Lough Corrib at sunset. A return with camera.

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Lough Corrib, County Galway at sunset Lough Corrib, County Galway at sunset

A return to the Lough Corrib sunset for long exposure photography

After the spectacular pre-sunset light scattered by the clouds in the skies over Galway Bay that I captured from Salthill Promenade yesterday, this evening was always looking to be a winner when it came to sunset – have a look here.

It was cold and free of clouds all day, by evening cars still had a discernible layer of frost over their windscreens and anyone working outdoors would have known that winter was making its presence felt.

Working on a project shooting images for Christina Keogh Jewellery today, I was too late to catch the sun before it set but as I made my way towards Lough Corrib, the second largest lake in Ireland, I wasn’t in a rush.

There is always time to get a great image, rushing around like a spring hare all day will leave you so drained that it takes all of the fun out of photography. No sun just as it set? No problem. I’ll take the golden hour / blue hour combo tonight thanks!

With the sun set behind the horizon there was still plenty of light coming up through the sky and illuminating the clouds. 

Carrying the tripod down to the edge of the lake, I was thinking of where to set up and a peninsula caught my eye. This would afford me the option to shoot in different directions, but to begin with there was a lagoon almost cut off from the main body of this deep and often stormy body of water. Protected from the little wind and currents that were sending small waves across the surface of the water, I was presented with a mirror reflection of the sky.

All around me was quiet, with no-one nearby. Close by I could hear swans, geese and ducks settling in for the night. Blackbirds in a small tree by the shore were making a large racket given their small size but then all fell silent. In the far distance a dog barked, well that is always an observable sound in the Irish countryside, and some cattle were lowing – presumably trying to get indoors in this cold weather!

Blue hour long exposure photography, Ireland

Photography on an evening like this, although all is relaxed, can be difficult. Notwithstanding my project still awaiting me indoors, the scenes on the edge of a large lake or at the coast can be confusing and it is tempting to always face in one direction keeping the same composition as the light fades, but this evening I found plenty to photograph in all directions with a distinctly different feel to each.

With light fading, shutter speeds approaching 60 seconds and batteries shutting down from the cold it was time to head back. Warming hands with a cup of tea before editing images, writing this blog about my experience with my camera by the lake before getting back to the task of the day, it was a perfect one hour outing to the lake.

It reminds me that yesterday I was speaking with a friend about the blue hour and advising them that this time of year is great for early morning photography in particular. If you’re working, the evening will probably be falling a little early to catch. But in the morning you should make the effort to get up, get out and set up before going on to work. Try it at least once this winter and you won’t be disappointed.

A different composition means different tones in the golden hour

I hope you like this little blog, don’t forget to say hello, if you want a chat or some advice use the comments section below or send me an email via the contact page. 

I run photography tours and workshops in Galway and throughout Ireland. I prefer to call them photography experiences because they are built around what you want. 

Avail of my “travel to you” package that sees me leave my home and travel to where you are whether that be Ballycastle or Ballyferriter. There is really nothing quite like getting out into the countryside on an evening like this, getting your shoes mucky and just enjoying being in such a scenic place as Ireland with your camera. 

And if you need some external assistance in motivating yourself, finding the right locations or learning how to use your camera properly then Panoramic Ireland’s photo tours are perfect for you - also available as Gift Voucher.

Darren McLoughlin

Irishman and International travel photographer in search of the best bits of Ireland. Leading photography tours and experiences in Ireland.

Contributor to New York Times / Sunday Times / Irish Times / Echtra Echtra and Eonmusic

Cancer survivor.

Ask me about travel in Ireland or about photography in Ireland.


1 comment

  • Comment Link Joe Hanly Wednesday, 21 July 2021 15:08 posted by Joe Hanly

    Would it be possible to get your permission to use the image of Lough Corrib at sunset for our father’s memorial card? He had many happy memories fishing on the lake when he was younger.
    We’d be happy to pay for this.
    Please let me know.
    Kind regards

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