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.
In these staycation days more and more holidaymakers are rediscovering the fun of the Great British Seaside resort. It’s true that many of these are a little shabby and down at heel in places, but they are also iconic features of the the British coast, and still have beautiful beaches and stunning views. Even the weather worn buildings lend a certain charm. I confess that I prefer cloudy skies to bright blue expanses – it just adds to the atmosphere (literally too).
This photo was taken when I had a few days in Weymouth, Dorset, on the South Coast of England. The beach was sandy and smooth, the bay was calm enough for pedalos, and there was coffee on the beach – what more could you ask for?
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.
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 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.
We went for a walk down on the beach last night. The beach, as usual was a mess, more mud than sand, not really pleasant. Also, as usual, the pier was locked long before sunset so I resorted to the usual method of sticking the lens between the bars of the gates. This was a multiple exposure combined to show the foreground detail while keeping the colour in the sky.
At certain times of the year, the sun sets directly behind the end of the Pier in Southport. Sometimes the sky is dramatic, often it can be cloudless and flat. Occasionally the colours are rich and warm (this shot did receive a little help in that direction in post processing).
Timing it right I caught the last gasp of sunlight before it sank below the pier railings. I hope you enjoy the shot!
It’s sometimes possible when editing photos on a computer to look too much at the histogram and not at the actual image. We can focus on highlights and blacks, and on getting a good spread of tones, which is all rather academic. What you really need to do is concentrate on the final image and how you see it. I loved the soft tones of the RAW image for this shot and decided to try and enhance the gentle tones and light…