Photographing Dun Ailinne…mystery and mystique

October 23, 2018

The following is a piece I wrote for a local Magazine - The Bridge


Knowing the significance of a place draws the eye, compounds interest and drives a photographer to record it for many reasons

Dun Ailinne’s importance as a site, my lifelong interest in Archaeology and living in its shadow has made it a subject that I have tried to capture in an artistic from for some time. From the air or google maps, the circular ditch around the hill stands out in the rectangular environment and the sheer size is phenomenal in relation to ringforts in general.

To photograph from ground level poses a greater problem. This loping hill seems somewhat insignificant in the landscape until you become aware of its history or have had the privilege and permission from the landowners to climb it. The view from the top gives a greater understanding of why it was chosen and became one of the Royal sites of Ireland when its expansive vista unfolds.

I have taken many photos from different vantage points of Dun Ailinne, this one was taken from Thompsons cross with a zoom lens. Passing by I say three horses on the hill, I quickly grabbed my camera and headed back to where I thought I could capture them best, before they moved on. Shooting into the sun (Do not look through a zoom lens directly into the sun, by the way, the last thing a photographer wants is to go bling for their passion), and having the technical knowledge and experience I knew a silhouette would be the best option and using the dark clouds for dramatic effect I took an number of images from different positions. Using the trees to fame them, the horses were positioned nearly equal distance from each other, adding to the composition.  The bowed heads seem to be searching for the past, trying to unlock the history of that magnificent hill.


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