Hitting a Stone Wall

07th November 2012

Burren Stone Wall

Since the end of October I've been living in Fanore. I'm minding the house of some friends of mine while they're away, which is in fact just an excuse to come and live in a wildly beautiful part of the country, as if an excuse was needed. The Burren is famed for it's unusual scenery; few other places in the country are so completely defined by their landscape as this northern area of County Clare is. The elemental attraction of the place has drawn people for centuries; even now in November tour buses pass by every day, day trippers from Dublin and Galway, out to see a famed bit of Ireland for a brief few hours before heading back to hotel rooms and hostels in the cities.

This place has been photographed millions, maybe billions of times. It's hard not to take a decent picture here; the broken limestone pavements, often decorated with ancient weathered boulders, old stone walls or scraggly, low-growing trees, provide interesting foreground; the distant terraced hills and wide open, often wildly heaving, seas complete the background. The position on the west coast and the unending arrival of weather fronts mean setting suns and cloud paint the place in every tone of warm light possible on evenings that aren't completely greyed over with rain. There probably aren't many more interesting places for landscape photography in the country.

And yet I feel like I'm hitting a brick wall (though a stone wall is a more appropriate phrase in this part of the country) with photography these days. Granted I've only been here a week but I haven't made any pictures I'm very happy with and it feels like I've a bit of a mental block with the camera recently. Time and trying will sort that out.

On a more positive note an image of mine has been shortlisted for the Irish Wildlife Trust Photography Award (this one), which I'm delighted with. The picture features as January in the IWT calender, which is fitting as the photo was taken in the month of January. The winner will be announced in December. Fingers crossed!

Postscript: Immediately after posting the above text I went out for a walk with the camera. It was very showery and grey and then all of a sudden this happened! The sun's appearance while I was out there and then was all the better for its unexpectedness!

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