Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Reflections Gougane Barra

Gougane Barra, is located 5km west of Ballingeary on the road to Bantry, Co Cork. On this fine morning on my way home form my good friend and fellow photographer Peter Cox, who lives next door so to speek.  I stopped by Gougane Barra only to be greeted by a wonderful reflection in the still waters of the lake. The sun had risen and burned off the last of the low lying mist. It’s a perfect reflection and have fooled many by turning it upside down.
This was the start of one fantastic days shooting and only stopped by the fact I was running out of power for my camera. Remember to always charge batteries even on the last day before heading home.

The Gap of Dunloe

The Gap of Dunloe, Killarney, Co Kerry is one of the must see location on the tourist trail in Ireland.
If you have ever being up at The Gap you will have gone passed this lake, Coosaun Lough, on your way to the bridge for the “normal” view of The Gap. Not me, I’m not normal !
On this afternoon I was down in Killarney to  meet up with Peter Cox and Roger Overall to talk business about the upcoming new Episode of Circle of Confusion video series. When the elements are right don’t put if off to till tomorrow as I was going to do here. The choice: bit a small bit late for the meeting or miss this photo op. Sorry lads but you lost out and boy I was glad I when up to the Gap. It was magic and spent an hour photographing from this location and another one from the other side of the bridge. More about that image in a later post.
I love the reflections of the mountains and the water lilies in the foreground. The clouds and light were perfect for the composition.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Dinish Island Sunrise

Just as you think your never going to get that image….
On this trip to Kenmare the weather was mixed. Not great for photography as we had too much haze mixed with low clouds all during the day and not much better in the mornings for sunrise either. On the last day of the trip all the elements came together and I got the sunrise I was after.  This image shows Dinish Island, which is in the middle of Kenmare Bay, lit by the early morning rising sun.  I used this wonderful side lighting to bring out the texture of the stone slipway and used the slipway to lead you into the image.
Three days of sitting and waiting for the light was worth it me thinks.

Blurred Forest

Not your pin sharp wonderful B&W landscape that you come to expect from me, but something different.
The first Sunday in every month is set aside for a family walk up some mountain. Come rail, hail or shine, and in this case low clouds and mist, we go. All manor of clothing is packed into the boot of the car which leads to very little space for my big camera bags (must get bigger car not ). So I always carry my trusty Canon G10 with me on these trips.
Last Sunday  the 5th June was such a walk  ( Link to pic ) up Djouce Mountain in the Wiclow Mts. After  a couple of wonderful sunny day with temperatures in the high 20′s, the sunscreen was packed. I can tell you now that never came out of the boot.  At times you couldn’t see 20 meters in front of you and   the higher you went the worse it got.
The challenge was on – to come away with a couple of image from the walk.
One such image is above titled “Blurred Forest”. With very very very bad visibility what are you to do ? During the walk through the forest the light levels very low and hand holding a camera to get a sharp image was impossible. Use this camera blur to your advantage. During the 1/6th second exposure I moved the camera in an upwards motion. The result was, I think, great. This got me think and I started to play with the different camera setting to produce my images and not the usual Landscape images I take.
I love the way the forest floor and the tree branches are completely  blurred while the tree trunks are still visible. I also like the triangle shape the trees make which draws you into the image.

So if you go down the wood today…………..
Make sure you have low light and don’t bring a tripod.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

The Long Range

The Long Range is a stretch of water that joins Muckross Lake to The Upper Lake in Killarney National Park. It’s the same water in this image as in the Eagle’s Nest post  (link here).
This time however I had a boat beside the foreground rocks which makes for a nice composition. The lines on the rocks lead you to the boat which leads you into the rest of the image. The weather, clouds and light was just right and I had to stop the car yet again on my way home from Kenmare. Well not directly home as I had planned to stop off at Peter Cox new Gallery in Killarney and give him a hand with framing a few images before the grand opening. This didn’t go to plan in favor of Peter as the light was to good to miss and being a photographer I knew he would understand.
Also my battery run out and this was the last image of the day. Another reason for a trip to the gallery to charge the battery for the afternoon shoot. As I have already said, the Eagle’s Nest is just off to the right and I was standing right where the boat is to take that image.
This is a classic example for returning to the same location again and again. You will either see something different or the conditions will be different and come away with another image as with me in this case.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Coornagillagh, Kenmare Bay

