Togs & Tales

Colin Haverty

Colin Haverty

Landscape Photographer

Hello, My name is Colin Haverty and I am a 46 year old Dublin Photographer Bluffer. I am married to Nicola and we have 2 girls, Nessa who is 15 and Orna who is 11 years of age. I am a Finance & Operations Manager for a retail company and I work 5am to 1pm which is great as I have been able to be around for the girls every afternoon.
I would be a very hands-on dad, and nothing makes me happier than to be around the girls and family. Thankfully for the moment the girls are happy I’m still around and I don’t embarrass them too much. I have been lucky enough to help on their GAA teams and help out with their school teams too. I love Holidays within Ireland and find myself becoming a big kid myself when in around the beach and water with the kids. The family are really supportive of my photography as long as it’s landscape photos I take, as soon as I turn the camera on them it’s a different story. I still love going into different family and friends houses and seeing photos I have taken while at family and friend’s gatherings. My dream would be when I retire to get a van and transform it into a basic camper so I can either pop off around the country for photos and hikes. It would also make getting to some sunrise locations a bit easier as you can rock up the night before and rest up.

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

I would have been pretty sporty when younger and after hanging up the football boots I found the waistband expanding so I decided to do something about it, and I got into running. I can be pretty driven at time’s, and I remember going for my first outdoor run on the day of the Dublin marathon and I barely made it 1 mile without throwing up. But I decided there and then that the following year I would be doing the marathon. Thankfully I did and then that quickly turned into doing a sprint distance triathlon, 2 months later I turned up at a race to do a sprint distance and they had availability for the longer Olympic distance and I jumped in to do that, fast forward 3 months I was doing a half Ironman in the UK which was supposed to be the hardest half ironman distance and I barely made the cut off time. But I was determined to do better and another 3 months later I did a half iron man in Galway and bested my previous time by 3hrs.
But I’m a big lump of a lad and the racing and pressure on the body kept meaning I was getting injuries and after a few years I had to stop the running and races as my neck and back just couldn’t handle it. So, with more time on my hands from not going out training I managed to finally find the time to get into what I now know as my true passion. So, I went from doing triathlons which I thought was expensive to photography which can be crazy expensive.
I had always had an interest in photography, and I can remember even as a kid going on holidays to Donegal, we would be passing locations and I would be saying that’s cool or that would be a nice photo. So, when I was a bit older I bought a FujiFilm FinePix F601. I think it had 3.1m pixels or something small like that but I thought it was brill. Everything shot was taken on Auto as I didn’t have a clue of what I was doing. A few years later again when Nessa was born, I bought a Canon 60D and felt I was a pro but again every shot was on Auto. In around 2018 A friend and work colleague Paul Egan used to chat about going out and doing some Landscape photography and we went down to Glendalough one Saturday. It lashed rain from the moment we got there. I didn’t have a clue about what I was doing. We set the cameras up and started taking shots and I was looking at my LCD screen thinking yeah that’s nice but then Paul was showing lovely silky water blur. I realised then I had a lot to learn. He had filters and showed me how they work. I didn’t even understand F4 or f11 or ISO 100 but I also said to myself that the next time I go out I won’t be on Auto and I will be using Manual. I also realised I needed to get a full frame camera and I purchased a used Canon 5D Mark 1. The difference straight away was massive and the shots I was able to get at night in Dublin City was so much better than the Canon 60D. The only problem I found with the Canon 5D mark 1 was there was no live screen and if I was setting up for a low shot, I was struggling to see what I was doing as my back injury was restrictive at that stage. So again, I saved and upgraded to a 5D mark iii and again I was blown away with the difference between the 2 cameras. I kept that for a year and then traded that in for the EOS R late in 2019. For me this has been a game changer and I find it a fantastic camera.

