Saint Veronica in the Bog

I've been spending a lot of time in bogs this year. OK... Having read back that opening line, I think I should clarify the kind of bog we're talking about. I don't mean as in 'washroom', as our American friends politely put it. Instead, I'm talking about wetlands, specifically peat bogs, which are an iconic part of the Irish landscape and deeply ingrained in our culture. For centuries, the peat has been dug up and dried to be used as fuel. Our national broadcaster, RTE, is producing a series of television programmes about the country's peat bogs. I'm helping out with aerial photography.

The power of ASIWBG

I'll tell you what, nature has no respect for the strict demands of TV production. I was given a very narrow window of opportunity to get a photograph at Lough Boora in Co. Offaly and the weather forecast for that window was grim. But if there is one thing landscape photographers possess above all else, it's an overdeveloped sense of optimism. Or to use the proper technical nomenclature: "ah-sure-it'll-be-grand" (ASIWBG). I loaded up my truck with my drone, camera gear and all the ASIWBG I could find about the house, and set off. It absolutely hosed down rain most of the way up to Offaly. It only started to ease to a drizzle when I approached the shoot location, about 90 minutes before sunset. The bog looked miserable. My demeanour wasn't much sunnier. Nevertheless, in strict accordance with the rules of ASIWBG, I sent up my drone. I got some perfectly acceptable images. Nice patterns, subtle shades, that sort of thing. Nothing that was going to rock anyone's world on TV, though, so I decided to call it a day.

St Veronica rescues me

St Veronica is the patron saint of photographers. I had to look that up. She must pay a TV licence fee in Ireland because, without warning, the clouds suddenly parted for a few minutes and the bog was lit up by the most gorgeous golden light. I sent the drone up again—and it really was ASIWBG. The series will air later this year and I'll let you know when as soon as the broadcaster locks down the broadcast dates.

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