When thinking about photography equipment, we think cameras, lenses, lighting equipment all those tiny bits, and pieces that get lost in our bag somewhere. But what if I told you a tent was a good photography tool, and worth investing in. Every year around July we try to plan a camping trip. In the last couple of years, it hasn't been possible with people having other commitments like family or work. With COVID having us all locked up for four months of this year we thought, ok the trip is happening this year, we need to get out. The trip is normally made up of some close friends and my brother Matt, with COVID still being an issue, we cut the numbers down to three, my two brothers and I.
On the way up to find a campsite, I had some photos in mind I wanted to capture, made note of them, and was able to return once the light was best. If I was not camping id have been forced to shoot in the given conditions at the time and may not have gotten the same results. Having a tent and camping allows slowing down, to wait, to return to a spot throughout the day, and be in no rush to get the best shot possible.
For example the first shot of Ryan standing on the edge of the face, was taken the next morning on the way down, taking advantage of the early morning light. nice bright and soft. The image of Matthew on the waterfall. was taken on the way up, but because we were camping, we were able to hike back to this spot on more than one occation to get the best shot. The light was low, the wind had picked up so the river was flowing really fast, I slowed the shutter speed just enough to allow some motion blur in the water, giving a sence of movement. The first shot I took Matt was sitting. I though standing made him look a bit more powerful and gave him a sence of movement, while sitting was nice framed under the tree, he looked too static and didn't really play into the naritive of outdoor adventure.
So the lead image into the post was out camp site.You can see in the distance to the right of the image were the trail heads up over the ridge, we picked this campsite for a few reasons, first it was well out of the way of the trail, so were wern't disrupting any walkers. the large boulders have us some cover from the wild winds that sweep through the vally. and well the few was also very nice.
When the sun goes down, the view becomes even more special, the deafening sound of silence, nothing but the wind as it whistles past and every so often you hear the wild deer in the distance. During the summer months, it's almost impossible to get any night images of the valley without a tent. These images would not have been possible without sleeping in the valley. The tent became just as important as a lens or a tripod.
The next morning we woke up early, just before sunrise to a blanket of low cloud cover, once the sun started to rise it burnt up the foggy morning and the valley becomes clear again. We cooked our breakfast on our MSR pocket rocket stove. Made some tea, packed up our campsite and made our descent. We knew the hike down would be tough as the weather had forecasted a really hot 21+ degree day, and there is little protection from the elements for at least a couple of hours before the forest below offers some shade from the sun.
We got back to the car park, and we headed back to Dublin, to a warm shower some food and a soft bed. Nothing inspires me more than being outside, taking photos, working with only what nature and that day gives you. Camping out maximizes the chances of getting a good shot, but you're always at the mercy of mother nature and the cards she deals. Waking up in the middle of the mountains really is special and appreated all the more after being in lockdown for almost 4 months. It was really nice to get out to the mountains with my younger brothers. take a dip in the nateral pools created by the flowing river and waterfall, to climb some bounlders ( although we didn't bring our climbing shoes ) but it was just nice to be outside, WAY outside. All shots were edited using my Lightroom presets, that will be available for purchase soon. I'll also be added a print store to the site for anyone that is interested in buying prints or small photobooks. thats all coming soon. For now, thanks for reading, thanks for supporting me and my work. If you don't be sure to follow my instagram for daily uploads.