Greig Houghton Photography
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Coastal Visions Workshop - Pt 1

The week after I had been to Clare Island I was back on the road again but this time to the south west of Ireland to the Ring of Kerry.  The purpose of this trip was to attend the inaugural Coastal Visions workshop being hosted by Rohan Reilly and Athena Carney.  The two day landscape workshop would feature the best landscapes that Co Kerry had to offer with a particular emphasis on long exposure photography.  I knew both photographers from the photography community on Google+ and was impressed with their work. Therefore, the chance to shoot and learn with them in combination with the opportunity to experience some of the best landscapes Ireland has to offer was too much to resist.  The workshop was due to kick-off proper on the Saturday at sunrise, but as everyone was arriving down the night before, a pre-shoot was held on Friday.

I arrived after lunch and arranged to meet the group at Waterville Beach.  The B&B owner where we were staying is also a local press photographer and had suggested checking out a little known wreck on the beach at Waterville.  We decided to take a chance on the wreck as we had plenty time before we needed to head to the sunset shoot location, but sadly when we discovered the wreck near the mouth of the river beach, the power of the sea had shifted the sand and the wreck was barely visible.  Still nothing gained, nothing lost so we headed back to move on to the actual location for the evening shoot.  The beach fronts the local links golf course and on the way along I had noticed some white fencing which had been erected to help stabilise the dunes. The curved shapes and strong vertical lines contrasted well with the dune grass combined with the blue skies and puffy white clouds above. I had to stop on the way back to capture a quick shot.

Next was a short spin along the Ring of Kerry up and through the Coomakista pass to Bunavalla. The road steadily climbs up and along the slopes of Farraniaragh mountain before passing through the gap between Farraniaragh and Beenarourke, the vista opening up to reveal the blue water of Derynane Bay dotted with the islands of Scarrif, Deenish and Abbey Island framed with the distant Beara peninsula. Our destination was the shoreline 200m below and we quickly turned off the main road to negotiate a series of hairpin bends on an ever narrowing road to arrive at the Bunavalla lobster ponds.

The short walk revealed a small steep sided inlet from the sea with a man made intervention.  Half way along the inlet stood an empty door frame and wall, holding back the sea to create a man made pool. The group speculated as to the purpose of the pool with the majority of us guessing it as some sort of holding pool, but none of us got it exactly right.  A bit of research when I got home identified it as part of the nearby lobster factory where we parked and as such this was one of the original but now abandoned pools for holding lobster.  The pool was only partially full at the time so we clambered up onto the rocks to set-up for sunrise and await for the pool to fill with the incoming tide.

The feature shot at the top of this post captures the sun before it dips below the horizon.  A 60s exposures smooths the sea and generates movement in the cloud, helping to reinforce the orange hues of the setting sun to the right of the islands of Scariff and Deenish.  The light and colour was disappearing fast but I scrambled back down the rocks with Rohan to the  lobster pond.  I positioned myself in the empty doorway to capture the light which was just penetrating the steep sided inlet.  I moved around a little more before returning to the pond.  The very last piece of twilight before the night set in proper captured the mysterious door in silhouette with its reflection in the pool beneath.

 
 

A great beginning to the workshop and the workshop proper hadn't even started!