About the Magazine

Magazine Of The Nikon World

Nikon Owner Issue 18

The Perfect Storm by Robert Sanger

Photographer Robert Sanger tells us of his passion for storm-photography, and offers photographers some very useful guidelines for taking pictures of the perfect storm.

With an introduction by Gillian Greenwood.


Robert Sanger is a founding subscriber of Nikon Owner magazine. He is a world travel photographer and writer, and the creator and owner of world travel images library Blue Planet Images.

For many years, Robert followed a career in the shipping industry as a broker for ship sales and purchase as well as latterly being involved with new shipbuilding projects. He purchased his first Nikon, the Nikon F3HP, over twenty years ago while employed as a shipbroker in Monaco. A self-learning process followed, and, as his passion for travel photography developed, the building of his world travel images archive evolved and flourished. In his current career as a world travel photographer and writer, he now uses an F100, F6, D2X and an array of different lenses including a 24-85mm Nikkor, and an AF VR 80-400mm. His newest acquisition is a DX 12-24mm.


He fulfilled a long-held ambition when he first visited the Isles of Scilly in June 2003. Aptly named "The Fortunate Islands", the Isles of Scilly are about 28 miles off Land's End, England's most South-Westerly point. Of the fifty-five islands that make up the archipelago, only five are inhabited; their white sand beaches, clear waters, famous sub-tropical Abbey Gardens, and tranquil way of life draw him back at least once a year. In this article, Robert tells us of his passion for storm-photography, and offers photographers some very useful guidelines for taking pictures of the perfect storm.

It is late October and with five days of storm-watching photography in prospect, the outlook is good - North-Westerly Gales, Force 8 possibly rising to Storm Force 10, although not everyone's ideal weather forecast when starting out on a trip. As we approach the Isles of Scilly towards the end of the twenty-minute flight from the Cornish mainland to Tresco, I catch my first glimpse of the islands beneath the whirling blur of the helicopter rotor blades.


A few minutes after landing we are on what passes for a bus on Tresco - an open-air tractor-drawn trailer. The ten-minute drive down a narrow lane past dry-stone walled meadows, sandy bays and the cosy New Inn soon brings us to the boat quay at New Grimsby. The ferry "Firethorn" is already alongside waiting to take us on the three-minute ferry crossing to the island of Bryher (pronounced "briar"), the smallest of the five inhabited islands in the archipelago.

I disembark and set off from the jetty along the track, first through the dunes of white sand, then, climbing the hill, I pass cottages from whose chimneys drifts the rural smell of wood-smoke. My senses, dulled by urban living, are reactivated. I am back into "photographic mode", alert to the sights, sounds and smells of nature: gulls mew overhead, sheep bleat on a bracken-covered hillside up to my right, and to my left the distant sound of a ferryboat's engine as it heads down the channel towards the main island of St. Mary's. At the brow of the hill the wind off the Atlantic is exhilarating.