January Photographer of the Month: Peter O'Donnell
One of my favorite new photographers is Peter O'Donnell, from Ireland. Peter was recommended to us by our Ireland Editor, Corey Taratuta. Once I saw Peter's work, I was a big fan. Peter showcases the beauty of the Irish countryside through panoramic landscape photography.
An Reithe, The Ram
His landscapes are extraordinary, and I can't get them out of my mind. What a gift Peter has, and I am so happy to share his work with our Wandering Educators! We were lucky enough to sit down and talk with Peter about his work - here's what he had to say...
Burning the heather, Comeragh Mountains, Co. Waterford
WE: How did you get interested in photography?
PO: I remember looking in a press (cupboard) at my parents house when I was about four or five years old and seeing this red box with the white Agfa logo running across it. I was hooked!! I knew I wasn't supposed to be playing with this shiny object, but curiosity got the better of me. Needless to say my mum was not pleased. I discovered what it was when we went on summer vacation.... a camera, and it took pictures, and more importantly captured memories. When I was in college a friend gave me a present of a book of photography by Duane Michals, and I saw and realised for the first time that photography was a lot more than just pretty pictures.
It wasn't until I was about twelve that I actually bought my first camera, just a simple point and shoot, but It sparked an interest in me that has stayed to this day.
Autumn's walk, Castleconnell, Co Limerick
Is Fada an Lá, Ennistymon, County Clare
WE: How long have you been a photographer?
PO: I could be smart and say since I was twelve, but professionally, only about 5 years.
Giant's causewa, Co. Antrim
Mahon Falls, Co. Waterford
WE: What is your favorite place to photograph? Or subject?
PO: My favourite place to photograph would have to be the Comeragh Mountains in County Waterford, and in particular the Nire Valley. Even of a wet and miserable day, it's still beautiful. Although I have to say since we moved to Limerick, just over a year ago, that I am fast falling in love with County Clare.
Ballydowane Cove, Co. Waterford
Fisherman's blues, Clonea, Co. Waterford
WE: You've got a passion for Panoramic shots. Can you tell us more about it,
and about your site, Ireland360?
PO: Ireland360.com was set up, quite simply, just to let people have a look around... it was really just that. It took a bit of a back seat in 2008, mainly because I opened a gallery in the village of Castleconnell and my wife and I built our new home. All in all, a pretty eventful year, but things are hopefully back to normal now including ireland360.
My first digital camera, strangely enough another Agfa, had the ability to shoot panoramas and with the supplied software export them as quicktime movies. That was back in 1998, and it's kind of mushroomed ever since.
Moanyarha Bog, Co. Waterford
WE: Are there rules in other countries people need to be aware of about who or what you can or cannot shoot?
PO: More or less the same as anywhere else. Once you are in a public place, everything is fair game as long as it's within the accepted norms. You can't trespass on private property, so it always helps to ask first.
Ireland is a funny place at times, There are guidelines, but no rules as such.
Personally I think we all need to take a step back and have a good long look at ourselves. In some ways, we are becoming a "big brother" society and its not just here in Ireland. We have rules for this and rules for that, we allow some to be broken freely and at will and are up in arms at others..... oops...this is a whole other conservation, for a rainy day beside an open fire with a few friends and some free flowing pints of Guinness.
Moonlight glosses, Castleconnell, Co. Limerick
WE: Any tips you want to share?
PO: I'll always carry a camera with me but whenever possible I'll have a tripod as well. People think they are a pain to lug around, but their benefits far outweigh their negatives. They steady your camera and make you stop and think about what you're shooting, help you compose better and make you a better photographer.
O'Brien's Bridge, Co. Clare
Rock of Cashel, Co. Tipperary
WE: Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?
PO: The last few minutes that you've just spent reading this are gone forever, you can't get them back..... so get out there and live life and be happy and as an old friend used to say "feck the begrudgers".
Footed turf, Moanyarha, Co. Waterford
Mohra Lake, Co Waterford
WE: Thanks so much, Peter! It has been fun reading of your life and interest in photography.
To view below, Mahon Falls, Co. Waterford
For more information on Peter's work, head to his Gallery
Shannon House, Main Street, Castleconnell, Co. Limerick
look [at] thewidereye.com
A New Day Begins, Bay Lough, County Tipperary
All photos courtesy and copyright of Peter O'Donnell.