In the Field - Sheephaven Bay, Donegal

The latest edition of "In the Field" my photography vlog is now up on YouTube. This edition comes from the shoreline in and around Sheephaven Bay in County Donegal Ireland.

Ireland by iPhone

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?

iPhone Panoramic; Loughcrew Rainbow

In the Field - Loughcrew

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? 

County Meath, Ireland

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!!.

Blackberries & Banjos

Exploring Inis Oirr

Inis Oirr, Lighthouse

The Island is buzzing, tri-colors are flying, a TV crew has been spotted, and clinking champagne glasses can be heard in the pub. Sadly it isn't all for me!! The Irish president, Michael D is in town. 

Despite the temptation of clinking glasses, I am off up a hill and down the winding dry stone lined roads to explore the Inis Oirr coastline. 
The smallest of the Aran Islands it is probably the most beautiful. I was last here 9 years ago. It's coastline, and images I never managed to capture have haunted me over the years. 
This evening, with the wind blowing across it's exposed rocky landscape, I am hoping to make amends. 

Sheltered by a bluff, with the ocean trying its best to soak me I'm playing with my latest gadget, a cable release of sorts from Triggertrap. Like everything these days it's controlled by an APP, that allows the user to  trigger the shutter by various means including sound and distance on their smartphone. In my case I'm using it to count down a 2minute exposure. Results to date have been pleasing, it's replaced the somewhat expensive canon invervalometer that I normally carry around.

Evening comes quickly, the walk back to the village is slowed by my foraging of the swollen blackberries that shelter among the dry stone walls. Near the village, the magnetic sound of traditional Irish music spills out the door of Tigh Rúairí's bar. 

Inside, the soothing harmonies of the Murphy sisters from Mayo fill the bar. Families sing along as young lovers get lost in their own world. Moments later a joyous fiddle fills the bar as young girl dances a jig around a broom. A late night of song and dance has begun.

The following morning, with a slightly sore head ( yep, it was a late one) I'm peering through the viewfinder at the rusted hulk of the Plassy, a cargo ship that was ship wrecked here in the 1960s. The shore line and the surrounding fields are criss crossed with furrowed limestone that is reminiscent of the Burren. As the first rays of sun illuminate the ship, the moon dips behind the distant stone walls and I trip the shutter. Am I happy with the final image? I'm not too sure.  

The Plassy, Inis Oirr

Somewhat of a tourist attraction, I wonder if the Plassy will survive many more wild Atlantic seas. It has deteriorated rapidly since my last visit and I wonder if it will be on my next visit . I can understand why the islanders are on the look out for a replacement :)