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by Andy McInroy
Photograph Of The Month - June 2008

Kinnego Bay, Inishowen, County Donegal

Kinnego Bay
Inishowen, County Donegal

Technical Details
Date/Time: 9.03pm 15th May 2008
Exposure time: 2 seconds
Aperture: F13
Focal Length: 16mm (APS Sensor)
Lens: Pentax 16-45mm DA
Camera: Pentax K10D
Support: Tripod with cable release
Filtration: Lee Neutral Density Graduated
(2 stops, to balance exposure, placed at angle)

Surf, Sand and Shipwrecks

I discovered the spectacular Kinnego Bay shortly after I moved to Ireland eight years ago. Upon seeing it for the first time I instantly knew that my photography was going to take a new turn here. I had seen some wonderful coastline in my native Scotland, but nothing as photographically inspiring as this perfect, deserted strand. I later discovered that this bay even has its very own shipwreck, La Trinidad Valencera, 4th largest ship of the Spanish Armada, which foundered here in 1588.

Although eight years have passed since my first visit, I have struggled to take a single good photograph of the bay itself, despite many visits. The challenge is the north facing aspect and in particular, the shade cast by a large westerly headland. Kinnego Bay never sees the setting sun, even at the height of midsummer.

On a clear May evening I returned to Kinnego again, determined to capture something of the spirit of the place. A sunset was not on the cards, of course, so instead I turned my attention to the east. As the sun dipped below the westerly headland behind me, the strand was cast into shadow. However, I noticed that the easterly headland was still catching the last warm rays of the sun with colours which complimented the cool, shaded tones of the sea in front of me.

I hurriedly setup my tripod close to some wave-worn dykes which extended into the sea. As in many of my photographs, I used a neutral graduated filter to control the brightness difference between the shaded foreground and the bright headland and sky. By using a weak 2 stop version and by arranging it at a 45 degree angle I was able to retain a good amount of detail in the vegetation on the steep hillside. An aperture of f13 was chosen for sufficient depth of field while also allowing a shutter speed sufficiently short to capture the direction of the sea flow.

The lighting was beautiful yet brief. Within 5 minutes the distant headland also fell into shadow and it was time to head home. Another fine day at the beach.

Text and photos © Andy McInroy