Howth in the fog ...

Piotr Koscielniak

6/15/20224 min read

Wednesday, 06/15/2022

I've been planning this first photo shoots all week. With a new body and with new settings. Many hours work in plan… I needed take a full control under this body, needed to "learn" the camera, cooperate with it and mutual understanding. Between me and camera. Because camera, along with the lens, is my eye with which I look at the world.

Where? HOWTH. Once again.

But in the case of Howth, a good session and good photos require several important conditions ... and absolutely at the same time. Good weather for a minimum of 8 hours hiking on the cliffs and looking for good shots. The right sunlight for the places you want to photograph at the desired time of day. And most importantly - maximum drain. Yes, the low tide - because the sea or the ocean - then reveals what is usually hidden from your sight. It allows for good shots and compositions that are usually not achievable.

The power of nature… Without meeting all these conditions at the same time - it is impossible.

Perhaps you will take good photos under different conditions. Typical, standard - which are full of. Duplicated by everyone. Different copies of the same. But as I wrote in the first blog, I am not amused and do not enjoy photography and composition that anyone can make. You have to go where hardly anyone can reach and take a picture that is almost unique. So low tide is essential.

So that, after meeting these first conditions, you can go down the cliff from the top to its base - with the ability to move along the rocky coast for several hours. But you have to be careful - because the sea will come back here, it will cover everything again and it may cut off your way back. The high tide is usually 1.5 - 4 meters, and sometimes a few meters more ... 5 - 8 meters of water. Vertical. There are no jokes. You have to keep your eyes open and your mind open when taking pictures because you lose track of time. One or two more - you will not come back "dry leg". If you ever come back. And you could lose the equipment you worked so hard for.

Howth - the land of cliffs, rocks, the harshness and power of nature.

Saturday morning, 14th of May...

Beautiful sunny weather. I check the tide table again. Approx. Around 11 am it will be the lowest. It suits. So I have to be there by 10 am ... to get where I'm going. Backpack packed in the evening of the previous day. So let's go ...

Howth welcomed me with beautiful sunny weather. Blue sky, sporadic clouds. Heat. It's almost no wind ... which is a bit weird ... I start my descent towards the Baily Lighthouse, then go down the winding path over the bluff towards Sutton. It is there, on the way, where I am "hunting" today. This is where I will spend the next few hours. On the way, I take the first photos

And suddenly in this sunny weather, cloudless (almost) sky ... fog is coming. Puffs of dense fog. From the sea. On all sides of the peninsula. I have not seen and experienced anything like that here yet. I'm starting to feel like an extra in John Carpenter's 1980 movie "Fog". A classic ... of horror. It gets muggy, hot and humid. Everything is covered with fog. Visibility for a dozen or so - several dozen meters. End of session? Back with nothing? OH NO!!!.

The fun begins right now. I walk quickly down the path towards Sutton. The fog has not reached everywhere yet, it crawls slowly ... On my way I pass people emerging from it, a bit confused. Finally, it catches up with me, sticks to my body. It is muggy and hot between the trees and the bushes. And in the open area - cold. Cold and sticky "something" you feel everywhere. I reach the place, go down the cliff and ... stand frozen ... in shock. There is no sea, no water. You cannot see where the waterline is currently located. Because where it should be usually at the low tide - it is not. As far as your eyes can see through the fog - only rocks, stones, sand ... and the sharp contours of rocks. A landscape like on Mars. Only no red. The fog acts as a diffuser of sunlight that illuminates evenly everything around. I keep walking several dozen meters ahead and only from the fog emerges the see which receded as far as here ...

Only when I come back and check it out will it turn out to be one of the biggest low tides this year, which happen maybe once a month, maybe once in two - of varying intensity. The next one, similar - is to be in the second half of August. I am starting to take photos .... I discover places that I see for the first time - and I have been here more than once.

Suddenly the fog descends, it remains only as a belt hovering a few meters above the water level, like a swamp vapors ... And above it a beautiful sun that illuminates everything, turning the color of the rocks yellow - golden ...

Back, drop of RAW files into Lightroom and a big smile on my face. This is it. I will remember these photos, this session and its atmosphere for years. And as I wrote earlier, these photos, such a session - it is unlikely to be repeated. Because not only the necessary conditions that I mentioned have also met, but also other factors - such as one of the largest low tide of the year- but also the fog acting as a diffuser of light ...

In conclusion. No, it's not that the most important thing is a good lens, and only the body comes second. I am now inclined to say that, however, it is rather the opposite. It's gonna be fifty-fifty at best. Both are absolutely important. Yes, it's true that the Canon EOS R squeezes 200% of the power of an older, good lens. It gives them new "life", new possibilities. Completely new quality. And the body itself offers such possibilities that working with it is intuitive. In both directions. There is full mutual understanding of what I want to do and how and what to achieve with a certain setting. Taking pictures has never been so much fun for me as it is now.