A few days of snow and freezing temperatures offered the rare opportunity for snow photography. Being the weekend we had the chance to drop everything and escape to the mountains of Donegal. Armed with cameras, tripods, all manner of lenses and a drone we headed off early on Saturday morning with provisions for a day’s excursion.
A beautiful, crisp day offered a sunny sky with a multitude of dynamic clouds. Driving past Letterkenny and through Glenveagh National Park the landscape changed to mountains and valleys. The road ahead meandered cutting a path through the barren landscape. The sun offered a little heat and was slowly meting the snow, but for now it lay glistening in the light.
Stopping by the roadside we took to foot to scout for possible compositions in the Derryveagh mountain range. Taking in the quietude of the place there was a comfortable sense of aloneness. At ground level I found no pleasing composition but Shawn took to the air with the drone.
Deciding to move on we took the road to Mt Errigal, a mountain peak standing at 751 meters it is Donegal’s highest. The clouds were building on the horizon, some a dense blanket of that purple/blue colour punctuated by soft billowy white clouds that looked like they had painted on to the sky. Rounding the corner Errigal came into view, the summit high above slightly obscured by soft wispy clouds contrasted against the bright blue sky.
Just to be there and to be present was far more important than the photo to be taken, although many photos were shot. We decided that it was the perfect place to savour the heat from our soup gazing out to the scene of majestic beauty – nature at its best.
Watching the approaching cloud bank we continued on aware that our light was about to change. With Before descending into the Poisoned Glen we had just enough time to pull over and catch the last rays of light with the drone as the sky darkened and the sun hid from view. Shawn managed to capture the aerial view of the glen in all its vastness.
As we approached the iconic Dunlewey Church a couple of deer pranced across the road ahead of us. We quickly pulled over to see if we could spot them and indeed they were just below us on the hillside. I managed a few clicks but alas impeded with only a 70-200 mm lens and a low sense of panic the images were blurry and too far away for any detail.
By now the light had gone adding to sadness of Dunlewey Church. I managed a somewhat sombre capture of the church highlighted by the far off blue sky with the gravestone of James Russell in the foreground reflecting the sad history of this beautiful ruin as the church was built in his memory by his wife Jane.
With sleet in our faces and the potential of a few good shots in the camera we were content to head homewards but not before seeking out the old abandoned train station ‘Cashelnagor ‘. Situated a few miles from the village of Gortnahork the view to the left of the train station, now a hostel, was of the beautiful Mt Errigal. The mountain stood shrouded in clouds but there was a promise of a break with the potential of some sun rays as the clouds drifted eastwards. We decided to stay and have a cup of tea to see what unfolded.
Within minutes the cloud moved slowly by revealing more of the mountain, some clung to the summit and down the other side while other wispy clouds sank to the bottom. The scene was out of this world as it seemed wind, sun and cloud transformed Errigal into Everest. I grabbed my camera calling to Shawn as I slid it onto the tripod. It was a moment of happy coincidences that was hypnothising, truly amazing.
I feel very fortunate to have been there to see the scene unfold, delighted l for having captured it and grateful for having shared the moment with my husband Shawn. Above is my final image which is how I remember the moment. Below are some photos taken during the day.
Ireland is full of natural beauty spots but for me the North West and the North Antrim coastline offer a rich and diverse landscape that I recommend you visit.