Finlaggan And The Milky Way

Finlaggan And The Milky Way

After my recent night shoot and rekindling my like for night photography we had some more clear skies over Islay so I headed out with the camera again and treat myself to capture Finlaggan and the Milky Way on Islay.

Finlaggan is a site of great historical importance to Scotland as it is where the Lord of the Isles ruled the Isles and West Coast of Scotland from the 13th to 15th centuries. Detailed information can be found at the Finlaggan website and worth a visit to find out the history of the site.

I’ve had a shoot up at the site in my mind for a while now, although not doing the Milky Way, my original plans were for a Long Exposure but a clear night changed that idea so I headed up there to get some more practice on my night photography.

When I arrived there was a very shallow mist just dispersing from the loch and the moon wasn’t far from setting, but I decided to get some shots in with the moon also and it’s true what they say, it’s just like the sun at night when you are doing longish exposures, but I noticed how the light of the moon was casting nice long shadows on the walkway to the site so I decided to get some shots done there before heading on to the site.

Finlaggan and the Milky Way

Down at the site I decided to use one of the ruins of the smaller hall as a focal point with the Milky Way running up through it and edited it with a different white balance to give it a different look.
Finlaggan and the Milky Way

The last image I opted to edit from here is one of the smaller island, Eilean na Comhairle just as the moon was setting and again edited with a different white balance to give it a cooler look to the image.

Finlaggan and the Milky Way

More information can also be found on the Islay Info website which provides a plethora of information on Islay.


20 thoughts on “Finlaggan And The Milky Way

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    1. No probs LaNae, it was a Sigma 17-35mm f2.8 at 17mm, f2.8 and it’s a vertorama so 4 images stitched together, each one from 25 to 27 seconds exposure on a canon 6d edited mostly in Lightroom but a bit of photoshop also for stitching them together as I’m on LR4.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Very cool! I’m relatively new to the DSLR world, having just upgraded from a very capable Canon point-n-shoot to a Canon 60D in June. I also took a manual exposure class, so have moved away from auto. I have a 50mm and a 70-200mm, both Canon, but am considering a wide angle Sigma. Currently researching the 18-35 and the 24, both in the Art series. Though I’m still very much learning, I’m finding landscape photography somewhat limited by the lenses I have. Thoughts…advice? Or maybe I just need to take a class on composition and calm down. 🙂 I suspect that I’ve only begun to discover the capacity of the lenses I have as they are hampered by…me.


      2. The 60d is a decent camera and one thing you have to remember when choosing a lens for that camera is to get an EF-S lens unless you are planning ahead to go full frame. If you use an EF lens on that camera you have to times the focal length by 1.6, so your 50mm is actually giving you 80mm, which is a good length for portraits but not so good for landscapes, you can also ties your 70-200mm by 1.6 also, not so good for getting wide angle shots so you need to consider that when choosing your wide angle lens, get to know what the 3rd party abbreviations are for crop camera’s (ie not full frame) so for Sigma it’s DC you are looking for to maximise the wide angle, so yes you are very limited with your current lenses but not completely unusable. Personally I wouldn’t pay for lessons as there are so many good tutorials on youtube etc to get you started and you have already taking the biggest plunge in my opinion by learning how to use the camera in manual mode which a lot of amateurs will avoid and end up stuck not getting the results they wanted, look forward to seeing your images and progress and feel free to ask for any advise.


  1. Great photo with the bridge. I’m amazed you got so much of the stars considering you had to shoot into the moon. I was at Finlaggan a couple of years ago and had a lot of trouble with the full moon, but it wasn’t in the scene. Beautiful image. Incidentally, what ISO did you shoot at and was it any different in the other shots (particularly the one with the light trails on the last shot with the ruined house)?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks John one of my favourites from my time on Islay, it’s a great location to photography day and night. Of the top of my head as I don’t have that image on the laptop I’m using it was 25 seconds, f2.8 at ISO 3200, but ISO may have been 6400, but looking at the image I’m going for 3200. The setting would have been the same for them all.


  2. Thanks for the reply. Astrophotography is something I’ve never tried much but really want to experiment with. Tried some shots last night outside my back door with my Canon 1.6 crop, and even with a 15 second shutter speed, f/3.5 and ISO 1600 I still get slight star trails. Using the 500 rule–not a perfect method, I know–something like 22 seconds should have been optimal with a 15mm focal length. Surprising. Practice, practice.
    Again, great images of the island. Lovely to see and bring back many memories.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would have thought you would be ok at 15 seconds, do you have IS (image stabilisation) on? If so try turning that off as if it is on when on the tripod the lens will shake to counter any movement even if there is none. Other than that just ensure IS is off and keep the camera rock steady, let me know how you get on. Astrophotography is very addictive, I love it and find it challenging but rewarding when I get an image I like.


  3. Yes, I keep forgetting to switch off IS when I shoot with a tripod. Always do it! As you wrote, 15 seconds is very slight, but I do detect slight star trails; nothing significant but the stars are ovoid in shape. Weather has been bad here, very overcast, so I’ve been kicking my heels waiting for a break in the clouds to see if the IS was the problem. Will let you know how I get on. Looking forward to getting into this branch of photography. Again, great to look at your night images of places I’ve been to. Very informative.


      1. Yes, lens might be the problem. Tried again last night with the IS turned off and 15 second shutter speed. Still a discernible distortion of the stars, more elliptical than circular. Not noticeable unless you zoom in on the screen but the lens (Canon 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6) may well be the cause. Not a bad piece of glass as the budget goes, but definitely not one for top-notch photography.
        Slowly getting there. Just eliminating niggling problems with night shooting by trial and error. Best one being when I walked 8 miles to a site only to discover I had no flashlight to help me focus.


      2. It does sound like your lens, that said depending on how big you want to print you may be ok. I’ve never really worried about focusing at night, I’ve always focused to infinity and been lucky with my lenses I suppose that it was spot on. Trial and error is the best way to learn, perhaps not after 8 miles however 😁


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