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Montenegro

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Montenegro

The Adriatic sits as the serene gateway between Central Europe and the westerly fringes of the Balkan Peninsula, hosting some of the most stunning coastlines and countries steeped in history. Having travelled these region on numerous occasions I have always been fascinated with its maritime affiliation intertwined with a slower pace of life, all while being set amongst some of the most stunning landscapes in Europe. This time I managed to travel to something that’s been on my landscape bucket list for a long time, Montenegro.

Starting in the Northern part of the country, after a steady 3 hour windy drive from the Bay of Kotor, the stunning surroundings of Durmitor National Park rises towards you as you near. Encompassing the Dinaric Alps and hosting the country’s famous Black Lake, it is home to wild bears and wolves, this UNESCO world heritage centre provides some incredible landscapes to explore. My only regret was not organising to stay even longer than the time I had there, but I have every intention to return in the future.

Having visited the country in October, the indigenous pine laden northern landscapes were dotted with splashes of iconic autumnal hues of yellows and reds. The drive to this region from the south west is breathtaking and the serpentine roads through the mountains, particularly at autumn are something to be admired.

River Tara Canyon, the deepest canyon in Europe and the 2nd deepest in the world.

Overlooking the Tara River Canyon, one can really appreciate the serenity of this region of the less famous Dinaric Alps. Open to kayaking and zip lining or quiet get away, it is truly beautiful

One of the most immediate draws I had to Montenegro was my discovery of the Bay of Kotor. This incredible fjord region on the west coast of the country draws every visitor in to it’s incredible surroundings dotted with small villages all around it’s meandering bay.

Featuring Old Towns, chapels, man made islands and stunning mountainous views, this region was one of my favourites during my time here. Particularly relaxing was the numerous waterside restaurants where one could get a breakfast omelette and an espresso for around €5!

Misty Mountains in the Bay of Kotor

One small village on the fjord’s coastline is Perast. This beautifully peaceful area hosts a small road that runs alongside the shoreline with numerous eateries spaced among little docks, all built in the traditional sandstone architectural form that is so iconic in the Adriatic region.

One of Bay of Kotor’s most iconic sights is the manmade island of Our Lady of the Rocks whose foundations are made from a mixture of generic rock coupled with old and seized ships that were also loaded with rock.

The Adriatic coastline never fails to impress, regardless of which international border it laps against. Budva being the most famous of Montenegro’s coastal towns, it is home to a stunning Old Town, with narrow cobblestone lanes that open into a variety of beautiful plazas featuring plenty of al fresco dining options.

Within viewing distance from the old town and available for excursions, is the small island of Sveti Nikola, set amongst the crystal clear waters of the Adriatic.

Other small fishing and elite establishments could be found in the sleepy village of Petrovac or the more northerly and famous private resort of Sveti Stefan.

Despite the country's miniature size and situated next to its more popular neighbour Croatia, Montenegro manages to feature an incredible range of landscapes and I hope to return again to the northern region of the country to explore the Dinaric Alps even further.

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Drone Photography

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Drone Photography

Over the past few months I have been trying a new perspective within my landscapes by using a drone and have been rewarded with some stunning views.

Circling around the cliffs at the lighthouse on Clare Island and flying over the quay gave an amazing new perspective to something I have always enjoyed from ground level since childhood.

I brought it with me on my most recent trip to California and travelling with the drone was pretty easy as it fits easily inside my ThinkTank HeliPack and is perfect size for overhead cabin baggage. As it is backpack style I've found it easy to carry the vast majority of my camera equipment including all the additional batteries etc

What I love most is the fact that you can capture stunning landscape vistas to very minimalist style images such as the arc of this beach below on Clare Island.

This final shot was a composite panoramic image over the surrounding mountains of Lake Tahoe, offering breathtaking views.

If you'd love to introduce this new perspective to your wedding or portrait session, contact me here. Let me know what you think in the comments below!

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California

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California

During February and early March I took a trip to the west coast of California for two weeks visiting the beautiful San Diego and Lake Tahoe. Both areas offer a varied beauty in their ideal conditions, long soft sunsets of the coastline and crisp blues and whites of the snowy mountains. 

