NEW Islay and Jura – A walk on the wild side

Islay and Jura – Destination summary 

This exciting new Islay and Jura photography workshop is another in the Wild Light series of small group Lightstalker photography retreats. Wild Light sessions bring you into the wild heart of the Highlands and Islands in the quieter seasons.

With Northern Ireland to her west, Islay the Queen of the Hebrides sits around 2.5 hours by ferry off the  Mull of Kintyre coast in in the region of Argyll and Bute. Kennacraig on the peninsula will be our departure point for the  ferry crossing to these glorious Scottish Islands.

Mention Islay to “folk in the know” and they’ll  instantly think of clear Atlantic waters lapping onto quiet, pristine sandy beaches. Iconic white washed distilleries and of course uisce beatha, the water of life – Whisky. Islay  produces some of Scotland’s most famous and distinctive (peaty) varieties.

There are currently 9 distilleries dotted around the islands producing some of the finest single malt whistles in Scotland including Bowmore, Ardbeg and Laphroaig.

The picturesque distilleries adorned with their names proudly painted in black on the white walls date from as far back as the 18th century. Most sit perched on the seashore, providing fantastic photogenic material to  complement the beaches, blue – green bays, white washed villages and vistas that give Islay its own distinctive character.

Across the sound of Islay nearby Jura has its own claims to fame.  The towering Paps of Jura rise up out of the centre of the island and have a commanding presence, it also has a wilder, remoter  feel than Jura, perhaps that’s why George Orwell chose to make Jura’s  northern tip his bolt hole when writing his novel 1984.

You’ll take the small ferry across to Jura to spend the best part of a day exploring and walking its coastline, lower slopes of the Paps, Jura distillery and finally returning to Islay to capture the island from the Bunnahabhain distillery.

These are two of the lesser visited and explored Islands due to their more inaccessible nature. That makes them even more appealing as places to photograph, relax and contemplate – book your place now

Not your usual photography workshop

You’ll be one of only 3 participants on this Islay and Jura photography workshop. You’ll be breaking away from many of the busy tourist locations to seek out  wild and remote places to explore and photograph.

By taking a walk on the wild side you’ll be staying in remote retreats such as Highland cottages and small guest houses that we’ll have exclusive use of for all our workshop needs.

This means you’ll have better access to photograph the wildest and most isolated Highland locations. Plus as mentioned there are only 3/4 places available for each trip, making them a more  intimate learning experience*.

Less is more

We have less participants crowding out locations and therefore you’ll gain a better insight into overcoming the challenges of photographing   wild places like the Highlands. Challenging maybe, but with expert help and guidance from your guide and award winning photographer Glen Campbell M.Photog  find your way to creating great images .

In the Wild Highlands there will be more time to enjoy the space, peace and sanctuary that one of Europe’s last wilderness areas can still offer.

The Learning

Your guide Glen has 18 years experience as a photo educator. You’ll be immersed into the process of camera control, shot selection, composition, light quality, use of filters,  long exposures and final execution of image capture. It can be challenging photographing  in tough conditions but this can also yield some dramatic imagery when the light is at its most dynamic as the weather changes rapidly. You can read some testimonials from previous participants here

You’ll learn how to adapt and capture transient moments of wonderful light as they happen.  An introduction to aerial photography can be part of the program too if you wish to learn or are interested.    Finally in the evening we will review some of days images with the use of a high resolution projector over a dram or glass of wine .

The Accommodation

Self-catering rural Highland cottages, retreats  or small guest houses**  close by to our locations will ensure we make the most of our time and create a sociable and fun environment. As with most of my trips  everyone gets their own room.  For meals we self-cater for evening meals or on occasion venture to local pubs  that dot the Island when available. You can guarantee all will be well fed and watered with a dram or two. Having this flexibility means we can work to our own schedule and make the most of the conditions.

You may need additional nights either side of pick up in Glasgow.

A 2 hour starter dusk/blue hour evening  session may also be possible the night prior to departing Glasgow.

Islay Jura Photography workshop – Extra information

Start time  Depart from the  Hilton Garden Inn Finneston Quay,  Glasgow at 08:45 ( By the river ) close to the city centre   (you will most likely need accommodation the night prior )

End time 18:00 -18:30* drop off in Glasgow

*approximate time and dependant on ferry and traffic times.

Getting there  Glasgow  is serviced by bus, rail  and air major UK airports and European airports

Accommodation 4 nights single occupancy room with breakfast at a 4 bedroom self catering house for our exclusive use location on the Island of Islay

Essential camera equipment  SLR or Mirrorless camera systems that can take a filter system are ideal. Lenses – ultra wide angle to telephoto lenses – 16 mm full frame to 200mm ( or DX equivalent) , good quality solid tripod that is easy to use and a waterproof camera bag. Lens clothes and lens issue.

Clothing Good quality waterproof and wind proof jacket and over trousers, gloves / hat. Hiking boots that are waterproof / watertight – Gortex etc.

Non essential but recommended Polariser, neutral density graduated and straight neutral density filters would be useful. I use Lee ND filters both hard and soft.  A Laptop with Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop or other image editing software. Good quality waterproof camera bag.


I’ve been photographing the Highlands for over 12 years and one thing I’ve learnt is to be prepared to be working on all condtions.

Reliably fickle weather can be a feature of Scotland and her dramatic and romantic landscapes. Conditions can be glorious at times but it’s not unusual to turn cool and rainy at any time of year. This can and often does add to the dramatic nature of light and land. It’s important that you have adequate and good quality outdoor clothing ( jackets and over trousers) including waterproof hiking boots that are waterproof. 

Fitness and mobility

Not all locations will be by the roadside, some locations are easy to reach, some require a little effort, walking sometimes on muddy surfaces. This can involve  short walks across rocky and uneven terrain. Walking times can be up to an hour, however  participation is optional at every location.

All ages above 18 years are welcome but a reasonable level of fitness and mobility is required, regardless of age in order to fully participate and appreciate a Lightstalker’s photo adventure or workshop.  If you have any doubts of your suitability for a specific trip please contact Glen directly.

*Wild Light workshops  will be limited to 3 participants – it may vary on occasion, if this changes you will be notified.

** accommodation options will vary depending on availability


Wild Light Photo Retreat- Islay and Jura
13th -17th May 2023 - 5 days
Places available max 4 - 1 left
Trip fee: £1750.00p/p
Deposit £200.00

Booking deposit: £200.00
Starts / ends: Glasgow


  • 4 nights single occupancy accommodation with breakfast
  • Refreshments and some provisions
  • Small group of 3 participants only
  • Evening starter session in Glasgow*
  • Hands on tuition in the field and feedback
  • Image reviews
  • Optional Distillery visits
  • Return ferry to Islay
  • Pick up and drop-off in Glasgow

Not Included

  • Transport to or from pick up point - Glasgow
  • Glasgow accommodation
  • Lunches or evening meals
  • You must have adequate travel insurance for this trip

Lightstalker Highlights

  • Oa Peninsula
  • Saligo Bay
  • Port Charlotte
  • Machir Bay
  • Port Ellen
  • Portnahaven
  • Lagavullin Distillery
  • Bunnahabhain
  • Isle of Jura - day trip
  • Craigshouse coast
  • Sanaigmore Bay