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!
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.
The last year has seen significant changes – I’ve moved from the North West of England back to Northern Ireland. The landscape has changed significantly too. I haven’t photographed the wide open spaces of the Sefton coast in over a year, but I’ve revisited many beaches and beauty spots that I haven’t seen in many years. Part of my photographic philosophy is to try and capture the look and feel of a place as we normally see it – that is, not necessarily the spectacular sunset (although if it’s there I’ll capture it), but what we would see on a day trip. What I try to do is capture this in a way that we would be happy to look at time and time again, to hang on a wall, or use as computer wallpaper – something that’s easy on the eye and restful to see. Looking back, there are several images that I’m happy to look at time and time again. I’m going to post some of my favourites here over the next few days – I hope you’ll enjoy them too.
My first trip back to Portrush in a long time came at the end of a day meandering up the north coast from Whitepark Bay to Ballintoy to Dunluce. We got to Portrush towards the end of the day and parked up by the beach with the obligatory bag of chips. East coast sunsets are soft and gentle compared to those on the west coast, but the light over the water was wonderful as we sat and ate. One of my favourite shots of the day was this one. The light was fading – so the people passing in the foreground were blurred – taking the focus off them. The light was gentle and the colours subtle and there was an air of peace about the last gasp of light before the sun set. For me, it reminds me of a moment of peace and beauty in a busy year. That memory is personal, but, I think the image represents that moment of peace at the end of a day, and Portrush is the perfect place to display it.
I know it’s not the end of the year just yet, but before the Christmas images I thought it would be nice to look back. This time last year we were still living in Southport, but already planning for the changes to come. A year on, and I’ve travelled up and down our little province, and sometimes beyond. I’ve visited places that I haven’t visited in decades and I’ve revisited some favourite spots.
One of our new favourite spots is the Ards Peninsula, and Portaferry. During the summer evenings the light there is magical, and the beaches are mostly empty – so please don’t visit, we like them that way! This photo of our trusty little car parked up by the beach sums it up for me – there’s nothing better than travelling the coast of Northern Ireland with a camera to hand and family to share the experience.
The Co. Down coast has always been one of my favourite haunts – the coastline is unspoiled and uncluttered. There are very view visitors to most of the beaches along this stretch of coast, so it’s a simple matter to find space to yourself if that’s what you want.
Driving along from Strangford towards Newcastle we passed Ballyhornan beach. It was almost empty, but not quite, but the other visitors were far enough away to allow everyone their own little stretch of coastline. I like this view over the rocks towards the distant mother and daughter walking the tideline.
Perhaps this photo demonstrates as much as anything a change of direction in my photography. Having moved back to Northern Ireland I’m no longer photographing the North West England coast, but finding familiar sights from long ago, and other places that I’ve never visited before.
On Saturday we took a drive along the Mourne Coast and up through the mountains. We stopped here (wherever here is) to capture the road winding towards the mountains. I’m just beginning so many journeys (or perhaps recommencing some), but at least I know that the road is worth travelling.
Down by the Marine Lake in Southport the Victorian shelters have been given a lick of paint. Unfortunately the budget didn’t extend to repainting the railings too, so there’s a mixture of old and new colour schemes.
One of the things that I look out for as I drive along the Southport coast road is an overcast sky. I know that beach goers tend to prefer sunshine, but my favourite images always include a cloudy sky. The darker sky allows the image to balance much more naturally, and even in daylight the result is pleasingly soft.
This is just a simple image with my usual components: marram in the foreground, sand, sea and sky beyond, each element drawing the eye further into the picture. Simple, but deliberately so.