The cold, wet summer of 2015 was not one of the best for exploring Northwest Scotland, but when the rain stopped the long drive north suddenly seemed worthwhile. This picture was taken at Camusdarach, a lovely rambling campsite just south of Mallaig, one of the most beautiful places in the British Isles. This beach at Camusdarach (there are two others) faces west towards the "small isles" of Eigg and Rum, which can be seen in the distance here.
Over the weekend I was looking at a portrait I thought I might enter for a competition. I was quite pleased with it. It's a black and white picture of my daughter, prancing around on a fell top in the Lake District with her iPad and I think it really captures her energy as well as her umbilical connection to the tablet. Tablet on a mountain top--really. Anyway, I was examining the full-size image as the judges of the competition would do, and I discovered that although it's unnoticeable at small sizes (it would probably print nicely at 8x10 inches), I missed the focus on her eyes. Part of what I like about the image is the way the focus separates her from the landscape, so having her shoulder in focus, but not her eyes--an unforgivable technical fault--would just be a waste of the entrance fee.
I was thinking about this over the weekend when I came across this picture, taken using a manual lens which I deliberately defocussed. If I took my glasses off that's pretty much what I would see if the light was really good. And yet there is still energy in the way the girl is standing, and in the approaching sea. I can recognise my daughter just from the shape of her. Being out of focus is the point of this picture. I could have used sharpness to highlight the girl, but I think it manages the same thing with shapes and shades. The beach, incidentally, is on Unst, at the northern tip of the most northerly Shetland island.