 100, all using the obligatory tripod, all post processed using SPP and Lightroom.

Light was slowed down using B&W ND filters.






North By Northeast with the Sigma Quattro DP0 – 2. Whitby

After spending 2 hours standing in the rain, failing to get any sort of decent Autumn shot in Sneaton Forest, I found myself at Whitby’s East Cliff one hour before sunset, ran down the 199 steps (counting each one of course) and frogmarched myself to the harbour. Forty minutes later I was running back to capture the classic shot from the steps as dusk set in and street lights flickered into life. Another thirty minutes found me balancing the DP3 Merrill in near darkness, hoping it was focussing on Whitby Abbey. As I climbed into the car for the two hour journey home it was still raining! That’s Britain for you!

199 Steps, Whitby | Sigma Quattro DP0 |
Whitby Harbour | Sigma Quattro DP0 |
Whitby Harbour | Sigma Quattro DP0 |
Whitby Harbour | Sigma Quattro DP0 |
Whitby Harbour | Sigma Quattro DP0 |
Whitby Abbey | Sigma Merrill DP3|