Togs & Tales

Daniel Crowley

Daniel Crowley

Landscape Photographer

My name’s Daniel, I’m 22 years old, and I’m living & working in Dublin.

When I’m not gallivanting around with my camera, I work as a Multimedia Developer for an eLearning company. Other hobbies I have outside of photography would include playing music, as well as being a huge movie fan.

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

I suppose like many landscape photographers, the passion stems from a love for the outdoors.
For me however, photography just tied into travelling & adventure. It’s a nice way of appreciating experiences, places & capturing these moments.
What started with me trying to capture these with my phone without much thought, soon turned into focusing on how I composed these shots, and I found myself really thinking more & more about how I could improve the photos I was taking.
So naturally, it wasn’t long before I picked up my first proper camera back in 2019 – a Fujifilm XT-100. I still see myself as relatively new to photography compared to others, but it’s something I completely threw myself into since holding my very own camera for the first time & haven’t looked back since!

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

Ooh this is a tough one…it’s gotta be how I got the sun setting over the Skelligs shot.
So a bitta context to the build-up to this shot – I’m a big Star Wars fan, so ever since seeing the Skellig sunset scenes from that, it was immediately on my mind whether that could be replicated with the same beauty, or if it was just ‘movie magic’.
I spent lockdown of this year (2021) living down in West Cork, where I spent a lot of time growing up. If you’re Irish, then I’m sure you remember the excitement when the government allowed people to travel anywhere within their county back in April. This was a green light for me to properly start planning adventures and photography shoots.
After doing a bit of research & realising that this sunset shot could actually be possible from County Cork, I started planning straight away. A lot of things had to line up perfectly for this to happen – the right weather, conditions, visibility, and then that little bit of luck that’s always involved in getting these kind of shots.
All in all, I’d say I must’ve been 8+ weeks planning this shot; glued to the forecast. Finally the weekend of the 23th April had everything I was looking for, on paper anyway! So that Saturday (the 24th) I committed the whole day to getting this shot – a 2+ hour drive to the very North-West tip of the Beara Peninsula, out past Allihies. I knew on Google Maps where I roughly wanted to be close to sunset, but getting there was an entirely different story.
If you’ve ever visited Beara, then you know how rugged & strenuous the landscape is – that’s certainly part of the beauty of the place, but it’s like a double-edged sword! This meant parking the car MILES away from where I was trying to go & just improvising. So I just brought all of my gear and set off in the direction I was aiming for – winging it!
I’d say I was 3-4 hours running around the same general area trying to find the right spot – needed as much height as I could get because I knew I was shooting quite some distance. One possible issue I feared was smoke from the Killarney national park fires affecting the visibility, but luckily the wind was in my favour!
So eventually I found a spot I was happy with, it then became a waiting game to see if all of this planning would pay off. It was absolutely nerve-wrecking watching that sun drop, but the feeling of seeing it drop between the two Skellig islands was just something else; I still get chills thinking about the moment when I knew I got “the” shot.
I then just sat back smiling away to myself watching the sky light up – it was absolutely freezing, but I was on such a high regardless.
I was confident I had nailed it, but obviously there’s that fear in the back of your head until you see the photo properly on a big screen.
It was definitely an experience I’ll carry with me for as long as I live.

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

Thankfully, I’ve been lucky enough to not have any true disasters happen while in-the-field.
I’ve had an SD card die on me halfway through shooting one evening- but was lucky to sync to 2 cards, so I had a backup!
I suppose the worst experience though, would have to be one I had out on a boat in Dingle, Kerry.
While we were we’re out fishing & I said I’d bring the camera to get a few shots out at sea.
Naturally, fishing at sea tends to attract birds, a lot of birds.
So long story short I, out of about 6 people aboard the boat, ended up getting pooed on not once, not twice, but THREE times in the space of about half an hour!
One hit me right in the forehead as well, good aim by the seagulls in fairness!

Sunrise or Sunset & Why?

This could go either way – but gonna give it to sunset.
Although there’s nothing like the peacefulness of a sunrise, I’ve personally had better luck with sunsets.
There is something special about finishing the day witnessing a magical sunset, whether you’re out shooting or not!
And when shooting, that race against time to get the shots before the light disappears is a rush in itself.
On top of that, Ireland’s West coast surely has some of the best sunsets in the world!

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

Anywhere along the Atlantic coast.
A close runner up would be mountains ranges, whether it be Wicklow or down in the Reeks – it’s coastlines & mountains all day long for me!
If I was to narrow it down, I’d have to go with West Cork. Often overlooked by Kerry (understandably), West Cork is massive. With such diverse scenery & landscapes at that, there are just so many opportunities! Having lived in Clonakilty during lockdown, I had some amazing coastlines & wildlife right on my doorstep – which really allowed me to push myself when it came to photography.

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

This is a funny one to answer, because I know what my most popular photos are – but some of them are by no means my favourite.
I’d have to say my Highland Cow shot. By no means my most complicated or difficult shot to get. Everything about it just sits right with me though; I’m usually quite critical of a lot of my work, but this one just hits the sweet spot.
It’s just so simple. Does everything it needs to, without trying to be minimalistic. Not to mention Highlands are ridiculously photogenic!
When taking this shot, it all kind of happened in slow motion; a very moody day, with a thick mist falling added so much to the atmosphere of the shot. I saw the possible frame using the two trees & then just prayed that a highland would walk between. Even better though, one of them decided to plop down perfectly between the trees & just stare at me!
I shot somewhere between 150-200mm to give more depth to the trees.

What equipment / Setup are you currently using?

I’m currently shooting with a Sony A7rIV that I picked up second-hand & I couldn’t be happier with it! My ‘bring everywhere’ lenses would be my 16-35mm & my 100-400mm, but I also have two primes which I love – would swap these out if there’s something specific I know I’m going to need while shooting. I’m also a big fan of using the drone from time to time, adds another layer to compositions and gets me thinking more & more – especially in areas I’m familiar with & have shot a lot with the camera.

Top Tip for anyone starting out?

I think the best advice I could give to someone starting out in Landscape photography would be to really throw yourself into the deep end as early as you can.
What I mean by that is heading out into the stormy, miserable, freezing weather – this tends to be when conditions change so fast it can be hard to keep up. However, that’s what you want! Rapidly changing weather usually makes for really dramatic imagery & it gets you thinking about your environment, and the opportunities that might arise with the changing conditions. Definitely dress and prepare for all sorts of weather ( a nice flask of coffee & a few packs of Tayto will never let you down!), then just focus on your photography & the scenes around you.

Best Advise you’ve personally been given?

“Any progress is progress! No matter how small or slow. If you put the time into something, it will always pay off, just be patient”.

Who is your favourite Irish photographer at the moment ?

Ireland is lucky to be home to so many talented Photographers. I could easily name a dozen or two just off the top of my head!

However, if I had to name one individual, it would have to be Bernard Geraghty (@bglandscapetours). The man is on a different level altogether. Whether it’s showcasing his skill around Ireland or abroad, I’m always both jealous, and in awe at his Instagram Stories & Posts.

You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who is so passionate about capturing Ireland – how his work is always so unique is a gift in itself.

Where can we find you?

You can find me on Instagram @danielcrowly or if you want to reach out, or view more of my work, then my website is www.danielcrowleyphotography.com.

© All images are copyrighted to Photographer Daniel Crowley
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