A 'Wild' Night on Clare Island

I am back from my mini adventure on Clare Island where I wild camped near the lighthouse on the north shore.
I managed to capture the lighthouse at sunset and again this morning at sunrise, as well as getting a few extra shots in from the cliffs around the corner. 
This one was yesterday's sunset.

 

After an exhausting hike from the Harbour all the way up to the lighthouse, carrying about 18kg of photography and camping gear I finally found my idea camping spot.

 A room with a view. My tent set up with spectacular 360º views while being hidden away from civilisation.

A room with a view. My tent set up with spectacular 360º views while being hidden away from civilisation.

I prefer to pitch the tent somewhere hidden and away from most civilisation. The only creatures who noticed me were sheep, a few hares and birds nesting along the cliffs. 

Because of the current drought I didn't bring any cooking equipment (which would have made my backpack even heavier!) So I settled for small cold snacks, such as salami sticks, cheese, a pack of nuts and chocolate bars. On a hot day like this and with the perfect view it couldn't have been any better dinner.

 relaxing after the hike with a picnic

relaxing after the hike with a picnic

About an hour before sunset I made my way over the little hill towards the lighthouse. 
I knew already from where I wanted to capture the building, with the fence and the edges of the cliff leading the viewer towards the lighthouse and hopefully getting golden sidelight and some colour in the sky. And my prevision almost worked out exactly what I wanted.

 Clare Island Lighthouse, bathed in golden sunset light

Clare Island Lighthouse, bathed in golden sunset light

The sky towards the north unfortunately stayed a bit blend. So I packed my camera in fairly early as I didn't see any promise of better colour to come.

Well, turning around 180º and getting back over the hill was enough to see a big display of pink clouds dancing over Knockmore Cliff. You can imaging how quickly my camera was back on the tripod.

 Knockmore Cliffs, Clare Island, Co. Mayo

Knockmore Cliffs, Clare Island, Co. Mayo

With the light fading and being exhausted after a full day of work in the gallery and a 5km hike I went into the tent early, ready for sunrise at 5am. 
My sunshine app "TPE" calculated the start of dawn (or civil start) at 4.15am and sunrise at 5.09am, which meant a good 5 hours sleep before I had to get up at 4 am.
Thankfully I couldn't fall asleep at all and noticed an orange glow on the north-easterly horizon at 3am. I rushed to the same spot I stand on for sunset and witnessed one of the best dawns I have seen in years. All well before the predicted time of civil light.

 Dawn over Clare Island Lighthouse

Dawn over Clare Island Lighthouse

Before leaving I took a panoramic image, created from 11 vertical images, ranging well over 270º and then cropped to a 3:1 ratio to create a more realistic view. If you ever took a really wide panoramic shot, you know what I am talking about ;)

 Panoramic view of Clare Island Lighthouse, with Mulranny, Clew Bay and Croagh Patrick in the background.

Panoramic view of Clare Island Lighthouse, with Mulranny, Clew Bay and Croagh Patrick in the background.

Just when the actual sunrise started the clouds began to evaporate and the magical light was gone. So I headed back to the tent, packed everything up and left my campsite without a trace of me ever being there (as it should be - only leave footprints and no rubbish!)

The next ferry home was due to leave at 8am, which gave me a good two hours to leisurely walk back down to the harbour. With less food to carry in the backpack and only walking downhill made the walk seem quite fast and I arrived at the harbour at 6.45am. The hour long wait for the ferry to depart made me realise how tired I really was. 
I took me almost two days to 'recover' from the one night of wild camping. I think I am getting too old for this stuff ;)