Photographs by @andyparkinsonphoto
// Bird Fair talk – This coming Sunday, between 3-4pm UK time, I’ll be doing a live talk at the virtual Bird Fair, the link for which is in my bio. I’ll be talking about arguably the most challenging and terrifying adventure that I’ve ever undertaken photographically, shooting my 2012 @natgeo
assignment on the Northern gannet. I’ll be showing a selection of my favourite images from the 3 summers I spent shooting the assignment, the vast majority of which was spent camped alone on the northernmost tip of the Shetland Islands, at the top of the cliffs overlooking the island of Muckle Flugga. My days would typically consist of a daunting descent, with ropes as protection, down eroding 90m cliffs, unstable and precipitous it would only take one slip. Even that is only part one. It is then an even more terrifying angled traverse down, across multiple rock falls, to the dreaded boulder field, a place where very few have been but a place that elicits terror in everyone that has journeyed across. My great friend @kevmorgans
, not always known for his Shakespearean prose, called it ‘as close to Hell as I’ve ever been’. As someone who has crossed innumerable times I see this as no exaggeration. It’s not necessarily the rocks that rain down routinely from above, nor ever present risk of landslides. It’s not the dead and dying young gannets, washed helplessly ashore or even the occasional sheep that has fallen to its death, their bodies littering the jagged, unstable rocks. For me it’s the intense feeling of vulnerability that the place elicits. A feeling that against the relentless ferocity of nature that has so shaped this place we as humans are absolutely nothing. So fragile, so insignificant and so utterly helpless. There is no mobile/cell signal down there, there is no one to come and help and any shouts or screams for help would be drowned out by the crashing waves, lost underneath the dark, ever present, overhanging cliffs that creak, and crash constantly. I’m actually looking to return this coming October, with @ewancphotography
, to shoot some stills and video with the formidable new @nikonuknordic
D6. I’m already nervous!