Island hopping in the Faroes
Shooting in a new country is always hard; even with all the research you can do with the internet these days, the image of a place you build up in your mind rarely matches the reality. And knowing what shots you want to take is nearly impossible to plan until you've been there a couple of times before.
This problem was made all the more difficult by the fact that there are 18 islands in the Faroes, and arranging a trip to try and cover as many of these as possible was tricky, but something Kerry managed to pull off pretty successfully by juggling AirBnB reservations, ferry bookings and helicopter flights.
The lighthouse at the end of Mykines
Most of the photographs we had seen of the Faroes were taken during the summer months when everything turns green, the sun stays pretty high in the sky and the good light doesn't start till late at night. So we decided to go at the end of winter/beginning of spring while the sun still set at a reasonable hour (on the longest day of the year, there is a tradition of climbing to the top of the highest mountain, watching the sun set, then watch it rise about 1 hour later). Even then, we still worked late most nights to make the most of the light, only taking a break when the weather proved too much (we had quite a few days of 50mph winds, hard to stand up in, never mind take a picture in).
I often find the first day or two never result in much as I find my feet and feel for a place, and we were also cursed by the worst of photography weather - clear blue skies! The harsh light wasn't what I was after. Luckily the weather in the Faroes changes pretty quickly and it didn't take long for the clouds to come in.
The island of Kelsoy, viewed from Eysturoy
Despite the dramatic scenery the land is very accessible, most of the islands are quite small and don't have that many roads, but it's easy to park by the side of the road and go for a quick hike to explore more on foot. We also found that the islands to the west and south were slightly flatter, and the mountains more accessible; the islands to the east such as Kunoy reminded us more of the fjords in Norway, steep sided and plunging into the sea, so the coastal areas felt less easy to explore compared with the rest of the Faroes.
Snow hitting a town on the island of Suðuroy
One of the highlights of our trip was a journey to the island of Mykines. At this time of year there was no ferry out so the only way to get there was by helicopter, which also proved to be one of the most breath-taking, bone-rattling journeys I had ever been on. With only 10 inhabitants on the island you would think life out here would be quiet, but we had planned our trip to coincide with the arrival of thousands of puffins; along with the thousands of other birds, hiking along the cliff paths was never a quiet moment.
Gannet colony in the cliffs of Mykines
For anyone planning on going on a photography trip to the Faroes there are a few things to keep in mind for a more successful trip.
Take time to think about each shot; with digital it's all too easy to take hundreds of shots in the hope of getting a few good ones, instead, spend some time on each shot and take less. This will also make your post processing easier as you won't have as many photos to work through.
When shooting near the coast the air is very humid and salty, bring good lens cleaning fluid for cleaning your lenses and filters, it doesn't take long for them to become grimy.
All the islands are fairly small, take the opportunity to visit locations more than once, no two days are the same.
Get good at weather watching, keep an eye on clouds out at sea and what direction they are moving so you can predict how the light will change at your location.
It's generally pretty windy too, but you can often find small pockets of shelter to set up your tripod in to get your shot.
The weather can change dramatically quite quickly, it's worth having full waterproofs at hand and waiting out the rain to get your shot rather than giving up.