As promised in my last post that I would write about my day at Glendalough House.
On Saturday morning I met up with friends; Denis, Lorraine and Hugh, and we drove down to Glendalough House (well Denis did ;-), the rest of us just enjoyed being chauffeured ). It was raining when we set off, but as we got closer it started to brighten up, so it looked like a promising day.
On arrival, we met up with Fran Byrne who had organised the walk in conjunction with Glendalough House. It was fantastic to see so many enthusiastic photographers of all ages had turned up for the event.
Glendalough House is in County Wicklow, and is situated in its own large estate which consists of woodland, pasture and park land. This was my first visit and certainly won’t be my last.
We started the walk through the woodland, which was beautiful. One word of advice if you intend to visit, bring good waterproof walking boots or wellies, it can get a bit muddy.
As we ventured through the trees we came across an opening with a small lake. Because there was no breeze the lake was like a mirror, it was beautiful. However this was the first mistake of the day, I didn’t use my tripod (because of my impatience 😦 ), and what could have been a stunning image turned out slightly disappointing because of the camera shake. However not to be deterred I decided to play about with it in Photoshop; so I converted it to black and white, added grain and tweaked the contrast. I suppose I was trying to give it a more arty feel. Anyway it’s not technically perfect, but I quite like the result.
I was more in a black and white mood on the day, so although I took all my images in RAW, I pre-visualized that I would be converting the majority of them into mono.
What did make me laugh about taking the shot above, because there were so many photographers around; was the amount of time waiting until your chosen subject was clear. I was like a comedy sketch, just as I was about to fire the shutter, someone would walk into my frame 😦 It was at this point that I finally got into the swing of things again and took my time. Patience is a virtue as they say 🙂
Now one thing that you will learn about me over time is that I have an obsession with lonely old trees, I love to photograph them. They stand there looking so grand, but yet so lonely. They face the harshest of weather as they have no protection around them, and yet most of them show very little signs of what they are exposed to on a day to day basis. I feel we have a lot to learn from these trees; stand tall and proud, bend in the wind when you have to, and don’t let day to day life scar you too much; tomorrow is always another day.
I do think that the sky has also added to the ambience of the picture, as majestic as the tree is, it would be boring with a plain featureless sky.
I did take another photo while I was near the tree, but I’m leaving that until my next blog post, as there is a little story about the image 🙂
We spent the morning exploring; and getting lost in the woods, which was an adventure in itself. Then it was back down to the house for lunch and to gather our thoughts.
Even though we were supposed to be resting for lunch (a photographer never sleeps ;-)) I couldn’t resist taking the above shot of an old wheel barrow outside one of the farm buildings. I thought it gave the picture a timeless feel, leaving the viewer to guess when the shot was taken.
After lunch, Fran showed us around the water gardens, where there was a lot of photo potential.
I originally wasn’t going to take the above shot. I’ve photographed so many waterfalls in the past, I suppose I feel all ‘waterfalled’ out. But to be honest I’m glad I did :-), it’s certainly one of my favourites from the day.
One thing I noticed over the day, was that the whole place was overtaken by vibrant green moss, it almost made you feel that you were in some kind of enchanted forest.
It had even taken over the garden furniture…
When I was stood with my camera, I had one of those imaginative moments that I often do, and was thinking about the moss. I’m sure you’ve seen those nature time-lapse films where it shows a plant growing in a few seconds, but the actual event probably took months or even years. Well I imagined this happening, that if you stood still long enough the moss would grow over you as well in that sort of time-lapse photography way. Not scary; just the wonderment of nature 🙂
One thing that did shock me was that although it is early February, Rhododendrons were starting to emerge from their buds, and there were even a couple that were in nearly full bloom. I still can’t quite decide whether this is good or bad, poor nature is getting all confused.
On the other hand, there was also your typical spring flowers, beautiful delicate snowdrops.
As the afternoon progressed, more and more people departed and there was just a handful of us left to explore the house. We were taken on a short guided tour around parts of the ground floor. It is still privately owned and lived in, so there were a lot of inaccessible areas. However this is due to change in the near future with plans to convert it to a B&B, so keep checking the website for more details.
There is a lot of history surrounding Glendalough House (click for more details), we only scratched the surface on what we were introduced to on the day. I definitely intend to be visiting again in the future, and will be exploring elements of the history and changing seasons more.
A beautiful and interesting place to visit with plenty to do even for the non-photographers out there 🙂