I came across this location on the evening before but the clouds had rolled in and that was the end of the sunset. However the next day I came back this time a little earlier to see what it was like and go for a little walk around. The tide was low which made for so interesting foreground rocks to help in the composition.  In the image above you are looking straight out along the Kenmare Bay with Iveragh Peninsula on your right and the The Beara Peninsula on the left. You can’t really them with this portrait format but I think it helps the composition with the  way the rocks in the foreground led you into the image.
There is only one problem with this image- no sound. You can’t see them but you could here the Seals making some wonderful sounds. It added to the atmosphere  and will be added to the list of locations for the next episode of the Circle of Confusion Video series. Can’t wait to hear the sound on the video in the background while we try any part with some advice.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Lackeen, Kenmare Bay

I usually use Killarney as my base and travel from there when I’m down Co Kerry way, but not this time. Kenmare, Co Kerry was to be my base for this Co Kerry trip.

I now think after this trip that Kenmare is the best location as you can travel north to the Iveragh Peninsula or south towards the Beara Peninsula. Also the drive from Kenmare to KIllarney ( N71) is much better in this direction. We have had some of the best weather of late and I was hoping that it would continue for my trip. It was good and bad. Too much haze. Clear blue skies and strong haze might be good holiday weather for the beach etc… but not us landscape photographers.

The image above was taken one morning after a short drive out on the Iveragh Peninsula along “The Ring of Kerry” road to a place called Lackeen. I found this small Quay and stopped. The clouds were starting to break up so I decided to stay here and wait a while. In the image I am looking sound across Kenmare Bay towards the Caha Mountains on the the Beara Peninsula. I like the peaceful scene. The different shapes and tones of the trees and the cloud patterns. I bit of a difference between this image and the dark moody one from the previous post ( Castletownbere )

So the first image in the bag from this trip. Hotel was great. Food was great. Kenmare has jumped to the top of my list of landscape locations. I have only just scratched the surface of wonderful locations to photograph, so will be back again and agin me thinks.

More to follow from this trip including : Coornagillagh Quay, Cloonee Lough, Darrynane Bay, Glanbeg to name just a few.

Thursday, 21 April 2011


The one that nearly got away.

After we finished filming the morning sequence for the The video we made our way back to Castletownbere for some breakfast. A hard thing to find - a coffee shop open on a Sunday morning at 8:00. So we waited and did a bit more filming down at the harbour.  We also started doing the backup of the compact flash cards onto the laptops in the back of the jeep. The clouds were starting to break up at this stage which would lead to a very productive late morning and afternoon shooting. While the backup were being copied I noticed some wonderful light starting to appear over the harbour in front of us. A quick camera setup and a couple of images taken before the clouds and light changed and the show was over.

I love the mood in the image. The ripples on the calm water in the harbour and the single boat just on the edge of the light. Ok I did darken down the clouds and foreground a bit but this adds to the mood of the image. After a poor start to the day, getting up at 4:00, driving for 1.5 hours to capture the Super Moon set only to be greeted with the same clouds in the image above. This time the low lying clouds make the image.

Bad weather is good weather. It all depends on your mood.

