Last weekend saw me back on the Cooley Hills, scrambling through dew soaked grass to catch the sunrise over Carlingford Lough and the Mourne mountains. This part of Ireland is beautiful and I really need to get up here more. The results of the excursion can be seen on my "In the Field" report video log below.
Last Friday, I returned to a location that photographically speaking has proven a happy hunting ground. This trip was no different, with mist creeping up the River Boyne and the sun popping through conditions were ideal. The video log can be viewed below.
Continuing my close to home theme, I paid a visit to the coastal village of Clogherhead, purely to get out and get the creative juices flowing. Conditions, weren't ideal, everything was to calm!! The sea thrift I hoped to capture amongst the rocky shoreline were about two weeks away from blooming. Still I made the most of it, the vblog and some of the images I captured can be viewed below.
I have been staying a little closer to home in recent weeks, which has taken me to some old and new locations that I haven't been to in years. One such location is a stretch of coastline between Dunany and Togher County Louth, offering wonderful views across Dundalk Bay to the Cooley Peninsula.
Check out the YouTube video I made, some images are below.
Last week I spent a few hours in and around Clifden capturing some images for a client. In an effort to expand my knowledge of youtube & self produced video content I thought I'd use that visit to document my short visit. The results can be seen below. I have so much to learn!!
Oh God, apparently there is another social outlet I need to get involved in. That outlet, Youtube. I have been frequent visitor over the years, but now according to the people in the know I need to be there. With that in mind, my first youtube offering can be found below;
In the meantime I need to go shopping for some Go-Pros for Youtube purposes :(
Michael Melford has long been a favourite photographer of mine, if you get a chance sit back and watch his wonderful insight into the world of Landscape photography - https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=5iLnn2VI2h4
At some stage every photographer experiments with presets and plugins, I am no different, though I have to admit I have something of a love hate relationship with them. Lately I have been experimenting with Lightroom Presets in an effort to speed up my workflow and to give me some ideas on how I could tweak images.
I am in the midst of creating my own set of landscape presets which I will share later this year. In order to give a taste of what they will look like I thought I’d share one presets titled " Donegal Summer" which can be downloaded by clicking the link.
Below is a before and after example. The after example has also been enhanced further by using the curves tool.
Lightroom presets are pretty easy to install. If you are unfamiliar with the process then check out this You tube video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bg0eAUSooBk (not mine)
Nature is inspiring, the little moments of joy it provides are magical. So this morning on a very wet International Dawn Chorus day 2015, I recorded this Blackbird singing. Uplifting :)
SOUND REQUIRED (turn up the speakers)
Issue 26 of Extraordinary Vision Outdoor Photography magazine, The number 1 photography magazine for tablets and smartphones - features an article by myself entitled "Ireland's Wild West", along with a selection of my own Irish landscape photographs.
The magazine is available on iOS and Android from the following urls:
The January 15 edition on the online photography mag - Landscape Photography magazine published an article Behind the scene" and features images from County Mayo and Connemara County Galway. The magazine is subscription based, but its well worth checking out.
One of the problems with supplying image for stock is that you never really know where the image ends up getting used. So its always a suprise when you come across your images when flicking through books or magazines.
The seascape to the right (no 1) was taken in Clogherhead Co Louth and was used in the 2014 Lonely Planet Ireland guide.
Early October 2014 saw me back in my home from home "Donegal" leading the second of my photo landscape photography workshops. Mother nature put on a spectacular display of beauty, some of the images from the tour can be viewed on Storehouse.co at the following URL Donegal Autumnal Photo Tour. Well worth checking out.
Increasingly it seems I take more and more images with an iPhone. The freedom it gives to sketch / experiment at a location is perhaps why I find myself leaving the DSLR in the camera bag and enjoying the creative freedom these small camera phones bring.
Granted, they have a long way to go in terms of resolution, which falls apart the moment you zoom. But it has me wondering, will the day come when I can leave the DSLR permanently in the camera bag, and rely solely on a smartphone?
Loughcrew Cairns - Co Meath
There are some locations I associate with sunrise more than sunset, and this evenings location, The Cairns at Loughcrew, or Sliabh na Cailli (Hills of the Witch) in Gaelic, in Co Meath is definitely one of them.
On top of Loughcrew, the wind is warm but strong enough to cause camera shake, especially with a 70-200mm lens in place. To overcome those concerns, the shutter speed is increased by bumping up the ISO, and as ever the camera is tripod mounted.
Below, evening light rakes the landscape, and as I peer through the viewfinder the challenge is a composition that excludes the foreground clutter and the dwelling of to the right.
Waiting to trip the shutter, part of me is torn. Shouldn't I really be photographing the 3500yr old passage tomb that aligns with the Spring and Autumnal equinox that this location is famous for?
With the sun sinking, and the shadows creeping across the landscape, the shutter is tripped. A quick check of the histogram and everything looks good. No blocked shadows, no blown highlights, and no foreground clutter.
Now back to the Cairn, to see if I can get a picture of what I really came here for!!.
