July 03, 2016

Ireland XX (Ballynahinch Bog, Ireland)

The primary motivation for the location of the second week's accommodation was to put Ingrid and I close to both the Burren, in Claire, and to Connemara - both places have a rugged beauty to them, and are much more open and wild than the middle of Ireland, where the first part of the project was spent.
After finishing up with the Twelve Pines, we set off into the wilderness - almost literally; a small line on the map of this part of Ireland crossed a large section of the Ballynahinch bog, and while I didn't know what would present itself, I'd marked it in my "Places to Photograph in Ireland" document. This turned out to be a great decision, as we drove through an incredible landscape that offered potential at every turn.
It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that Ingrid and I could have worked on the Ballynahinch for the entire day (if not week) - we'd stop to make an image, and before we were done, I'd already have seen the next space I wanted to explore. Initially I worked with wide-angle lenses (like the above image of Ingrid below a distant mountain range), but very quickly, realizing we were completely alone, I changed to working with my longest lens (a 300mm f/4), and began to create images that were quite a contrast to the wide-angle photographs.
What the long lens did for the images made on the bog was allow me maximize the impact of shallow depth of field, and yet still keep the setting around Ingrid prominent. With the wide lens, everything around Ingrid shrank, which has a very pleasing drama at times, but as I'd been using wide lenses so often in the architectural images we'd already made, it was a real pleasure to work with the equally dramatic longer lens, and place a crisp, in focus Ingrid against a receding tableau of rolling hills and distant mountains.
Though I could have happily worked all day on the bog, I knew there were more places to see, and other photographs to make - but I couldn't leave the bog without making at least one set of images working with one of the small lochs that littered the landscape. The overcast sky had enough tonal variation that it provided some lovely highlights in the water behind Ingrid, and her elongated pose spoke of some primeval memory of emerging from an early, ancient sea.
The final set of images made on the Ballynahinch Bog were set on a high outcrop of rock that rose out of the landscape, and provided some contrast to the earlier photographs of Ingrid on rock set into the bog itself. I kept to working with the 300mm lens here as well, loving how it brought the mountains, miles away in the distance, directly into the background behind Ingrid.

Though I knew in my heart that I was leaving behind a wealth of potential, after an hour of working on the moor, Ingrid and I headed off for other locations calling us further west.

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