Tag: Nature

In the boatshed

boat building workshop

Up-Helly-A’ is over for another year, and those of you who have completed a dry January are hopefully toasting your success with a glass of something strong and sweet. We’ve really enjoyed seeing all your #myshetlandlife posts and photos this month – keep ‘em coming, we love to hear from you.

For this month’s issue of Shetland Life, we’ve immersed ourselves in the past. And, what better place to escape February’s biting cold? We visit Tommy Isbister in his boatshed and find out about his love of boat building and woodwork.
Maybe you’re thinking about celebrating Candlemas this year? Then let Alex Garrick-Wright take you on a journey through Shetland’s fascinating world of calendar traditions.
Or have you ever wondered about some of our place-names? Eileen Brooke-Freeman discusses some of the piggy place names around Shetland – this is the Year of the Pig after all.
And for those who are in search of a good story, and the odd trow, there are plenty of those to while away the last of the winter nights…

Finally, looking ahead we’ve been thinking about ways to get fit and beat the bulge. If you want to find out what we’re planning, pick up a copy of Shetland Life – out tomorrow!

A new year, a new start

This month Shetland Life are set to dive into the New Year feet first and we hope that you will join us for the ride. We go through the keyhole, taking a sneaky peek behind the scenes of Squad 43. And, with Up-Helly-A’ looming, we meet this year’s Jarl, John Nicolson, and discover how he became the fourth Nicolson Jarl – following in the footsteps of his father and brothers before him.

For those opting for better health and wellbeing in 2019, look out for our new columnist, Ali Grundon Robertson who this month focuses on consumerism. Finally, our new feature – in collaboration with RSPB Scotland – introduces a monthly Nature Calendar and examines the health benefits of a daily dose of fresh air, ensuring that you put your best foot forward into the New Year.

What are you waiting for? Look out for this month’s Shetland Life, in shops and online now!

Choose Shetland Life

Choose a Life, choose a career, choose Shetland as your base to enjoy what you do.

Our 450th edition of Shetland Life magazine is out on Friday 6th April 2018 and we are delighted to give everyone the opportunity to see our latest design and new content by giving it away FREE.

We’ve chosen to showcase Shetland in our main feature with a photography special and fantastic photos from around the islands. 50 top tips from well know local photographers are also included to help you take your best photos ever. 

An interactive music page, delicious recipes, film reviews, health and wellness, competitions, updated puzzle page and fast paced article sections are just some of our new items.

Choose Shetland Life monthly magazine to keep you up to date with everything we know you love about Shetland and its community life – we’d love you to join our growing readership.

Print and digital subscriptions are available at shop.shetlandtimes.co.uk

 

Expedition Otter

11-year-old Hakki Hunter was absolutely delighted when he won a day out with award winning photographer, Richard Shucksmith in our March competition. So delighted, in fact, that he wrote an article all about his experiences of otter hunting around Shetland. You can read Hakki’s writing and see some of his spectacular photos in the magazine this month.

March’s issue: out now!

This month’s magazine celebrates getting out and about in Shetland. After the long months of winter inertia, comfort eating and early nights, it’s a great time of year for enjoying all the wonders on our doorstep.
In March’s Shetland Life, Alex Garrick-Wright visits Michaelswood to find out the story behind the most recent addition to this very special place (look out for Alexa Fitzgibbon’s gorgeous accompanying photographs too). Karen MacKelvie writes about the riches to be found in rockpools and we learn about the tracks of local writer and naturalist Jill Slee Blackadder’s life. Alistair Christie-Johnson shares his favourite Yell based walk and Douglas C. Smith reminisces about a snowy March over 60 years ago, along with the dare-devilish sledging opportunities it offered he and his friends.
As anyone will tell you, if you want to experience the great outdoors in Shetland, you’ll need to be dressed for it. Luckily, Louise Thomason is on hand with some advice to help you look good while staying warm and dry.
It’s all very well getting ourselves out of the house, but what about our children? There’s plenty of food for thought in Alex Garrick’s Wright article about young Shetlanders’ growing disconnect with nature (on page 14). I’ve had the chance to ponder this issue myself recently, as I’ve stood around on windy street corners watching my son catch Pokemon on his phone (there are loads outside da Wheel Bar in case you’re interested). When you need to resort to blatant bribery to get your child over the front door, something has to change. If you’re in a similar boat, check out Alex’s helpful list of local child-friendly nature promoting organisations.
There’s lots of exciting community news too: Debra Nicolson writes about the challenges and rewards of rehearsing for the Shetland County Drama festival, Raman Mundair reflects on a recent arts project she delivered in Wastview care home, the COPE gardeners are back with news and horticultural tips, and local food producer David Poleson shares some delicious saat fish recipes.
See you in April, when (with a little bit of luck) winter should be well and truly out for the count. Wishing you all a wonderful spring time.

The ebb is my flow

Do you know what a scaddie man’s head is? Or a guddock? What about a keelworm?

If none of this sounds familiar, maybe it’s time to don the rubber boots, pick up a sieve and go rockpooling.

This month, Karen McKelvie writes about all the treasures we can find in rockpools and shares some handy tips for first time rockpoolers.

Go on – there’s a whole world just waiting to be explored out there!

The ultimate wild camping experience

Guest blogger Andy Howard shares his tips on successful wild camping in Shetland.

