Glendalough is one of those places with immense beauty where I just wasn’t feeling the scenery on the day I visited, so I felt incredibly lucky to get this photo. There were so many ingredients for a great photo, including amazing scenery, fantastic ruins, and a spectacular glacial lake. However, scenery is never enough – you also need good light, good shadows, and good clear atmosphere. Even more importantly, you need good timing. On this particular day, those things just weren’t clicking – especially the timing.
During our trip to Ireland, we took a detour off the Ring of Kerry to check out the Staigue stone fort. The fort itself is an incredible ruin from the 4th or 5th century, and it was staggering to imagine it as a place that was both built and occupied over 1,600 years ago. While the fort was incredible, the weather during our visit was typical Irish gray. The lack of light and color meant the fort was not going to work as a photography subject.
Getting to the fort meant walking from the parking lot down a short trail to a large meadow. The trail was surrounded by thick dense woods and vegetation with a loud rushing stream visible through the trees in small pockets. The trail crossed the stream on a sturdy bridge, and it was possible to see and hear a gorgeous waterfall just up river. I knew in my heart that this was a fantastic photography subject, but the question was how to get to it.