Continuing up the Norther Ireland Coastline, we come to the beautiful Portstewart Strand.
This image was captured at dawn, just as the sun was creeping up behind me.
One day in 2003, while on a few days holiday on the West Coast of Ireland I drove through Louisburgh and found myself on this windy country road. Not having a proper camera with me at the time, I took a snap. Over the next 10+ years, this image returned to haunt me many times. I have always loved landscape photography but only actually began to take my own landscape work more seriously since 2013. When I thought of the beautiful locations that I wanted to photograph, this was always the first that came to mind. In a way, this could be the birthplace of my passion for landscape and in many ways my passion for rugged wildernesses.
It was this yearning to return to this area that spurred a trip in October 2014. I didn't even know where exactly the valley was. By chance, (if you believe in luck) we rented a cottage and our first drive around the area brought us right down the very road I had been hoping to find.
Little did I know however, that as well conceiving my artistic vision, this valley had a much more poignant history filled with sadness and death which dates back to the Great Famine of the mid 19th Century.
Wikipedia has an article on the Doolough Tragedy, which is very insightful and I include it below.
"On Friday 30 March 1849 two officials of the Westport Poor Law Union arrived in Louisburgh to inspect those people in receipt of outdoor relief to verify that they should continue to receive it. For some reason the inspection did not take place and the officials went on to Delphi Lodge – a hunting lodge – 12 miles (19 km) south of Louisburgh. The people who had gathered for the inspection were thus instructed to appear at Delphi Lodge at 7am the following morning if they wished to continue receiving relief. For much of the night and day that followed therefore seemingly hundreds of destitute and starving people had to undertake what for them, given their existing state of debilitation, was an extremely fatiguing journey, in very bad weather.
A letter-writer to The Mayo Constitution reported shortly afterwards that the bodies of seven people, including women and children, were subsequently discovered on the roadside between Delphi and Louisburgh overlooking the shores of Doolough lake and that nine more never reached their homes. Local folklore maintains the total number that perished because of the ordeals they had to endure was far higher."
Another image that has been etched on my mind from childhood is this little ruined cottage. It is found on the road from Ballymena to the Glens of Antrim.
There's not much room to park and its just at the side of a very busy road.
Most of the beautiful images that I capture are areas that I stumble upon on my way somewhere else. Just like this one. I had stopped to photograph something else and has I pulled off the main road I saw this lane stretch before me.
I love the expansive feel of this shot, aided by my 11-16mm Tokina lens, a beautiful piece of glass.
This is one of those images that is amazing when printed large. Every time I look, I feel myself drawn into it! Into that very moment.
My recent return to photography was largely inspired by this tree. As part of an HND in Photography I decided to photograph this tree, just off the main A2 from Bangor to Holywood.
I photographed it from a distance.. and it was a beautiful landscape, but I noticed that there wasn't much detail of the tree itself, so I sent in close.
This time what I got was in my opinion, a portrait, because it allowed me to capture some of its character and personality.
I noticed that the Tree had seen better days. But something else that I noticed was that despite the awful weather over many years, the Tree was still standing. It was a survivor. I thought of my own life and how I was perhaps a bit like this tree. Buffeted by Life, no matter what came against it, the Tree stood firm.
Sometimes we pass through life oblivious to the beauty around us because we so focussed on what is round the bend.
That almost happened here. This was just another road to me until it hit me just how beautiful it was itself!
John Denver springs to mind!
Further along the road to Glenarm. Often if the weather is glorious I leave my camera at home. For me, I love the atmospheric feeling of storm clouds. There's an uncertainty about it that I love.
Also the light tends to be so beautiful and allows for gorgeous tonal ranges.
Also in Portstewart, is Domican College, a former convent.
These images in my portfolio are my favourite images from my artwork.
In this shot, I love the textues in the building and how the colours seem to be reflected in the colours in the sky above.
This is one of my newer images taken a few weeks ago at Tollymore Forest Park. The forest has been used recently in the movie Dracula Untold, Your Highness and also in the hit TV show, Game of Thrones.
Another iconic scene for me, growing up in Ballymena. Slemish has always inspired me from the first time I climbed it.
During my childhood, it was capture by the local photographer, Jack Adams and it was his image of it that stayed with me. Even when I went to live overseas, I asked my parents to send me one of Jack's photos of Slemish because for me, it spoke of home. Of Ballymena, more than anything else I knew.
I owe Jack a great debt of gratitude because he was the first person to inspire me with a landscape. In a very real sense, I may not be a landscape photographer today had it not been for Jack's photograph of Slemish. Also Jack was very helpful to me as I started to try to progress my work.
This photograph then, is dedicated to Jack Adams, a true gentleman and a great photographer.