Expect the unexpected

Being out in the landscape early and late in the day means that I also get the chance to see some of natures other beautiful sights. On Skye there is some amazing wildlife around, but you often have to be a bit lucky and patient to get to see it. Red deer are quite a common sight, particularly in the winter, even close to the road. This can make the drive to a sunrise shoot slightly dangerous, though, as these big beasts can leap out from the side of the road straight into your path (and you don't want to hit one either for your or the deer's sake!). You'll also sometimes get a glimpse of the three most iconic species, golden eagle, sea eagle and otter, but this is often fleeting and distant, as concentrating on getting to a location or setting-up my tripod and camera for a landscape shot will usually mean that the animal will see you way before you see it, and it will either disappear into the wilderness or simply keep its distance.
But I have also been lucky enough to discover some places where I can get closer to the wildlife (without causing any disturbance I hasten to add), and try my hand at a bit more wildlife photography. Thie shot of the otter at the top of the page is from my best encounter so far. I had been at this location at the shore of a loch a few days before, and while standing waiting for the fog to lift I spotted two otters foraging along the shore, getting closer and closer to where I was standing. They were completely happy and stayed in this location for over 20 minutes, getting as close as 15 metres from me, but there was no light and the longest lens I had was 75mm - so getting any shots of them was pointless.
A couple of days later the weather forecast promised a sunny morning, so I headed back to the same spot, but this time armed with my 500mm lens. Almost on cue as the sun rose above the hills, the same two otters came swimming towards the shore and then went about finding breakfast, oblivious to the fact that I was sitting around 15 metres from them, allowing me to get some special pictures and to have a whole new challenge - get some better otter shots and also capture the other species that Skye is famous for...