County Down native Simon Brown turned professional photographer in 2006 with the sole aim of capturing the natural beauty of his homeland. Since then, his evocative shots of the Northern Ireland landscape, from sweeping coastline to heather-strewn mountains, have been exhibited widely and have just been brought together for his book, ‘Portrait of County Down’. We asked him to share his favourite shots…
Most landscape photographers can fondly identify a particular area where they honed their camera skills and fell in love with photography. My area is without doubt my beloved home county of in Northern Ireland. It has all the beautiful scenery I need to create a great photograph, and I have the six examples below to prove it!
The Mourne Mountains are a visual gem in the landscape and can be seen from almost anywhere you are in County Down. My own favourite view of them is this one, from the beach at the . This five-mile stretch of golden sand is the perfect place to stand and watch the sun setting over the peak of Slieve Donard.
Ben Crom Dam
These rugged, granite peaks provide a rejuvenating wilderness for the thousands who walk through them every year. However stunning the Mournes look from a distance, there’s nothing like seeing them close up. One of my favourite views from high up in the Mournes is this aerial view of the Ben Crom Dam and reservoir. It’s clear why the whole mountain region has been designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
St John’s Point Lighthouse
County Down’s extensive coastline offers many photographic opportunities, as the shores are littered with interesting focal points. is a great example; here I caught the vibrant yellow bands reflecting in the calm rock pools, providing a rich contrast to the blue sky.
County Down is also home to the Ards Peninsula, a photogenic finger of land that separates Strangford Lough from the North Channel of the Irish Sea. The eastern side of the peninsula is littered with sandy beaches and charming harbours, such as this quaint little inlet found at Kircubbin.
Another captivating sight found on the Ards Peninsula is the . Located in Millisle, it is the only remaining working windmill in County Down. It was built in the 18th century and after lying unused for many decades was restored to full working order in 1978.
Ballynoe Stone Circle
Much of County Down is steeped in history and one fascinating example is the . Over 50 large upright stones surround a space about 100 feet across with a mound of earth at its centre. The mound was excavated in the 1930s and stone cists containing cremated bones were found suggesting that the site was used as an ancient burial ground in the late Neolithic to earlier Bronze Age era.
To see more of Simon’s work, and perhaps even buy a lovely print of his landscapes for your wall or his photography book, get onto his website.
Simon isn’t the only photographer we’ve had as a guest blogger. We’ve shown you amazing images from Dave G Kelly and his prettiest spots in Dublin to take a seat and enjoy the view, Kevin Dwyer who shares his stunning aerial photography of Ireland with us, and John Eagle who takes us on a photographic tour of Ireland’s Lighthouses. Landscape photographer Chris Hill explained how he got this stunning picture of the Cliffs of Moher. We’ve even taken you on a photographic tour of the caves, forests and cliffs of the Marble Arch Caves Geopark.