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.
The latest edition of my "In the Field" photography vlog is now up on YouTube. This edition sees me get off the beaten track and explore the remote Co Donegal landscape near Creeslough.
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 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!!
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.
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!!.
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.
Wrapping up my photo trip to the Aran Islands is an image that I title “Homeland”. Taken as evening set in. The view looks back across the rocky Inis Oirr shoreline towards the beautiful County Clare coastline and the Cliffs of Moher.
A combination of overcast evening light and a long exposure has created a moody photograph of the Irish coastline. In this instance exposure times where increased by the use of a Lee Big Stopper on a Canon 17-40F4L lens.
Exploring Inis Oirr
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.
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 :)