Wild Atlantic Way blog
The scribblings of an artist and photographer living in Ireland's south west
A Tight Squeeze
I decided to fly Eagle Eye, my Phantom 3 Advanced , through the caves known as The Arches on the north side of Ballydonegan Bay. It was a tight squeeze, and I lay awake the night before hoping I wouldn't crash the drone. Still all went according to plan and I hope you enjoy the result. I start the video off with showing you the location which is then followed by a fly over the target area and a wave from yours truly! Then its down to the business of going through the arches
Re-working a painting for charity
As many of you know I have been battling cancer since October 2016. I have been on chemo twice, December to January, operation in March and then second round of chemo starting May for nine weeks. I spent two and a half weeks in hospital after my 12 hour operation to remove my oesphagus. All these trips I had to make to hospital were, for the large part, arranged for me by a dedicated group of volunteers called Cancer Connect. The drivers do it for the love of it, devoting their time free of charge. The fuel they use is paid for by Cancer Connect.
I wanted to find a way to say a big thank you, so I painted the following oil early June
'Seamus bringing home the sheep' oil on canvas 20x16 inches
I took time and trouble with this one, working from an idea I had in my head, the two things that usually lead to a disastrous painting and sure enough it was not the best I had ever done. If I stay painting for longer than 30 minutes I start to make it look pretty and it always goes wrong as happened to this one, and that awful misshapen head of a creature appeared on the right of the valley and I wasn't sure how to correct it. I was also working from an idea that I had beforehand which is recipe for disaster. I don't paint from ideas, not from pictures or scenes for that matter. Everyone and the World tries to make me do them like that and I refuse. They tell me my paintings are too dark, why don't I paint bright blue scenes with a smiley sun looking down, everyone thinks best, but they are fine to have their say, I just wish they would tell some wall and not me
Anyhow I decided to re-paint part of the oil, without fore thought, and do it quickly and the result is below and I hope you all like it. The painting below will be auctioned at the opening of the Beara Arts Festival August 4th in Castletownbere. Starting price €450. So if you decide to buy, you are helping someone with cancer
As you can see I kept Seamus and his sheep and the stream flowing into the valley, but I also darkened the foreground
I was in an indifferent mood this morning, slept in late after taking my chemo tablets knowing full well I should be going to the funeral of a friend in Allihies at 1pm. But I had had a bad night, very sick, and I didn't really feel well enough to drive over to Allihies. If I did leave for the funeral then I would need to leave the house by Noon at the latest, but the cats needed feeding and so I went out to the studio and after feeding them decided a seascape might be a nice oil to paint. As it turned out I painted the above landscape. I never know what I am going to paint, it always comes straight out of my head onto the canvas. I am really pleased with this one. I think I work better under a bit of pressure, that being to get it done so I had time to drive to Allihies. I got it done all finished in about 30 minutes and realised I wouldn't make the gathering before the burial, then I realised I wouldn't make the burial either. Being on chemo I am not supposed to to attend gatherings anyway. Just think, if I don't suvive then this oil might be worth a fortune!!
This one I am calling 'The Hidden Valley' and you can also see it on my website www.JohnEagleArt.com or you can purchase prints of it from right here on my Zenfolio site.
I am rather pleased with my effort. The oil is 20x16 inches, oil on canvas
A few years ago I painted this oil, calling it 'After the Storm' and hung it at Anam Cara Artist and Writer's Retreat in Eyeries, where it hung for many years. Then in September the poet D.J. Gaskin came to stay there, a Ronan Lynagh and John Saunders. Together they were inspired to write poems and songs inspired by my painting. Nothing like this had ever happened to me before and I was greatly moved. Sue Booth Forbes who runs the Anam Cara Artist and Writers Retreat Centre asked me roun d for supper to meet these wonderful people, and then afterwards they recited their poems and songs, and I recorded them doing that with my iphone. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do
Wild Atlantic Way ~ Irish Lighthouse videos
I've been flying my drone 'Eagle Eye' making lots of videos of wild Irish headlands, especially ones with lighthouses on
The above is of Cromwell Point which I shot on the very last day of March which turned out to be a gorgeous day. This I recorded a narrative for and also made a bit long. After this I decided that it was best to shoot a quick video with just the sound of the ocean and no talking as the surf sounds were drowning out the narrative. Viewers can see my website for information on these lighthouse, and also come on my lighthouse tours to learn more, therefore listening to me on the video wasn't necessary.