The California coastline offers stunning slow sunsets that offer a beautiful kind of light, no wonder why it's a haven for the epitome of summer imagery.

Kathryn

My trip took me from the beautiful Sunset Cliffs up to the gorgeous La Jolla and Torrey Pines National Park.

I followed up the coastline by snowboarding out in Lake Tahoe, an absolutely stunning location even if you were to just take in the breath-taking views.

One of my new favourite landscape images, below, this panorama of the mountainous landscape north of Lake Tahoe itself captured during the crisp sunset via drone looks absolutely stunning on Hahnemuhle Photo Rag Pearl.

Getting to catch up with friends and family after so many years on this trip, California was more than just an opportunity to photograph some of the states beauty and I hope to return here for more portrait and landscape work.

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Dubrovnik

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Dubrovnik

In the middle of May I decided to be about as nearly spontaneous as you can get and get a last minute flight to Dubrovnik without arriving at the airport and going there and then. I booked tickets on a Monday morning and left Wednesday night to fly out to somewhere I have wanted to visit for many years for one week to get a glimpse of this pearl on the Adriatic. 

The entire coastline glows beautiful colours each evening as scenic sights of yachts and galleons dot the horizon, while visitors can catch the sun setting with a glass of wine in hand on a little secluded rocky patch.

Most of my time was spent in the Lapad region of the city. It hosts a beautiful beach and coastal walk with various man-made jetties that you can relax on, and some include handy steps out of the water back to the rocks. The water was a beautiful azure colour and a reasonable 20 C for the end of May.

Dubrovnik hosts some beautiful architecture, with much of it embracing the renaissance period. The extensive use of sandstone really compliments the slightly arid land it sits amongst, while emphasising the soft glow of a sunset more so than other stonework.

Being a coastal city, Dubrovnik has it's fair share of marine vessels, the vast majority of which are as beautiful as the surroundings they sail within. From small fishing boats to large pleasure yachts and the odd galleon, there were plenty of beautiful marine craft to enjoy around the marina and local beaches.

Many evenings were spent within the walls of the old city. The atmosphere here is full of subtle vibrance around dinner time with plenty of live music, much of it instrumental, complimenting diners as they sample the wide variety of Mediterranean dishes. The architecture here is absolutely stunning and the city's relaxed pace is reflected in its visitors as they meander down side streets and discover unique ice cream stalls or street music.

One week was far too short to really take in all of what Dubrovnik has to offer. The weather was perfect for the time of year and the level of tourists was very manageable considering the city's popularity. Friends of mine were attending a mutual friend's wedding during my visit and it would be incredibly hard to beat the incredible scenery and relaxed atmosphere for anyone considering a destination wedding. 

Next time I hope to visit some of the other beautiful areas of Croatia including the stunning Split and the incredible arena in Pula. I hope that these images inspire you to visit and maybe even do so spontaneously!

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Road Trip

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Road Trip

During early February, I had an old friend visit me from the states after his 3 week gruelling cycling tour from Malin Head in Donegal to Mizen Head in Cork. As his route never managed to successfully see any more of Kerry than some of Killarney National Park, he managed to ditch the bike for a few days and head out with me on a road trip around the ring of Kerry.

First stop was Torc Waterfall and the surrounding woodlands which offer a great view out over Killarney National Park. With the weather so frequently changeable in Ireland, bright blue skies change to misty bands of rain in a matter of minutes.

The best and worst thing about the Ring of Kerry is the amazing scenery all along the coast line, stunning to look at, but you'll find yourself pulling over every 5 minutes!

We managed to take a little stop at Derrynane Beach and as it was really windy and cloudy, the sky was changing at a great rate which opened up into some beautiful sunset light.

Back when I was in college, I hadn't realised that I shared classes with another islander until my final year. Brian was from Valencia Island and towards the end of college we built up a friendly rivalry. We decided to head out to Valencia as he gave us some recommended viewpoints since he couldn't be there personally to show us. The island is connected via bridge (so, not a real island 😜) but we took a short hike around some of the coastline to some spectacular views.

