Horse Trap on Inishmore

Travel at its best

Enjoying travel on a horse trap, a type of carriage, on Inishmore (Inis Mór), the largest Aran Island in Galway Bay.

Click the link for my Getty IStock photography of the Aran Islands
View from Horse Drawn Trap on Cottage Road headed into Kilronan

Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Galway Bay View from Dún Aonghasa

a season of wildflowers across a karsk landscape

Another aspect of the gradual 1/2 mile inclined path to the central ring of the prehistoric Dun Aonghasa ruins of County Galway, Ireland.

The view north, northwest from this way to Dun Aonghasa (Dun Aengus).  In early June, looking across wildflowers, karst landscape, walled fields, farms, the North Atlantic Ocean, coast of Connemara and the 12 Bens (12 Pins) mountains. 

Note the doorway (with long lintel) in the surrounding wall, to left of center in middle distance.

Click the photograph for a larger view.

Click the link for my Getty IStock photography of the Aran Islands
Click me for the first post of this series, “Horse Trap on Inishmore.”

References: search wikipedia “Dún Aonghasa.”

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Skellig Peek

A Trinity of Skellig Images

Now’s time to share a trinity of images from a morning spent about the Skellig Islands May 2014.

Pam and I have many stories from that day, a favorite is from the parking lot of Portmagee where we met the fast boat to the island. I prepared for the day by making a reservation for our ride. We traveled from Killarney, where an early morning breakfast feast spread by The Killarney Royal Hotel fortified us for the adventure. Throughout our tour, experiencing Ireland was like taking blinders off, this first experience on The Ring of Kerry was no exception, driving on a tight timeline to reach Portmagee with minutes to spare, every turn of the road presented a new delight.

Grateful to have made it to Portmagee, we quickly pulled our kit together. As I closed the bonnet, Pam exclaimed “our umbrellas.” At this point of the story we laugh together. Umbrellas indeed. I had a dim clue of what lay in store for us and insisted the umbrellas be left behind, a counter-intuitive decision for a rainy Irish day the Wild Atlantic Way. Regardless of the time, we needed a bathroom break as there will be no facilities on the fast boat or the World Heritage Site where there is no space for human waste products.

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Skelligs from Valentia Island
I was here perched on a cliff of Valentia Island across from Portmagee looking southwest across Valentia Sound.

The humor is in our welcome aboard the fast boat, like a fishing boat with a small cabin and small deck dominated by the engine hatch. We crowded on, handed a full set of fisherman slickers. This is a heavy coat with hood and pants, all waterproof. Our close timing guaranteed the worse seat, away from the cabin in the open. It was a new experience for us and we felt a sense of dread as the craft left the protection of Valentia Sound into the open Atlantic Ocean.

We faced a west wind, driving 12+ foot waves, as the boat breached each wave the crest went over the cabin in a waterfall of salt water. Up and down, up and down. Thankfully neither of us lost breakfast as some did. I do not have photographs of the trip out or the approach to the island, my equipment was safely packed away.

In the above photograph you see the entire course of our approach to the island, a bit more than 10 (land) miles from Portmagee. We toured Valentia Island that afternoon.

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Skellig Steps
Climbing the side of Skellig Michael, approach to the peak and monastery.

There is a fair climb to the top to view the former monastery buildings. The steps are uneven and, when wet as it was that day, slippery.  I wore a waterproof North Face shell with hood for the low threatening clouds.  There was no rain as such, a constant fog on the top kept all exposed surfaces wet.

From the point on, until the top, was the most exposed and uncomfortable (frightening, chilling…you get the idea).  Spare yourself the experience if you are afraid of open spaces and heights.  Here was a stiff wind blowing from the right, on the left the cliff falls away to the ocean.  Ahead, the path narrows to about 10 inches with a cliff wall on one side, the precipice on the other.  Then come the monastery entrance and rock wall safety.

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Monk Cell
Monk Cell, Grave and Cross

This single image gives a succinct impression of the monastery setting.  The bee hive shaped stone monk cell requires a stooped crawl to enter.  Inside, the space is small and, thankfully, dry.  The structure keeps out the rain and wind, a marvel of stone construction. This cell is off to the side, on a cliff balcony, over the wall an ocean precipice.

