With Ireland being so small, it is hard to believe there are any secret locations left to shoot. Thanks to social media and the rise in popularity of landscape photography, many secret locations have been divulged and shared. It is not uncommon to arrive at a scene to find several other photographers already there.
Whilst the company and banter of like-minded people is usually good, the selfish photographer in me wishes I was alone. Compromises & co-operation are required. I hate being restricted to what I can do at a location as light changes. I particularly love getting close to a foreground. If one other photographer decides to shoot the scene from further back, you risk getting in their way.
I spend a huge amount of time scouting for locations that have not been done to death before me. Most times, the search is in vain. On the rare occasion, a new scene is found, is it right to just hand all that hard work to others?
Although unnoticed till now, imagine your secret locations were easily accessible. The potential result is that the scenes become clichéd and completely saturated with photographs to the point that they are undervalued because everybody has shot them to death.
I have seen this happen before to several locations close to my home. One of which will form the basis for my next point.
The famous Fairy Tree in Co. Louth was once a relatively unknown location outside of the local photography community. A beautiful scene in its own right, it had everything going for it. Crop lines leading perfectly up a hill where a distinctive tree sat just waiting to be captured at sunset.
Several years back, it suddenly became extremely popular on social media. The location was innocently shared. Scores of photographers flocked there to capture the scene. Suddenly, the crops which helped make such compelling compositions were removed and replaced with bland grass. The scene is now much less attractive and photographers have stopped visiting. I have it on authority, the farmer who owned the field was sick of having his crops trampled year after year. He eventually had enough and planted grass to solve his problem.
The Other Side
There are many locations I would never have found or even known about had it not been for the generous help of other photographers. Having benefitted from the knowledge of others, it feels wrong not to share what I know when asked.
In the end, it is down to each individual whether we share our secret locations or not. Nobody can claim you are right or wrong. The scene accompanying this blog is close to my home but relatively unknown. Apologies, I will be keeping it this way because there are crops to be considered.