Inside this issue
The Orkney Islands, a First Visit
My photography is project-driven and is now mostly digital, but I still dabble in film, using a Hasselblad Xpan ll. I like to think 'outside the box' so the subject of the photographs in this portfolio is not immediately obvious; I leave the viewer to look into each image and let their imagination wander.
My wife and I had our first visit to the Orkney Islands in July 2023, basing ourselves on the Mainland and the islands linked to it by causeways. The first impression was how green the island was, with lush pastures for cattle, fields cut for silage, and growing crops of barley and oats. This gently undulating landscape is almost treeless, and the fields are bounded by stock-proof fencing and a few stone walls. There are many lochs and the low-lying marshes are dominated by yellow flag and meadowsweet, while the upland areas are heather moorland with evidence of long-abandoned peat cuttings.
Orkney is rich in archaeology, and the stunning sites of Maes Howe, Skara Brae, the Stones of Stenness and the Ring of Brodgar have been recognised as The Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site. But at the other end of man’s long occupation of the islands, I was struck by the many defensive infrastructures associated with the use of Scapa Flow as the base for the country’s naval fleet during both World Wars.
Photographically I had no pre-conceived ideas of what to expect and I did not treat the holiday like a full photographic visit. Rather I looked for images that reflected my interpretation of what makes Orkney such a unique and special place.