Having left his home in Shetland for a new home in Orkney in 2018, Graham Duffin is no stranger to the particular beauty found only in island landscapes. In recent years, his love of walking has become a passion for capturing what he observes with his camera. Graham’s stunning photography exhibition, The Golden Hour, opens in the gallery of our Kirkwall store this month.
Joining the Highland Park distillery team in April 2018, Graham is now a Process Operator on the whisky production side and carries out his main duties in the Mash House and Still House. Away from the distillery, however, it’s his photographic work that’s gaining recognition both on social media (check out his Instagram) and through awards. So far he’s notched up overall winner in the South Ronaldsay & Burray Show in 2018 and 2019, been on the 2020 shortlist of the Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year and in 2021 (Graham’s self-confessed proudest moment) been highly commended for Last Light on the Old Man of Hoy in the Seascape Category of the same competition. We asked Graham to talk us through six of his favourite images from The Golden Hour...
Dinghy in the Dunes
“This was taken at Newark Bay on South Ronaldsay on a cold February afternoon just as the sun was setting. I love the warm feeling that you get from the sun at any time of year, even in the heart of winter.”
“From a spot about ten minutes’ walk south from the main castle carpark, the low winter sun was just starting to fade a little and this helped to bring out the glow of the sandstone; a 2-second exposure catches the movement of the water over the rocks.”
Last Light on the Old Man of Hoy
“When setting off for Hoy that morning, there was wind, rain and mist so I just thought I’d get what I could. But as the day dried up and the mist started to lift in the evening, I knew I could get something special if I timed it right. As the sun set, it appeared from below the cloud bank out at sea, just as the mist cleared on the top of St Johns Head, giving the red sandstone a beautiful glow. The image I had in my head appeared right in front of me - I couldn't believe my luck.”
Calm on the Flow
“My personal favourite in the exhibition, taken from the third Churchill Barrier with a section of the old block ship in the foreground, looking over towards the Hoy Hills. Although taken on a flat, calm night, I used a 4-minute exposure to smooth out any ripples on the water and soften the clouds, giving the whole image a really warm feel.”
Burn to the Sea
“The Swannay Burn travels out to the sea below the Swannay Brewery and, in this image, the sun was setting just to the north of the Burn's outlet. I really like the contrast between the green and the glow of the sky and the way that the flow of the burn takes your eye right through the image.”
Sunset over Deerness Sound
“A walk around Deerness will bring you to this little spot just below the Covenanters Memorial. I was out for a walk exploring the area and looking for a good place to take a picture when I came across it. The sun was setting, it was nearly right between the two rock formations, and all the colours of the scene attracted me here, especially the green seaweed in the foreground.”