I was heading to Raasay House to shoot some promotional images. Raasay House sits close to the ferry slipway so I was on foot, leaving the car at the swanky new ferry terminal in Sconser. If I had remembered how shiny and fresh out of the box everything was I would have washed my car. I sat with my big camera bag full of all our toys and a tripod at my feet watching Skye shrink and Raasay grow bigger and feeling a little bit important because this was a work trip and I wasn’t one of the many tourists on the ferry.
I felt less important once I had lugged the big bag and the tripod up the hill from the ferry terminal to the house. I felt even less important when I went inside and everybody looked at me in a funny way. They had been expecting Mrs L365 as she had set up the shoot and had been at the house not long before photographing a wedding. However at this point she was shooing our children onto the school bus and would be arriving on the next ferry. I do not in any way resemble Mrs L365. This may have caused confusion.
They gave me a coffee which gave me a chance to sit and get my breath back and also gave some more people an opportunity to poke their head round the door and look at me in a funny way. I finished my coffee and started work. I began by photographing the bedrooms. Soon after that Mrs L365 arrived and everybody relaxed, the real photographer was here.
We were to capture all that is stylish, fun and adventurous about Raasay House. Actually, I didn’t really have an idea of what I was to shoot as I hadn’t seen the email with the detailed plan for the day’s shoot. We were given a list of what was wanted. It was a dauntingly long and detailed list and it all had to be done before the last ferry left. We were going to be busy. Immediately, I was despatched back to the ferry terminal and put on a speed boat and taken out into the bay to photograph the fleet of kayaks, small yachts, a medium sized sailboat and a quite big sailboat.
The idea was to create a picture with them all in a row, like a review of the fleet, with the house in the background. It never happened. It almost did a few times but trying to control the movement of boats powered by the wind and under the influence of tides and currents just meant we did a lot of fruitless shouting and waiting while various boats appeared in shot then disappeared, never all at the same time though. The rain that occasionally appeared added to the fun…and tension.
There was panic at one point because as Mrs L365 was arriving and I was leaving for the boat it was mentioned that there was food to photograph and Mrs L365 was going to get to do that while I was out on the water shooting at kayaks. I like photographing food, there is always the chance of left overs. I was assured that it was okay as the chef was on the boat that was at that moment on a huge sweeping tack and was closer to Skye than Raasay. Mrs L365 would not be eating the photo subjects before I had a chance to get at them.
I managed to capture some images of the boats before we moved on to photograph coasteering. Coasteering? It’s like canyoning but off high rocks into the sea. So, as I bobbed about in a boat some enthusiastic volunteers donned impressive safety gear and leapt off the highest rocks they could find while I shot furiously below. I was meant to capture them in mid air with beautiful views of the Cullins and blue sky behind them but this being the north west of Scotland I caught them silhouetted against the approaching rain that was blotting out the mountains of Skye. I really wanted to join in. Jumping off rocks into the sea brings out the little kid in you.
While I was having fun afloat Mrs L365 was busily photographing the interior of the House. I caught up with her in the library where I was pressed into service as Guest A enjoying some wine and convivial chatter. Looking at the photographs I notice that everybody else is slim and slight and I look like either I am twice the size of everybody else or I have been dropped in badly with photoshop getting the scale all wrong. It could be that I am twice the size of everybody else…
Soon after that Mrs L365 had to catch the ferry so she could be home in time for our children returning from school. I carried on in a headlong charge to get the list completed. There was a blur of archery, bouncy castles and kayaking in a loch in the hills. There was the dining to be photographed, a clàrsach to be caught. All before the last ferry left. One thing was mentioned all day as the next thing to be photographed – abseiling. It was always not quite ready but finally not long before the ferry left we managed to set up an abseil. Handily, it was beside the slipway so I could watch the last ferry approach. I even managed to take a few portrait shots of the lovely people I had spent the day with before boarding the ferry home.