The Twelve Pines, Ireland

Landscape Photography, Twelve Pines, Ireland by Stephen Dickey

In August 2014 I visited County Mayo and County Galway in the west of Ireland.  These locations are a 5-7 hour drive from where I live, so choosing a more convenient yet equally aesthetically appealing destination has always seemed like the more straightforward option.  However, having recently switched to a car which gives me twice as many miles to the gallon as the last, off I set!

One of the problems with visiting the west of Ireland as a landscape photographer is trying to predict the weather.  I choose a 3 day period which looked fairly promising according to all the forecasts – partly broken cloud and sunshine was on the menu.  However, during my time there is was overcast for most of the time.  I have come to accept the realisation that I am never going to be able to predict the weather, and that simply picking a day and going for it is the best option.

The tree covered island in Derryclare Lough has been on my photography ‘bucket-list’ for quite some time now.  It is an interesting subject in a beautiful and dramatic setting – what more could a landscape photographer ask for?  (That was only a half-rhetorical question – what is up with those power-lines County Galway officials!?)

I felt that this scene would be most promising in morning light as the sun would rise to the right side of the image above.  Morning light is soft and offers less harsh contrast than the golden light of sunset.  In a scene such as this, which contains strong shapes which anchor the viewers eye in the scene, extra contrast is not usually needed to make the image ‘pop.’  Flatter and less dramatic landscapes tend to look better in the light of sunset as the long shadows cast by the low sun really add depth to the scene.

I previously discussed the variable weather found in this area.  You may also note that this image appears to have been taken as dusk rather than sunset!  It was taken on a reconnaissance trip the evening before my planned sunrise shoot.  Whilst not a terrible shot, my plans were scuppered by a 100% overcast sky at 5am when I woke up the following morning.  There is always next time!!

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