Tullymore Forest River Walk

A simple composition

Here is one of the first images, I shot on the Shimna river on this occasion as I walked the river walk in Tullymore forest park.

When I first looked at the scene which was in front of me. I saw a cluttered foreground and a peaceful background. Realising that the background was to be the subject of my image. I zoomed the lens into the background making a completely different image.

Setting my 24-105mm lens to 105mm zoom meant that I was showing how the water was flowing in a zig zag formation along the river through the rocks.

Tullymore River

Capturing the information
The depth of field is much narrower when shooting at 105mm. To counteract the lack of range of focus within the scene. I capture several images with the intent of combine the images into one on the computer.

This technic is called focus stacking.
Perhaps I shall explain how I captured 13 images for this focus stacked image in detail, in a separate blog post.

Choosing where to take the photograph from
I was drawn to capture an image of this section of water.

While I was searching for a composition of the river I just seen obstacles. Low hanging branches on the trees where obstructing the view of the river. I quickly decided it was necessary to cross the river.

Preparing to cross the river.
The bridge which was only metres down stream had unfortunately been destroyed during a resent storm. Unfamiliar with Tullymore forest park. I was unsure of how far it was to the next bridge where I could safely cross the river.

I had a conversion with a couple nearby who were walking their dog. They told me the next bridge had also been damaged.

I had to step across the rocks to reach the other side of the river.

My concern was not for getting my feet wet. However, I was concerned about falling into the river and damaging my camera gear.

I spent quite a long time considering different options. Where to cross the river before venturing onto the rocks.

Crossing the river
I made my way over the flowing river. Rock after rock, each step felt like a gamble wondering if the next rock was going to be stable. Was the surface going to be slippery?

Halfway across the river, I pause as I see that the very next rock I am to step onto is under the flow of water. Will my foot go to the position of that rock and settle on it or will the current push my foot further and swipe my foot away taking me off balance and into the water.

So as I take that step I brace myself. I stretch out a leg on my tripod and set the tripods foot beside the rock which I am hesitant to step onto and take that step. As I had thought, the current moves my foot and the tripod catches it. Stopping my foot from going out from under me. I continue fast onto the next rock as I want to get above the water once more. Onto the other side of the river and up the steep river bank to the walkway backtracking a little to then come back down to the river bed and stand on the gravel at the water’s edge to capture a shot.

Capturing the shot
Realising that the composition was good but if I replaced my tripod into the river I could improve the overall image I took a step back and reframed the image.

Once again taking advantage of the zoom on the lens to deciding on how much of the scene I was going to capture I decided on the 105mm range.

Capturing 9 shots of the composition with intention of focus stacking the scene once more.

Tullymore Forest Hermitage

Built in 1770, the hermitage in the image below stands 20 metres over the Shimna river. Its a little sanctuary spot to rest in the tranquillity of the forest.

Below the fence in the image is a viewpoint which is the most likely spot to snap a photo of the hermitage. I however wanted to look beyond the obvious and searched for this alternative image.

River Flowing Through Rocks

Simple flow of the Shimna River.

Perhaps the most simplest of the images captured that day walking along the Tullymore forest river walk.

Tullymore Stepping Stones

Time for lunch

Realising that time had passed so quickly and only being reminded by my rumbling tummy. I turn back and head to the van for a bite to eat. Capturing the images on the way up the river had taken around two and a half hours but I had not actually moved far as it was only a twenty minute walk back.

Got a snack. Back up the river walk. Not stopping until I had passed the point where I had reached before. Then on with the search for more images.

Tullymore Forest Stepping stones

This little iconic place is the easiest of all the crossing places over the Shimna river currently as the other main bridges have been destroyed.

Even this series of stones aligned over the river have not been left at ease. The river had washed the first stone out of position.

This is the most well known spot on the Tullymore forest river walk.

When the leaves start to fall Its early October, along the Tullymore forest Park river walk. The leaves are still green and yet to appear like autumn. The reason for this is that the trees are close to the water. Still vibrant with life and the main leaves are green while a few have browned and dropped down. I particularly like this composition. . I lay down on the path as I was capturing the shots used to make this image. My tripod set extremely low. Refocusing the camera between captures. While in my head I was imagining little fairies twinkling through the scene. Flying like bees from leaf to leaf. With each touch on the leaves causing them to instantly brown and fall to the river bed.

A little further up the river

While I usually have my camera position low to the ground. On this occasion I felt that the best composition was to be had at a higher height. I think in the whole time I have been photographing water flows, this may be the first time where I have used my tripod above my eye level, My tripod was fully extended. At the height of 6ft 3inches of the ground. Even the centre column was extended.

This was to be a test for the stability of the tripod as when you fully extend the tripod out to its highest available height you make it, its most venerable to shake. I needed a 20 second exposure time and yet again zoomed to about 3/4 the length of the lens at 73mm focal distance. If any shake was to occur the image would be unusable.


In Conclusion

Boris and I had a lovely walk up the river with my camera spotted a few compositions and captured images for my blog which were each long exposures using focus stacking in post production.

The Images from this blog post are available for purchase as a print.

Westport is a lovely little town on the coastline of County Mayo. These images were captured down at the Quay. There is a great collection of shops which sell a variety of crafts and I spent around an hour chatting with a photographer who set up a gallery on Westport Quay. Her images of Ireland are amazing.

The weather on this day was the best of the week and it was at this point that the reality of everyday life required that I came home to Belfast.

My trip along the Wild Atlantic way was my longest journey up to this point. The weather threw in a few obstacles along the way and quite a lot of the locations where I had stopped didn’t see my camera come out of the bag.

I really enjoyed my travels along the Wild Atlantic Way therefore I have no doubt that I will be revisiting the West coast of Ireland several times to capture the amazing scenery it has to offer.

The Images which I have captured on this trip are available for online purchase.

Related Products