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by Andy McInroy

Print Of The Month - November 2006

Landscape Photograph
October Flow
The Giant's Causeway, County Antrim

Technical Details
Exposure time: 1/3rd second
Aperture: f22
Focal Length: 14mm (APS sensor)
Lens: Pentax 14mm DA
Filtration: 2 stop neutral density graduate over sky

The Giant's Causeway on the north Antrim coast has been described as the 8th wonder of the world. It is certainly a marvel of nature and is probably Northern Ireland's most visited tourist attraction. It is hard to gaze upon these neat hexagonal packed blocks without imagining that some higher power has carefully crafted them. Local legend tells how the Causeway was built by a great giant called "Finn MaCool" and once stretched all the way to Scotland. It is probably more scientific to note that the 40,000 odd hexagonal blocks were created by the cooling of hot lava under stress millions of years ago, but I personally like the legend better !

I have perhaps visited the Giant's Causeway a dozen times, but have never felt that I have done this amazing location justice. And so, one evening in late October, with the forecast set good, I made one final attempt of the year. My main concern was that the sun was now swinging round to set towards the south west and that the headland to the west would shadow the causeway from the setting sun. As it turned out, I made it in the nick of time with the sun setting just to the right of the headland. A week later and it would all have been off.

This image was taken on a 14mm prime lens which gives a wide angle of view of about 90 degrees. Like so many of my photographs, a filter with neutral graduation was held over the sky to balance the exposure. By stopping down the aperture to f22 I was able to achieve an exposure time of 1/3rd of a second, just short enough to keep some definition in the waves. A tripod was used, as always, to keep everything pin sharp.

So finally I feel that I have done the Giant's Causeway justice. It is a truly magical place, especially when the sun sets low and the tourists have all retired to the pub. To see it in the cold light of day along with a few hundred other visitors is missing out on the true atmosphere of the Causeway. Go for the sunset and if you are lucky you might just get to see the great Finn Macool on the headland looking out over his creation.

Text and photos © Andy McInroy