Greig Houghton Photography
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Irish Landscape and Travel Photography Blog

Oughterard Round Tower and Cemetery

Oughterard Round Tower and Cemetery is located to the west of Kill in County Kildare.  The tower is situated on a hilltop site overlooking the neighbouring low lying lands and is contained within a high walled cemetery with a ruined church.  The site dates to the back to the 6th century as a monastery although there is no written record of the round tower until 1792.  The ruined medieval parish church sits in the centre of the cemetery which features undulating terrain and graves from the earlier 1700 up to modern times.  In shooting in places like this you have be sensitive as although eager as we are to get the shot, we need to be mindful to be respectful and not go trampling over the graves, pitching our tripods on grave sites etc etc. Sure this might mean having to comprise on composition, but we all need a code of ethics to live by.

On this visit I struggled with my aim of getting a shot of the tower.  I really wanted a Gothic feel to the photo was was desperately trying to avoid any modern elements in the photo.Unfortunately, there are two modern stones propped up against the tower with a few additional stones in the vicinity of the base.   I tried to get a shot from all sides shooting narrow and wide, portrait and landscape, close up and further way but didn't get anything I was happy with.  In the end, I decided to shoot for the details and in particular one high cross (celtic cross) which captured my eye. Waiting for the sun to go down, I had plenty of time to explore the rest of the site including the ruined church.

The barrel vaulted ceiling building contained a large flat tabletop stone which was illuminated by the light from the nearby window.  I decided to shoot this from both the door side and window side using multiple bracketed exposures to capture the large dynamic range.  The multiple exposures were then tone mapped in Photomatix Pro and finished in Lightroom.  I think the shot from the window looking back towards  the door is more effective.

Although I struggled a bit with this site I think I will return here.  There is a small copse of trees on approach to the site from which the tower is visible.  I think there may be potential in capturing an angle of the tower from this location.