The views back towards the mainland are stunning. With sea spray and high winds adding a magical atmosphere to the headland.

Having gained further international attention from a certain space themed film, we managed to finally see the Skellig Islands. The UNESCO world heritage site is clearly visible from Valencia and with the weather changing again quickly, a big band of cloud would rise over them.

We continued on towards Rossbeigh Beach. Another beautiful spot on the northern coastline of the Ring of Kerry.

Our final stint back to Cork led us through the Gap of Dunloe. Being from an island, I am used to it being fairly remote and undeveloped, with all the ruggedness that the wild Atlantic Ocean throws at it. However, venturing through the Gap of Dunloe makes one feel like they have stepped back in time into an ancient land  from mythological tales. I genuinely wouldn't have been surprised if a leprechaun jumped out behind a rock! 

The road trip was a great excuse to see another part of the country that I had only seen a snippet of, despite going to college in Kerry for 4 years! I have recently been working on a film out in Allihies which lies on the Ring of Beara, and although I didn't have my camera with me, I will have to take a separate road trip out that way. From what I saw while working around that region for the week, I might even say it's more stunning than Kerry...hard to believe!

Here's to more good memories, Brett. We'll do it again in the future. 👊

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Night Lights

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Night Lights

On a recent visit home to Clare Island after a long stretch away, I finally got some time to put together new Astrophotography landscapes. Below, you can see the road to the north of the island facing towards Achill Sound with the bright light being the lighthouse on the most northern point on the island. The second faces out towards Croagh Patrick worth the lights of Westport and Louisburgh shining either side of this famous mountain.

I'm very lucky to be from a place with little to no light pollution, so getting the opportunity to photograph the stars comes only as often as the Irish weather allows!
I had been out photographing some of the landscape in the late afternoon but decided to stay out once the sun had set. After a beautiful mild Saturday, the evening stayed the same and with a clear night ahead with a new moon, it was the perfect chance to capture the stars.

Clare Island Lighthouse

The image above shows the lighthouse on the island beneath crystal clear skies. These few images below manage to capture both Knockmore (the island's locally known, big hill) and Orion's belt. It's strange to see the transition of colour even after the sun had set, from the blue hues of the lighthouse skies to the shades of indigo as the night sky darkens even further. We can be really lucky in the west of Ireland to see the stars so clearly, you've just got to pray to the weather God's to capture those beautiful sights!

If you liked these, you can find more images throughout my site featuring other landscape work.

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Sunrise, Sunset

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Sunrise, Sunset

I have been pretty busy all over October, which has explained the fairly quiet activity I have had on my journal. Part of this was due to my involvement in the Clare Island Film Festival held over the 3rd - 5th October this year. Being part of the committee luckily gave me the chance to travel home and produce the event with the other committee members, as well as watch a great selection of up and coming Irish film. This year was the 2nd rendition and we were delighted that our turnout was double that of the first year. As part of the festival, we held a small photographic exhibition with the theme of "The West". This gave everyone the opportunity to showcase some of their photographic talents and I put a few of my own prints on display.


We received excellent feedback from some of the directors that attended and unfortunately for the weather affecting the boat times on the final day, the event was very successful. You can check out more details at the  which has more up to date information.

While at home, I took the opportunity to get out and capture more landscapes that I had not got around to for a while. A part of the island that I have not showcased in my work, were the cliffs by the lighthouse. No matter how many times I have been to this point of the island in my life, it always makes for a refreshing mini venture to absorb the breathtaking views of Achill and beyond. The lighthouse on Clare Island sits 300ft above the atlantic ocean with the waves crashing below. Recently renovated, it is now a private guesthouse that caters to those looking for a unique retreat, right on the edge of Western Europe. It is an incredible place to stay and those who book rooms are rewarded with amazing views. You can find out more here

I have always wanted to capture a sunrise rolling over the shoulder of Croagh Patrick, and thankfully I managed to grab this one below after numerous attempts. An icy cold October morning and getting up at 6am to make sure I was positioned in the right place, meant that I was rewarded with the warm colours making a silhouette of Ireland's holy mountain.

