The First Dusting Of Snow At Lugnaquilla

The first snow to fall at Lugnaquilla occurred last weekend – some of it whilst I was on my way up.
Howling winds and horizontal snow, with wind chill of -5°C in the morning – that’ll wake you up alright.
I have to say, I’ve been to Lugnaquilla many times but this day was the toughest that I recall. It was not purely because of the weather, I’ve been up in much worse – it was just a long day. I spent 12 hours out walking the area, carrying heavy camera equipment the whole time.
The Moon was slightly more than three quarters full, and on a clear, frosty morning illuminated the way enough that I barely needed my head torch – only in the forest was it dark enough to warrant its use.Moon copy.jpg

The sun not up yet, but it’s not far off. I can see that there is snow lying on the lug already and it appears that it’s getting a fresh batch of it.
Snowing on the lug copy.jpg

As I approached the north prison, the sun had risen and the winds were strong.
Northerly winds are cold too!
This was a very challenging shot, the wind was so strong that standing was a problem let alone trying to shoot a dimly lit landscape with a high resolution camera.
Camera movement ruins sharpness when using longer exposures – this was 1/30th of a second shutter speed – which sounds fast but really is not. Viewing the scene in live view, I could see how much vibration was being caused by the wind. My advice when shooting these scenes is either use a higher ISO (I don’t prefer this) or wait patiently for a drop in the wind and use a cable release (my preferred option). Obviously, sometimes you cannot wait – for example if it’s -5°C and howling winds you might not really want to stand around! Still, I managed to get a sharp shot at ISO 64 here, using a bit of patience and some grit!North Prison copy.jpg

Some snow!
I wait all year for this!
Snow Dice copy.jpg

The summit, with a light dusting. This would not last long – the October sun would later prove to be too strong, despite the freezing temperature up here at present.
Cairn copy.jpg

The fog came in rapidly, and then blew past as suddenly as it appeared.
The sky was partly cloudy all day, with fast moving clouds, some low (hence the fog) and some higher – but all fast moving (due to high winds).Sun copy.jpg

It’s already apparent in the image above that the snow was not going to last long, the sun had been up for a couple of hours at this point and the temperature is just above freezing (though it did not feel like it with the wind chill!).

There is a rocky outcrop slightly north west of the south prison that I like to sit at for a snack sometimes, so I headed over that direction – I was pretty hungry. Starbar time. Yum!
Yeah, the fog came and went, this is really not unusual for Lugnaquilla. Climbing the mountain without basic navigational skills is really not something I would advise.
Fog copy.jpg

On the subject of navigation, an important point here is to not store your compass near a mobile phone. If you don’t know why, put simply – magnets will depolarise a compass and thus cause it to become inaccurate (usually, completely wrong) – smartphones contain magnets.

A long range shot now, looking down to Aughavannagh with some nice sun rays.Aughavannagh copy.jpg

It’s been a while since I wrote a blog post about Lugnaquilla actually, but that’s not to say I have not been lately – I’ve actually been once or twice each month this year so far. This would be my second visit this month.

At this point, I decided that I would hop over the other side of the mountain, to look down the north prison to the Glen Of Imaal. It adds a few kilometres to the trip but I thought it would be worth it.
North Prison To Imaal copy.jpg

I was glad that I did!
At this time of year, the sun never hits the cliffs on this side of the mountain, as is shown in the photographs above and below. The northerly winds were biting here.
North Prison 35 copy.jpg

Regular readers of my blog will know that I am quite the fan of rock formations, and it wouldn’t be a real visit to Lugnaquilla if I didn’t shoot at least one!
Rock copy.jpg

Another take.
Rock II copy.jpg

Beautiful autumnal light on this visit, although it was a challenge keeping the camera steady in the wind. Autumn and winter is where the good light really happens, everything else (other seasons) is just practice to my mind.

Where does the time go!?
Sunset was only a few hours away at this point and I had a lot of ground to cover to get back to the car. I started my walk at 06:00 and ended it at 17:48 – 22.94 km later! Taking lots of photographs to a high technical standard takes a lot of time, so it’s not that it took me 12 hours to walk 23 km – photography eats up a lot of that time.

So I started the homeward journey, along the cliffs of the north prison.Looking down the np copy.jpg

Another angle overlooking the great cliffs of the north prison a bit further down the mountain.
NP cliff copy.jpg

I’ve always liked the view over to to the west from here with Keadeen sitting in the distance.
West copy.jpg

Looking down to the Glen Of Imaal. Long way back to the car!Glen Imaal copy.jpg

A wider shot, showing the distance I have yet to travel. The ridge leading to the middle of the image (from the left) is the Camarahill/Corrig ridge that is my return journey. Some nice light!
Glen Imaal 20 copy.jpg

Gonna feel this walk in my legs for a few days I think.
Off Lugnaquilla now, and it’s like a switch was flicked – no wind at all!