Coming into 2020 I had been getting pains in my arm and I thought it was referred pain from my neck injury but by June I was doing a kids GAA training session I found myself getting really out of breath too so after getting bad pain in my chest and arm. I went to the Doctor, and they said something wasn’t right so I ended up in Hospital and seeing consultants they did an angiogram and they said I needed Heart Stents as I had some blockages and that if I hadn’t of gone about it, I would have had a heart attack within months. The following week I was back getting the heart stents in, and they discovered that one was so bad they could only do that one that week and that I would have been dead within 3 months without action. That frightened the life out of me big time. I just couldn’t get my head around that not so long before I was running marathons and now I was on the operating bed been told I had a bad heart. I got the 2nd stent done 3 weeks later and all I could think about was getting back out with the camera. About a week later myself and Paul Egan went in around Dublin one evening and I lasted about 2 hrs before I was exhausted. But I kept getting out and about and found I was constantly learning. I have struggled for a while since the heart scare with tiredness and also sometimes mentally with motivation to get out but having a group of guys to meet up with is great. Photography has now become my stress release.
I was finally persuaded by family that I should start posting on this thing called Instagram to show off some photos. I hadn’t a notion about what it was all about but quickly started to find other photographers and was getting inspired by shots these photographers were posting. It was in December of 2020 that I was in the Phoenix Park taking shots of the deer and another photographer came up and said hello. It was Keith from @dublincityphotography and he was super sound and chatting away. When I looked up his page, he had thousands of followers and here he was chatting to me. I went home that evening feeling 10ft tall.

A couple of months later I started to notice another photographer @Ipaulimages and thought I recognised him. I eventually showed his picture to my wife and said yep that’s him. He had worked with my wife almost 20 years ago and had even been at my wedding! I reached out to him, and we met up and have quickly become good buddies again. Also, from Instagram I have met Nial from @kingoffat1981 and Phil from @Philstagram and so many others but the 4 of us get out as much as we can.

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

When you go out with a few lads there’s always goanna be a story or 2 to tell about falling into rivers in Tollymore or going bobsleighing in Glendalough Phil or climbing under electric fences up in Mussenden Temple or knocking over tripods with camera still attached but I’m a gentleman and I don’t tell stories on the others lads- do I Phil………..but I do have some video footage if anyone wants to pay enough.

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

Probably my worst moment while out shooting was last year in May. Paul and I met up with Nial and Phil for the first time and we had a stunning morning in Carton House with a nice bit of fog along by the boat house. After we got our shots, we strolled down to the 9th green and there’s a nice little bridge so myself and Paul had the drones up. Now I only had gotten my drone 5 weeks before as a Birthday present from the wife and I knew I was no Mavrick from Top Gun but I was standing there with Phil over my shoulder and I do have photo evidence and we were chatting but I wasn’t concentrating fully and low and behold I hit a branch and thought I had regained control but on the screen I seen in tumbling down into the water and still recording while under water. My stomach just sank and I felt instantly sick. But then I see Nial dropping his bag and moving along the river bank as if to jump in if he seen it which I felt well top lad as I had only just met him. After a minute of 2 we managed to see the drone in about 3 ft of water. The only way I could get to it was to strip off the jeans and wade in. Of course, what do you say to 3 photographers when 1 is in his jocks in a freezing river “nobody take a bloody photo” but when I turned around I think the 3 of them all had their phones out recording me. I managed to retrieve the drone and it was still recording. Going in the front door that day wet and embarrassed and saying I’d crashed the drone was sickening but thankfully I had paid the €50 DJI insurance and within 2 weeks I had a new drone. So now when I put the drone up, I walk away from everyone and try my best to concentrate. I tend not to do a huge amount of video as that’s when I usually feel I’m going to crash but when just using it for photos I just feel much safer.

Sunrise or Sunset & Why?

For me it must be Sunrise. With me working early mornings for 17 years I have probably seen thousands of sunrises but mostly when I’m in work, I never seem to get lucky and get amazing sunrises when I have a day off. There is just something about getting up early and traveling while its dark and seeing if there is low cloud or when you see the first glimpse of light. I love just setting up with a coffee and having a bit of chat before the 5-10 minutes of mad panic about settings.
Its great in the winter or even up till April when sunrises are not too early. It is nice to get a bit of a lie in at the weekend even if it’s getting up at 5am but during the winter you can get up at 6am and still even travel a hour to your location. I love getting the shot in and taking our time over a coffee then getting back home in time to make pancakes for the girls before they get up and start the day.