Ballycotton which I shot during the Southern Irish Lighthouse Tour was a touch scary, as there were lots of seagulls flying in circles round Eagle Eye and I feared they might collide with it. I was constantly soaring to avoid a collision or banking away. I flew out to sea to get away from them to a shot of the whole island, but that meant I had to find a safe way back. In the end I returned safely and neither the gulls or Eagle Eye were harmed.
Galley Head I shot on a beautiful fine morning. I had originally filmed a video of Galley Head in February, putting a narrative with it. Back then I did not fly very far away as I was nervous of going over the sea. Fears of it dropping out of the sky and meeting a watery end played heavy on my mind. However as it was pointed out to me by another photographer if it came down on land it would most likely smash into lots of pieces. It is something a drone pilot must consider, that the device will fall and if you are not prepared then you shouldn't be flying it in the first place. There are rules to be obeyed, like not flying over people for obvious reasons. I do my utmost to obey these rules and film in remote locations
Hook Head in April. Not remote but quiet. This is one of the most visited lighthouses in the country, on par with the Mizen which also attracts thousands of visitors each year. As you can see in the above video there weren't many people there. It was a damp cloudy day when I arrived, but brightened up superbly an hour after I arrived. I was here again at the start of July on the Southern Irish Lighthouse Tour but then there were lots of people and the weather wasn't so good. I saw the risks with all those people there and knew it was best not to try a flight; besides it was going to be difficult to improve on the above April video
This is one of those gorgeous remote locations Ireland is famous for, even so there are people who have chosen to walk here for the wildness of the Sheep's Head Way. You can see them milling around the base of the lighthouse. You will also see I fly Eagle Eye at a distance from them, never over them. The subject matter here for me was the lighthouse, and its amazing location. A small lighthouse, not very interesting, and yet in its position made to look exciting. You start to wonder what mammals might be swimming in the ocean below
Dursey Island, above, is truly special. Far from the madding crowd, and with an old lighthouse to boot. You can just make out a ruin on the right. This was a temporary lighthouse built after the Calf Rock lighthouse was destroyed in a violent storm in the 1880s. It operated until the lighthouse on the Bull Rock was completed. In 1994 I flew out to the Bull Rock to take a picture for postcard #8 in the Irish Lighthouse Series and while I was out there Captain Mick Conneely asked me if I would like a picture of the Calf Rock as well. I thanked him and as he flew me there in the Bolkow helicopter I looked out at the awesome sight of Dursey and snapped two pictures. One of these I produced as a framed print which can be seen on the wall of Casey's Hotel in Glengarriff, the other as a postcard, with text on the back by local author Penny Durell. It became one of my biggest selling postcards. I shot it on colour slide, and over the years it faded and faded. I saved it digitally but even so there was a problem because a hairline mark meant good printing impossible. So I wanted to go back and re take the picture and had the good fortune to get the beautiful surf lines you see in the above video. The original aerial shot you can see on my News page of my website. As well as video I produced a new postcard of Dursey which you can purchase from my postcard page if you wish
Other lighthouse videos include Ballinacourty, Roche's Point, Loop Head and Kilcredaune which is a no longer working lighthouse on the River Shannon
To finish here are a couple of gorgeous headlands on the Wild Atlantic Way, firstly the Cod's Head
I love this place, all those slanting rock lines, well off the beaten track where there is no likelihood of people. Beautiful wild Ireland, remote and yet not so remote. In the distance on the right you can just make out Allihies village, on the left just out of shot is Eyeries village. It was on the Cod's Head that scenes were shot for the film 'Falling for a Dancer' one of Colin Farrell's first movies
Last but not least is Kilcatherine, which is close to my heart. I often take my dog for walks along this headland, which sits between the Kenmare Bay and Coulagh Bay.
Prints are available from images I shot whilst making the videos, and I have a cracking one of Kilcatherine see below. At least I think its a cracker
I hope you enjoy my videos, John Eagle