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by Andy McInroy
Print Of The Month - March 2007
Landscape Photograph

Muckish Reflection
View from Downings, County Donegal

Technical Details
Date/Time: 17th February 2007, 5.31pm
Exposure time: 2 seconds
Aperture: F22
Focal Length: 16mm (APS Sensor)
Lens: Pentax 16-45mm DA
Camera: Pentax K10D
Filtration: 2 Stop neutral graduate (to balance exposure)
3 stop neutral density (to lengthen exposure)


The photo below shows the effect of leaving the 3 stop neutral density filter off the camera. Note how the waves are more sharply defined, a result of the shorter exposure. In the end, this was not the effect I wanted. My aim was to create a soft image with as little foreground distraction as possible to focus attention on the sharp outline of Muckish mountain.

Landscape Photograph

Downings is a popular seaside village on the Rosguill peninsula of County Donegal. The peninsula is connected to the mainland through a series of sandy dunes which are now the home of the Rosepenna links golf course. The famous Atlantic Drive takes in the north end of the peninsula with some spectacular views, particularly down onto Tra Na Rosann Strand.

I decided to visit Downings after seeing some wonderful views of Muckish mountain taken across Sheep Haven Bay. The tail end of the winter season seemed the ideal time to visit to catch the southwestern sunset over Muckish mountain.

When I arrived at Downings Strand I found myself a little disappointed. The strand itself isn't particularly attractive by Donegal standards and is backed by a caravan site and building development. The beach is also quite featureless with very little in the way of rocks or interesting foreground. To make matters worse, the weather was so good that the sky was just a swathe of blue, not much good for photography.

But as the sun began to dip down to the horizon, some welcome cloud rolled in from the right of the frame and the setting sun lit the clouds from below. I then noticed the symmetry of the reflection that appeared in front of me at the waters edge. By using the clouds and their reflection as a frame I was able to focus attention on Muckish mountain in the background. A long exposure has added some softness to the image to make the mountain outline stand out even more strongly.


And no sooner had everything come together and it was gone. Such is the Irish weather. The rain started and so did my dash for the car.

Text and photos © Andy McInroy