Kinsale town and Old Head Lighthouse Shoot – 22/3/15

Finbarr OShea - Kinsale-8

On the glorious Sunday afternoon that was on 22/3/15, ECCG members headed for Kinsale, mainly in the hope of a good sunset at the Old Head lighthouse. We spent some time around the town initially which, with it's narrow streets, interesting shopfronts and harbour area, always provides a variety of shots to the photographer.

For inspiration alone, a visit to the Giles Norman gallery was a must on the itinerary before we headed out to the Old Head to continue our lighthouse project. While the sunset let us down to an extent, there was some nice colour in the sky and some great images were created nevertheless.

Some facts about the Old Head of Kinsale Lighthouse
Light first established: 16/05/1814
Present light established: 01/10/1853
Fog signal established: 01/02/1893
New light and fog signal established: 17/12/1907
Converted to unwatched automatic: 01/04/1972
Converted to electric: 25/04/1972
Nominal range of the light: 20 Nautical Miles
Character of the light: two white flashes every 10 seconds
Height of the light: 72m above mean high water springs

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Ballycotton Sunrise – 8/2/15

Finbarr OShea-4

Our weekend shoot took us to Ballycotton for sunrise on Sunday 8th Feb. 2015 and another installment in our Lighthouse’s project.

We set out from our meeting point at the Midleton Park Hotel at 6:45am and, having regrouped at Shanagarry, ten members in all headed for Ballycotton.

The forecast had looked promising and with high tide just passed, we arrived at Silver Strand at 7:25am for the 8am sunrise. However, as has happened all too often lately, heavy cloud lay over the horizon and it was clear we would not have the conditions we experienced at Church Bay two weeks previously.

After a brief discussion, some members opted to stay at Silver Strand while the remainder headed to the spot known locally as “The Men's Bathing Place” on the cliff road, to get a closer view of the lighthouse.

Despite the disappointing sky there are always options at Ballycotton and a great morning was had by all.

This location will be worth a revisit later in the year. See the images below. Enjoy!


     - Anthony O'Connor


ECCG Shoot to Mine Head Lighthouse 25/1/2015

Finbarr O'Shea-5

We met at ‘The Creamery’ in Grange, Co. Waterford at 7.15am – all 8 of us!

The forecast was for clear skies until mid-day. Alas, the forecast wasn’t right and the morning quickly deteriorated with a heavy fog / mist rolling in. We turned right at   Fleming's Pub, taking the small roads through ‘Old Parish’ on towards ‘An Gaeltacht’ in Ring.

We turned off towards Mine Head Light House and parked in the farmer’s yard. The Light House access is through the farmyard and is usually padlocked. Today, however, we had obtained kind permission of the farmer in advance of our expedition.

We  walked the 900mtrs to the coast using the farm pathway.

George Halpin Senior designed the major light of Mine Head. The red sandstone structure sitting on top of the steep cliffs of Old Parish is higher above sea-level (88m, 290ft.) than any other Irish lighthouse.

Local merchants and mariners from Youghal and Cork pressured the Ballast Board to begin a lighthouse tower on Capel Island off Youghal. This building was begun even though George Halpin felt the best place for a light was on Mine Head. The work was well under way when the local people changed their mind and decided that the light should be at Mine Head after all. After much debate, including input from Trinity House and the Admiralty, it was decided to abandon the site on Capel Island and build on Mine Head.

The light was established on 1 June 1851, the same day as Ballycotton lighthouse.
Mine Head has a 22m (72ft.) white tower with a black band. It was converted to electricity in Sept. 1964. Today, however, the light is no more than a good household torch.

As the fog got worse, we could hardly see 80 mtrs ahead so, we took a few shots and put this trip down as a recognisance trip as we could well imagine the beauty of this spot on a fine morning as the sun rises!

We had planned to breakfast in Dungarvan by the quays, where we could get nice shots and then go on to Mahon Falls, but decided to call it a day.

We’ll do it again sometime and better luck next time.

Mouse over the image below to activate the slide show. Enjoy!


- Kevin Day



Fastnet Lighthouse Shoot – 30/8/14

By Noelle Lowney

Noelle Lowney-3

The eagerly awaited sunset shoot at the iconic maritime landmark, the Lighthouse at Fastnet rock, a trip that was on the ‘to do’ list for many years – became a reality on the evening of August 30th last. Ten ECCG members descended upon Baltimore in West Cork for the evening boat trip out to Fastnet rock and, as the weather was on our side, we hoped for a great sunset. It would turn out to be one of the most memorable shoots of the year.

