After 22 years of living in the UK, I finally managed to visit Northern Ireland (as well as the Republic of Ireland). I don’t remember how often I used to say that I really REALLY want to see the Giant’s Causeway, and take amazing sunset photos in this fascinating location. And I finally did it!
Of course, planning a trip to Ireland in April was always going to be a risky thing to do. First of all, the country isn’t exactly known for it’s good weather, and it could quite easily have been a complete wash-out. However, with literally all the luck in the world on our side, we only had one miserable and rainy day – which happened to be our last day heading back to Dublin, which was always going to be more of a driving day anyway. Thank you Ireland!
The North-Western coastline of Northern Ireland was first on the agenda. Obviously, the Giant’s Causeway featured heavily on the travel plan, simply to get the perfect sunset shot. At the time, I was quite sure I’d failed, as the sky wasn’t particularly inspiring at this time of day on both evenings that we were there. However, both days there was something that did make the event quite special: from crashing waves and dark blue, almost evil looking clouds with a light angelic layer underneath with the golden sun hazily shining through on day one, to big and bold colours, a huge fireball of a sun, and thin and interesting clouds reflecting the golden sunlight on day two. It really was all I could have asked for, and more.
Coupled with the fantastic location, beautiful evening scene, and excellent company, I also had a new toy to play with, which was very exciting. A couple of months before this trip, I finally found and purchased a filter holder to fit my super-wide angle landscape lens (12-14mm). Previously I would always have to switch back to my standard lens (24-70mm) if I wanted to attach filters, as the 12mm curved lens requires 150mm filter glass and the appropriate holder to fit them into.
After some research, I settled on the NiSi S5 holder, with a soft as well as a medium grad filter. The filter holder is perfectly constructed and super easy to fit (even when you’re perched on a cliff edge with not much room for manoeuvring..). And the glass! Well, what can I say. Having previously used a different brand of filters, I’d always been battling with annoying colour cast, giving my photos either a distinct blue or orange tint. Whilst possible to remove this in Lightroom, you have a tricky job at hand when your image does contain a certain amount of orange hues anyway (i.e. a sunset).
Anyway, I love my NiSi filters so much, that as a result, I now use my super-wide landscape lens much more than I had done previously.
So after a couple of days in Northern Ireland, we started to head South along the Wild Atlantic Highway into the Republic of Ireland. With a pretty flexible travel plan, we ended up taking detours that took our fancy, and did our best to explore as much of the coastline as possible. My favourite location during the first couple of days was a small lake we came across at the end of a residential street. Google Maps was convinced we could drive alongside the lake, but, once we saw the road we decided against this silly idea and instead pulled over and spent some time taking photos at the lake. The scene was simply stunning, and it was a shame that we had to move on. I could have stayed there for hours.
Another highlight in Ireland was the Dingle peninsula, as well as the Ring of Kerry. Dingle is super cute and again, I wish we’d had more time to spend down there. Even the town centre was really sweet, it actually reminded me a little bit of Iceland’s capital Reykjavik, with it’s cute and colourful houses, little streets, and independent shops.
The Ring of Kerry on the other hand was a landscape photographer’s heaven again! Insanely beautiful vistas, accented by gorgeous warm sunlight peaking from behind fluffy clouds, small mountain roads, gorges, and seaside views. This is certainly somewhere I need to go back to at some point and explore a little further.