The Emer­ald Isle

Pawel Zyg­munt has pur­sued his pas­sion for pho­tog­ra­phy ever since he moved to Ire­land more than 10 years ago

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I’m a Pol­ish-born ama­teur pho­tog­ra­pher cur­rently liv­ing in Ire­land. I dis­cov­ered my pas­sion for pho­tog­ra­phy around ten years ago. My jour­ney in pho­tog­ra­phy started when I bought my first cam­era at, as we called it in Poland, the ‘Rus­sian bazaar’. It was a sort of mar­ket place where peo­ple from the Soviet Republics sold low-qual­ity gear made in the USSR. My first ‘proper’ cam­era was a Zenit 12XP. Six years later I bought my first D-SLR, a Nikon D200, with which I learned most of what I know now.

Take it easy with Nikon

A lot of bud­ding pho­tog­ra­phers I’d met be­moaned the fact that they had to go into their cam­era menus ev­ery time they want to change some­thing. That’s why I chose a Nikon D200 as my first dig­i­tal SLR. All of the set­tings I changed most of­ten were sit­u­ated on the cam­era body within easy reach. The Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 was my first land­scape lens. Cou­pled with a po­lar­is­ing fil­ter and two neu­tral den­sity fil­ters, it did a fan­tas­tic job. I can rec­om­mend it for any Nikon DX cam­era, as it’s an ex­cel­lent lens. Later on, and al­ready think­ing about buy­ing an FX-for­mat cam­era, I added the Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 to my col­lec­tion. Re­cently, I was able to buy my dream FX cam­era, the Nikon D750. Un­for­tu­nately I had to sell old equip­ment to be able to get my new Tok­ina

16-28mm f/2.8 lens, which I use for land­scapes.

Pho­tog­ra­phy is still a big chal­lenge for me, but I love it. Ev­ery land­scape pho­tog­ra­pher has his or her favourite lo­ca­tions. Mine are along the coast­line of western Ire­land, es­pe­cially the coun­ties of Sligo, Kerry and Mayo, as well as North­ern Ire­land. I really enjoy them be­cause of the var­ied light con­di­tions, and be­cause th­ese lo­ca­tions have so much to of­fer: lovely beaches, ship wrecks, odd-look­ing rock for­ma­tions, moun­tains, is­lands, caves and lakes. Ire­land is well known, but still full of mys­ter­ies. It’s so friendly, but wild at the same time. Any­body liv­ing here for a while (I’ve lived here over 10 years) feels this mag­i­cal at­mos­phere – as if from a fairy­tale. Ev­ery­body finds some­thing for them­selves here. Ir­ish na­ture is well pro­tected and re­spected.

I’m try­ing to fol­low the rules and shoot pho­tos dur­ing the golden hour, but I’m not a prisoner of th­ese rules, as pho­tog­ra­phy really gives you so many op­por­tu­ni­ties. Some­times I go out plan­ning to shoot the sun­set, and in­stead come back with fan­tas­tic twi­light im­ages. It doesn’t al­ways work out, but at the end of the day I’m deal­ing with na­ture, and I never know how it’s go­ing to sur­prise me. The main thing is to ad­just to the con­di­tions.

I usu­ally look for my pho­to­graphic op­por­tu­ni­ties close to home. As a fam­ily man I can’t al­low my­self a few days to go off on a trip. But some­times when my wife is feel­ing gen­er­ous I go fur­ther afield for a couple of days. It’s really worth check­ing out your home area first, though, as you’ll find a lot of things to pho­to­graph close to home, es­pe­cially when you keep your eyes wide open. Some day I’d like to have my own gallery, but most of all I’d love to travel around the world look­ing for mag­i­cal places to pho­to­graph.

Th­ese lo­ca­tions have lots to of­fer: lovely beaches, ship wrecks, moun­tains…

01 Sun set Nikon D750, Tok­ina AT-X 16-28mm f/2.8 Pro FX, 8 secs, f/22, ISO100

03 Sea sta ck Nikon D750, Tok­ina AT-X 16-28mm f/2.8 Pro FX, 1.3 sec, f/22, ISO50

02 Por­tran e tree Nikon D750, Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G ED, 0.5 sec, f/8, ISO200

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