Togs & Tales

Philip Traynor

Philip Traynor

Landscape Photographer

Yellow! My name is Phil. I’m 38 years old and live in Swords which is in North County Dublin. I live with my wife Heather and my son Noah who is 7 months old. I work for Virgin Media Monday to Friday as a network planner/surveyor and have worked for them as a contractor for over 14 years. In my spare time I like to get outside and do things, go places. I don’t like being indoors or watch TV. I get out and take photos as much as I can and occasionally frequent a creamy pint of Guinness..

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

Believe it or not, I only got into photography during the pandemic. I had always been into hiking and hill walking. I used to take the odd photo on my phone when up the mountains. One or two people said to me “would you not buy a proper camera?” I said no and that I didn’t want to be lugging a big camera around with me and then having to learn how to use it.. couple of months went by and the pandemic hit. I was being sent down to work in Wexford for 2 mths. I decided to bite the bullet and buy a “real” camera and use it down there. So lockdown 1.0 I bought myself my first DSLR, a Canon 4000D. I had checked out reviews and stuff and it seemed like a decent start up camera. 400 euro with a kit lens. Little did I know I would get hooked and upgrade not long after… ha ha

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

As I am relatively new to photography and haven’t been able to go away as of yet due to the pandemic, my adventure story has been made up of a combination of different things. Getting to know and meet up with a few great people since I got a camera has been a big highlight. People in the industry are so friendly and all on the same wave length. Constantly chatting to different photographers and getting advice has really helped me along the way. Meeting up to go out shooting has been the best part. I have met a few guys that all meet him when we can and will arrange a place to go for sunrise or sunset. We have the craic, take photos and crash drones! Ha ha (sorry Colin).
I have been on 3 workshops in the past year. Firstly with Ronan HD down in Wicklow and the 2nd one was with Sean O Riordan. Two heros and podcast hosts. Both lads gave a great workshop and enjoyed them greatly. Picked up tips and found compositions through them both. The workshop with Bernard Geraghty BG photography was a two day affair down in Wicklow and was great craic. Weather was horrendous but it paid off as the rivers were bursting and we go some unbelievable shots. Highly recommend.
Other than that I have explored many counties around Ireland this year with my wife and partner in crime. She is very supportive of my new found hobbie and encourages to get out and take photos as much as I can. I reckon she is just looking for peace and quiet most of the time ha ha. We have travelled around West Cork, Connemara and around the Mighty Mournes for example. All amazing locations and have gotten some great photos from each. I want to get back to Donegal and Kerry in the coming months as I wasn’t shooting when I lasted visited both.

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

Worst experience out shooting has to be my infamous slip down in Glendalough ha ha. Im sure many have already heard this story. Myself and Niall O Connell  decided to meet up down at Glendalough for sunrise one Saturday morning. I got there around 6am. Niall was there before me as per usual ha ha. We made our way up as far as the upper lake. The lake was like a mirror and there was a slight bit of fog hoovering over it. We took a couple of nice shots from the shore. After that we decided to head on up to Poulanass Waterfall which was only a few minutes away.

Poulanass is a well photographed waterfall and is normally shot from one of two popular angles. I suggested to Niall that we try and cross the river and shoot it from the other side. He laughed and said he would leave me to it. So I dropped my bag with him and set off with my camera over my shoulder and tripod in hand. I clambered down as far as the river and sought the most narrow point to cross. It was only about 2 metres. I held on to the bank with one hand and stretched out my leg to a rock in the middle. As soon as I put my full weight on the rock and went to lift my other leg across, I slipped and came down on my side. I grabbed on to shrubs at the side of the bank and started trying to get grip with my two feet to stand up but couldn’t and started to slide. Shite! I picked up speed and started sliding down the rocky slope picking up speed. For a moment I didn’t know what was happening. I got flashes of The 80’s film the Goonies, where all the kids slide down this tunnel and drop out into the sea ha ha. I couldn’t stop sliding so just went with it. The rocks were covered in greens and like a bottle. I could feel the cold water penetrate through to my skinny backside. I gripped my tripod as hard as I could and next thing I dropped off and into a small plunge pool. Splash! I went underwater fully clothed, car keys, wallet and phone in my pockets and camera over my shoulder. When I came back up I gasped for air. I got some fright and panicked trying to claw out of the pool which was about neck deep. I could hear Niall shouting my name. I found out afterwards that he had taken out his phone to record me crossing and when I slipped he dropped his phone in shock ha ha. He had ran down the steps not knowing how far down I had been swept. I shouted back to him and he made his way down to where I could get out. He grabbed my tripod and helped me back up to the steps. I was dripping wet from head to toe. My phone stopped working soon after. Wallet and car keys were still in my pockets thank god. My camera had a water bubble inside the LCD screen. I knew that was not good. I was still in shock. I thanked Niall and apologised for ruining our morning shoot. We laughed about it the whole 30min walk back to the cars. I drove him with the heating down on my camera in the footwell. When I got home it wouldn’t turned on for a minute and then knocked straight off. Disaster. I brought it into Conns Cameras the next day and they said they could send it off but it would take 3 mths to get back. Or because it was not salt water to bring it home and try dry it out. Brought it home and bought a few bags of rice. Put the camera in a bucket and filled the bucket to the brim with rice and threw in a few silca gel sachets which Conns had given me. I threw the bucket in the hot press for a week with the battery out of the camera. 7 days went by. I took the camera out of the bucket and poped the battery back in. The red light flickered as it does. I turned on the camera and tried it out. Bobs your uncle. Blessed… it worked and has worked ever since. Submerged fully for over 20 seconds. Conns said it was a miracle ha ha. Got my phone fixed for 100 euro. The bruises healed and all was well. Or so I thought.. that morning when I got home and showered I noticed my wedding ring was gone.. I looked everywhere and rang Niall but he didn’t have it. Less than 4 mths married and I had lost the ring. Glendalough has it now…

