Now it all looked good when I set out but the closer I got to Donegal the cloud started to become thicker. When I checked the weather, my app was less than encouraging, with the updated forecast giving thick cloud all evening for Donegal. This is the dilemma of being a landscape photographer in Ireland, you really can rely on the weather forecast about as much as you can on a politician. Ok, harsh, they are not all sour apples, right?
I decided to stick to the course but came very close to talking myself into abandoning the mission, at one stage the car was turned and I was driving home.
It was my first time to Malin Head or at least this part of it. I was running late though, partly due to my indecision earlier. The closer I got to Malin I could see the potential in the sky. I parked no where near the cliff, suffice to say with that sky developing into a kaleidoscope of colour, knowing that you are not on site, it can lead to bad decision making. I asked a fella for directions and he pointed to a distant horizon of the seastacks. My heart sank as I knew this would add another 15 mins, 10 if I sprinted to the already fading light. So I decided to leg it or at least attempted to, as much as a 46 year old with a dodgy knee can. I could see the light hitting of the cliffs a bit like a mirage in the desert, it was driving me to distraction. I got there, tongue hanging out, breathing like someone who had just completed a marathon to see two photographers leaving the scene, not a good sign!
I managed to get a few shots just before the sun dropped over the horizon, but nothing to write home about. I had more or less reconciled myself to defeat and was trying to justify the trip in my head as a recce when out of nowhere I could see a faint redness in the clouds starting to emerge. The game was on again!
The sky slowly lit up as nature put on a light show without any announcement or prewarning. Normally on these rare occasions I’m in my back garden cursing my luck and wondering when I will be at the right place when these sunsets occur. This was the afterglow of the sun setting on clouds. I have never fully understood the conditions that make this possible. Previously I had thought that it was calm conditions, high cloud and a clear horizon towards a setting sun. This was not the case last night so that theory is out the window. What followed were five frantic minutes climbing up and down cliffs in a gale wind trying to find a composition that worked for the ever changing light.
When it was all over I knew I had something, the butterflies in my stomach told me so, nature had created a watercolour in the sky and for once I was exactly where I needed to be.
You can view the final images in my gallery by clicking the link below...