The Lee Big stopper, transforming nothing into something
Anyone who has ever heard me talk or rant, knows I have somewhat of a love hate relationship with the Lee Big Stopper. Its purpose, to drastically reduce the amount of light hitting the camera's sensor (by up to 10 stops), is something that camera manufacturers could implement as a "feature" on modern SLRs. Until they do, Lee are filling that gap with a piece of glass that transforms day into night.
Using the filter is tricky, but what is undeniable is its ability to transform something into nothing. Seconds become minutes, and minutes become hours. Leaving the user with a set of moody ghostly images.
Above, this image taken at the base of Howth Head in County Dublin shows were I am coming from. Taken at practically the same location, the rather dull image on the left taken at 1/3rd of a sec @F11 is transformed by the use of the "Big Stopper". A third of a second becomes two minutes, and that rather dull snapshot morphs into something a little more interesting.
The example, below shows its capability again.
Here perched on the edge of the rocky Inis Oirr coastline, seconds become minutes and a rather dull image is transformed into something a little more.
If you are thinking of buying one, or its new cousin The "little stopper" then have a look at the exposure card from Lee below. Be prepared for lots of standing around waiting. Not for the light but the camera this time :)
A day in the Irish Landscape
Ireland's leading photographic society (Dublin Camera Club) have organized a one day series of talks titled "A day in the Irish Landscape" featuring myself (Peter McCabe) and a number of other Irish landscape photographers including Carsten Kreiger, Simon Stewart & Norman McCloskey.
The event takes place on Saturday March 29th and kicks off at 10a.m. Full details, and booking information can be found at the following url - Dublin Camera Club - "A day in the Irish Landscape"
Five images from 2013
2013 has been somewhat of a strange photographic year for me. As ever not enough time was spent In the Field, too many images were taken with my iPhone and my photographic to do list seems to get bigger instead of smaller.
The images below are a selection of my own personal favourites that I captured along the Southwest, West and Northwest coasts of Ireland.
Mulranny County Mayo:
Standing in darkness, storm clouds raced across Clew bay, the heavens opened as the moon hung low in the sky above Croagh Patrick. The conditions where hair tingling wild.
The resulting image is one of my all-time favourite seascapes.
Clew Bay Surf
The second image titled "Freedom", was also taken in County Mayo and features a surfer riding a wave. I love the energy and interaction between man and nature in the image.
Derrynane strand, County Kerry
Situated on the Iveragh Peninsula County Kerry, the beach at Derrynane is amongst the most beautiful beaches in Ireland. During May of this year with low magical morning light raking the coastline I captured an image I was happy to put my name too.
As Ireland basked in the warmest summer in years I spent a week in my home from home, County Donegal. Warm days and cool mornings meant morning mist. On one such morning I captured this view which looks back across Lough Greenan to Crockmore mountain. The movement of the morning mist has created a ghostly, yet peaceful Irish landscape.
This image was taken on the Island of Inis Óirr, the smallest of the Aran Islands. The location is one I first came across 10 years ago, and it was only this September that I got back to photograph the location. The view looks back towards the still functional lighthouse as wave’s crash on the Islands shoreline.
That's it for 2013, time to tackle that to do list.
As ever, I’m standing by a tripod watching the first light of day creep down the steep sides of Mweeelrea. Through the viewfinder four rocks peek out from the frigid waters of Doo Lough mirroring the distant hills.
Tripping the shutter I can't help think of a well-known photographer who recently proclaimed that Doo Lough in County Mayo is not a morning location. As the drama unfolds I can't help but disagree. The location and light are simply stunning. Controlling the exposure is a pain in the butt. To ensure, I have no blown highlights or blocked up shadows, I am bracketing my exposures. A quick glance at the histogram tells me I’m fine, and before the clock strikes 7.30am, I’m back home, dreaming of an Irish fry.
Later that evening, I am running late, chasing the light, a situation not helped by the posse of sheep being shepherded down the country road I am travelling on. Still, I’d trade this any day for the traffic chaos of Dublin.
A little later I'm peering down a Canon 70-200mm lens at backlit waves breaking on against a backdrop of a silhouetted Inishturk and Cahir Island. The location? Carrowninsky strand, a beautiful beach in County Mayo.
The shot I am chasing is one which sees waves breaking in the centre of the frame, with the Islands forming a distant backdrop. With waves breaking everywhere but centre that was easier said than done. Many frames and a soaking later, one wave finally hangs in the centre of the frame. Getting low to juxtapose the wave and the Islands and with an exposure of F8 @ 100th of a second set the shutter is tripped, and I get get my shot. The deep blue tone of the wave contrasts nicely with the pink hues of the sky. The light just clipping the spray at the top of the wave is then the icing on the cake.
Later that evening, and perhaps somewhat unbelievably I meet an elderly local out to watch the sunset. After a bout of small talk, and as the Irish often do, a game of “Do you know this person” breaks out. Minutes later I am talking on a strangers phone to a man 200miles away and who I last met 20 years ago. A nice ending to a memorable evening.
It's not well known, But sometimes I leave the beauty and sanctum of the Irish Landscape and step into the fun and chaos of Irish wedding photography.
Let me know what you think.