By @SimonCocking. Interview with Trish Punch. Stunning landscape photographer based in Cork. Digital photography prints, photography workshops and photo tours.

Trish Punch

What’s your background? How did you move into what you do now?

I worked in a photo lab a few years back and it’s fair to say that I had already caught the photography bug by that stage. In my spare time, I’d hop in the car and take off exploring the west coast. Eventually I packed my job in and went travelling round the world and that’s when things really picked up for me. I came home with a large collection of images. So I applied to the Lonely Planet image library and was lucky enough to be accepted. It has really opened doors for me and inspired me to continue travelling.

What do you like about Irish landscapes for shooting pictures ?

I just love the light. But it changes so quickly, you have to chase it sometimes. If I’m not happy with a shot the first time, I’ll keep returning to a location until I am. We’re so lucky with what we have on our doorstep, that wild ruggedness and beautiful natural scenery is very special. I meet tourists all the time, who are so excited to be here and they absolutely rave about our beautiful landscapes. I know exactly how they feel.

Inch beach on the Wild Atlantic Way in County Kerry

Inch beach on the Wild Atlantic Way in County Kerry

Is West Cork different to other areas for your photography?

West Cork is unique. There is just a wealth of colour in the landscape all year round, from the golden texture of the mountains, turquoise waters, painted villages, to the green fields and wild flowers. The coastline veers unexpectedly and beautifully between pretty little coves and wild inaccessible cliffs. The mountains with their patterned strata look like they are melting into the landscape. And dotted amid all of this, are abandoned cottages, castle ruins and ancient graves. Every piece of the landscape feels like there is a story to tell.

Cape Clear island on the Wild Atlantic Way in West Cork

Cape Clear island on the Wild Atlantic Way in West Cork

What camera do you use?

I use a Canon 5D Mark II. It’s full frame and the image quality is fantastic so it’s ideal for landscape.

Gougane Barra in West Cork

What are your favourite shots, why?

One image that stands out for me is one I took of Gougane Barra in the autumn. I was so lucky. The lake was like a mirror and the mountain backdrop was highlighted by the rising sun, just as a man walked towards the chapel giving a great reflection in the water. It was selected for use by Microsoft on their Bing homepage at the time.

Slea head drive on the Wild Atlantic Way in County Kerry

Slea head drive on the Wild Atlantic Way in County Kerry

What gear do you use that helps you on location?

I always use a tripod. It’s a bit of pain sometimes carrying it around but it’s worth it to make sure my images are sharp. I also use a few different lenses – the Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM, Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM, Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM and a Canon 100mm macro lens. Other than that, I use a polariser and Lee filters to balance the exposure. And of course, waterproofs and coffee.

Emerging tech, what new things are you using?

Not so much emerging tech, but I’m trying out different techniques like time lapse video. It takes time but in the right location with the right light, something really special can be created.

What tech do you wish was already available for you to use?

It’s not exactly photography focused but I would love if there was a weather app that would guarantee accurate forecasts at least two weeks in advance. It would really help when planning ahead.

Have you used drones yet to take pictures, is this an area you might do more of?

Not yet. But it is definitely something I would like to try. There is huge potential to be really creative with compositions and access difficult locations. I’d say it would be hard for any landscape photographer not to have some interest in drone photography.

DSLR vs smart phones, pros and cons from your point of view?

I suppose the great thing about smart phones is that images can posted online in seconds. Phone cameras are coming on in leaps and bounds too but I will always favour DSLRs. There is no comparison in image quality. And the time it takes to prepare a shot and capture the right exposure on location, is worth the wait.

We take more pictures, we share more, do you feel sometimes we are over documenting and not being in the moment? What’s your take on this?

Visual documentation is great in my book, however I think our motives have changed. There is too much of an emphasis on capturing the moment to present to others, rather than enjoying it for yourself. I watched a tourist step off a tour bus one day on the Dingle peninsula. He walked round in a circle, capturing the scene with his selfie stick and walked straight back onto the bus, never once looking up from his screen. Being present is just as important as capturing the image. I’ve been guilty of that myself but now once I get my shot, I like to put the camera down, walk around a location and take it all in.


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