29 Apr '19
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A trip to Shankill beach, Ireland

Years ago I went to this beach while scouting for new locations to photograph in the Dublin Bay area, and one of these places was Shankill Beach. A very easy spot to reach from the DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit), just 15 minutes walk from the train station. 
From google maps I couldn't see anything peculiar to photograph, but sometimes it's really hard to judge from a photo taken from a satellite, so I thought I'll pay a visit there, to see how it looked in real life, and... It was rather disappointing. 
But it was years ago, with much less experience than now, where I was much less prepared (always bring trekking shoes to a rocky beach and always check the tides), and I came back home with practically no decent shots.
But apart from scouting, another important thing to do in this type of photography is to visit the same locations you already have been. One because with different condition, time of the day, season, tide level (which are pretty extreme here in Ireland), the same place might look different, maybe something changed in the meanwhile (or maybe not), but until you go there you don't know. And two is also for the forementioned reason, that you have more experience, and probably now I know better what to search to create a good composition.

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13 Feb '15
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Forty Foot at sunrise

As per Hawk Cliff, I've already visited this place in the past, but again it was on an afternoon, and in the middle of the summer, so too much light and far too many people around.
This time we went on a insanely cold morning on a sunday on february, so no people around, apart a few other crazy photographers we met there. And unlike the previous week in Howth, which it went "meh", this time, despite the fact that was painfully cold, it was perfect!
I love Forty Foot, is one of my favourite places in Dún Laoghaire, another tiny place on the coast close to Dublin, and like Hawk Cliff it's simply superb.
The level of the tide was perfect, even if we risked to get completely soaked by the waves a few times, but that gave us the opportunity to take some of the best shots I took in the last while.
Also from now on I want to start to include the map of the place I photograph, so it's easier for other photographers to get there if you like the place (and my shots) and you want to photograph it too!
 

Also my suggestion is to go there in the winter, during the week or on Sunday, as I recently discovered that locals love to go to swim on these places on Saturday, as a lady told me that "we don't swim on Sunday as it's a day dedicated to rest". Winter is perfect because it's very cold, so there are less chances to find people swimming there, and also the sunrise is at a decent hour, while on the summer it might be at a very early hour, like 4am or earlier. But it's up to you, if you don't care to wake up very early, then go on the summer.
The sunset is kinda pointless as this part of the coast is completely covered by the surrounding hills, and in Ireland it's easier to get the good weather on the morning rather than the afternoon.
Anyway, time for the photos, so down here some of the best shots I took at Forty Foot, while here you can find the full set.

Forty Foot

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02 Feb '15
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Howth Harbour at sunrise

In Italy we have a proverb that says “Non tutte le ciambelle vengono con il buco”, which you can translate with “Not all the doughnuts turn out with a hole” (which is not that uncommon in Italy, as in Italy it’s easier to find a krapfen, which is essentially the same dough of the doughnuts or donuts if you are american, with custard or whipping cream on it), to say that it can’t go always well as expected, and you should not be pissed off if that happens.
I’m telling you this very interesting italian proverb just to introduce you to the fact that this trip didn’t go that well. Okay, now it sounds like an overture to a disaster, where it was not, as it simply didn’t turn as well as it did in the previous times we went out for a very early morning shooting.
The first impression when we arrived in Howth can be summed with the word “Meh”.
I’m not sure why, the place is actually very nice generally, one of the must-see places to go if you visit Dublin and the surrounding area, but maybe was the light in the wrong direction, maybe because the tide was at its very minimum, or maybe because we simply went to the wrong pier to photograph the lighthouse, not sure what’s the real cause of that “Meh”, but myself and my fellows all agreed that it wasn’t that great that morning.
Also, after two good hours spent on the freezing cold, we always go to a local restaurant/cafe’ for breakfast, but unfortunately none of the nice amenities we usually go were open, so we had to go to the only open cafe’ at that our, which was awful. Yeah, a few euro cheaper, but the food quality was simply terrible and it made me sick for the rest of the day. And when I came back home I found out that my lens was superdirty and some photos had a huge white spot in the middle, but it was semi-transparent and I couldn't see it when I was there, and that probably was what marked that day as the famous doughnut without the hole.
Anyway, it’s always fun to go out shooting with good friends, and overall the pictures didn’t turn out that  bad, maybe they are not my favourite shots, but overall they were pretty decent, they just lacked of the “Wow” factor, that’s it. So, down here some of the best, while here on flickr you can find the full set.

Howth

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31 Jan '15
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Hawk Cliff, Dalkey (again)

That was probably the fourth or fifth time I came to this place, I’ve already blogged about Hawk Cliff more than a year and half ago, and it’s definitely one of my favourite places in Dublin metropolitan area, and I’ll never get sick to go there. And when my friends asked me where we could go for another early morning photography session, that’s was my first choice. It’s just an outstanding place to visit everytime, and if you get there at the sunset, it’s just out of this world, where you can see the whole Sorrento Bay (no, I’m not talking about Italy, but the bay from Dalkey to Bray is called the Sorrento Bay as it looks similar to the Italian counterpart). Also you can meet some interesting person, those hardcore irish people that loves to swim in this tiny place, yes even on January at sunset, and some of them don’t even have a swimsuit. I honestly admire these people that despite the cold, despite the weather, despite the fact that the sea is not exactly like the Mauritius, they still come, at the very least a couple of times per week, to swim.
Anyway, there’s nothing else to say about this place, and I better let the pictures talk about Hawk Cliff, so down here some of the best, while you can find the full set on my flickr account as usual.

Hawk Cliff

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19 Jan '15
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White Rock Beach, Dalkey

We all know that if you come to visit Ireland, you don’t come for the beaches, you don’t expect to find a place like Copacabana, or Bondi Beach, and you certainly knows that it’s highly difficult that  you come here to spend a week lying down on the sand while drinking a fresh cocktail under the sun. If you do, you probably need to buy this before you go into any trips you might regret later.

But this doesn’t mean that there are no beaches in Ireland, in fact there are plenty of them, maybe you don’t get a crystal clear water like in the middle of the mediterranean sea, and you might not get a superfine sand, but there are plenty of extremely cool places you can go on the summer, or like me, even on a cold clear day in January.
One of them is a beautiful place called White Rock Beach, which is between Dalkey and Killiney beach, found by accident last summer while walking randomly after I went with a friend of mine to another cool place nearby, Hawk Cliff. But when we went there at that time it was during in the early afternoon, so too bright, and in a very sunny and hot day, so too crowded, it was great for spending some time under the sun, but just the wrong time for any landscape photography, so I decided to come back there during the winter, when the sunrise is very late (in January it’s at around 8.30am) and there’s almost nobody there.

White Rock beach

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