Friday, 15 April 2011

The Reeks

The Reeks or there full name The Macgillycuddy Reeks Mountain Range on The Inveragh Peninsula, Co Kerry. This image above shows The Reeks and The Gap of Dunloe from the main road ( N71 ).
If you are one of the many people who have download the video ( Photographing The Landscape - Episode 0: Cork & Kerry ) then you will have seen how the image was captured.
And if you haven't why not?
We had wonderful light and shadows with the passing clouds to play with at this time of the day compared to the weather conditions for the sunrise early that morning.
Listen the best thing to do is download the video because, well read the DVD cover notes :

"Follow Landscape photographers Peter Cox and Neil McShane as they plan a dawn shoot in Cork. Despite being frustrated by the weather, they will show you how to work with the conditions instead of against them and come away with some good images.
For the rest of the day, they take in some of the highlights of the Cork and Kerry landscape, revealing tips and tricks of the trade along the way. Oh, and there's plenty of banter and good humor as well.
Some of the things you'll learn in the episode:
-Ways to plan for the best photographs.
-Tips for getting great black & white landscapes.
- How to use graduated neutral density filters to balance exposure.
-How bad weather can make for good photographs.
-Shading your lens without a hood to prevent flare."

So there you have it, all my secrets are out for you to learn from.
Over the coming weeks I will post more images for this trip which didn't make it into the final cut of the video. Not that there not any good, it's just we had to stop some where.
I look forward to your comments on the video if you have downloaded it and if there is anything would guys would like for us to cover in the next episode, please let me know.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Landscape Video

I am please to announce I have teamed up with Peter Cox and Roger Overall over on The Circle of Confusion website to star in a video series about Landscape Photography.

You can learn more about it on The Circle of Confusion website : HERE

Teaser - The Circle of Confusion: Photographing the Landscape, Episode 0.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Glenbeg Lough

This is one of my favorite images from the four days down on The Beara Peninsula and it came out of disappointment. Let me explain:

The weeks leading up to the Beara Trip were spent looking over the Discovery Series of Maps from OSi (Ordnance Survey Ireland) to find suitable locations to shoot. One such place was Glenbeg Lough, Ardgroom. We have the lake surrounded by mountains a river flowing into the lake and a bridge over the river. All this looks like an interesting location. Looking at the details on the map and seeing the real life are two different things.
We had finished shooting up on the Healy Pass and Lauragh Forest and started our journey further west for sunset when hunger struck. Stopping at a coffee shop in Ardgroom, Peter noticed a painting on the wall of Glenbeg Lough. Now don't get me wrong but painters have it easy. They start with a blank canvas and add or remove thing at will. Us photographers have a completed canvas and have to use whats in front of the camera lens. What greeted us on the drive up to the lake was nothing like the view in the painting. Missing was the car park, rubbish bins, public signs and the pipes going across the side wall of the bridge. And they say using Photoshop to edit your photos is wrong but.....
What a disappointment. We didn't even get out of the jeep and to top it off low clouds started to roll in and this put a stop to sunset. We did however drive along the shoreline to find a point to turn the jeep around and head home. Oh, but wait. I spotted the view above with the reads in the foreground and Skellig Mt in the background.
Not the images I pictured a week ago looking at the maps but I think a came away with a much better image. Once again a portrait format helps in the composition. The slight blurring or the reads from the strong wind blowing down trough the valley and the dark clouds, helped by the filters, hanging over the tops of the mountains adds the drama of the image.

I have a hard drive full of image to post still from The Beara Peninsula.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Lehanbeg Pier.

Here is one of the first images taken form the Friday's evening shooting location, Lehanbeg Pier, Beara, Co Cork. The bad weather I was talking about in the previous post was clearing eastwards. We didn't get the full intensity of the setting sun due mainly to the low cover mist and fog which was to our benefit as we are shooting directly into the setting sun just out of the photo to the right. Long shutter speeds and a couple of ND Grad filters made for interesting effects on the water as it crashed over the sides of the pier walkway. The composition is helped by the mirroring angles of the foreground rocks and the pier itself. We came back to this location a couple of hours later and the water level had dropped by about 3 meters so it was safe to walk all the way out the the end of the pier.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Eagles Nest

