Greig Houghton Photography
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Irish Landscape and Travel Photography Blog

Aashleagh Falls, Co Mayo, Ireland

It has been a busy two weeks with back to back trips to the west coast of Ireland.  First up was a weekend away with my wife to stay in a lighthouse on Clare Island off the coast of County Mayo. Last weekend was Co Kerry for a photography workshop covering part of the Ring of Kerry and the Ring of Dingle.  I am slowly working my through a backlog of post processing from the trips and hope to the Clare Island photos ready to go by next weekend. The above photo was taken on the way home from Clare Island and as I decided to publish it  out of order to allow the photos from Clare Island to be published as a complete body of work.

On the way home for Clare Island we decided to take the slightly longer drive down through the glens and loughs from Loiusburgh to Leenane and then down through Connemara to Galway before heading east.  The R335 from Louisburgh to Leenane is truly spectacular and has to be one of the most scenic drives in Ireland. Leaving Loiusburgh the road steadily becomes more mountainous culminating in a narrow winding drive along the shoreline of of Doo Lough with the slopes of the Mweelrea Mountains, Ben Gorms mountains and Sheeffry Hills  towering above.  Passing through the Doo Lough Gap brings you out into Killary Harbour. The harbour was naturally formed by glacial actions and the road traverses the slopes of the fjord to the head of the harbour at Leenane.  Just before arriving Leeane you pass round a hairpin bend providing views of Aasleagh Falls and the Erriff River at its entry to the harbour.

[map width="600" height="350" lat="53.619665" long=" -9.670512" zoom="11"]

Aashleagh Falls has been on my photographic radar for a years but due to a mix up in my geography I did not expect to be passing by it on the trip home.  However, I recognised the falls immediately on passing it requiring a quick 3 point turn on the road before abandoning the car and my wife for a quick 30 min photo session.  Would have loved to stay longer but was pushing my luck as it was and had to start back to the car.  I quick set up the above composition and once I was happy with it, started to mess around with the exposure time.  I tried a load of different exposure lengths some with the 10 stop ND filter and some without covering a range from 1/5th of a second up to 2 minutes.  In the end, I settled for an exposure of 2.5s using the 10 stop ND, bumping the ISO up to 800 and using an aperture of f/10.  The deciding factor turned out to be the river rather than the falls. At 2.5s, the exposure smoothed out the river, but important kept some of the movement from the white waterfall froth which was being swept downstream.  I felt this added a nice sense of depth to the image adding a sweeping curve for the eye to follow and preventing the photo from becoming too static.

Another location ticked off my Irish landscape bucket list, but I feel I will have to return not for the falls, but for the Doo Lough Gap.