I once encountered an unwanted visitor here at this small pond – a deer tick had attached itself to me. Lovely!
Makes sense really, it was late summer and presumably this is a drinking hole for deer so that’s where I would hang out if I was a tick! The DEET spray did not protect me much here, it would appear! No harm though, I have a tool for removing them with ease.
tick pond copy.jpg

A nice skyscape.
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The sun low in the sky now, about an hour and a quarter until sunset. My journey back follows from left to right in this image, with Camarahill the brownish bump at right with the wall slightly off centre.
low sun copy.jpg

As darkness comes nearer, I reach the top of Camarahill – the last descent of the day beckons. Taking one last glance over to Lugnaquilla – I was seeing a face in the shadow cast by the north prison of Lugnaquilla. It’s the BFG!
BFG copy.jpg

The last shot of the day, sunset on the way down from Camarahill.
Sunset copy.jpg

A long day!

Thank you for reading!

If you like what you see here please feel free to take a look at my portfolio site where you can see lots more of my work, or follow me on Twitter or Facebook here!

The images presented here are my intellectual property and must not be distributed without my consent.

An Autumnal Evening At Tibradden

To dispel any myth that I only hike at Lugnaquilla, I decided that I would do a post about a short (but pleasant) walk to Tibradden Mountain in County Dublin.

Now that summer is over, we are coming into much more interesting times, photographically speaking. As readers of my blog will know, winter is my favourite season of all but autumn is certainly second!

Tibradden summit lies just above the Zipit forest adventure zipline area, it’s not a long walk, but a pleasant one.
Starting off just before the Zipit area, I took a steep shortcut I know that can offer some nice views over to the trees at Cruagh wood.Cruagh Wood copy.jpg

An excellent time of year to be in the forest.
Tree copy.jpg

The forest stretch at the start of the walk is pretty short – it’s not long until you hit open hillside, where you simply follow a rocky path (with occasional railway sleepers) to the top. Navigational skills are not required on this walk.

Above the trees now, a pleasant view over to Montpelier Hill, and the Hellfire Club (an old hunting lodge, with many supernatural tales surrounding it) emerges. A curious place, unfortunately a little spoilt by mindless graffiti.
Montpelier Hill copy.jpg

At the summit now (it is a short walk!) – and nearby here lies a prehistoric burial cairn.
Though not terribly windy here, the clouds in the sky are indicative of fast winds in the higher atmosphere.
Tibradden Cairn copy.jpg

I opted to walk a bit further on from the summit – continuing even further would lead to Fairy Castle/Two Rock mountain but I had not intended to walk there this day.
The light and colours at this time of year can be amazing.
Autumn copy.jpg

Clouds thickening here at one of the tors of Tibradden. Wind increasing too.
The clouds in the sky are taking all sorts of forms, lenticular/flying saucer shaped.
If you find yourself in the shadow of a lenticular cloud, then in the shade you shall stay if you do not move on. These clouds don’t tend to move much – they are continually reformed over the same location by new air rising up and over a mountain, condensing and producing the clouds.Tor copy.jpg

Looking over to Cruagh, the sky is most curious.
Cruagh Sky copy.jpg

I  decided to wait here for a while, near the tor – I am a huge fan of rock formations and I was waiting for the sky to show me some interesting patterns.

But, being close to Dublin – this is a popular walk so my patience was thwarted when a group of scouts came to look at the tor – more a fan of nature than humans, I opted to move on.

There is a nice view over to Howth and the sea from near the summit area, with large ferries and cargo ships toing and froing.
Howth copy.jpg

Heading back to the tor now, hoping that it was free of people – indeed it was, but the sky was becoming totally overcast. Looked great though.
Tor BW copy.jpg

This was a small taste of the display the sky would create a small bit later.
Back at the cairn now, and the light show really began:
Tibradden Cairn Sky copy.jpg

Further down from the summit, this spectacle presented itself.
Sky copy.jpg

I have seen a lot of things when out hiking, sometimes nature puts on an amazing show like the above. I’d like to add, the images I present here on my blog are not ‘cooked’ up in photoshop – in the digital darkroom I prefer to do minimal work on my photographs to achieve a look and feel that was the same as what I observed, sometimes I might lighten shadows, darken highlights but really not much more than that. Analogue photographers would have been able to do the same with dodging and burning.
Of course, the high dynamic range of my Nikon D810 helps a LOT.

Yellow Tree copy.jpg


Thank you for reading!

If you like what you see here please feel free to take a look at my portfolio site where you can see lots more of my work, or follow me on Twitter or Facebook here!

The images presented here are my intellectual property and must not be distributed without my consent.