At Natures Images, we always select the right time and the right locations, working with the best wildlife photographers and guides in the business.
The Shetland Isles in summer is one of the most dramatic and inspiring locations in the British Isles, and a great place for wildlife photography in the so-called simmer dim that these long days offer. This trip consists of a dramatic programme which includes the splendour of locations such as the awesome cliffs of Hermaness, the photographic pleasures of Puffins on the island of Noss, two private early morning trips to photograph diving gannets around our boat, a full day stalking Otters and an array of other bird species to be sought out including many specialists to these islands including Red-necked Phalarope, Black Guillemot, Arctic and Great Skua, Storm Petrels, Golden Plover and Whimbrel.
It will be a jam-packed ten days looking to take full advantage of the settings, subjects and potentially stunning light that can be found here at this time of year.
Itinerary Open +Close -
Day 1: A day of travelling to Sumburgh Airport on Mainland (or Lerwick if you have chosen to take the ferry). If you haven’t already done so can you let Liz know your chosen flights. If you are on the recommended flights, we will meet you at the gate at Heathrow. If you can’t find us there please call or text, if you don’t manage to do so then myself and Richard will see you immediately after clearing customs and baggage collection at Sumburgh airport. We will then gather together as a group and head to the northerly island of Unst where we will be based for the next 4 nights. It will have been a long day travelling and with early mornings possible straight away the next day we will have an evening meal, make initial plans and a good night’s rest.
Days 2 – 4: Over each of these and the next day we will be splitting into two groups. 2 of us each day will be heading out with local wildlife photographers (and otter experts) Richard Shucksmith or Brydon Thomason for an exclusive day photographing Otters. It is only possible to do this in very small group sizes, so we have asked them to add their expertise in terms of local families and additional guiding resources to allow us to do this. Everyone will be able to have a full day with them during our time here on Unst. For the rest of the group we will be planning trips to a number of locations which we know well ourselves including the majestic cliffs of Hermaness (great for gannets and Puffins and a moorland walk to get there which is excellent for nesting Great Skua and Golden Plover) the island of Fetlar (home to the small breeding population of the enigmatic Red-necked Phalarope as well as Whimbrel, Golden Plover and Snipe) and a number of other locations in search of Arctic Skua, Black Guillemot, Fulmar, Ringed Plover, Oystercatcher and possibly breeding Twite along with an array of landscape and macro opportunities as well as we look to enjoy the long hours of daylight available to us at this time of year – the so-called Simmer Dim. We will look to manage the itinerary on a flexible basis and to ensure everyone gets the opportunity to visit every location based on their personal priorities during this part of the trip.
Day 5: A final day of otter photography to complete everyone’s time with them and a final broader excursion for the rest of the group will see the day draw to a close as we head back to Mainland and our accommodation there.
Day 6: If the weather is favourable we will look to have an early morning visit to Sumburgh Head as it is a good site for Puffins, Fulmar and Guillemots. After breakfast we plan to have a late morning trip to the island of Mousa to search the lochens there for Divers, the cliffs there for Black Guillemots and it also a good location to find Arctic Skua. The famous Broch there is home to nesting Storm Petrels too although they are nocturnal in terms of activity. At the end of the afternoon we will head north to Lerwick itself where we will be based for the next 3 nights.
Day 7: Today will be a day of an early start and a late finish as we have an early morning private boat trip to the cliffs of the island of Noss to enjoy some diving Gannet photography as they are fed fish from our boat and dive into the seas around us. It’s fast and furious activity and an amazing experience as well and you will be sure to use a lot of card space. After a rest in the middle part of the day and an early dinner, we plan to return to the island of Mousa for dusk to look for the returning Storm Petrels there: it’ll be high ISO photographically but if the conditions are right it too is an amazing experience to see these tiny ocean-going birds.
Day 8: After a late night finish the previous day, we will look to visit the island of Noss but this time arriving on foot and looking to spend the day there with the Puffins at the cliff tops and looking down at the Gannet colonies on the cliffs, both of which offer good photographic opportunities.
Day 9: We’ll have a second early morning of diving gannet photography as we have a further private boat trip planned similar to 2 days previously and to make sure you have a second attempt at anything you didn’t manage to capture first time round. We’ll then look to transfer to our hotel at Sumburgh, spend have some final time with the Puffin and Arctic Tern colonies in the area before for a well-earned evening meal and to catch our breath as the trip draws to a close.
Day 10: We’ll catch our return flights (or ferry) away from Shetlands accordingly.
What our customers say
“An amazing location”
“The guides were very friendly and helpful with lots of photography tips”
“I really didn’t expect to come in such close proximity to the Puffins”