My closing advice is to plan your time wisely.  The ship boards in less than an hour, in that time you climb the 700 steps and explore.  There are people all over the place, in waves. To capture the structures without humans, you need to wait until the cohort become bored and leaves.  There will be a space before the next wave of tourists breaks. Leave enough time to descend the steps safely.  People have suffered fatal falls on the steps and cliffs, it is easy to do.  Make your personal safety a priority.

Click for another Ireland Posting, “On the River Cong.”

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserves

Loughan Bay Ruins, County Antrim

Deserted Cottages above the Irish Sea

We pulled off the side of Torr Road for this fine view on the way to Torr Head to take in this view of the Irish Sea.  The steeply rising distant headland is the Mull of Kintyre. Loughan an Lochan, County Antrim, Northern Ireland.

Michael Wills – CLICK ME for my Getty Portfolio.

We parked on a turnout above the Loughan Cottages, near this farmer’s sheep pen.  He drove up in a huge tractor and conversed with Pam while I was below shooting the cottages. He made a good impression.

Loughan Bay Farmer – CLICK ME for my Getty Portfolio.

Roofless walls of a cottage more substantial than the other deserted ruins above Loughan Bay, with two fireplaces a walled porch with a view. A number of outbuilding foundations lay around. The integrity of the walls, chimneys and gables speaks to the quality of construction. A freighter in the North Channel of the Irish Sea is visible in the distance above the upper ridge. Beyond is the island of Islay, Scotland, about 30 miles distant. Loughan an Lochan, County Antrim, Northern Ireland.

I am happy to report a series of thirteen (13) photographs of these ruins were accepted for publication by Getty.  You can click any of the photographs in this posting for my Getty portfolio.

Loughan Cottages Ruins above Crockan Point – CLICK ME for my Getty Portfolio.

The land slopes steeply to a rocky beach.

Ruin Above Loughan Bay – CLICK ME for my Getty Portfolio.

A thick growth of ferns, grass on the gable was once a home with a view of Scotland’s Mull of Kintyre 13 miles across the North Channel of the Irish Sea.  The Isle of Sanda just visible on the right of the far gable.  A landform named Alisa Crag is just visible in the distance, to the left of the nearest gable. 

Single Room Loughan Bay Cottage – CLICK ME for my Getty Portfolio.

Please browse my reasonably priced stock photography. License a photograph, download and use it for your website or blog. Click this link to browse all my Getty IStock Photography offerings.

Or click this link or any photograph or this link to select a print with custom framing from my “Ireland” Fine Art Gallery.

Interested in learning more about this site?  I have a series of postings on Loughan Bay.  Click for the first posting in this series.

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills, All Rights Reserved.

Torr Head Crooked Horizon Problem 4

What solutions do you see? Please post your solutions in comments. Thank You

A third technique to solve a tilted horizon, first described this post, is the counterpoint to the second technique and a variation of the first technique. Instead of building out, this solution is to crop the blank space also removing a portion of the image.

Here is a Photoshop screen capture from just before the crop is executed. The grid of fine lines is the Crop tool. For example, on the upper right corner a portion of Rathlin Island, the water, a slice of land are removed along with the blank portion.

Note from the Photoshop screen capture, the blank space along the upper margin is NOT removed. To do so will ruin the composition, the top of the hill on the upper left would be removed. Instead, I used the second technique to copy the sky over the blank portion left after cropping.

Click photograph for a larger view. To do this from WordPress Reader, you need to first click the title of this post to open a new page.

The second solution post describes how copying content onto the blank space can cause duplication of image features. In the above example, I need to perfect the image, modifying the clouds OR perfect the copy process to avoid the duplication.

The end result is a view of wildflower meadow, foreground, coastal sheep pastures running up the high hill. Named Greenanmore, the hill is a site notable for a neolithic passage tomb. The distant land across the North Channel water is Rathelin Island.

See this post for a description of the foreground wildflowers.

Here is a slideshow of the corrected images of this series. To visit from WordPress Reader, you need to first click the title of this post to open a new page.
Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Torr Head Crooked Horizon Problem 3

What solutions do you see? Please post your solutions in comments. Thank You

Click photograph for a larger view. To do this from WordPress Reader, you need to first click the title of this post to open a new page.

