I find the sea mesmerizing. Living in Alberta I don’t often get the chance to photograph the sea but I sure have fun when I do. I shot the above image in May when I visited the Dingle Peninsula on the West coast of Ireland. Song of the Mermaid by the Waterboys captures well the feelings I had at the time…
On a day of days
I stood and gazed
Over the western sea
I was completely dazed,
Wide-mouthed and amazed
when a mermaid called to me
Like a man in a dream,
for an age it seemed
I stood as still as a stone
while the mermaid sang
And her melody rang
like a memory calling me home
Then the sea and the wind
and the shores did spin
And though my resistance was strong
all the stars in space
Filled the mermaid’s face
as she captured my will with her song
Somehow I spoke –
the enchantment broke
I rubbed my eyes open wide
like a dream she was gone
All that remained was a song
borne on the ebbing tide
I am a pool in a peaceful place,
I greet the great sky face to face,
I know the stars and the stately moon
And the wind that runs with rippling shoon–
But why does it always bring to me
The far-off, beautiful sound of the sea?
The marsh-grass weaves me a wall of green,
But the wind comes whispering in between,
In the dead of night when the sky is deep
The wind comes waking me out of sleep–
Why does it always bring to me
The far-off, terrible call of the sea?
I walked the rocky beach in the town of Waterville on the Ring of Kerry in Ireland and came across this little scene of a quaint cottage shrouded in the mist on the hillside. Waterville was a favourite holiday spot of Charlie Chaplin and his family.
“The Sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.”
If you have never been to Ireland and don’t know where to begin a tour of the island, I think the Dingle peninsula would be a great place to start. The views around Slea Head, which is a promontory on the westernmost part of the peninsula, are simply breathtaking. The area was the backdrop for such movies as Ryan’s Daughter and Far and Away. On top of stunnning scenery there’s a treasure trove of historical attractions in the area such as beehive huts, the Dunbeg Fort and the Gallarus Oratory. I’ll post images and details about the historical attractions in the weeks ahead.
The image below was shot at Slea Head Beach and pretty much sums up my five day solo trip photograpphing the west and southwest. In the afternoon what the Irish like to refer to as “unsettled” weather moved in. I contemplated giving the evening shoot a miss and just staying it at the B&B but a little voice in my head said, “You’re only here for a few days. Give it a go.” On the drive along the coastal road from Dingle out to Slea Head it rained and rained and since this was Ireland it rained some more. What’s great about the Irish weather, however, is wait ten minutes and it will change. At Slea Head beach, over the span of ten minutes I got to experience heavy rain, light rain, strong winds which created horizontal rain, and it all broke long enough for me to create this image. The next morning, while I was enjoying my full fry Irish breakfast at the B&B, the young son of the owner brought me my toast and looking out the window at the downpour he was about to walk to school in said,”Jeanie Mac tis lashin’.” I thought to myself – indeed it is but give it ten minutes…
I’ve decided to just randomly pick and process images from my recent trip to Ireland. No particular order and no particular preference. Just what moves me at the moment. I still haven’t got the ol’ work computer up and running yet after the hard drive failure so images are being processed on the laptop. Tweaks may have to be done to finalize the images but I thought I would share these rough drafts as I go along.
The shot below had me smiling big time at the end of the night as I packed up and headed back into Dublin. The plan earlier in the evening was to head out into the Wicklow Mountains and maybe capture what looked to be a promising sunset from the Sally Gap. As I drove into the area I decided to stop in at a favourite spot – Glendalough. It’s the site of an early midieval monastic settlement founded in the 6th century. I find it to be a very peaceful place when not inundated with tourists. Just like any popular tourist spot, get there outside of peak hours and the experience is so much better. I got there in the early evening and I had the place to myself. I set up a shot where I had the iconic Glendalough round tower in the background and a celtic cross gravestone in the foreground. I pulled out the Lee Big Stopper and proceeded to shoot the tower and cross scene with the hope of capturing funky cloud streaks. Well… the best-laid plans of mice and men and all that. I shot cloud streak after cloud streak and while I was getting decent images, there was an image which I had in my mind which I just wasn’t getting. The evening was getting old and after a very decent effort I decided to pack it in.
On the way back in to Dublin I decided to take a drive by a spot which I had heard about in photography circles – the Vico Road near Killiney. Dark was settling in and I seriously contemplated just calling it a night and coming back to the spot another day. Something inside me said – no. I was curious and although curiosity killed the cat it got this photographer an image that he likes. As I parked the car all the surfers were getting out of their wet suits on the Vico Road and putting the boards on the roof racks. I grabbed my gear and headed down to the water. In the end I shot 5 shots in roughly 5 minutes and was very happy with the result. Back in Glendalough it was many many shots over many many minutes and I came away less than thrilled with the results. Sometimes the stars align and other times…
One of the best parts of the Vico Road experience was meeting and chatting with a retired gentleman who was down at the water’s edge. He said something which just captured my mood right then and there – “Sometimes I just like to come down to the water in the evening and listen to the tide”. We chatted about photography, Canada, Ireland and then we just listened to the tide…
And yes Edge from U2 has a house just down the street. I wonder if he likes to come down to this spot on an evening and just listen to the tide?