Kilmuir Cemetery – where Scottish heroine Flora MacDonald is buried.
Kilmuir Cemetery – where Scottish heroine Flora MacDonald is buried.
The week here on the Isle of Skye is flying, so is the wind…. or the rain and sun in an ever evolving game of who wins the battle for supremacy for the day.
So photographing Skye isn’t an easy thing. The light changes constantly. The same moment you find a composition the rain may well force you away from it as soon as you have your gear ready.
I haven’t taken many photographs so far. But the ones I got are meaningful. None more so than the image of the Old Man of Storr – of course – but this one here is also an image that evoked emotion when processing the RAW file in Adobe Lightroom.
It’s an image with a small story behind it. As it goes I was taking in a smallish hike along the ruins of St. Mary’s church outside of Dunvegan. During the way up I looked back down into the valley and immediately the vista stroke me as the perfect picture of what Skye is all about. Rolling hills, lush green grass, rain clouds and fog hanging low in the mountains….
But the light wasn’t there. It was a nice vista for the human eye to see in flesh then but appeared flat and dull as a photograph. So I finished the hike which was a loop and lead me back to where it began. All the way promising myself to head back up again if the light would change to see whether I could capture the image as envisioned in my mind.
The outcome is the lead photo above. It started to rain minutes after pressing the shutter.
I am currently on the Isle of Sky. A week long holiday, immersing myself in the spectacular landscape this part of Scotland has to offer. High on the “must see” list is – of course – “The Storr”. It’s the one image many will most likely have in mind when they think of Skye. So do I.
Photographed in the millions, to get an image of the “old man” that is unique seemed a distant dream. My idea of getting a sunset image went to pieces the first evening I tried. Masses of people hiking up there, the mountain top hardly to see under a thick cover of fog.
Getting up early the next morning, the hope of a beautiful sunrise image with soft light and sunrays illuminating the mountain – shattered upon arrival. No light, only fog. At least no other people around. Now I’m here, let’s get up anyway.
Efforts were rewarded. Eventually. It took a while and it was only a brief moment. Yet a moment of glory. The sun breaks through the clouds while the fog gives way – a matter of seconds. The world around me is glowing in the most beautiful flush green. I get my shots away, a pano in mind, and bang gone is the light as quickly as it came. It never came back….
It was a rare trip to a game I admittedly only watch occasionally – here and there a bit of MLB on TV, however it certainly was the first time live in flesh here in Ireland: off I went to Ashbourne, the International Baseball Center a leisurely 20 minute drive from my Drumcondra home. In prospect was a full afternoon at the finals day of the Ashbourne International Baseball Festival.
It’s been fun. Despite the fact that the final to crown the overall winner of the tournament dragged on long into the evening I really enjoyed the thriller that was the game between the Irish national team and a selection of the best international players of the Irish Baseball League.
The day was also another good opportunity to test the new Tamron 70-200mm lens in a real-life situation. The light and weather was changing constantly, in fact it was actually rainy and dark towards the end, as well as fast moving subjects made the G2 work hard.
It’s always been a dream to travel to the other side of the globe. Finally here was the chance. Booking the flights in early January I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. Full of clichés in my little head I started the journey through Australia.
To put it short and sweet: the experience of three weeks ‘Down Under’ has blown me away. The sheer beauty of vibrant landscapes, cities, nature, wonderful people and very different wildlife, sights and sounds was refreshing in so many senses compared to the daily slug in good old Dublin.
To say it with a bit of Aussie slang: it’s been a ripper!
As a photographer the camera has been a loyal companion on this trip. A trip that brought me from the west to the south to the east all the way around the coastline with its flush green landscapes. So let me take you on my photographic journey.
It all started in Adelaide. Where dark, rain filled clouds welcomed me on the very first day. Disappointment initially. Little did I know that the very same evening rain and sun fought out an epic battle for supremacy in the sky – a blessing for photography.
The sea is a prevalent scene in and around Adelaide. So are the hills that rise high right on the door step of the city that’s widely mocked as the “boring city”. Not so boring in my mind, at least if you’re into landscapes, nature and hiking.
On to Perth in the west. Quite an isolated place, far away from the next big city centre. In fact Perth is actually closer to Jakarta in Indonesia than Sydney.
For all of that it offers white sand beaches, plenty of sun (that alien yellow thing in the sky that’s sighted way too little over my beloved Ireland) and as a consequence a laid back atmosphere- and of course only a short ferry ride away wildlife paradise Rottnest Island.
From one side of the continent to the other one. Sydney, the vibrant metropolis. Where to start, where to end? Simply spectacular. Harbour Bridge, Opera House – sure, but there is so much more.
It wasn’t all plain sailing. It actually were quite wet days in Sydney. I couldn’t do, see and photograph everything I would have wanted in an ideal world. There will be a next time, though. Hopefully with a little bit less torrential rain.
However those conditions can often set up the most stunning scenes. On the Circular Quay ferry, having endured another downpour, there it was, a massive double rainbow spanning all the way from Harbour Bridge across to the city center. A moment I won’t forget anytime soon.
And there was ‘Vivid Sydney’. As if Sydney wasn’t spectacular enough during the day, it transformed into a sea of lights and digital art during the night.
Spectacular nature isn’t too far away from Sydney either. On the downside I didn’t see too much of it. The Blue Mountains were covered in fog so thick I could barely see the hands in front of my eyes. Though, for a brief moment the cover broke and gave way to the stunning landscape.
Finish with a bang: the Great Ocean Road. This part of the world left a lasting mark on me. Hard to find words for its beauty. No photo can do it justice. Sunset at the Twelve Apostles – a dream of oh so many nights became reality.
A final view on the last day over the lush green hills of Apollo Bay before real life bites back. It’s been an amazing ride. I’m in love. I’ll be back. Soon.
– Nikon D7100
– Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM
– Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2
– HOYA PRO1 Digital Filter Circular Polarizer
– Rangers Clarity Series ND Filter kit
– Koolehaoda Portable Camera
One of my favourite places along along the Great Ocean Road during my recent three week long trip through Australia – Loch Ard George just minutes off the world famous Twelve Apostles, but less crowded.
One of my favourites from three weeks Down Under – right in front of my holiday home near Apollo Bay was this spectacular beach setting all sorts of intriguing stone formations free once the tide recedes.
This long exposure in black and white I feel conveys best the mystical atmosphere in the air on a lovely late afternoon where the night is slowly creeping in.
17mm, ISO 100, f/22, 20 sec – Nikon D7100, Sigma 17-50mm
Now that I’m back in Europe and more specifically in the land of rain which at this point in time surprises with very little rain I will share some of my favourite images from my recent Australia trip over the next couple of days or so – those that haven’t found the day of light during the three weeks yet.
And I start off with the image above, taken in the wonderful Adelaide Hills. On a nice sunny day I enjoyed a hike in the Cleland Conservation Park. A beautiful, hilly park with plenty of trees with plenty of flush green leefs and a magnificent scenic over the big city all the way to the see.
The cherry on the cake at the end of my three weeks in Australia – to see with my own eyes the enormity of the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
It’s the place of the AFL Grand Final when in traditionally held on the final Saturday in September or the first Saturday in October at the MCG when up to 100.000 fans flock through the gates.
The photograph is a panorama stitched together in Lightroom consisting of five vertical frames, taken at ISO 200, f/7.1 and 1/50 of a second.