Togs & Tales

Aisling McGuire

Aisling McGuire

Landscape Photographer

My name is Aisling McGuire and I am a 26 year old from Galway. I lived in Dublin throughout my degree at UCD where I studied languages & literature, fast forward a couple of years and a pandemic later, I am now working at Google in sales and on climate/environmental solutions, focused on the manufacturing industry primarily. Though technically I work in the Dublin office, I am lucky to be working remotely in Connemara since I joined the company mid-pandemic.
In terms of hobbies, I love being outdoors, photography of course, but also hiking, judo, running and being in the water (trying to surf!). Essentially, I love being active and photography for me is a fun way to extend my reasons to be outside.

What was your path to becoming a Landscape Photographer & What was your first camera?

Growing up, both of my parents had cameras so I have always had some sort of camera for as long as I can remember. I do remember developing photos when very young, but the first camera I can recall was a bright pink Fujifilm FinePix JX Series digital camera. I then moved to an Olympus Pen E-PL10 (digital), then a Nikon D7000 where I began to learn more of the technical aspects of using a camera. When we ended up back west during the pandemic, I invested in my first mirrorless, the Sony A7RIII. I love tech in general so learning about the capabilities of different cameras keeps me intrigued and of course I just love to share the beauty of Connemara.

What was your favourite Landscape Adventure Story since becoming a Photographer?

A very recent trip actually! My boyfriend Josh, and I are both avid astrophotographers, so during the summer we had been planning our shots for the Perseids meteor shower in August. However, on that specific week, the forecast was terrible – and not just in Connemara, but all over Ireland (though I am aware some people did find gaps in the clouds).

As we had both taken the week off work, we decided at the last minute to look into flights. We scanned the entirety of Europe on the light pollution map and various local weather forecasts. We found a tiny place in the south of Portugal so on Monday night, we booked everything and the next day we made our way an hour north of Faro into a tiny rural village named Mértola.
It ended up being an amazing short trip. It was planned so last minute that there were no cars available to rent, so we rented electric bikes and cycled to every location. We shot the meteor showers every night (4 nights in total) and slept during the day, good thing too as it was 42 degrees celsius during the day! We ended up befriending the locals and they came with us and watched the meteors over the amazing Guadiana river. Slightly ashamed to admit but I still have about 3 or 4 images left to edit from this trip as they are such large projects to process though I have one processed already.

What was your worst in-the-field experience as a landscape Photographer?

Thankfully not many experiences come to mind for this category except one particular night. Actually another Perseids shoot (I promise my camera does get used for other than this meteor shower annually…). Anyways, the previous summer I was shooting at the Hill of Doon in Galway and conveniently, I had not realised that my contact lense prescription was no longer suitable and needed upgrading, so after 8 hours of shooting, I checked the display of my camera, zoomed in and realised that thousands and thousands of photos were completely out of focus.
Needless to say I learnt my lesson(s) that morning. I went back to shoot a second night in a row and ensured that my focus was double checked by somebody else and I tested and checked my camera before it had already been shooting for 8 hours!

Sunrise or Sunset & Why?

Oh a tough question but I reckon I would vote for sunrise, specifically thinking of sunrise in winter and spring. Those frosty clear mornings in the winter are just unbeatable and the spring sunrises (especially if you can find a nice calm lake) are so special.

Where is your favourite Location in Ireland to Photograph & Why?

Connemara. Hands down. There is so much diversity in the landscape; between seascapes, mountains, lakes, wildlife and the amazing clear night sky. There is so much scope for photography at all times of the year, you just can’t get bored, I love it!

What is your favourite photograph, that you’ve taken to date, & Why?

Probably my panoramic shot of the milky way arch over the Twelve Bens. This photo brings me so much joy and pride if I am honest. It was so many hours of work, physically tough to achieve and it was my first ever time shooting the arch and creating a panorama. Processing a photo of that scale took so much learning and time but I loved it and I hope to print it soon as there is so much detail.
We had climbed one of the bens the night before at sunset (Josh and I) and set up our scenes, slept for about 2 hours in bivvies, woke up at 2.30am and shot consistently until about 6.30am. Time flew by despite being freezing cold and exhausted. The stars were incredible and the sunrise was mind blowing. It was an incredible experience I would never have had unless I pushed myself outside my comfort zone.

What equipment / Setup are you currently using?

I am happily set up on the Sony A7RIII and a few lenses as I have far too many areas of interest when it comes to photography (astro, landscape, wildlife, surf ICMs and in-water photography).

I also use a Sea Frogs set up for in-water shooting.
Josh is also a Sony user, so occasionally if I need a lens outside my kit, I will borrow one of his.

Top Tip for anyone starting out?

Take your time, there is no rush. Don’t let the crazy amount of settings and variables in a camera intimidate you, you will learn with time. I recommend if you are interested in a certain style of photography, use YouTube and Google to learn more about what type of settings people typically use in those scenarios and test that out, it may not be suitable but it’s one way to learn more about what other photographers do.

Best Advise you’ve personally been given?

“Get out of bed” – from Josh, trying to get me up and awake for shooting astro at 2.30am in the middle of winter when it’s minus 5 degrees haha!

Who is your favourite Irish photographer at the moment ?

As I am interested in many types of photography I will try to pick per area, but the talent in Ireland is incredible and there is a growing community of photographers who I definitely look up to.

or biodiversity photography, I am loving Vivian Philips’ work, she has some incredible shots of stags from during the rut for example.

For surf photography, I am a huge fan of Darragh Gorman, he was the photographer who inspired me to try surf ICM shots and it’s an incredibly fun style of photography. For astrophotography, Felix Sproll is fantastic. It is worth noting that he is also very talented at daytime landscapes.

For landscape photography, I can’t put one ahead of the other but both Sean O’Riordan and Bernard Geraghty are superb photographers who I really admire.

Where can we find you?

So far I am only set up on my personal Instagram account: @aisjane. Though currently, I am in the process of setting up a business account and a website where I can sell prints which I will advertise on the personal account when it’s all up and running!
© All images are copyrighted to Photographer Aisling McGuire
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