To get some inspiration for this little travel report I looked through some older articles of mine and to my surprise I noticed how much my photos and my approach to photography has changed over the years. My standards of what constitutes a good image have certainly increased and I'd like to believe that the quality of the images has too. This is a good thing, however it also means that the selection process of the pictures to keep has become stricter. Additionally I often forgo taking a picture in the first place when I see that the circumstances are not great and the result won't be either. That has the disadvantage that there are now way fewer images to choose from for my articles and it has become harder for me to tell a continuous story about the trip.
Therefore I'd like to try an approach that is a little different for this piece. I will present fewer pictures in a more loosely organized manner but I'll compensate by adding some short tutorials on how to take these pictures – what technique and gear is applied as well as what my thought process behind the image was.
So what you'll get from this little article series beside some impressions from Ireland are hints that you can apply to your own photography – regardless of your current skill level, as well as some insight on my own thought process and approach to the matter.
Along the Wild Atlantic Way
Ireland is with around 6.4 million inhabitants the second most populous island in Europe after Great Britain. It is split up into the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland which is a part of the United Kingdom.
The Oceanic climate leads to mild winters and cool summers compared to other regions of similar latitude. Clouds, fog and rainfall are abundant as I also experienced first-hand.
A unique cultural and geographical area can be found in Connemara. It is strongly associated with traditional Irish culture and is also home to a large Irish-speaking community. From a photographic point of view especially the landscape, which is dominated by hills and bogs, woodland, countless small bays and peninsulas is of great interest.
Kylemore Abbey is a beautifully situated building with a very interesting history. Originally built by a dentist in 1867, then - after a family tragedy - sold to rich aristocrats from Great Britain who underestimated the upkeep of the huge property and got into financial trouble. They had to sell again and the property ended up in the hands of Irish Benedictine Nuns.
Twelve Pines Island
Connemara was one of the focal points of the trip. Altogether I spent three days in the area but I was very unlucky since those three days contained only a few minutes of sunlight and had otherwise only fog and rain to offer.
One of my favorite shootings was at Derryclare Lough where I tried to get some images of Twelve Pines Island. When I arrived there in the morning it was completely overcast and I had little hope of getting some good images. I decided to wait and see if the situation would improve and naturally used the time for some location scouting and taking some mental pictures. After about an hour there were actually some holes forming in the cloud cover.
Suddenly a bigger opening formed and the light spilled all over the place. This came as a shock to me since I was at the wrong side of the island at this point. I immediately grabbed my stuff and ran to the spot I scouted earlier, but when I was there the light was gone. That was extremely frustrating since I had probably missed my only chance of getting the image I wanted. Regardless I set up my camera and got ready to take the picture.
Sure enough the sun came out a second time and I got the shot.
As usual with photography, the light makes all the difference. Immediately after this one exposure was complete, the sun disappeared behind clouds, not to be seen again for three days. Hover the mouse over the previous image to see a comparison with the image taken a minute later without great light.
Dunguaire Castle is a medieval tower house situated at the bay of Galway. I was just passing through there in the afternoon so it wasn't really possible to pick a perfect time to take the pictures.
It's a decent shot but I wasn't quite satisfied with this scene so I looked around a bit for some less obvious but more interesting viewpoints.
To conclude this first part of the Ireland series and provide some distraction from all these landscapes let's look at some wildlife images. Wildlife photography was really not a focus of this trip so there are only a few pictures to show here.
Details about the hunting behavior of the tern can be found in my Estonia article.