Sunrise or Sunset & Why?

Sunrise or sunset… The age old question. Im going to say sunrise. Sunset is handier. Its at a decent time of day normally and you can plan it and get more time to shoot. But sunrise has a different feel to it. People all shoot sunset but not everyone will get up for the rise.
I don’t mind getting up at 4 or 5am to go and drive to a location. I love it. Alarm goes off and I jump out and grab my gear and get on the road. There is a sense of adventure heading off in the dark while everybody else is still in bed rolling over. There is no traffic on the roads which is a gift. As you’re driving you can slowly see the light creeping in and it spurs you on. Especially when there is a hint of colour above. You know its going to be a good one. Once at the spot you set up the tripod and camera and wait. Seeing the first light hit in the morning is magic. Another dawn and another day has began and you will have gotten the most out of it..

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

West Cork. I was there for the first time recently and was blown away by the landscape down that direction. Kerry and Donegal are both amazing counties to shoot aswel but West Cork had a bit of everything including the Beara Pennisula and the Healy Pass which were magnificent. Really enjoyed spending hours at both these locations and getting different shots. Winding roads through the mountains and sheep wandering out in front of your car causing you to jam on ha ha. I will return again someday..

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

My favourite photo to date is a tough one. I have 2 or 3 I really like and am happy with it. Probably a sunrise shot I took at Wicklow head Lighthouse. It was taken this summer. I met up with two lads I sometimes shoot with, Paul and Colin  and actually bumped into another photographer that i knew from Instagram, Derek  it was around 5am and the weather apps had promised an amazing rise. We weren’t disappointed. Sky was all sorts of pinks and yellow and I took a 6 minute long exposure which came out really well I thought. It is prob my favourite image to date.

What equipment / Setup are you currently using?

I am using a Canon EOS R (mirrorless) at the moment and for the foreseeable unless I win the lotto or start up a gofundmepage.. Actually theres an idea! Ha ha.
Next lens on my list is a Canon RF 16-35mm F2.8 once my gofundmepage takes off!

Top Tip for anyone starting out?

Youtube! I spent hours watching tutorials when I got my camera first. I put in the make and model and learnt the settings and buttons first off. Then I learnt the Exposure triangle and started from day one in Manual mode. Not many people do that but it worked for me.. I have never taken a single shot in auto.

Best Advise you’ve personally been given?

Best advice was probably to shoot what you want to shoot and not just take shots because you think people will like them. I take landscape photos primarily but my feed will have shots of literally anything on it. I like all genres of photography accept weddings!

Who is your biggest inspiration as a Landscape Photographer

Has to be Sean O Riordan.. The man is an exceptional photographer. His shots are incredible time after time. I haven’t seen him post a bad image yet. I recently bought a lovely drone shot off him of the sea and a wave rolling in. The drone is angled from above directly down and the light is catching the wave as it breaks. Little unusual to some but I love it and have it framed above my work desk in my home office.
Closer to home id have to say Niall O Connell. I’v been lucky enough to go out taking photos with Niall many times. He is starting to get noticed now a lot more, in recent times. He takes some fantastic shots from both land and air and his editing style is beautiful. Really love his shots.. he also taught me a lot over the past 2 years and gave me valuable tips along the way.

Who is your favourite Irish photographer at the moment?

Conor Finnegan No Question!

Where can we find you?

You can find me on the gram – Philstagram1984 or in a cosy old man pub enjoying a creamy pint of Guinness ha ha.

© All images are copyrighted to Photographer Philip Traynor

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