We don't get much in the way of thunderstorms in Ireland, and when one does arrive it's usually pretty mild. On this evening, however, I experienced a storm that seemed stronger than anything I'd encountered while living for 10 years in the American mid-west.
Once things calmed down enough to permit photography, I grabbed the camera and this is the result. I love the dark tones and the way the lightning has lit the underside of the clouds.
Cúm na Léime (The Valley of the Leap) is a beautiful isolated valley near Bantry in Cork. The name derives from the local legend of a priest who made a miraculous nine-mile leap to escape pursuing soldiers from the ridge at the head of the valley. That ridge is known as the Priest's Leap (Léim an tSagairt).
This photograph looks north from the eastern side of the glen towards Léim an tSagairt, which is wreathed in mist. A rapidly changing morning, as I drove up the narrow road it looked like the mist might not clear at all, but clear it did and this is the result.
The sun rises through the tunnel that passes entirely through the Bull rock. This only happens a few days a year, near the summer solstice. The lighthouse perches above as gannets from the colony on the rock wheel around the clear sky.
Just after sunrise the eastern face of the Bull Rock is lit by the morning light. In this image the lighthouse and associated buildings can be seen, including the steps down to the landing, and the helipad. The unique gasworks building which was constructed right against the eastern cliff can also be made out, just above the natural tunnel that bores through the island.
One thing that's difficult for photographs to capture is the impression of height. I feel this image, made from the lower balcony of the Fastnet lighthouse, succeeds in conveying that sense of vertigo. Looking down 140 feet to the seething waters below gives a real sense of the accomplishment of the builders who finished this structure in 1904.
Since my first visit to Cork as a photographer some years ago, I've had it in mind to photograph Toe Head, an imposing headland to the west of Galley Head on the south coast of Cork.
I hadn't found a vantage point I was happy with on the few occasions I'd been around when good light was threatening. However, serendipity paid a visit when I was out with Roger Overall, a commercial photographer and friend of mine.
We met up, I stabbed my finger at a spot on the OS map that looked promising and we arrived at the location in this photograph.
Made looking to the west as the sun was getting low in the sky, it shows the headland's most imposing aspect with the rocks in the foreground leading the viewer up to it.
Made using a filter which forces a long exposure, the water and waves take on a misty character which adds to the character of the scene.
The expanding gannet colony on the Bull Rock can be clearly seen here as the white area occupying nearly the entire southern side of the rock. The white dots around the island are the birds themselves.