“Some days I cover 20 km on foot through the city streets, exploring and getting lost, meeting people and going back to the interesting places often,” he says.
Land and lens combined
Darren has been photographing Ireland ever since he was big enough to hold a camera. A professional photographer since 2006, in 2009 Darren started his one-to-one photography workshops in Ireland and Panoramic Ireland Tours. “I have been published in newspapers, travel guides, calendars et cetera, been commissioned to photograph buildings, people and artworks but helping people to enjoy their visit to Ireland and improve their photography remains the most rewarding thing that I have ever done,” he says. “I’ve always been interested in several things: Ireland—its people, history and geography—photography, and travel. My degree is in geography and I have also worked in archaeology here in Ireland so it made sense to create photography tours that combine all these elements,” he adds.
Do clients need to have extensive photography experience to be able to follow you?
"Not at all, I have guided everyone from those using camera phones and compacts to medium format film cameras, all of which I use myself. Undoubtedly though, those with cameras that allow for manual control, setting aperture, shutter speed and ISO, will benefit the most. Panoramic Ireland photography tours can create a special itinerary to do many things: to show you the best locations (not necessarily the most famous), to challenge you and to help you improve your composition and technical skills.
"It depends on what the person is most interested in. Learning in the field is always more fun than reading an article on the Internet or reading a photography manual. I can explain and answer questions about local history, geography and culture of the places we visit as the tour progresses.
"I also offer a come-to-you tour that allows me to fit into a visitor’s schedule. I can meet participants on a part of their journey for a half-day, a day or longer—be that Dublin, Antrim or Kerry. I operate in as flexible a manner as possible."
How does a photography guide differ from other guides?
"The idea of using a photographer as a guide rather than taking a traditional tour is that a photographer will structure your day around key events or locations, knowing the best places for sunrise, sunset and to maximize your time, by adapting to weather conditions—waiting for better light or moving to a different location. These things are not possible on a general tour where you might have five minutes at a location or only to see it out of the window as you pass,” says Darren. The one-to-one time that Panoramic Ireland offers is invaluable when learning difficult concepts and there is always plenty of time for questions."
Dublin is scenically situated on the Irish Sea with the Dublin and Wicklow Mountains as a backdrop. Darren says he likes photographing the countryside as much as he likes photographing in the city: “It is very easy to get to miles of beautiful coastline for landscape images. In fact, it is possible to photograph coastal landscapes and the city streets comfortably in the same day,” he explains.
What place or photo-op do you think has most awed or surprised your clients?
"The Dark Hedges in County Antrim, this avenue of beech trees is awe inspiring with its 300-year old branches twisting and intertwining above the undulating road. It has been used in HBO’s Game of Thrones and as a result is probably Ireland’s most photographed road."
What is your favorite spot to photograph and why?
"In Dublin, it has to be the River Liffey that flows from east to west through the city. The rising and setting sun always illuminates the iconic Georgian buildings (Four Courts and Custom House) and the modern architecture at night reflects in the calm waters of the river.
"Outside the city, Connemara is probably my favorite for its big skies and beautiful open landscapes. The Irish painter Paul Henry painted a lot there in the first half of the 20th century. The natural light around Connemara is a feature of many of his works, and it is possible today to find similar light and scenes through the camera’s viewfinder.
“I tend to favor spring and autumn. The stretch in the spring evenings along with fresh green leaves and delicate flowers provide plenty of character and of course the autumn has all of that golden, brown and red color fallen or about to fall. Dublin is a very leafy city with many parks and avenues so the spring and autumn are equally as colorful and noticeable in the city.”
Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin with traffic trails on long exposure (Photos by Panoramic Ireland)
One good tip to get better photos on their travels
“It’s good to bear in mind that it takes longer to get around Ireland than most people allow time for. There is a lot packed into every corner of the country. Don’t try and do it all in one or two weeks. Also, know your camera well. This is the starting point for making good images. The more comfortable you are in using your camera the better the results will be.”
Get your own magnificent photos of beautiful Ireland. Visit www.panoramicireland.com for more information on Darren’s photo tours.
You can get to Ireland and tour with Panaromic Ireland for $518 (or less) via WOW's new trans-Atlantic service to Dublin, from either Washington DC or Boston. But you must act by June 11, using the code on our profile page on TheWildGeese.Irish. WOW