Greig Houghton Photography
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Irish Landscape and Travel Photography Blog

Old Kilcullen Round Tower, Co Kildare.

An artist's duty is rather to stay open-minded and in a state where he can receive information and inspiration. You always have to be ready for that little artistic Epiphany. " Nick Cave

Old Kilcullen Round Tower is one of my local sites which I have photographed a few times now.  The site itself is quite tricky. The Round Tower faces the wrong way to capture a good sunrise, but is situated just below a ridge on a local high spot so is not ideal for sunset either.  The graveyard is mainly old gravestones and a high cross but a few more modern gravestones are located sporadically throughout so careful composition is required to hide these in the scene.  Due to these limitations I quickly became bored of shooting at this location.

At a recent South Kildare Photo Club meeting one of our members Sean Dunne, who is fantastic landscape photographer, was presenting his portfolio of work to the club with some stories about the photos along with some hints and tips.  One of his photos was sunrise on a cold and frosty morning at Old Kilcullen.   I was taken with the great colours from the sunrise combined with the atmosphere of the frosty graveyard, but in particular the low lying lands of Kildare against the Wicklow Mountains in the background.  I was immediately motivated to shoot at the site again to try and improve on what I had already captured there.

The following Saturday I decided to give it a go and the photo must have rubbed off on a number of the members and two other friends from the club also appeared that morning.  This was especially useful as it allowed me to compare my photos against those shot in the same conditions.  Kenneth's photo of the cross is on flickr -  I love the angle of the cross and how Ken filled the frame with the cross.

We treated to a great sunrise, but I feel there is still more to get from this location.  I think my composition is too low resulting in cutting out a lot of the middle ground between the graveyard and the Wicklow mountains.  This effect is exaggerated  by the wide angle.  I already have the recipe for my next shoot in my head.  Shoot higher with a longer lens to compress the background and middle ground.  With a some low lying mist in the valley I think this could be quite effective.   My favourite shot is the third photo with the long exposure.  The photo is split toned with a blue in the shadows and a sepia colour in the highlights.