Light burst at Knocknarea

Hello fellow photographers, I hope you are well.

Always have a plan B. Our be ready to improvise one at least. The morning I got this picture I woke up before sunrise and I climbed quickly to the top of this great hill which is just a few minutes from home. Still I got up very early to get to the top and get a panoramic view of the village and the ocean at the bottom of the hill with the sun rising and the light flooding the scene. Well it didn’t quite work as I hoped.. no sun, no light, no picture.

I was already going down the path towards home when I saw the trees in front of me coming alive with a sparkle of light and colour. I looked back and the sun was finally shining through the clouds and foliage. A wooden path guiding the eye through the composition and a narrow aperture to get that star effect made the rest. Not the panoramic door I got up for but I’m glad something else came my way.

Location: Knocknarea, Strandhill, Sligo, Ireland.

Coordinates: 54.250380, -8.379027

An Port – Donegal

There is a place up in Donegal that always surprises me for its beauty and wilderness. The coastline is fabulous, you can walk for hours both North and South along gorgeous cliffs and sea stacks. Still I haven’t managed to come home with a shot that makes it justice. Last weekend also the guys from @uniqueascent were there, they really do amazing things, you should definitely check their profile of you haven’t done it yet. Unluckily I didn’t have the right lens to capture them.. 😭 Maybe next time! Oh, the place is An Port! 💪😅💚⛰️

Location: An Port, Donegal, Ireland.

Coordinates: 54.7480325, -8.6955309

Lockdown Challenge: Knocknarea at Night

Knocknarea Cairn and Star Trails

Hello fellow photographers, I hope you are well.

I have rediscovered the pleasure of drone photography recently with the weather being nice and flying being safe and easy. This shot though is from before the lockdown, when it was still possible to travel around and driving the 20 km to the lake was just normal.

The great thing of drone photography is that it allows you to go for unusual point of views, and that can change dramatically the aspect of even the most common things. Here I went for one of the most typical aerial shot, just pointing the camera straight down to have that 2 dimensional aspect in the composition, with nearly a total lack of depth. What emerge instead is the pattern of the elements in the picture and the contrast between them, in this case the very flat lake and the jagged wood.

I am looking forward to adding a lot to my aerial collection, even though next shot will have to be within the 5 km range.

Location: Lough Gill, Sligo, Ireland.

Coordinates: 54.250380, -8.379027

Lockdown Challenge: Knocknarea at Night

Knocknarea Cairn and Star Trails

Hello fellow photographers, I hope you are well.

Last week I took advantage of one night with clear sky to shoot the stars. I had to look for one of the darkest places in the 5 km range from home because of the lockdown and I thought the top of the local hill could do the job. It was actually a pretty bright night because the super moon was reflecting so much light from the sun that I could see my shadow when I was up there taking pictures even at 2 in the morning! Also you can clearly see the light pollution causing that bright orangy spot down on the right where the closest village is. Still the sky was clear enough to show a sufficient number of stars. To increase their important I went for a star trail effect taking 15 shots at 30 seconds intervals and combining them together afterwards in Photoshop. Some shots were taken at a bigger interval as my first battery ran out of juice, and you can clearly see it by the more distant dots on the trails.

Astro photography is always a lot of fun, after winning the initial resistance and getting out with your camera in the middle of the night. Already looking forward to my next trip.

Location: Knocknarea, Strandhill, Sligo, Ireland.

What to shoot: Knocknarea Mountain is an iconic element of Irish landscape. On the top the walking trails and the cairn are good elements to play with and find your favourite composition.

Ideal time to shoot: Sunsets.

Gear: Standard zooms.

Coordinates: 54.258682, -8.575473

Lockdown Challenge: Knocknarea

Hello fellow photographers, I hope you are finding more time for your photography during lockdown.

Remaining in the 2 km range (now extended to 5 km) I took my camera up the hill just behind my village. I had been there before but since we are now limited with our movements I decided to give it another go, or two. I started with a day trip, looking for a simple composition playing with the few elements you can find on the top of the hill, in this case a walking trail, a cairn and the horizon. The walking trail worked well as a guiding line towards the cairn, that became the main subject of this picture. The horizon went to the lower third of the frame to obey to one of the most basic rules of composition, then I just had to wait for a cloud to pass by and make the sky more interesting.