I'm back from a 4 day trip down to The Beara Peninsula with a good friend and fellow Landscape photographer Peter Cox. The weeks leading up the trip were spent looking over maps and we came to the conclusion that the Beara would be an ideal location.
The trip down is a 4.5 hour drive but I was going to make a detour on the way and stop off in Killarney. Leaving my home at 5:30 in the morning with clear skies above me. Short lived as I was driving into the bad weather.
If you are following me on Twitter or Facebook you will see some of the images taken with the iPhone. One such image link here was taken out the car window from the very same spot as the image above. However in that image the rain was coming down very heavy. Not a great start to the trip and was this a sign of things to come? You will just have to wait and see.
I have started the series of image posts with the last image taken on the trip. It's an image of Eagles Nest in the Killarney National Park from Five Mile Bridge along the N71. This is a image I have being after for a couple of years now as conditions have not worked out in the past but this they were perfect. A clear sky with the cloud pattern following the lines of the mountain. Some ripples in the water made by me standing in the water ( wellies, a photographers best friend ). I like the way the ripples make your eyes flow into the image. The looks I was getting from the many tourists taking their snap shots. What must they have being thinking?
Did I get any more images? Just lets say it's taken me a few days to go through the images and start the conversion process.
Stayed tuned over the next coupe of weeks to see the rest of "The Beara Trip"

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Bundoran Sunset

What a sunset. Pure magic.

Light, texture, shapes and tones by the bucket load.

This image was taken last year from the trip to Bundoran, Co Donegal. The amazing thing about this image was that I had the place to myself. Nobody around to get in my way. A ware occurrence for a landscape photographer. Did I have to travel far? No, out the hotel door turn right and down the steps.
I typical sort of Irish day with all the seasons during the day and come the magic hour the clouds lifted the the sun came out to play. It makes up for all the waiting around during the day. The last time I was up here I had perfect weather all day and it was going to be a wonderful sunset. But........
You see the dark rocks on the right? There is a diving board on the rocks and it's in constant use. On that evening the people got stranded on the rocks as the tide came in and the Air-Sea rescue helicopter and fire brigade were called out. No sunset image that time but on this evening I got the image I was after, OK a year late but very happy all the same.
A couple of ND Grad filter were used to balance the image. Using the Lee filter system you can angle the grads to suit the image which I had to on this image.

If you do a search with the word Bundoran on your left you will find a few more images.
Two weeks and counting to the West Cork/Kerry Trip.
Enjoy the week.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Sunrise on the coast

As I was saying over in Twitter land ( follow here ), I went back through my image folders from last year with a new set of eyes ( mentally not physically ). You should do this at's amazing what you will find. Me, well I found five extra images that went thru the "mononeil" process. The image above being one of them. Take very early one morning along the Wicklow/Wexford coast. The sun had not risen yet and you can see the light rays fanning out from the clouds on the horizon.
I didn't think it would work as a black & white but you know it does. I like the way the rocks are very dark with just a hint of light here and there. The shape of the flat rock surface and the highlights makes your eyes flow into the image. In contrast to the sky and the light rays this foreground was very dark and to balance it out a bit 3 ND filters had to be used.

The project for the year has being selected and is in full swing. More on this later.
The first major trip of the year has will happen in February down around west Cork - Kerry.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Branch & Sky

First post for 2011 and it took until 15th of January to post it.

December last year and January this year have being eventful to say the least. I don't thing I can take much more. Starting with Bronchitis, snow and freezing temperatures leading to no water for a couple of weeks over Christmas, then the flu kicked in. And now the sad news that my Granny died RIP. My turkey is still in the freezer and the bottle of Whiskey is still unopened that Santa left for me.

On the photography front, I still have not done any Landscape work yet. Plans are being worked on for a trip in February with Peter Cox. One commercial shoot last week and another one next week and a few more print orders to complete is keeping me going as well as finishing my notes for the 6 week Lecture series starting in February.
The image above was shoot from the carpark of client I was visiting a while back. I love the shape of the branches with no leaves and the dark moody sky. It depicts my mood and feeling perfectly.

Looking forward to 2011 with some big plans in the pipeline but first this:

I put together "The Best of 2010" news story over on the website. Link Here.

Good luck to you all this year and hope you will follow my journey through the year.