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

If I was asked that 2 years ago, I would have said Kerry and in around Dingle. But the weather we got in July was so bad we came home early so I really want to go back and get to some locations.
Last year the family did a bit of a road trip along the wild Atlantic way and started up in Fanad Light house. I was hoping to get some epic shots but the week we got was the hottest of the year and there was barely a cloud in sight once the sun came up. I also found it hard taking up time on the family time so yeah there’s a list as long as my arm to go back to up in Donegal.
Earlier this year a few of us did a trip up to the Antrim coast and it was amazing. Within about 45min drive you had so many locations to visit. The first day we had a storm, and the wind was crazy. We went to the Giants Causeway and it felt like a Ibiza Foam party as the sea foam was waist deep and we couldn’t get any shot.
But if I was pushed to say just one place it would have to be Donegal. From a young age holidaying up there and now older bringing the family up its just so beautiful. But next time I will be going on my own or with the lads for a few photo locations.

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

That’s a difficult one as I’m sure like most photographers we are never truly happy with our shot and I am so guilty of saying I will get a better shot next time.
Up to April this year I would have said the Woods in Ballinastoe. The now famous walkway up through the woods. For a few reasons I loved this shot. From the time I had seen Ronan’s shot of it I wanted to have ago myself at it. The day I went to was again with a few guys and we went to Lough Tay first and then up to the woods. It was my Dad’s anniversary that day and it was a bit damp and as soon as I got out of the car and into the woods I could get the smells of forest and it brought me back to Holidays with Dad in Donegal. I ended up getting a shot I was very happy with too.
Last year on a trip up to Tollymore I noticed a lone tree in amongst a clearing. I set up and took a couple of shots and was only when I got home and put it up on the laptop and was so happy with it. I actually have it printed and framed at home.

In April this year I did a workshop with Bernard Geraghty and we went to Glendalough and it was a lovely still morning with nice rolling fog and we were down by the lower lake and I got a lovely shot of the trees coming through the fog but also managed to get the reflections on the lake. Even though it was April it had a real Autumnal feel to it.

What equipment / Setup are you currently using?

Top Tip for anyone starting out?

Get onto manual and just get out and practice. Bring your camera everywhere with you. Do a workshop. Last year I did one with Sean O Riordan and this year I did one with Bernard Geraghty and I have another one booked with Sean for during the summer when I am on my hols over in Clare. I find them really good and for me there is nothing like learning while in the field so as good as youtube is and I have watched hours and hours there is nothing like been out with the camera. Another one would be to try meet up with people. 90% of all photographers I have met through Instagram are so nice and have no problem in giving advice. If you find a group and they are better photographers, then yourself it’s only going to help you learn your trade.

Best Advise you’ve personally been given?

I have gotten some good advice from some really good photographers but probably the best advice I got was from Paul Egan and it was to get a full frame camera as I would see the difference it would make to my photos and straight away I could.

Who is your biggest inspiration as a Landscape Photographer.

There are a few lads that are just unreal photographers and every shot they post is just better than the last one. Mark O Brien is just amazing and such a nice lad and is so encouraging. Sean O Riordan is superb, and his shots are fantastic.

Funny story about bumping into the 2 guys was that last year on my holidays I was staying in the lighthouse keepers’ cottages attached to Fanad Lighthouse. I woke up one morning where I had planned to go to The Great Pollet Sea Arch and when the alarm went off I looked out the window and couldn’t even see the actual lighthouse the fog was so thick. So, I stayed in bed and after probably 30 min I got up as I knew I wasn’t going back asleep. I had all my gear ready so was out the door within 5 min. But as I was walking to the car, I could hear voices coming across the headland and through the fog. I could recognise a bit of what was been said and it felt like the guys were within 20 yards of me. As I drove out through the gate 3 lads came walking across the road through the fog, Mark, Sean and Rory. I just cracked up laughing. I got out and said hello and couldn’t believe how nice and sound the guys were.

On my last workshop with Bernard he was showing me some of his photos on his phone and I would just love to get one of his shots and I’d be happy. He has hundreds if not thousands of shots not edited and not shared.

Who is your favourite Irish photographer at the moment ?

He will kill me for saying this and I am so lucky to call him a mate but I just love Nial O Connell’s work at the moment. He has an amazing eye for seeing something out of nothing and his editing is class. To top it all off he is so helpful with edits to myself and the lads. There has been times where 3 of us have been crowded into a 6 ft space trying to get a shot and we will be happy with our effort and then Nial will show us what he got and it’s just amazing. His recent photos from his Donegal road trip are just so good.

Where can we find you?

© All images are copyrighted to Photographer Colin Haverty
Scroll to Top

Get in Touch

Leave us a Message

If you would like to contribute to the site or see an issue within the site, then please contact us through the form below