The Mourne Mountains in Co. Down, Northern Ireland do indeed sweep down to the sea, just as the song rehearses, but for those who live to the north of them, they are invariably in shadow. The result is often just a looming darkness beyond Newcastle, but, on the right occasion the shadows lend something to the whole. On an unseasonably warm September day I found myself at Murlough Bay, watching the swimmers (yes!), and seeing the blue tinged Mournes beyond.
It’s probably quite obvious from looking at my images, but I do prefer a pale palette, even when the weather is overcast. One of my favourite locations is set on a drumlin island on the inner shore of Strangford Lough. This image is from Nendrum, on Mahee Island. It’s the remains of the buildings used at one time by a monastic community, and it’s been a go to for me for more years than I care to remember.
One of the things that I try to do with my landscapes is to reduce the image to a minimal set of components – sky, sea, land. Sometimes I go to great lengths to hide the clutter that surrounds most of our beautiful views. It seems a rather logical progression from that to attempt to produce that minimal set of elements in a graphical way – essentially only placing into the image that which is a strong self contained element. Here’s an image that I produced from a ‘drive by’ photo of Rathlin Island, off the coast of Northern Ireland. I hope you like it 🙂
Sometimes less is definitely more. This shot was taken from a boat off the Ballycastle coast.
There’s something about cities – the buzz, the people, the multiplicity of styles and cultures. There’s a little bit of everything. It’s often difficult to encapsulate this into an instant, to take a slice of that life and freeze frame it, but street photography tries to do just that. It’s a difficult thing to undertake these days when no-one wants their picture taken, but the results, when done right, are just that: a slice of city life.
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.
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.
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.
** 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.
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.