July 08, 2016

Ireland XXXIII (Murrooghtooty North, Ireland)

The last location Ingrid and I would work in during the production of the 2016 Ingrid portfolio was the rocky shoreline near Black Head, where the rocky formations of the Burren sink into the wild Atlantic Ocean. This would be our third session working with the landscape of the Burren, and it happened to be the most magical.

After parking the car (right beside all the other tourist cars), Ingrid and I set off, down the hill towards the ocean; the car park played host to a couple of dozen tourists enjoying the broad views of the wild landscape, but even 30 metres from it, there were hardly any people in sight. By the time we'd walked a couple of hundred meters from the road, all tourists had dwindled to dots...but some creatures were moving through the landscape before us...horses!

I cannot think of a cooler thing to have happened on the final day of photography with Ingrid in ireland - wild horses. After some delay (photographing the horses, of course), Ingrid and I began working together, using a large boulder to protect Ingrid from being spied by any roadside tourists with super-zoom camera or mega-binoculars.

The first space Ingrid and I worked in happened to have a white horse in the background, wandering around eating grass. Having only worked with a model and a horse once before (and ingrid was the focus for that session as well), it shouldn't come a a surprise that I had no idea how to direct the horse...so I just kept moving my position to keep the horse in frame. I used a long lens to compress the distance between Ingrid and the mare, but decided to use a larger aperture to ensure the focus of the composition remained on Ingrid.

I made dozens of images every time the horse raised its head (which it didn't do often), but the real award for this session goes to Ingrid, who couldn't see the horse at all...but could hear it's munching and movement all too clearly, and was certain it would only inches behind her through the entire session.

After finishing with the first set of photographs, Ingrid dressed, and we moved further along the shore...though it wasn't clear if we were keeping pace with the horses, or if they were keeping an eye on us. Either way, as Ingrid worked on the rocky sides of an old stone enclosure (perhaps a building foundation, but more likely an animal enclosure), three of the wild herd quietly cropped the grass in the background.

As the horses moved to graze further down the beach, I shifted my camera angle to look back towards Black Head, the defining element in the landscape. It was challenging at times to strike a balance between Ingrid's figure in the foreground and the incredibly vast landscape around her, but she was patient, and felt my obvious enthusiasm for the location (plus, she was still thoroughly enjoying the fact the session began with wild horses!).

The final set of images created at Murrooghtoohy North, and indeed of the 2016 Ingrid portfolio, were if Ingrid posing on the pavement itself. A challenging environment to work in, I had to constantly balance the scale of Ingrid within the frame against including as much of the surroundings as possible...and just as we began to hit our stride, it started to rain. Ingrid and I quickly finished the last composition, and after she hurriedly dressed, and cameras were packed for travel, we headed back to the car...cautiously...wet karsk is fiercely slippery, as I learned the hard way more than once...

...did I mention there were wild horses!

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