A Sliver of Sand and Sea

A sliver of sand and sea at Southport, UK

For anyone who follows this blog this image will be no surprise. I’m constantly looking for the archetypal unfocal image, one that doesn’t draw the eye to a particular spot, but is restful to look at and enduring in its appeal. When the light is right, the light is all you need. In this case the sliver of sand and sea give sufficient context to take the image out of the abstract while still being soft and unfocal.

Donegal Donkeys

Donegal Donkeys

The Donegal coast of Ireland really is a must see. From Malin Head to Fanad Lighthouse to Downings and the Atlantic Drive, and on round to Portnblagh the views are to die for, whether it’s sunny or shady. My personal favourite is the Atlantic Drive starting from Downings. Round every turn of the road another vista opens itself up to the eye. The northern light casts a beauty that envelops beaches, houses, roads with a quality that is hard to capture. You’ve got to be there!

But if you can’t, a photograph catches something of that light, of that beauty, of that atmosphere. One of my favourites from our road trip is this image of a couple of donkeys that came to say hello as we stopped to admire the view.

Snow Capped Mourne Mountains

Snow

One of my favourite things to see on the coast is marram grass. The North West coast of England is suffused with sand dunes and marram – that’s where the name of my photography business came from. It’s not so common on this side of the Irish Sea, but on a visit to Murlough Bay a few weeks ago I was delighted not only to find acres of marram and gorse, but also to see that the Mourne Mountains still had a dusting of snow on top. Put two of my favourite things to photograph together and you get a wonderful combination of foreground and background, with just a hint of sea in the middle.

If you would like to own a print for yourself please do drop me a line. I can supply framed or unframed. The following print fit very nicely into IKEA’s simple black frames if you’d like to do it yourself. Prices are £55 for 30cm x 22cm, £75 for 40cm x 30cm, both prices are plus delivery. Other sizes are available, please get in touch to enquire.

Words and Pictures

Mournes from Murlough
Mournes from Murlough

There was a comment made on Twitter a few days ago in response to the wonderful Secret Britain TV programme on our wee country. The comment was that we need to market ourselves better – a comment with which I wholeheartedly agree. Since coming back this side of the Irish Sea I’ve been surprised by how underdeveloped the tourism industry is. In comparison, one of our favourite spots in the Lake District is Tarn Hows – it’s miles from anywhere, up at the top of a mountain (as Tarns, by definition are), and yet there is still a car park and ‘facilities’. Every village and coastal town worth visiting in England has coffee shops and parking and facilities. Often you have to pay for parking, but the ability to travel knowing you have somewhere to park and somewhere to eat makes it worthwhile.

What is at the same time the beauty of and the frustration of Northern Ireland’s many wonderful locations is that we don’t do tourism very well. I love the fact that I can visit an unspoilt cover, or a huge beach (such as Murlough above) and not have to pay for parking or be overwhelmed by other tourists. I hate the fact that large areas are inaccessible (how much of Lough Neagh can you get to?) and most are underdeveloped.

As an avid consumer of our coast and countryside I would love to see it consumed my more of our local population and visited by more UK visitors as well as those from beyond our isles. What would be nicer than to have car parks with cafes and helpful staff at all our major attractions?

But before we get to that we need to let people know what we have got! We live in one of the most beautiful parts of the British Isles, but we don’t let people know. I for one believe that in this case at least, pictures speak louder than words. So, the picture above is just another encouragement to discover Northern Ireland for yourself.

Fine Art Photo Prints

Minimal Lough Neagh

I’ve now finally bitten the bullet and purchased a larger format printer that will allow me to print 40cm x 30cm images from my home studio. These fit very nicely into standard frames from the likes of IKEA, or can be framed by me for delivery as a package.

If you’re interested in purchasing any of the images on this web site, or that you see on Twitter, please just get in touch.

** For a limited time only you can purchase a 40cm x 30cm framed print for £75 plus delivery at cost **

40cm x 30cm  unframed prints are £75 plus delivery

30cm x 21cm  unframed prints are £55 plus delivery

Both the above fit standard IKEA frames – for other frame sizes please drop me a line.

Scrabo Sunset over Strangford Lough

Strangford Lough Sunset
Strangford Lough Sunset

One of the very first paintings to ever make an impression on me was JMW Turner’s ‘The Fighting Temeraire‘ – It’s not a finely detailed picture, but the impression of sun and sea and smoke is all the more powerful because it is the colour, not the detail that makes the image. Once in a while you come across the real thing: a Turneresque sunset, and once in a blue moon you come across it with a camera to hand and the time to stop and snap.

So, this little snap is posted in homage to JMW’s glorious artistic interpretation of sunset over water!

Viewing the Storm at Lough Shore

Binocular View.jpg

After the deluge that has been the last few days it was nice to have a dry but cold day on Sunday. It was busy out – everyone had the same idea – go and take a walk while the going is good! We drove out to Lough Shore Park in Antrim to get a breath of fresh air – it was more than a breath! The water was high and the wind was higher! The waves were crashing against the wall and spraying up over anyone foolish enough to go close.

For the bevy of photographers clustered around the edge of the water it was a matter of constantly drying filters to get the shot. Snap, turn, wipe, wait, turn and repeat… but the shots were worth it!

Craggy Coastal

Ballyholme
Ballyholme

One of the things that I love about the Northern Ireland coast is the rocky outcrops that often appear. Of course, the Giant’s Causeway is the most famous ‘rocky outcrop’, but I love the small craggy coves that are so frequently seen, particularly along the Co. Down coast.

This photo was taken just between Bangor and Ballyholme.