A quick visit to Ballintoy

A couple of weeks back I made a relatively unplanned visit to Ballintoy beach in County Antrim (with a great photographer Graham Kelly). We gave ourselves plenty of time to get there in time for sunset and arrive about 90 mins before the sun was due to drop below the horizon. The tide was going to be perfect and the weather was looking decent too. By decent I mean changeable…! I find the best weather is often when the forecasters predict sun, rain, wind, hail and snow all on the same day. There are bound to be dramatic skies at least.

_MG_1245So we arrived early as planned but unfortunately, to high winds and drizzle. Also the direction of the wind meant that the sea spray was horrendous. Having shot in worse conditions a few weeks earlier in Donegal we put the coats on and headed West from the car-park for the short 15 min walk to the beach. Having seen some very fine photos from Gary McParland and Stephen Dickey I’ve wanted to shoot Ballintoy for quite some time. Theres everything here for the seascape photographer from interesting foregrounds to great sea stacks and arches. Elephant Rock being probably the most photographed object in this small bay is truly beautiful and actually a lot bigger than I expected. Unfortunately with the high tide and heavy swell on the sea it was going to be difficult to capture a shot of the rock without getting soaked. Therefore we both decided to concentrate on the other side of the bay where we had a little bit more interesting foreground and a slightly better shelter from the sea spray.

The light began very flat to begin with and we both thought we would get nothing out of the evening. In the last few years I actually think bad light follows me so in some ways I just embrace it and get as good a shot as I can in the conditions that arrive! In some ways grey skies are probably more a part of our countries weather than fluffy clouds and spectacular sunsets.


Before even starting to shoot I took quite a hard fall on some seaweed covered rocks. Much to the amusement of some tourists who where watching this fully kitted out photographer I struggled to my feet and let on as if I wasn’t in any type of pain at all. Haha. I couldn’t wait until they fecked off so that I could check my tripod, camera, hip, arse and 2 knees (in that order) for damage. Anyway apart from the now football sized bruise on my hip no major damage was done.

The skies improved for literally 10 mins and I made the most of the position I was in, slowly working my way over towards the classic Elephant Rock shot. Unfortunately by the time I reached said position the light was gone again and the rain was starting to arrive. With a few decent shots in the bag we headed on back to the car for the 2 hour drive home. Overall I came away from the evening fairly happy with my favourite shot being one that I might have been able to capture much closer to home in similar conditions. Regardless its the getting out and enjoying whats in front of you that really matters..! Have a look through the few images here to see how I got on.


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