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