Togs & Tales

Mark O'Brien

Mark O'Brien

Landscape Photographer

My name is Mark O Brien, I’m an amateur Landscape Photographer based in Killarney , Co Kerry and I’ve been attempting to try and photograph landscape both at home and abroad since 2015/2016.

What was your path to becoming a Landscape Photographer & What was your first camera?

I got into Landscape photography through some encouragement from a co worker who saw some of the pics I was taken on my iPhone and suggested I go and invest in a proper camera as it was obvious I had an interest in it…so off I went and I bought my first DSLR which was a Canon 1200D.

What was your favourite Landscape Adventure Story since becoming a Photographer?

My favourite adventure/ story….. its a weird one to talk about, every time I go out with the camera is an adventure, for me its all about the moment and the memories, I used to get really bogged down with “getting the shot” in the early days, I put little thought into composition, technique and post processing which led me to take some absolute stinkers…. Now a days I’m happier to slow things down and enjoy the moment, I try to be more thoughtful and creative with my compositions and my shooting techniques and not get overwhelmed or disappointed if the image doesn’t happen.

What was your worst in-the-field experience as a landscape Photographer?

My worst experience in the field has to be when I left close to 500euros worth of filters down in the Black Valley a few years ago….I knew exactly where I left them but when I returned they were no where to be seen….. that one hurt… it was an expensive lesson.

Sunrise or Sunset & Why?

Sunrise or sunset…… tough one to answer…… I do love a good sunset… for me its good for the soul especially if you’ve had a long tough stressful day…. there’s something almost spiritual about being able to witness and photograph a beautiful sunset.

Where is your favourite Location in Ireland to Photograph & Why?

My favourite location to photograph in Ireland has to be Dingle and in particular Dun Chaoin Pier…. This place is just magical , its been a good friend to me on days that have been tough for me…. Standing on top of the hill side over looking the pier listening to the waves break below is the best form of therapy you’ll ever find.

What is your favourite photograph, that you’ve taken to date, & Why?

My favourite photograph to date was taken in late 2019 in the good company of Mark Fletcher, we were on the way out of the Black Valley at about I think 3-4pm and we could see some rolling mist forming and I spotted a forest area in the distance shrouded in it and I remember jamming on the brakes and jumping out and grabbing my camera with my 150-600mm and just rattling off a few images of the trees and I knew instantaneously that I had captured something special….. well special to me…. I was on a high the moment I saw it on the back of my camera, its still my favourite picture to date.

What equipment / Setup are you currently using?

My current set up is a Canon EOS R plus a Canon 6D , Lens wise I use a 16-35mm, 24-70mm, 70-200mm, 150-600mm and a Rollei Tripod and Formatt Hitech filters.

Top Tip for anyone starting out?

My top tip for anyone starting out is to slow down…. The urge will be there to shoot, process and post immediately because you are on a Landscape high so to speak…. Its almost impossible to avoid this trap but please try…. Spend your time honing your craft…. Learning the basics, picking the brains of photographers you may be friends with or that you look up to, don’t worry if you don’t get help from everyone, for all the silent replies you get you’ll get 10 better one’s from people who will genuinely want to see you succeed.

Best Advise you’ve personally been given?

Best advise / tough love I ever got was from Rodney O Callaghan who dished out some home truths when I was well and truly balls deep in the over saturation/ boost the contrast phase of my photography…. In his beautiful Cork accent he more or less told me stay away from those bloody sliders….. get it right in camera and you’ll have very little to do in post processing…. I could have taken that 2 ways…. I could have taken it personally and told him to piss off but I was I think mature enough to recognise when he was looking out for me…. It changed me as a photographer and to this day when I’ve been asked my opinion on something I’m not afraid to dish out the tough love because it comes from a place of wanting to help rather than wanting to hurt.

Who is your biggest inspirations as a Landscape Photographer?

My biggest inspiration isn’t a person its the Landscape…. The light…… the mood……its whatever inspires me to go and shoot….thats what inspires me.

Who is your favourite Irish photographer at the moment?

My favourite Irish photographer…… oh God…. So many people deserve to be mentioned…. If I had to pick one right now it would have to be my good pal Sean O Riordan…. The man is on another level…..you only have to look at his instagram to see just how bloody talented he is, not only is he a phenomenal photographer but he backs it up with being one of the good guys..… he’s as humble as he is talented and thats what makes him my current favourite Irish Photographer. I’m proud to be able call him a friend…..even if he’s from Limerick 🙂

© All images are copyrighted to Photographer Mark O’Brien
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