A Week by the Coast
I recently spent a week on the North coast of Northern Ireland.
I’ll say right here and now that this was not a photographically satisfying trip.
Prior to heading away for this week-long trip I paid a little closer attention to the forcast than I did for the trip to Scotland (see previous post for that report), so I had a better idea of what to expect this time around.
That doesn’t mean I was able to capture the images I wanted, because despite paying attention to what the weather was doing, nature had other ideas with how it was going to co-operate in relation to the images I wanted to capture.
I was on a bit of a high going in to this trip, coming off the back of the Scotland trip and some of the excellent experiences I had capturing images that week, sadly though the majority of what I encountered was very disheartening, lifted only at the very end of the final evening.
I’ve never been happy with any of the images I’ve captured at Kinbane Castle, despite going back there on a regular basis, and it’s by no means local to me. This location requires drama in either the sky or the sea (or both), and on this day there was neither of those things happening. I was hoping for the clouds to capture some colour of the setting sun, but the massive hill just behind the camera from this image, totally blocked out any colour that might’ve hit the clouds above.
Another disappointing evening waiting for some colour to hit the clouds at Ballintoy above Elephant Rock. Despite meeting another photographer at the same location and having an enjoyable chat, the colour was another no-show.
Three for three at this point. In all honesty, after looking at the forecast for this evening earlier in the day, I never expected anything exciting to happen, and that’s just what I got. However, I was confident that these weather conditions would be replicated the following evening, and I had the perfect place in mind for these conditions.
I’m including this image as a quick aside – this was the sky behind me as I was capturing the previous image. I would have loved to have this sky over the previous composition, but sadly that wasn’t to be.
For three days I travelled to three different locations in search of a little colour in the sky, and came away with nothing. The one night I go out to a fourth location with the sole intention of capturing a photograph with a dull grey continuous backdrop, this happens. I swear you couldn’t make this stuff up.
I stuck around Portstewart Beach until after 11pm and I think I finally managed to get some really nice images. This is a 1′ 26″ exposure. I would’ve been a little happier if the sky was a little less textured, as I was going for the continuous backdrop effect – where the sea and the sky merge a little better than they do in this image, but as it’s the first time I’ve managed to take a long exposure of the Portstewart side of the Barmouth, I’m really quite pleased with the final image.
I often find it useful to look at the images I take that I find perhaps didn’t work, and learn from those ‘failures’ perhaps for future trips to the same locations, or just as part of my photographers toolbox for similar situations at any given location.
I’ll find that in images I’m not overall happy with there’ll be elements which work and also which don’t work – rarely will I have an image where nothing works (if that happens it’s usually down to my own choice of subject and composition), so understanding and recognising this in my own work is important to me.
It should help inform and hopefully improve my photographic work. Sometimes, however, what the photographer wants, nature simply isn’t willing to provide.
Such is the lot of the landscape photographer.