Friday, February 28, 2014

Aurora! Northern Lights and the Merry Dancers.

Fair Isle's Sheep Rock and the Northern Lights.
Amazing display in the sky last night, people all over Shetland and northern Scotland were treated with the best display of northern lights I have ever seen. Though it wasn't the brightest on I have seen, it covered most of the sky. Not only in the north but from the south east to the south west the light was shimmering. A joy to behold as the lights pulsated in streaks across the moonless star lit night.

So many people are disappointed that they can't see the fantasy auroras they have seen in photos. The camera records more colour than you really see in any one moment, that is because a low light camera lens allows photographers to gather more light with a longer exposers. Often making fantastic images! but sadly unrealistic... I have edited and unsaturated my photos to more accurately portraits what I saw, but in no way does this do the experience justice and my colours are a bit off too.

Sheep Rock looking West.

I didn't know which way to look?
180 degrees from the photo above. 

Look at the stars, you can see Orion and the Pleiades constellations in the southern sky.
Showing just how over head it was.

Over head  the aurora streaked and pulsed reminding me of a disco.
No wonder they call it "The Merry Dancers".

Green curtains over the Chapel

It was hard to sleep knowing the Aurora was still fluctuating outside...
but my camera battery ran out about 1:30 am.
I went to bed glowing a bit too.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Auld Coots and the Young Ones

Two Auld Coots...
I was feeding a rare and troubled looking Coot in my garden pond for a week... It fed up and looked much better, David (FIBO Warden) came down a rang it and the next day it moved on... I wonder if it will ever be relocated?

Home coming.

Henry is home for the weekend...

Shelduck in flight with the Greylags on Meoness.
Logan found this (first of the year) Shelduck on Da Water, I later refound it near the Wali Burn.

My friend the white tailed House Sparrow.
My Tree.

Scoping out an Iceland Gull.
A few Glaucous & Iceland Gulls hanging about, even a Kumlien's Gull.

A good show of the Northern Lights shined bright last night.

Sweet Saska

Logan searched the isle all weekend for birds of note....
We helped a bit.

Henry & Me say good bye for a few weeks at the landing strip before his plane back to Lerwick.


Logan made this great video when I showed him the inside of the North Lighthouse. The Camera was set on the edge of the beacon as it slowly spins in one rotation creating an unique view of this amazing landmark.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Nature Lovers - Photos of Natural Heart Shapes

 Come on and take another piece of my heart now baby! 
Happy Valentines Day from Fair Isle.


Every Valentines Day since 2007 I have taken a walk photographing natural heart shapes and then posting them for friends. This year I made a video too... I would of posted it yesterday, but the internet is so slow it took 15 hours to download to youtube... It was a beautiful day, know locally as a "Given Day" a warm sunny day with light wind sandwiched between the wild grey gales. Watch the video and take a walk with me around Fair Isle.

If you are on Facebook you might want to join my group Nature Lovers - photos of natural heart shapes:

Monday, February 10, 2014

In Focus - interview with Tommy H Hyndman for the Shetland Times.

In Focus?
Here are the questions provided by Rosalind Griffiths of The Shetland Times Newspaper.

1. What is your earliest memory? 
I remember the pain… It was Summer, I was 3, living in Upstate New York, USA near Rochester. I was running around house barefoot chased by my two older brothers, I stepped on a pickerbush in lawn. Also I played with my toy trucks in the dirt of a red ant hill behind our house… The ants crawled all over me then started to bite. Ouch! My parents striped me naked and hosed me down in the back yard as I screamed danced around in front of the neighbors.  

2. Who was a big influence in your early life? 
My parents and family of course, I also had some memorable teachers and professors that deserve some credit too.

3. What was your first job? 
For many years during high school and university I worked in the family business the Saratoga Art Gallery. The summer before University I worked in the art gallery during the day and as a dishwasher in a restaurant at night. One of my jobs today is cooking and cleaning for my Auld Haa Guesthouse and I still hate doing the dishes!  

4. Who are your heroes and why? 
Don’t ask why, but since I was young I have always been fond of Wonder Woman.

5. Who or what are you most proud of? 
My son Henry! He is awesome! Spoken as a proud parent… Also anyone who knows me will need no reminding, June 6th 2008, I found and identified a Citril Finch in my garden, a first record of that bird species for British Ornithology.