Prior to the boat trip we were given a tutorial by the shoot instructor, Baltimore based and international award winning photographer, Rohan Reilly. Rohan gave us some expert advice and guidance on camera settings and we also had the opportunity to view his beautiful images in his studio. After the tutorial, we made our way to Baltimore pier where we boarded the ‘Wave Chieftain’ , skippered by Jerry Smith, for the 45 minute journey out to the Rock.

Anthony OConnor-1As we left Baltimore Harbour we enjoyed panoramic views of the rugged West Cork coastline, taking in landmarks such as the conspicuous, conical, white painted Baltimore Beacon, rugged landscapes and cliffs, secluded bays and inlets, Cape Clear and Sherkin Islands.

Finbarr OShea-2En route the boat stopped momentarily for us to photograph seals, sea birds and other marine life which inhabit the West Cork shorelines. The appearance of dolphins riding the pressure of the waves generated by the boat presented its own individual challenges to capture the ideal/perfect dolphin photo - with their excessive pace, energy and sheer athleticism emerging to breathe and then disappearing under water as fast again.

As we finally reached the rock and lighthouse shortly after 7pm, the sight was awesome; what appeared to be so small from a distance 45 minutes before was now a majestic and photogenic scene – ‘the piece de resistance’ with the graceful upward curve and strong presence of the lighthouse itself surrounded by jagged rocks standing tall as it does so far off the mainland, located in open ravaging seas.

Matt Dornan-5This amazing 177ft high tower of Cornish granite stands on a rock 8 miles off the coast. The first lighthouse was built in 1854 and rebuilt in 1903 as the original building became too weak to cope with the often severe weather. In 1989 the lighthouse ceased manual operation and the last keeper left the island with the implementation of a fully automatic operation. In times past Fastnet was nicknamed the ‘teardrop of Ireland’ as it was the last part of Ireland that the Irish emigrants passed as they sailed to America in the 19th century, some never to return again. Its other claim to fame includes being the turning point of the celebrated Fastnet Ocean race – a 615 nautical mile dash from UK to Ireland and back.

We commenced our shoot of the Lighthouse and rock and our skipper was able to maneuverer the boat around the rock so we could take photos at different angles.

As sunset approached, vantage points were taken up, fingers positioned over the shutter buttons and all cameras were poised and ready to take the desired shots of this magnificent sight. We were not deterred by the rockiness of the boat as we tried to stay upright at all times and not fall over board, while holding onto cameras for dear life, navigating our way from side to side whilst dodging the spray of sea water. We were on a mission to capture this spectacular lighthouse silhouette against a backdrop of a splendid sunset and sea with fervour and gusto.

Some of us took a breather to sit and look in amazement at the lighthouse, admiring its appealing stature, gazing at the revolving lantern, gaining a sense of the colossal feat of engineering to place it there coupled with the workmanship that went into building it all those years ago. Not to mention the bravery and resilience of the keepers who lived on the island protecting sea vessels from disaster in the rough waters which claimed numerous lives. As sunset disappeared and as it got darker, the relative intensity of the beam from the lighthouse increased and we were back at our stations taking shots.

Denis Barry-11Once darkness fell it was time to return to Baltimore, all cameras were packed away and stories were exchanged about the events of the day. Jerry our skipper kindly made tea, coffee and hot chocolate for the weary photographers a welcome sight on a chilly evening.

The boat trip to see this famous lighthouse on a beautiful evening was a great and unforgettable day. The experience was a truly rewarding one and was well worth the loss of an evening on land. It is a place that will hold a fascination for those who were there with the added bonus of some great shots to be cherished until the next trip.

- Noelle Lowney

After you've watched the short video above, mouse over the image below to activate the slideshow. Enjoy.


Rohan Reilly Photography



Ballycotton Sunrise Shoot – 13/4/14

Bill Sisk-4

The main party met at the Midleton Park Hotel at 5.30am and carpooled before proceeding to the pier at Ballycotton where we were joined by the remainder of the party at 6am.

The sun did not oblige on the day but we took a few shots around the lighthouse. As the light did not look like improving we called off the shoot at about 7.30am.

- Bill Sisk

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