Changes in my circumstances coupled with the bout of horrific storms and flooding that hit Ireland over the last two months have kept me above ground for far too long. Further to this, my trusty Sigma 10-20mm wide angle lens finally succumbed to dust damage in Teampall Shetric cave.
However, there is also some good news! I expect to return to caving soon and a new lens will be an absolute must. I’ve also had some success in promoting my photos. Most significantly, in December I won First Prize in the Geological Survey of Ireland’s annual Du Noyer Photographic Competition. With so many fantastic photos in the competition I was delighted that a personal favourite photo of one Fermanagh’s best caves, Pollnatagha, won. The image, which can be seen below as well as here on the GSI’s competition page, depicts a caver descending into the massive 60m long x 40m wide pot 60m below the boggy surface of East Cuilcagh:
In October I also won two Merits in the highly contested UK Hidden Earth Caving Forum. Considering the very tough international competition, I was delighted to have the following two shots awarded. The first is also from Pollnatagha while the second is from County Tipperary’s Pollskeheenarinky Cave:
Finally, another photo taken recently in Marble Arch cave, was one of twelve winning shots that will feature in the Geological Society of London’s 2016 calendar. A news article about this was featured on the BBC the GSL‘s websites.
All this would not have been possible without the constant help I receive from the caving community. Heres to another year of more of the same!
Time for a quick update on the recent places I’ve been visiting over the last few weeks. I spent two days caving in North Leitrim recently and, despite some epic camera gear failures and only a duo of cavers (me included!), we managed to come out with a few shots worth keeping. We visited the much neglected Pollrunda:
The pages for both caves have been updated with additional photos. Prior to these trips I visited Peter Bryant’s Bullock Hole in East Cuilcagh:
I have not yet put up a page for this site as I am lacking a decent shot of the iconic entrance pitch. Oh well, best to leave something for another time and another trip! I visited here with with Breifne Caving Club and not long after that we visited Prod’s Pot:
I also do not yet have a page for Prod’s. This cave will take a little time to properly photograph due to really tight vertical entrance passages. I will likely have to strip down on equipment when I return to this cave. Speaking of tight passages, try this one for size, in Little Gortmaconnell Pot:
I’ve finally gotten around to revisiting Pollprughlisk and also to visiting Pollnatagha for the first time. I loved ‘Tagha so much I even returned the following week via the ‘Prughlisk to ‘Tagha through-trip! These caves feature some big chambers and they were perfect locations to test out some new photo equipment. I hope you enjoy!
The incredibly wet summer has hampered a number of trips, but I have still been active with various groups and individuals. Recently, I took a memorable trip to Polticoghlan near Drumshambo, Co. Leitrim with Irish Papua New Guinea 2015 Expedition members; read about it below. I have also made a number of trips with Breifne Caving Club and intend to publish next on the great Pollnatagha to Pollprughlisk through trip.
In May my cave photography was featured on Irish TV’s ‘Leitrim County Matters’. During the piece I took the film crew and presenter up to Teampall Shetric (Co. Leitrim) to give them a sample of caving and cave photography. I am very impressed by the end results in what is quite a unique and enjoyable piece. Give it a watch below!
I have updated the Pollnagollum page with a series of new photos. It’s been a while since I took photos here and the most recent ones were taken with the help of just one other caver. It took quite some time and patience on behalf of my helper. Also, a lot of vintage flashbulbs laid their lives down for these photos so I hope our efforts were worthwhile 🙂