The second trip I planned to the same spot was a night one, hoping for the sky to be clear and the stars to be the main subject. I got some good and back luck but I came home with a shot. Still editing the results but I’m going to share it very soon.

Location: Knocknarea, Strandhill, Sligo, Ireland.

What to shoot: Knocknarea Mountain is an iconic element of Irish landscape. On the top the walking trails and the cairn are good elements to play with and find your favourite composition. In alternative, from that vantage point you can focus on the village downhill with a view on the beach, sand dunes and the ocean.

Ideal time to shoot: Sunsets.

Gear: Standard zooms.

Coordinates: 54.258682, -8.575473

Lockdown Challenge: Strandhill

Knocnarea Mountain – Strandhill – Sligo

Hello fellow photographers, I hope you are doing well even in these strange times.

I have been busy with other projects most of the winter till the restrictions for Covid19 kicked in. Luckily here in Ireland we are still allowed to move within a range of 2 km, which is great to keep yourself active and to find a place where to relax your soul outside your home.. 🧘

It also works very well as a challenge for a photographer, pushing you to find new and exciting spots in your surroundings, or to discover different points of view to take pictures of that iconic place near your home in a way that you haven’t thought before! 💚📷 This is Knocknarea Mountain, a very distinctive tract of landscape near Sligo, in the North West of Ireland. I have climbed its trails so many times and I pass by it every day, but this time I just ventured to the border of that 2 km range, which brought me to the far end of Strandhill beach, before looking back at this familiar view, set my tripod on the stony ground and look for my composition.

I have enjoyed the challenge and the whole process, I am already looking forward to my next little excursion to find a different point of view on my neighbourhood!

And I’m curious to know.. how is the lockdown for you? Have you found new ways to pursue your photographic cravings? Let me know in the comment!

Location: Strandhill, Sligo, Ireland.

What to shoot: Knocknarea Mountain is an iconic element of Irish landscape. The waves breaking on the stony beach of Strandhill offer a great foreground to complete your composition.

Ideal time to shoot: Sunsets.

Gear: Wide angle lenses to standard zooms.

Coordinates: 54.276804, -8.608167

Creevy Pier – Donegal

Creevy Pier – Donegal

Hey fellow photographers,hope the summer has treated you well.

Summer break is over for me, time to go back and explore the Irish coast looking for hidden piers and cozy villages!! 💚📷 This is Creevy Pier in Donegal, I loved the calmness of that spot but I’m looking forward to get back in stormy season!

Location: Creevy Pier, Donegal, Ireland.

What to shoot: The pier is a great subject to add an interesting element to the foreground. The ocean and the sky will do the rest.

Ideal time to shoot: Sunsets.

Gear: Wide angle lenses to standard zooms.

Coordinates: 54.529603, -8.255547

Blackrock Diving Tower – Galway

Blackrock Diving Tower

Hello fellow photographers! This week photo trip brings us to Galway, one of the most visited city of Ireland. Galway city centre is particularly lively thanks to the many traditional pubs, stone clad cafes and an almost unlimited offer of Irish folk music. Galway is also an harbour city with a medieval inheritance and is, together with Dublin and Cork, one of the most photogenic cities in Ireland.

This time we move just a bit away from the city centre to photograph the Blackrock Diving Tower, an iconic pier whose history date back to 1885, when for the first time a structure to please the eager bathers of two centuries ago was built.

Today it remains an important meeting point for all the enthusiastic sea swimmers, and you will be surprised to see how many they are, even in a cold winter morning.

It is also a great subject for seascape photography, as it works perfectly to lead the eye through the composition, adding an interesting fore and middle ground, to a background made by ocean, sky and distant mountains.

Location: Blackrock Diving Tower, Salthill, Galway.

What to shoot: The Diving Tower itself, the people ready to take a plunge, beautiful dawns and sunsets.

Ideal time to shoot: Sunrise and sunsets, from autumn to spring (in summer it becomes more difficult to include a rising or setting sun into your composition).

Gear: Wide angles to Standard zooms.

Coordinates: 53.256660, -9.092353

The Milky Way over Lough Gill – Sligo

The Milky Way over Lough Gill

Hello fellow photographers! This time I tried my hand at one of the most fascinating fields in photography, in my opinion. It is also a field that requires a lot of commitment and experience, while I’m just a rookie. Night photography has the charm of bringing into view the unseen, it allows to capture through our lens and sensors something that is not visible to the naked eye. Of course, after the image is captured, post processing and editing will help emphasizing those elements that our eyes couldn’t see, and give to the composition a final ethereal touch.