The final image below shows a tighter shot of Knockmore and Budawanny as warm sunlight sets over the mountain as it fades over the atlantic. For anyone taking a trip to the island, it is worth the scenic walk to take in the view and hear the ocean crash below. 

Most of these landscapes are now available to purchase in the store. As with any of my other work, if there is something you are interested in buying a copy of, please contact me here.

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Brides in the Forest

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Brides in the Forest

A few weeks ago, a few friends and I took a trip out to Gouganne Barra to take a look at this beautiful forest park, located in west Cork. We had planned to return there again with models to shoot some bridal environmental portraits, and only recently got the chance to do so. With us, we had three models; Cornelia, Eshana & Paulina, and a team of lovely individuals that helped ferry us around, hold reflectors and touch up hair and make up! We were lucky enough to have been given a selection of vintage style wedding dresses that we wanted to photograph in a beautiful location, and where better than Gougane Barra.

We were also accompanied by the incredibly well dressed Barney, a Jack Russell/Chihuahua breed who garnered all the attention of the photo shoot for the whole day. And who can blame them, he had his bow tie half undone as if he was ready to dance the night away at the reception! We wondered around numerous locations within the central part of the park and also shot around the tried and tested St Finbarr's Oratory.

The park offers so many beautiful secluded spots, that it is easy to take the time away to have photographs taken in a relaxed atmosphere. Some of my favourite images are below, particularly this black & white image of Cornelia as she dips her toes in the waters of the lake.

If you are interested in shooting wedding images or even engagement images similar to these, contact me to find out more as this truly is an amazing spot to capture you and your partners special moments.

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Gougane Barra

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Gougane Barra

A few weeks ago, some friends and I took a short trip out to Gougane Barra. Just about an hour's drive west of Cork city, this beautiful area is one of Ireland's National Parks and is definitely worth a trip if you're looking to get out of the city for a while. The location itself is home to a small iconic church called St Finbarr's oratory, which has been used for many wedding ceremonies, and what a perfect location to have them! 

With us all being photo nerds we hadn't even managed to get too far around the lake as we were consistently in awe of how beautiful the surroundings were, but we'll definitely be heading back soon. We managed to stroll around for a few hours and were lucky with the beautiful evening providing a great way to take a glimpse at how the area looks under interesting skies.

If you are looking to find out more information on this beautiful area, you can check out more official details over here.

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Home

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Home

I recently took a trip home to the island to photograph a local business and while there, I got the chance to get some portraits of family and friends. The weather in Ireland this week has been absolutely phenomenal, something we would typically have to fly to the likes of Greece or Cyprus to enjoy. In fact, I don't ever remember the weather being so good in the evenings, almost like a Californian summer. One of these amazing evenings before I had to return to Cork, I spontaneously grabbed my camera to get a few shots of my cousins. I'm very happy how these turned out and makes me wish we could enjoy this all summer long!

Anytime I get to catch up with family and friends at home, we usually end up playing a lot of music together and having a few sociable ones ;) this time those sociable ones lasted till 7am but we took the opportunity to head to the beach and see the sun rise up over Croagh Patrick across Clew Bay. I don't think I have ever seen a moment like this as amazing that I could appreciate. Ireland truly is another place when the weather is good. 

As part of my trip home, I brought up one of my landscape prints - Winter Lights. This particular size was the large 36x16 inch version and when I collected it I was actually blown away to see it printed at this size with all its detail. The boat featured in Winter Lights is known as the Rossend and was shipwrecked on Kinnacorra in 1996. Proprietor of the Go Explore Hostel, Carl O'Grady and his family, used to run the ferry service using the Rossend before her demise. Unfortunately after 18 years, the winter storms in February this year washed away the remains of the wreckage and this point of interest is now lost  forever. If you venture in to Clare Island at all this summer, you can check it out on display in the Sailors Bar at the Go Explore Hostel and while there, grab yourself a cold one and take in the amazing views of the mountains :) 

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