Photographs by Gareth Wray

The Emerald Isle

Over my years exploring & photographing Ireland I’ve discovered that my country has so much more to offer than just its famously branded ‘Forty Shades of Green’ that the rest of the world seems to perceive. Our country has so many other colours and shades other than green and it is all these various colours, combined with its rich diversity of landscapes, that I aim to show within my photography.

Ireland is a true playground for any photographer or adventurer. There are such a variety of landscapes & seascapes such as open green plains, forests, mountain ranges, sand dunes, lakes, beaches, historic ruins, monuments and wildlife. The list goes on.

Northern Lights Aurora – Dunluce Castle, Antrim Coast

Travelling

As a child in the 80’s my parents would take me on drives across our countryside, mainly exploring what is now known as ‘The Wild Atlantic Way’. Even at such a young age I remember being in awe at the stunning scenery around every corner and how we could drive through a forest, over a large mountain, past some lakes to arrive on a stunning golden sandy beach with an old shipwreck sitting in the middle of it, all within a few miles radius!

“Errigal Mountain & Dunlewey Lake” Donegal

Retracing & Discovery

When I turned seventeen I got my own car but strangely found myself retracing all the routes and places my parents showed me. Years later when I had kids of my own, my wife and I started taking them along to these same stunning places of beauty. I would spend most of the day photographing the scenery on my camera phones as I was so proud of our country and wished to show everyone the beauty of Ireland. Soon we realised that camera phone photos were terrible. I invested in my first DSLR Nikon camera in 2012 which started the ball rolling towards my future as a landscape photographer.

I was so proud of our country and wished to show everyone the beauty of Ireland

Beltany Standing Stone Circle – Donegal

Higher Perspectives

I don’t have one particular style of photography, simply because many different methods of capture are needed to correctly show the diversity of our landscapes. I focus on traditional landscape photography with my camera and tripod, capturing golden sunsets, rolling hills and coastlines. Another aspect is astro and night photography, focusing on the moon, star constellations, the milky way galaxy and the aurora borealis (northern lights). In recent years I have also been using aerial photography to show new higher perspectives.

“Milky Way & Perseid Meteor Shower 2018” The Dark Hedges

Chasing Light

Traveling the length and breadth of Ireland at all hours chasing perfect light that sometimes lasts mere minutes or most times doesn’t even show at all. I’m continually after that one great photo of a lesser seen area that shows Ireland’s true hidden beauty. It normally involves hauling heavy cameras, lenses, tripods etc up tall mountains or through swampy marsh up to my knees, but I love every step even when I don’t get the shot. I will just return at a later date and as many times as it takes to bring my followers a photo that makes them want to visit the same place, or to hopefully make them feel the scene as I did during the moment of capture.

Ireland is renowned for having such clear dark skies. This is mainly due to how little light pollution we have here. The reason for this is geographic and how far west on the map we are. Our towns and cities are small compared to New York, Tokyo etc. Because of these pitch-black skies I am able to capture clear photos of our Milky Way Galaxy & The Aurora in high colour detail that may only be seen in countries such as Iceland or Norway. I normally capture these dark sky phenomena over ancient Irish monuments such as Standing Stone Circles, Castles and Tombs. This is a great way to show off our heritage and deepen the mystery and mythical stories of these ancient places.

Sunrise over An Grianan Ring Fort, Donegal

I focus on traditional landscape photography with my camera and tripod, capturing golden sunsets, rolling hills and coastlines.

Boyeeghter Bay Cave, Melmore Head, Donegal

Greater Heights

Whilst trying capturing stone circles and round stone forts from ground level, I soon realised that they looked two dimensional. For me to correctly show these magnificent monuments in all their glory aerial photography was required. Not only does aerial photography enable me to show landscapes and monuments in greater detail but it enables me to reach and capture photos from angles otherwise impossible, such as over the ocean looking inland or from high above a dense woodland.

The Deserted Island of Inishsirrer Gweedore, Donegal

History & Legend

To date I have gained a great social following across Facebook, Instagram & Flickr. After a while I noticed my followers were continually asking location and history details from each of my photos. I started to add these details then it started to get hold of me.

Nowadays each new photo of mine is accompanied with the history or legend of that area. Some people now recognise my writing as ‘mini blogs’ because most of the time I’m talking about my feelings or experiences at a particular scene. “A photograph is only half the picture” I strongly believe that a great detailed description is also required to breathe some life into a photo and to draw the readers minds into my scenes.

The Emery Celtic Cross – Donegal

You can see more of Gareth’s images at: https://www.facebook.com/garethwrayphotography/

Gareth’s photographs are also available for purchase from his website: www.garethwray.com