Here is the second approach to correction of the tilted horizon problem that was first described this post.

A time intensive technique is, after straightening the image, to build out the blank sections. Here is an image after straightening. Corrected image size increases with degree of tilt, measured by the degrees of correction with the area of size increase being blank. It is this blank space that is filled by this technique.

The technique is to open a copy of the image, leaving the original unchanged, then, with Photoshop Lasso tool, select a portion to copy to clipboard, then to the blank space. A great deal of time is consumed by the trail-and-error approach required.

The sky was the simplest, the cliffs most difficult. The grass and flowers were not a difficult as they first appear. I varied feathering with sky the highest (30 pixels), grass and flowers at 10 pixels. Another general maxim is to run the lasso line through pixels the most similar to each other. After pasting use the Move tool to place the new layer.

A common effect to avoid is duplication of image elements. For example, after copying there are duplicates of flowers. This can be corrected through use of the Erase tool to reveal original image elements under the copied layer.

The cliffs on the upper left were impossible to correct. I solved this corner by running the Lasso line through the sky, water and grass. As a result the space between Rathlin and the “mainland” is wider.

See this post for a description of the foreground wildflowers.

Here is a slideshow a straightened, uncorrected and straighted, corrected images. To visit from WordPress Reader, you need to first click the title of this post to open a new page.
Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Torr Head Crooked Horizon Problem 2

What solutions do you see? Please post your solutions in comments. Thank You

Click photograph for a larger view. To do this from WordPress Reader, you need to first click the title of this post to open a new page.

Here is one approach to correction of the problem described in my last post.

In Photoshop, make a copy of the file and crop out reference to the crooked horizon. In this case, my focus is the wild flower meadow. The raw image was large enough leave enough pixels for a usable image.

A portion of the ocean water was filled in using a technique I will explain tomorrow. See this post for a description of the wildflowers.

Here is a slideshow a straightened, uncorrected and straighted, corrected images. To visit from WordPress Reader, you need to first click the title of this post to open a new page.
Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Torr Head Crooked Horizon Problem 1

What solutions do you see? Please post your solutions in comments. Thank You

Click photograph for a larger view. To do this from WordPress Reader, you need to first click the title of this post to open a new page.

For this photograph using a handheld Sony Alpha 700 dslr, taking in the foreground wildflower meadow, I neglected to maintain a level horizon.  

Leveling the image results in too much cropping of this view from Torr Head, north. The best approach is to level the camera. When using the handheld technique, I found many lenses have guides in the view finder the horizon can be lined up against. This technique is useful for a tripod mount. Later camera models have a feature that displays a level, handy for use with a tripod. For the handheld technique, these cameras provide a viewfinder leveling grid.

The next few days I will explore some solutions to the problem of corrected for a crooked horizon.

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Torr Head Wildflower Meadow

can you see any other flowers/plans in this photograph? Please leave a comment if you do.

Click photograph for a larger view. To do this from WordPress Reader, you need to first click the title of this post to open a new page.

We parked below the Coast Guard station, headed toward the height of Torr Head. I was stopped in my tracks by the hillside meadow wildflower profusion. 

Here are a few I identified, listed by common name: Bluebell, Daisy, Meadow Buttercup, Sea Campion, Yarrow.  We love daisies and buttercups around home.  We spotted Sea Campion on the Dingle Peninsula, as well.  Yarrow is common through Ireland.  I don’t recall seeing bluebells anywhere else. 

It was the bluebells in this photograph that clued me into why I took a photograph of the hillside.  The view north takes in coastal sheep pasture looking on a portion of North Channel and the Irish island Rathelin.

The web page I used for identification was wildflowersofireland.net . Great information and links to the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland with a distribution map.

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

A Bit About Torr Head

the information board is not to be outdone

Twenty five minutes before the photos of Pam on Torr Head we enjoyed this view from high above. The placard captures and explains a great deal.

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There is at least one tanker ship traversing the North Channel. You can just make out the Torr Road we followed through those farm buildings to the parking near the Coast Guard Station.

Here is a post published last year with more views of this coast.

Here is a gallery for easier flipping between photographs. To do this from WordPress Reader, you need to first click the title of this post to open a new page.

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills