The sun beaming down on Inishturk didn't look right. But my watch told me everything was okay. The sun would set soon and the photograph I could see in my mind's eye would become reality.
Still, the sun was unusually high in the sky. "Maybe it drops more rapidly than I remember?" I wondered. Or, maybe, I was being a complete idiot.
Pish! There was absolutely no way I was wrong. It had to be the sun. Yes, I told myself confidently, the sun was wrong.
I was on Inishturk, a small island off the coast of Mayo, as part of the 2017 IrishLight Festival. Each year, a collection of renowned Irish landscape photographers combine to produce photographs of Ireland based on a theme. This year, the theme is 'Islands'. I chose Inishturk—24 hectares of grassy rock in the Atlantic Ocean, about 10km off the mainland. It has a population of just over 50 people, all of whom understand what happens when the clocks go forward an hour in the spring.
And one visiting photographer who didn't.
Of course the sun was still high in the sky! I'd completely overlooked the fact that the clocks going forward by an hour didn't mean the sun would follow suit. It wasn't going to set an hour earlier, no matter how fancy pants anyone's watch was.
What made it worse was the fact that the lady who ran the B&B had asked me whether I wanted to change my dinner routine for that evening.
Somewhat confused, I insisted that I wanted my dinner at the same time as the previous days, thank you very much.
So when, an hour later than planned, the sun finally dragged itself below the horizon, I knew I wouldn't be able to hang on to photograph a night scene. That would mean returning to the B&B to find my dinner cold—and my landlady quite likely too.
Grudgingly, I packed up my gear and made my way back. Still, I'm very happy with the photograph I got. And besides, I'll be back to Inishturk later this year (see below), so it was a good move to stay on the right side of the local B&B operators.
About the IrishLight Festival
For me, one of the wondrous things about the IrishLight Festival is the insight I get into how other photographers see and interpret the Irish landscape.
I've been photographing the Irish landscape for over a decade. After that many years, you start to think you have a true sense of it. You feel you've "got it". Then something like IrishLight comes along and, Bam!, it's like being introduced to Ireland's beauty for the first time all over again. Seeing how other photographers express the Irish landscape is like hitting a reset button.
It's magical to see such variety and such a range of styles. If you have a love of Ireland or of landscape photography, I think you'll find lots to enjoy on the IrishLight website.
If you're a photographer, there is a competition for you to enter. You can even book yourself on a workshop with one of the big name landscape professionals participating in this years event. Or with me. I'll be on Inishturk from 28th September to 1st October. Join me?