It promised to be the ideal day: high seas coming in from the North Atlantic, the wind speed just about acceptable and at the same time sunny skies.
So, after checking every available forecast, I told my wife, ‘See you in a bit’. Only, ‘a bit’ turned out to be five hours of shooting one of the most amazing sceneries I have ever seen.
Sure, I have had my share of storms. Several force 10 and one full-blown hurricane, but to see the mighty seas crashing into the cliffs between Slea Head and Clogher Head on the western tip of the Dingle Peninsula was something on a different level.
I hardly felt the spray of seawater showering me every couple of minutes while sitting at edge of the cliffs. I only stopped shooting when I changed my position or had to wipe the lens clear of annoying saltwater droplets.
For obvious reasons I avoided changing lenses whenever I could, so I did most of the shots with my trusty 70-200 f/4 L. In this kind of wind I sometimes had to use ISO 400, so I didn’t get blurry shots. My old worn-out Gore-tex jacket acted like a sail and occasionally I felt like lifting off…
So I kept the shutter speed at 1/1250 or shorter. That also made sure to freeze the water drops flying through the air, while using a slower shutter speed would have probably gotten me some motion blur.
When it is unavoidable to change lenses in such a situation, then my Lowepro Lens Exchange 200 is worth its weight in gold! I turn my back to the wind, open my jacket to protect the camera and swap lenses in seconds. It is like with a mobile phone: you can’t even remember how it was without it!
Two final pieces of advice:
- Clean the salt of your gear with a slightly moist towel, after the job is done
- Get a bunch of flowers before you get home (in case your wife wants a divorce because you neglected her over some silly landscape images; again…)
(All images copyright ©Johann Brandstätter Photography)
*Gonzalo was the Hurricane, that, after losing some of his power and getting downgraded to 'Tropical Storm', passed by the Irish coast and brought a few interesting hours in October 2014.