High Tides at Poolbeg

January 06, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

The Great South Wall at Poolbeg is one of my favourite shoot locations as you can see from this set of previous work on Flickr – and I headed out on Saturday and Sunday last weekend to catch the gales and high tides - fortunately Dublin seems to have escaped fairly lightly compared with the rest of the country.

The first slide show is from Saturday when the tide was slightly higher but there was little wind. This still produced waves breaking over the pier itself as well as flooding the parking area at the base of the pier – so a bit of jogging or a good balance was required to avoid a wetting when getting to or back from the sheltered steps on the blockhouse! Once there, I got shots of guy and his bike getting very wet coming back along the Wall as the tide dropped. I also got few shots of the other shooters that didn’t want to get their feet - or their tablets! -  wet. The last image is a wide shot of the waves sweeping along the Wall as I headed home.

With a south easterly gale on Sunday, things were a bit more dramatic when I arrived at high tide as the sun came out – even the outer higher section of the Wall between the Half Moon Bathing area and the lighthouse was being swept by the waves. Venturing onto the low lying section would have been an instant qualification for a Darwin Award! Nonetheless, as the tide dropped, one guy thought he could outdo Canute – briefly! I don’t think he was connected, except in spirit perhaps, with the guys in the Porsche who think seawater makes excellent car wash :-).  Fortunately, it doesn’t rust children! In the era of the selfie though, it’s not enough to shoot the scene – shots of the other shooters getting their takes are also required before closing  with a few sunset skies.

Finally, if you’ve read this far, you may want a few techie bits – the main one was using two cameras - my old 40D as well as my 7D – one with the EFS 17-55mm and the other with the 100-400mm. With all the sea spray around, I didn’t want to be changing lenses! The other tech tip is that despite the humour above – real care is need when shooting near breaking waves. Sooner or later there will always be a rogue wave and not necessarily every seventh one. Risks range from a wetting, to saltwater ruining camera gear ruined, as well as injury and worse. When I’m shooting near breaking waves, I always wait and watch for a while to get a feel for the conditions before going nearer. Also remember that a few inches of water flowing around your feet is enough to knock you over. In conclusion, make sure that getting a killer shot doesn’t kill you!!


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