In this case, the “unseen” I have tried to emphasize is the core of our galaxy, the Milky Way. To capture it a combination of factors is required: a dark night with possibly no moon or new moon, a place far from light pollution of urban centres, and a clear sky. The centre of the galaxy is not always above the horizon though, therefore you need to check when it rises and sets on one of the many apps for astrophotography.

Finally, a decent camera and a lens with a very wide aperture are a huge help in capturing the dim light of most distant stars during an exposure short enough to prevent the “trail effect” due to Earth’s rotation..

Yeah, as you can imagine, ideal conditions are not there every day, that’s why my alarm was set at 4 AM last night, to allow me to reach my location and try to capture as much as possible of our galaxy in its best moment, in one of the rare nights with a clear sky here in the west coast of Ireland.

I hope you enjoy the image and I would love to hear your advice before my next attempt to capture the stars.

Location: Lough Gill, County Sligo, Ireland.

What to shoot: From Hazelwood you can enjoy a nice view of the lake, surrounded by trees on both side, facing the hills. When the tide is low, surfacing rocks are a good element to add interest to the foreground.

Ideal time to shoot: Sunrise and nights.

Gear: Wide angles to Standard zooms.

Coordinates: 54.257863, -8.426491

Gondolas at St. Mark’s Square

Gondolas at St. Mark’s Square

For a change, a picture that brings me back to Venice, my hometown. It has been a while since I had the opportunity to take some photographs of its beauty and I’m starting to look forward to visiting it again next spring.

If you happen to be in Venice with your camera, you’ll be surely taking pictures of St. Mark’s square. It is difficult to be original, but giving it a try is always worth it, and most of the times it is also good fun.

To get “my personal” shot of a much photographed scene here I went for a portrait format image and a wide angle lens. The wide angle lens made the church and bell tower in the back ground look even smaller and more distant than what they actually are, but at the same time it allowed to bring into the scene other elements close to me, like the eroded steps in the foreground, adding an extra layer to the composition and more depth to the image.

Location: St. Mark’s square, Venice, Italy.

What to shoot: Plenty of choice, from the gondolas on the lagoon side to the Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale), the lively street life of St. Mark’s Square and the Old Procuracies, or the still beauty of the Bridge of Sighs.

Ideal time to shoot: Sunrise and night.

Gear: Wide angles to Standard zooms.

Coordinates: 45.433292, 12.339987

Fanad Head Lighthouse – Donegal

Fanad Head Lighthouse

Dear fellow photographers, this week exploration of Irish best photographic spots brings us straight to the North, in Donegal, where one of the most beautiful lighthouses of the world stands. The Fanad Head Lighthouse marks the entrance into Lough Swilly, one of the very few Irish glacial fjords, and was built in 1812 following the shipwreck of a British Royal Navy frigate. Only one man made it to the shore alive, but he died soon after leaving no survivors out of the more than 250 members of the crew.

Now it is one of the 70 operating lighthouses illuminating the coast of Ireland, and a great subject for any lover of landscape photography.

Location: Fanad Head lighthouse, Co. Donegal, Ireland.

What to shoot: The operating lighthouse adds an interesting element to an already gorgeous coast.

Ideal time to shoot: This spot can be photographed at any time of the day and night. The first light of the day at sunrise can be easily captured just behind the lighthouse tower during summer. It is a great spot for night photography both for stars lover and northern lights seeker (with a bit of luck).

Gear: Wide angles to Standard zooms.

Coordinates: 55.276048, -7.632306

Mullaghmore at Dusk – Ireland

Mullaghmore at dusk

Dear fellow photographers, finally we were blessed with a gorgeous sunny day here in the north west of Ireland. After weeks of rain and wind, it’s really something, and even less excuses not to take your camera out.

This week image is one of the simplest composition I can think of. There is barely a subject! This can be quite a challenge most of the times, and could put us off from even trying and get an image. Nevertheless It’s always worthy to look for the elements of a possible good composition around us. An interesting sky at dusk and few rocks swept by the waves are just the perfect training ground for any photographer with an interest in seascape.

