Sunday 25 February 2018

Shooting stars to snowy owls: 17 photos that show Inishowen in a whole new light

Donegal in focus

Aurora Borealis, Malin Head. 'Myself and my eldest son were lucky to observe the Northern Lights in April 2014, a small display that lasted no longer than 15 mins. This is a photo close to my heart, as the lighthouse in the distance (Inishtrahull) is where my great grandmother was born. Photo: Ronan McLaughlin
Aurora Borealis, Malin Head. 'Myself and my eldest son were lucky to observe the Northern Lights in April 2014, a small display that lasted no longer than 15 mins. This is a photo close to my heart, as the lighthouse in the distance (Inishtrahull) is where my great grandmother was born. Photo: Ronan McLaughlin
Arctic Tern, Donegal's Inishowen Peninsula. A summer visitor to Malin Head and the offshore islands, these birds will defend their territory with venom. Photo: Ronan McLaughlin.
Milky Way over the Tower. "Green I hear you say. Yes, green! This is an atmospheric phenomena known as Airglow, and on very clear dry nights it's said to be fainter than Aurora light." Photo: Ronan McLaughlin
Snowy Owl. "A rare visitor to Inishtrahull and Malin Head, I was lucky to see my first one when I was 12. This is a huge owl, which visits on occasion from Greenland and Iceland." Photo: Ronan McLaughlin
Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, captured over the Inishowen Peninsula on February 17th, 2015. Photo: Ronan McLaughlin
Common Lizard, Inishowen. Ireland's only native lizard, these can be found sunbathing on rocks around our coast. Photo: Ronan McLaughlin
Home. "This is my home and my parents continue to live here. Its one of the most northerly houses in the county. There is basically only the open ocean between here and Iceland. I shot this using a 25 second exposure to highlight the Milky Way." Photo: Ronan McLaughlin
Irish Hare at Malin head - a common mammal in our landscape, best seen in the spring when they are most active. Photo: Ronan McLaughlin
Bottlenose dolphin photographed off the shore of the Inishowen Peninsula, Co. Donegal. Photo: Ronan McLaughlin
Shooting star. "A lucky shot when setting up to do a star trail, I noticed the camera had picked up a meteorite passing over the Tower." Photo: Ronan McLaughlin
Ineuren Bay, Inishowen. Photo: Ronan McLaughlin
Malin Head’s night sky, a great place for stargazing. The dark, relatively unpolluted night skies make viewing of the Milky Way and constellations possible. This photograph was taken using a 25 second exposure to gather as much light as possible. Ronan McLaughlin
Peacock butterfly, a common butterfly in the region. Photo: Ronan McLaughlin
Lisfannon and the snowcapped Inishowen hills, Co. Donegal. Photo: Ronan McLaughlin
Barnacle Geese flying over Inishowen, Co. Donegal. Photo: Ronan McLaughlin
The Blue hour, the sun has gone for another day. Inishowen, Co. Donegal. This photo uses Cokin ND filters. Photo: Ronan McLaughlin
Common Dolphin are relatively scarce along the north coast, however on occasion they can be viewable close to the shore. Photo: Ronan McLaughlin
Peregrine Falcon, Inishowen. "One of our familiar birds of prey, it can be found hunting unsuspecting rock pipits around the rocky headland." Photo: Ronan McLaughlin
Pól Ó Conghaile

Pól Ó Conghaile

Rónán McLaughlin's photographs of Ireland's most northerly point throw up one surprise after another.

Astonishingly, most were taken within the same square mile.

That's testament both to the natural wonders of Donegal's Inishowen peninsula, and the remarkable dedication of a photographer who spends hours on end waiting for the perfect shot.

McLaughlin was born and reared in one of Ireland's most northerly houses, set just below the old 'Tower' that features in so many of his photographs.

"My bedroom window looks straight at it, so emotionally it's very important to me," he says. "Growing up with the wildlife, the stars and the aurora makes it a very special place to me."

Many of the photos in our gallery feature long exposures of up to 25/30 seconds - allowing the Northern Lights and Milky Way to distinguish themselves.

McLaughlin is also a keen bird-spotter - "I basically got into photography to photograph birds and unusual wildlife I would find. I have a love for wildlife and the night sky.

"Call me biased, but I can get all I require around Malin Head and Inishowen."

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