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If at first you don’t succeed…

I had attempted to capture Doolough once before and hadn’t been successful. I made a recce of the location in the summer of 2015 and having worked out the direction of the sunrise decided that it needed to be dawn when I returned.

It was January of 2016 when I returned only to find that the sun rose in an awkward position behind a mountain, making for an uneven exposure. I ended up going for an exploratory drive and happening upon something else which I did successfully capture. On my way back I passed by Doolough again, the sun had now risen above the mountain illuminating the scene very nicely. However the resultant shots lacked any sense of drama.

In situations like this I usually put it down to experience, but something about the place wouldn’t let me give up just yet. Since the sun had been problematic the last time I figured I’d remove it from the equation and waited for an overcast day.

So in January of 2017 I set off early from my house in hope and anticipation. I knew that sometimes there are boats moored on the jetty and I was hoping that they weren’t present. I was also hoping that the water level of the lake was favourable (not too low or high). I had no way to check before hand, I just had to hope that I wasn’t driving for 1 and a half hours in the dark for no reason.

Thankfully all the elements were in place when I arrived and I set about getting some long exposures with my new neutral density filter. Because of the time of day and the dull light I was able to get exposures of around 8 minutes. However, I found them to be too long as large parts of the shots were blurred, which I put down to having actually photographed the falling rain in the scene.

In the event I was able to get an exposure of just over 2 minutes at f/8 (pretty much optimal settings for what I was after).

Aasleagh Falls I’d failed to capture more than once in the past (it was probably 2014 when I first visited). Since it’s not very far away from Doolough I thought I’d give it one more try. With the new neutral density filter at my disposal I was finally able to get something that I’m happy with.