Photographing La Digue | Part 1
The islands of the Seychelles are some of the most beautiful in the world. Azure tropical blues of the seas, emerald greens of palm trees and Coco de Mer plants and jet black granitic rocks are mixed with the soft hues of the evening and morning light. All of these aspects make up the perfect recipe for creating beautiful photographs.
La Digue is one island that still has the astonishing natural beauty and old world charm Seychelles has to offer. It is where bicycles are your only form of transport and feeling one with the locals is inevitable.
This small island is one of my favourites for photography and the fact that your form of transport is a bicycle makes the photographic journey even better. Cycling around forces you to look closely and artistically at your surroundings. Sometimes opportunities present themselves in the most unlikely places and you’ll find yourself photographing scenes on the way to postcard beaches and forest sanctuaries.
Along with its beauty, La Digue can come with a lot of tourists too so knowing where and when to go can have a few benefits, including not cropping people out of mesmerizing long exposure sunrises or removing boats from seamless seas.
This pocket guide will focus on:
• When to Visit
• Where to Stay
• How to Get There
• Getting the Shots
When to Visit:
The Seychelles has great weather almost all year round but the islands and coastlines are better at certain times of the year when it comes to the trade winds of the Indian ocean.
Two opposing trade winds generally govern the weather pattern: the north-westerly trades blow from October to March when wind speeds average from 8 to 12 knots; and the brisker south-easterly trades blow from May to September with winds of between 10 to 20 knots, bringing the cooler and windier conditions ideal for other sports and not so great for photography.
The periods of calm between the trades produce fairly warm and wind-free conditions throughout April and also in October. Conditions for swimming, snorkelling and especially diving are superb during April/May and October/November when the water temperature sometimes reaches 29ºC and visibility is often 30 metres plus. This is also one of the best times of year for photographing clear blue skies and calm seas. The colours of the ocean are also a little brighter and more saturated in colour giving you that punch you are looking for.
In December/January the rains come and if you are lucky they can produce some beautiful dramatic sunrises or sunsets, provided it is not too cloudy.
Stormy skies can also create a certain type of mood in your shots, so I wouldn’t suggest ruling this time out completely. I have created many a moody scene from rainy days on the islands. Having a dark blue sky can also bounce the light into the ocean creating beautiful contrasts and dark colours of an otherwise bright sunny destination. Sometimes having a different sort of image is much better than creating the same old perfect blue beach scene.
Along with the tropical seas and amazing landscapes, the Seychelles offers a unique breed of wildlife as well. Below are the months for the best viewing:
Bird-watching: April (breeding season), May – September (nesting of Sooty Terns) October (migration)
Diving and photographing: March – May / September – November