The Reek
The Reek Croagh Patrick Mayo Ireland

It was completely serendipitous me spotting this location. I was on my way to another location and I was running late, which meant that the sun had already risen (usually when I’m making my way to a location it’s dark and I can’t see anything but what’s infront of me), and a temporary traffic light meant I had to stop at a gate, through which I could see a tree on a slope with Croagh Patrick beyond.

Not so long later, during a particularly cold spell, I headed back there for the dawn. The car was reading the outside temperature as -6 degrees, and although I didn’t believe that it was as cold as that I did give myself plenty of time to get there should the roads be slippery. I arrived about 15 minutes before sunrise and had time to pick out the best vantage point, then all I had to do was wait for the sun to rise a bit. I could see that the sun was rising behind a hill that was behind me and to my left, so it was going to take a while to illuminate the scene before me, but I was happy to wait.

After a while I noticed that a layer of frost was forming on my camera bag beside me, and then I noticed that the same was happening to my tripod and camera. A few times I had to rub the screen of my shutter remote release with my gloved finger and wipe the lens with a cloth. A little later I started to become aware of the cold seeping through all my layers of clothing. I was starting to get properly cold but the sun was taking its time.

I jogged to the top of the hill to track the sunlight’s progress and to try and warm up a bit, and could see that the intense yellow light that was landing on the side of Croagh Patrick would eventually be spreading across to where I needed it to be. Back at the camera I stamped my feet and blew on my fingers, pressing the shutter release every now and then and adjusting the settings as the light changed.

Eventually the light crept into the scene enough to get the shot above. I got three more exposures before deciding that I couldn’t stand the cold any longer.