My tip: when you lack a clear subject, pay even more attention to the basic rules of composition. The rule of thirds for example. Make a decision about what you want to highlight in your image and compose placing the horizon line accordingly. In my image for example, I decided to give more importance to the sea and the rocks in the foreground, therefore I composed with the horizon line on the upper third.

Another key element of an image lacking a strong subject is playing with contrast. In this case the more obvious contrast is between the silky, white water licking the solid, dark rocks. A second source of contrast is given by the warm light of dusk and the gloomy clouds in the sky.

Location: Mullaghmore, Co. Sligo, Ireland.

What to shoot: Seascape offers many opportunities here. The rocky coast exposed to the west allows to play with its different shapes when the light of the setting sun throws a gorgeous glow on the view.

Ideal time to shoot: Sunset and dusk are probably the best moments to capture the beauty of this part of coast.

Gear: Wide angles to Standard zooms.

Coordinates: 54.464857, -8.467437

Twelve Pines Island – Connemara

Twelve Pines Island

Dear fellow photographers, this week our trip to discover most iconic photographic spots across Ireland brings us to another hidden gem in this fabulous country. If you made it up to Galway and really want to add some landscape shots to your trip, I strongly suggest to drive east for about one hour towards Connemara. The drive itself is worth the time, moreover you’ll come across to Pines Island, a tiny island nested on Derryclare Lough, which really seems to come out from a fairy tale.

My special tip: the path connecting Pines Island to the mainland works wonderfully as a guideline, leading the eye of the observer through your composition and adding an interesting contrast between the flat surface of the water and the rocky paving of the path. Take advantage of it!

Location: Pines Island, Twelve Bens, Co. Galway, Ireland.

What to shoot: The little island stands on a gorgeous background formed by the sharp peaks of a mountain range called Twelve Pins or Twelve Bens.

Ideal time to shoot: The blue and golden hours before sunrise are my favourite moments. A calm day offers the added bonus of flat water and gorgeous reflexions.

Gear: Wide angles to Standard zooms.

Coordinates: 53.462389, -9.795743

Benbulben – County Sligo

Benbulben – County Sligo

Hey fellow photographers! Last time we were in Donegal photographing the snowy summit of one of the most iconic mountains of the region: Mount Errigal.

This time we kept hunting for iconic mountains and we were lucky enough to find snow again, not so common in Ireland. Our shooting brought us to one of the most picturesque beaches in the north west, Streedagh beach, which is also a fantastic place for surfers and wild campers, with the added bonus of being still out of the most popular tourist routes.

The beach faces the ocean and the cliffs of Donegal on one side, on the other side it looks over a quite bay and the peculiar rock formation of Benbulben, the most recognizable mountain in County Sligo, and the objective of our photo session.

Streedagh beach is really a gorgeous spot both for action seeker photographers with surfers hitting the beach all year round. The rocks on the left offers a good vantage point to shoot the action in the ocean without getting wet. Landscapers can walk on the beachside, bay side and over the dunes to find the best views towards Donegal cliffs or the Dartry mountains towards Sligo.

Location: Streedagh beach, Co. Sligo, Ireland.

What to shoot: The Benbulben is a great photographic option thanks to its peculiar shape. Shooting from Stredagh beach adds the benefit of a flat water bay in the foreground. On a lucky day reflections are spectacular.

Ideal time to shoot: Sunrises and sunsets. It’s pretty dark here, night photography is also an option even though I have not tried it myself.

Gear: Standard zooms to tele lens.

Coordinates: 54.404753, -8.558747

Mount Errigal – Donegal

Mount Errigal – Donegal

Hey fellow photographers, hope the beginning of the new year has brought you great inspiration and gorgeous pictures. I went back to one of my favourite places here in the North of Ireland, Donegal, to photograph Mount Errigal.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to plan before going for a landscape shooting trip. So many variables play a role when shooting nature and its beauties, it is really impossible to foresee all of them, but here I managed to get just a couple of them right and that was enough to make my day.

I got this image at the end of November. It had been a very rainy autumn, just perfect to raise the level of the water of the lake to reach those two bushes and give a nice reflection to create a more interesting foreground. Moreover the weather forecast suggested snow overnight and rain in the morning. All I needed to do was to be there before sunrise, equipped to protect my gear and myself from the rain, and hope for the sky to clear up and get my shot.

Location: Lake Delewey, at the bottom of Mount Errigal, Donegal Ireland.

