The light on Islay is truly amazing. I am often struck by how, particularly when there is very little wind, the golden light from the West on the machair and dunes brings objects to life in what I can only think of as their own unique haecceitas. I have only just returned, but looking at these pictures I long to be back there again.

27 thoughts on “Islay light

  1. The Islay light is truly lovely. That last photo of the white flowers looks very much like the Ranger Buttons we have in the California Sierra Nevada mts. – only the Ranger Buttons are whiter.


  2. I do think that the light at northern latitudes is quite beautiful, especially at the end of the day when the sun is at a low angle. It’s something I really missed during our years in Washington, DC.


  3. You said it much better than I could . I am guilty of jealousy because life has meant I haven’t been able to get there yet this year.

    Too long since my last Islay time…fingers crossed I will be on bus with Molly my Spollie soon


  4. Wow, the colour of the sky in the first photo is extraordinarily beautiful! It’s softly luminous and calming.
    This post is balm for the soul.


  5. Kate,

    Do you mind if I use the fifth one down (or fifth one up) as my desktop? I love the silvery glow in the grass, and remember it well.


    1. Yes, we Aussies are great with colour, mainly because of the light. Our light is so bright and clear, and absolutely different to what is experienced in Europe. I can’t comment on the US because I haven’t been there.

      If you look at Australian art – painting – you will see what I mean. Sometimes the light is so intense it washes out the colour so you will have a white sky (not clouds, just white). It was such a shock to me when I came back after two years in Europe. So to compensate we tend to use lots of lovely pure colour. Check out India as well – those colours are sure to be a response to the light around them.


  6. The flowers are wonderful. For those of us who live half a world away, could you tell us the names of the plants?
    The last photo looks like a child’s fantasy/picture book! Something from Whoville.


  7. there is something about the water and the clear blue sky and the grasses flowing about ones feet that calms and soothes the spirit. When I moved to a city in Wisconsin I found myself longing for the place I had left where I saw Lake Superior every day. Often when I was stressed I would find myself driving to the lakefront to breath in the air and settle my nerves.
    when I look at your pictures I wonder what each plant might yield in color if I dyed yarn with it. it would be perfect to simmer some color and bring the scent and the colors of the sea home to knit. I just dyed some yarns with golden rods bright yellows and then over dyed half with indigo for a blue and green and am dreaming of socks knit to look like the beaches in my mind- a beach I could carry with me and wear during the winter ; )


    1. I live in Idaho, but lived in Michigan for 50 years. I so miss the Lake and the beaches, dunes and dune grass. How wonderful you were able to experience what I loved best about Lake Superior. And now I understand Kate’s post even better. They are lovely photographs that bring back memories.


  8. Your response to Islay interests me. Do you think that the haecceity of a thing/place/sensation might also over time be enhanced too by memory?


    1. most definitely. It is the thing itself, the perception of the thing, and quite probably the memory of earlier perceptions. I find light-quality just as Proustian as tastes, tunes etc . . . but there is also a something extra that makes the THING impose itself on one – a stillness – in this case caused by a lack of wind (rarely the case on a Scottish coast!).


    2. Yes, the light is so very intriguing. I am particulary interested in this kind of emotional reaction to, well, beauty or what we personally perceive as beauty.

      And I do also believe that this perception depends on the emotional state we are in when there is such a moment to enjoy. It is a state of openness, of literally breathing it in.


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