“This Way” by Des Mullan

They say bad weather makes for good photographs. I certainly hope this is the case here.

I live on a peninsula on the north side of Dublin Bay called Howth, named by the Vikings after the Norse word for head ‘Hoved’. Surrounded by the sea on three sides with just a thin tombola linking us to the mainland we often think of ourselves as being on an island. We are also subject to the vagaries of coastal weather and heavy fog and mist are a regular occurrence both in winter and summer. Howth is a place of outstanding natural beauty with a long and rich in history so close to the city yet rugged and raw more akin to the landscapes of the west of Ireland.

For the past while during the pandemic this almost island has been the extent my small world, I’ve wandered every inch of it, photographing this meeting place of rugged land and seascapes and the city of Dublin. When the mist rolls in it makes my world even smaller and changes it completely. Everything is still there but you just cant see it. Paths and trails on the hill seemingly lead nowhere as you take steps along one its as if the mist moves with you revealing slowly what it had hidden.

Without your usual landmarks you walk from memory and know that beyond the white wall are the cliffs, rocks and sea. Sometimes you have to follow a path not knowing where it will lead and while there is apprehension at the start when you arrive invariably all is fine. Mist and fog are strong visual devices in film and photography, it has an element of mystery and danger, it adds atmosphere, it is esoteric, some find it ominous, as if something bad is about to happen. When mist occurs so often it loses its mystery and sense of danger consequently I enjoy walking in the forest or on the hill enveloped in a cloak of mist, while you can’t see you also can’t be seen. You are invisible. I like that.

What do you think are the TWO most impactful features that make your image a good photograph? Don’t be shy!

I like the simple and direct composition. The single curved line of the path leading into the mist to disappear. The vignetting makes the mist appear as a translucent orb, so on first glance its hard to know what it is.

If you would be able to make this photo once again, what would be the ONE thing you would like to do better or different?

Use a tripod for longer exposures to see how the mist behaves. Or maybe a hint of a person in the distance.

Des Mullan shared this photograph in the FRAMES Facebook Group.


Des Mullan, Dublin, Ireland


Equipment and settings

Canon 5D Mark II, 24-105 f/4L IS
ISO 500, 28mm 1/60 sec.
Processed in Adobe Lightroom 4.3

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Comments (6):

  1. Jaffer Bhimji

    September 27, 2021 at 14:10

    Lovely mushroom shaped ethereal landscape.
    Well done Des.

  2. Susan Henderson

    September 27, 2021 at 23:41

    Translucent and naturally beautiful landscape.

  3. Lara Obrien Obrien

    October 4, 2021 at 14:39

    Beautiful eye Des and so romantically written. Howth is a living love affair. I love how you described walking into the known but unseen paths surrounded by her misty veil.


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