What to shoot: Mount Errigal in the background, remember to look for some bush, log or rocks to enhance your foreground.

Ideal time to shoot: Sunrises and sunsets. A day with no wind is ideal to have flat water and better reflections.

Gear: Wide angle lenses to standard zooms.

Coordinates: 55.021319, -8.149150

The old Pier – Donegal

Rusty pier – Donegal

When it comes to hidden gems hunting, Instagram is a gorgeous resource. I had seen this rusty thing a couple of times on my Instagram feed before deciding it was worth a visit, last winter. It’s amazing how we can be happy with very little when we are behind a lens.

I liked the curvy shape of the old pier, which works well as a leading line, guiding the eye through the image. The solid structure and the rocks did the rest of the job creating a nice contrast with the ocean.

Location: This rusty gem here is in Shrove beach, at the very top-east of Donegal.

What to shoot: The old pier and rocks.

Ideal time to shoot: Sunrises and sunsets offer usually the best light and colours. Also, with a darker sky it is easier to play with long exposures. This place works better at high tides, when the water surface is closer to the pier.

Gear: Wide angle lenses to standard zooms.

Coordinates: N 55° 13′ 35″; W 6° 55′ 42″

Stormy day in Sligo

Mullaghmore during hurricane Ophelia

Windy days are quite common here on the Irish West coast. Even though they usually come with rain showers and a dull cloudy sky, it doesn’t mean that you can’t take your camera out and go for a nice landscape photo session.

In those days my preference goes to seascapes. Breaking waves are a great subject itself and can be combined with the other elements of the image to create different moods.

This time I took advantage of the waves breaking on the shore to add interest to the foreground. I used an exposure time of 30 seconds to give the white water that silky aspects and create a strong contrast with the dark solid rocks which, given the total lack of colours in the sky, is the key element of this composition.

Let me know what you think and what you prefer to photograph in windy, stormy days!


Lough Gill – Sligo

Innisfree Isle – Lough Gill

“I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree”, WB Yeats. The lake isle of Innisfree was one of the favorite places of the Irish poet Yeats. I went there yesterday looking for some “photographic inspiration” and wasn’t disappointed at all!

Location: Innisfree isle, Lough Gill, County Sligo, Ireland.

What to shoot: Lake Gill offers several photographic spots along his shore, including Hazel Wood, Dooney Rock, Doorly Park, and this little jetty in front of the Isle of Innisfree.

Ideal time to shoot: Sunrises and sunsets offer the best light and colours, but I wanted to capture the stillness and the atmosphere of the place after sunset, taking advantage of the blue hour and the calmness before hurricane Ophelia hit Ireland with its wind gusts and rain.

Gear: Wide angle lenses to standard zooms.

How to get there: Leaving Sligo town follow road R287. Just before R287 merges with R290 look for a road sign indicating “Innisfree Isle” and take a sharp left. There is a small car park very close to the jetty.

Coordinates: N 54° 14′ 38.7” W 8° 21′ 12.8”

Path to Pico Ruivo – Madeira

Pico de Arieiro – Madeira

After a short summer break here we are again! I’ve still a couple of gorgeous photographic spots from my last trip to Madeira I want to share before going back to wandering and photographing Ireland!
This is the the path of the beautiful hike from Pico de Areeiro to Pico Ruivo, at about 6000 ft, they are two of the highest and most impressive peaks of Madeira.

Ideal time to shoot: Every time of the day and night. Sunrises and sunsets offer an amazing atmosphere, rich in colours and details. Broad daylight is rarely my favourite but here clouds can play a great role creating interesting skies and surprising light conditions. Night photography is also a possibility.

Gear: Wide angle lenses to standard zooms. At night a very bright wide angle give you the possibility of capturing the starry sky as the light pollution is very limited. I suggest to travel light as the path is uneven with several slopes.

How to get there: There is easy road access to the summit, with a large car park, a restaurant with souvenir shop. and an Air Defence Radar Station. From there follow the path towards Pico Ruivo.

Pico do Arieiro – Madeira

Pico do Arieiro – Madeira

One of the amazing things of Madeira is the variety of scenery it offers. Not only that, also the weather can change a lot from one place to another. So much that should you wake up to a cloudy sky, you can go for a hike to one of the many amazing cliffs, like we did today, and simply leave the clouds below you.

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