One for the Game of Thrones fans today (if we have any here) and a quick break from coastal landscapes. I am definitely a fan of the TV series and while one can discuss the merits of the last season and whatever else might have transpired, I still loved the show and especially the grand locations where it was filmed. I knew of this place from photographs before GoT made it onto the small screen, but seeing it during the show further enhanced my desire to visit this location. It is also very close to another spot that I wanted to see for ages and ages - Giant's Causeway. They are both located in Northern Ireland and we were able to stop there for two days on our way to Scotland last year.
The location is called Dark Hedges and it was used as The King's Road in the TV series. Yes, I know it is a popular location, I know that there are many many photos from this place (as from all other popular spots), however, I still wanted a photograph of my own making and also to experience this place in person. When we first went there to discover the area, there were a lot of people around and photography opportunities were limited. I knew that we would have to come back before sunrise to have the best conditions and that turned out to be just right. There was only one other photographer when we arrived at before dawn next day. We had the road pretty much to ourselves right until about fifteen minutes after sunrise when a lot of people started arriving.
There are few different perspectives available from either end of the road but there are only a couple that offer the best views of the trees forming into a superb tunnel like canopy over the road. I used a telephoto lens in this instance to further compress the scene and get those trees working together as closely as possible. I also wanted to have trees closing the scene from both ends and I did not want any sky to peek through as it would cause blown highlights and distractions taking away the attention of the viewer.
In terms of light and conditions, I was hoping for one of the two: a foggy morning or a bright sunrise with the sunlight hitting the trees from the side (or possibly a combination of the two). The latter is what we had on the day and while there was still a great mood before the sun came up, it was after sunrise that the scene really came to life. Side light created a some great shadows and that in turn created a great feeling of depth in the photo. There was just a hint of fog in the distance and that allowed the sunlight to be diffused beautifully.
In the end everything came together really well for me to be able to photograph this mysterious location. It is a great feeling walking away that you photographed something so beautiful and I enjoyed post processing this photo very much as well. It has been some time since we were there but the memory is as vivid as on the day and it served me as a reference point during processing. The main work here was to enhance that warm golden morning light and to accentuate the separation between trees by using the contrast already existing in the scene thanks to the beautiful light coming from the side.
I hope you enjoy the First Light on The King's Road and, as always, thank you all for visiting and for your continued interest and support.
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