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Photo: Andy Howard

In my life as a professional wildlife photographer I spend most of my time in the great outdoors. To me my job is anything but a job, it’s a privilege, so to be able to conduct my ‘work’ in a place as beautiful as Shetland makes it extra special. It’s the abundance of wildlife that lures me back year-after-year. When I describe Shetland to people I tell them ‘there literally is wildlife everywhere. Where else in the world could you have a real possibility to see orca from a supermarket’s car park?

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Photo: Andy Howard

By far the best way to get close to this abundance of wildlife is to wild camp. This is a great way to do be in the right place at the right time, and this is fundamental to a wildlife photographer as nature doesn’t work to a 9-to-5 timetable, the best way to capture really good images is to be out there with your camera either very early in the morning or late in the day.

Being relatively unpopulated as it is Shetland is an ideal location for wild camping. With miles upon miles of coastline and well grazed grassy slopes there are oodles of potential wild camp sites available. For those of you that have never wild camped before I’m going to share my ‘top 10’ hints and tips to making your experience a memorable one for all the right reasons.

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Photo: Andy Howard

  1. Invest in a good tent; remember that the weather this far north can be ‘unpredictable’ to say the least.  A good small or medium dome or tunnel style tent is best, something that won’t catch the wind. A good tip is to upgrade the standard pegs for dedicated storm pegs.
  2. Make your sleeping quarters as comfortable as you can, we use a double inflatable mattress and goose down duvet and pillows. I didn’t say wild camping couldn’t be glamorous, did I?
  3. Choose your pitch well, be respectful of the locals and don’t pitch up close to someone’s home, also be aware of any potential ground nesting birds. As a rule of thumb if there are birds wheeling around and screaming at you, move on!
  4. Never pitch your tent in a hollow, next to a stream or on a low lying headland that is if you don’t want to wake up in the middle of the night to the sound of water lapping around you.
  5. In Shetland you’re never far away from a community centre, and at most of them you can pay a nominal fee to use their shower facilities. Visit Shetland Island Council’s website for details.
  6. Buy groceries often and in small amounts, this way you’ll cut down of wastage and you’ll be supporting local shops and in turn the local economy.
  7. All of the ferry terminals on Shetland have toilets and Wi-Fi, and some even have vending machines, that come in handy if you are a chocoholic like me and need a quick ‘fix’.
  8. Plan your menus so that you can cook meals using just one pan, as this saves time, fuel and washing up (never a bad thing!).
  9. Make things as comfortable as you can. Folding chairs and tables are a good idea, and it’s really up to you to decide the level of comfort you want.
  10. Relax and enjoy. There is no better way to enjoy the gifts of nature than to sit inside the open door of your tent whilst observing the antics of otters playing on a nearby beach or to drift off to sleep to the soundtrack of a Shetland summer’s evening, the haunting call of the red-throated diver or golden plover, the drumming of a snipe or the call of a whimbrel. Nights like this will live in your memory for ever.
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Photo: Andy Howard

Last but by no means least, leave only footprints!

Any tips you’d like to add? Feel free to post your comments below.

Aim to be Different

This month Richard Shucksmith gives some advice to budding wildlife photographers on how to make their images stand out from the crowd.

Today’s photographic world is a fast moving place, the days are gone of a small number of professional photographers producing imagery for commercial use.

The onslaught of the digital era has opened up photography to everyone, and with the world wide web and social media the “world” can be accessed from a click of a mouse. We are visual creatures, so naturally when we want to tell the world what we have done we do it using imagery.

This has created a world which is awash with pictures, there are 1.8 billion images shared every day across all the different social media platforms. Obviously many of these are phone snaps, however, among that mega number are many images where people have spent time thoughtfully capturing the world around them, making creative images.

Wildlife photography suffers from being awash with imagery from the amazing to the poor, causing images to lose their power and potential to make an impact. The number of images makes it difficult for any to stand out; it also becomes harder to create an image that has not been done before.  I also wonder about the longevity of an image, the way we use social media means we post, we “like” at a click of a button and move on to the next. Most images are lucky if they get more than 24 hour coverage before they are forgotten.

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So how do we make images that stand out from the rest in wildlife photography?  In my eyes there are two ways, being creative with a common subject or to photograph the unusual; the rarely seen.

Creative photography means experimenting and often the only constraining factor in our creativity is our own minds. Creative photography is fun and really comes into its own when you can be creative with lighting, this maybe in the mode of using flashes or natural light or a combination of both to show your subject in a different way.

Artificial light or flashes are the best for control as you can manipulate every aspect of the light hitting your subject – from how powerful the light is, to the colour of the light by using coloured filters over the flash. For example, you can use an orange filter to give the light warmth which replicates the warm glow of a sunset. You can change the angle of light to highlight different parts of the subject and so on.

Photographing the unusual or rarely seen can be very time consuming. You need to know the animal inside out and the only way to do this is to spend a lot of time in the field observing. That means often spending many hours without taking any images.

However, if you really have a passion for your subject and for being outside this is some of the most rewarding photography you can do. Often the end result is a set of images that have a strong impact and tell a story.

The key to successful wildlife photography is to be persistent, as many ideas can take time to evolve as you try different methods which need to be refined before you get the desired result. But most of all it has to be fun, that way you will spend more time and work harder at getting those unique images.

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Photos: Richard Shucksmith