6. What is your greatest indulgence?
Collecting things, Art, Antiques, etc. since moving to Fair Isle I have started at least 3 new collections. Vintage Fair Isle collectables books, postcards and ceramics, Fair Isle knit hats knit on Fair Isle by Islanders and my somewhat embarrassing Citril Finch collection consisting of paintings, sculptures, vintage prints, a stamp and a t-shirt all with images of the bird.  

7. What do you most regret? 
Regrets I have a few, should of, would of, could of. I was young once, I’m sorry... I don’t regret moving to Shetland.

8. What are your worst fears? 
Watching the plane take off the Fair Isle landing strip with my son and all the other Fair Isle school children aboard in marginal weather as it heads to Tingwall, I hold my breath every time.

9. What hobbies do you have? 
Are Birdwatching and Fishing hobbies? Or obsessions?

10. What kind of music do you like? 
I guess now most people would call it “80’s” music.

11. What are your pet hates? 
Smelly cats and wet dogs.

12. What skill do you wish you had? 
I can draw you a picture, but music or language skills allude me.

13. What are the best places in the world you have visited? 
I moved to Fair Isle in Nov. 2006 Born in Upstate New York. I have seen quite a bit of the USA, north east Canada and a bit of Mexico. My home town Saratoga Springs, is constantly voted one of the best small cities of America. The fishing is good in Minnesota. I love the beaches of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Shetlanders would feel much at home in Nova Scotia & Newfoundland, also in Canada, Montreal is a great city. London, New York, Los Angeles, Amsterdam, are mega! I think Washington DC. is often over looked by international tourist, but all the amazing museums are free in DC! Bergan, Norway and Santa Fee, New Mexico have great charm for smaller cities. Years ago I spent 6 months at an Artist-in-residences in Japan! Tokyo and Kyoto are wonderful mysteries for me or anyone. Recently I made a much overdue visit Barcelona, Spain, loved it and hope to go back soon. Shetland is high on the list too.

14. What is your favourite location in Shetland and why? 
Fair Isle, to be more specific the Auld Haa House my home. Outside of the house I love the view from the cliff tops near the North Lighthouse, the staggering awe humbles all who dare to look over the edge.

15. If you had to leave and never come back what would you miss most about this place? 
The wildlife, the view, the big sky and sea, maybe even the wild weather and of course the people I shared it all with.

16. And what would you be glad to see the back of? 
A whale!

17. What one item would you save if your house was on fire? 
My Fair Isle Kep! A hat hand knit by Fair Isle’s knitting legend 92 year old Annie Thomson. All the yarn in hat was hand spun by Annie’s husband Stuart Thomson (originally from Unst) on a spinning wheel he made himself. The patterns are traditional, the colour are all naturally wool from Fair Isle breed sheep, white, moorit, natural grey & Shetland black. Stuart even made a special toupe yarn used throughout the hat by blending white and moorit brown wools. Money can’t buy this hat or one like it. In Japan where they place a high value on historic craftspeople these two would be considered National Treasures. To me it is quintessential Fair Isle Knitwear at it’s very best and total irreplaceable.

18. How would you like to be remembered? 
As an artist, a father and with a dram or two.

19. Looking to the future, what are your ambitions? 
I’m always on the lookout for a rare bird, a big fish or a new adventure.

20. What five people would you invite to your dream dinner party? 
Pablo Picasso, Wonder Woman, Ernest Hemmingway, The woman portrayed in the Mona Lisa. (I would like to know who she was?) I would really need a 3rd woman for a balanced dinner party, someone like Cleopatra or Uma Thurman?  That said, I think I would like my son Henry there instead, because I would want someone I know to share the experience. 

21. And finally – today being a normal Friday I will:
Eat; Whatever I want (or whatever is available as we have not had a Good Shepherd ferry service in over a month.)

Drink: Yes please!

Read: My e-mails, Facebook updates & Fair Isle Times & Shetland Times.

Visit: The Fair Isle shop - Stackhoull Stores

Watch: The Birds…

Tommy H Hyndman is an artist and hat designer, runs the Auld Haa Guesthouse and the Fair Isle Lighthouse Keepers Golf Course. A member of the Fair Isle HM Coastguard cliff rescue team and also posts a popular blog about his adventures on Fair Isle.

This week's Shetland Times
"In Focus" interviews are not shown on line, so I got permission to share the interview on my blog.

Beach combing on the South Harbour beaches.
 Photo at top of the page I'm looking through an old rusty bed spring.