I wasn’t sure what was going to be at the end of my journey as I drove towards Levally Lough in County Mayo. Firstly I hadn’t visited the location beforehand to check its suitability (I’d just picked a likely spot on Google Street View) and secondly I had no way of knowing what the conditions were going to be like until I got there. A blanket of fog was forecast to cover the entire country, but would it be thick fog or more misty? I planned to capture Nephin Mountain reflected in Levally Lough. If thick fog prevailed then maybe the mountain would be poking out above the fog, which would make for a cool image, except that I’d be standing in the fog myself and would therefore have to be very lucky to get the shot. Plenty of mist is what I was hoping for.
After driving through patches of thick fog I arrived to find no fog on the lake and very little mist. But the little mist present was creating a nice effect at the base of the mountain, so I drove on looking for a suitable spot to set up. The first treeless patch of grass on the bank of the lake had more than one NO TRESSPASSING sign hammered into the ground, which I thought more than a little unsporting. It’s litterally just a patch of grass between the road and the water, of no use to anyone. But then on such little things as these do life long fueds arrise in the countryside. The next treeless patch of grass just a few metres along had a better angle of view and easier parking anyway.
I didn’t have long to wait until the sun rose over the horizon and coloured Nephin a lovely orangey red and as the sun rose it moved the shadow of the horizon further down the slope of the mountain. Once the sun rose to a certain point the show was over so I packed up while a very excited poodle from a nearby cottage barked at me.
I headed north and on passing through a place called Pontoon Bridge spotted a tree in the middle of the water and what must’ve been Nephin again from a different angle. I turned round and parked and went to investigate. On one side of the bridge were steps that led down to the water but the angle was all wrong to get the tree and the mountain into the frame together, but on the other side of the bridge I just happened to notice another path that led off into the undergrowth. This path had obviously not been used for a long time and I had to bodily push my way through the thicket, but I did end up at the vantage point I was hoping for. Although it involved balancing myself, my camera and tripod on some boulders which were slippery from thawing ice. I had to change lenses a few times to get the right focal length and I did everything slowly and deliberately because one wrong turn and my expensive and uninsured camera would be going for a little dip in the lake.
From there I ended up taking a very indirect route home by driving past Easky Lough from the north, but it was worth it to witness the fog lifting from the ground under the sun’s penetrating rays. When I got back to Galway the city was enveloped in thick fog and remained that way for the rest of the day.