Photographer: Gareth McCormack

Gareth was born in Co Tyrone, Northern Ireland, and went on to study law at Queens University in Belfast. An interest in travel writing developed during a subsequent trip to Asia, Australia and New Zealand. After picking up a second-hand camera to illustrate an article, thoughts of returning to a career in the legal profession were abandoned. 

Gareth has been supplying high-quality photography to private and commercial clients since 1998. Recent foreign assignments have taken him to Patagonia, Nepal, the European Alps and America’s Rocky Mountains. Between overseas trips he spends much of his time photographing mountain and coastal landscapes at home in Ireland.

Gareth's approach to photography focuses on the pursuit of rare and vivid natural light. His love of outdoor exploration enables him to access rarely-frequented locations, like the summit of a mountain during a winter sunset. The resulting photographs typically combine dramatic light with dynamic landforms. 

His images have been used in advertisements for corporate clients ranging from American Express to Tourism Ireland, and editorial images have appeared in Wanderlust, Geographical Magazine and the New York Times. Gareth is the author of two photographic books covering Ireland’s wild northwest, and he continues to write and shoot for Walking World Ireland magazine. He has also co-authored nine hiking guides for Lonely Planet Publications over the past fifteen years.

Gareth is also available for photographic commissions. Recent assignments include a brief by Ireland’s National Parks and Wildlife Service to create a series of images for a visitors centre at Ballycroy National Park. Several of the resulting images are now displayed at mural size, having been reproduced up to seven metres long and two metres high.


Storm at Broadhaven, Co Mayo
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Photographer: Gareth McCormack

Storm waves breaking over Ballyglass Lighthouse, Broadhaven, County Mayo, Ireland.

- Gareth McCormack

Errigal Mountain reflected in Dunlewy Lough, Donegal
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Photographer: Gareth McCormack

This image was made a few days after New Year during a spell of calm, frosty weather. The summit of Errigal - Donegal's highest mountain - was dusted with a light covering of snow and the water along the western shore of Dunlewy Lough was perfectly still. I took this picture shortly before sunset. A two-stop graduated filter held back the much brighter top half of the composition and ensured that the image would be evenly exposed.

- Gareth McCormack

Evening storm at Fanad Head lighthouse, Co Donegal, Ireland.
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Photographer: Gareth McCormack

I drove to Fanad Head one December afternoon during a winter storm. An ocean swell in excess of 30ft was being driven on by gales, buffeting this exposed coastline. I had to shelter in an old coastguard lookout between fierce squalls of hail. Towards dusk I took a few frames after a shower gave way to stormy golden sunlight. For me, the resulting image just manages to capture the day's exhilarating combination of light and energy.

- Gareth McCormack

Lichen-covered coastline, Ballycroy, Mayo
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Photographer: Gareth McCormack

Ballycroy National Park is Ireland's most recent national park, and encompasses a vast, uninhabited wilderness area around the Nephin Beg mountains. The park boundaries also include a small stretch of coastline, near where this shot was taken. The thick covering of lichen that cloaks the foreground rocks is testament to the purity of the Atlantic air, while the pyramid on the skyline is Slievemore mountain on Achill Island.

- Gareth McCormack

Evening light on Errigal Mountain, Donegal
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Photographer: Gareth McCormack

There are so many different angles from which to appreciate the iconic form of Errigal Mountain. This one is from high on Farscallop Mountain, in Glenveagh National Park. On this spring evening I used a telephoto lens to focus though a gap in the Derryveagh Mountains. The backlighting provided by the setting sun reduced the mountain to a simple geometric silhouette, allowing me to draw attention to its curious, fish-tail summit.

- Gareth McCormack

Evening at the Cliffs of Moher, Clare
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Photographer: Gareth McCormack

The day I took this photo had been rather bracing for the month of July - a series of sharp showers moved on by a brisk wind. Towards evening, I spied what I hoped would be a clearance behind a burst of rain. At this time of the year, the sun sinks into the Atlantic in the northwest, directly opposite the 200m-high Cliffs of Moher. I huddled as close as I dared to the vertical drop as the storm clouds were lit vivid pink by the setting sun.

- Gareth McCormack

Rainbow over Glassillaun Beach, Connemara, Galway
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Photographer: Gareth McCormack

It's impossible to plan a photo of a fleeting optical phenomenon such as a rainbow. Though Ireland's changeable weather means they're more common here than in many countries, being in a beautiful location and having your camera in hand when one appears is pure luck. It was a matter of right place, right time, for this winter shot from Glassillaun beach. A polariser allowed the colours of the rainbow to register more vibrantly.

- Gareth McCormack

Dawn reflections of the Twelve Bens, Derryclare Lough, Connemara, Co Galway
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Photographer: Gareth McCormack

The Twelve Bens are one of the most scenic mountain ranges in Ireland, but they can be frustratingly difficult to photograph. The main challenge is overcoming the region's unpredictable weather. This particular shot took several years to achieve because it requires a clear, calm dawn in winter. Fifteen minutes after I pressed the shutter, the magic faded and the skies were dull and cloudy for the remainder of the week.

- Gareth McCormack

Errigal and the Derryveagh Mountains in winter, Donegal
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Photographer: Gareth McCormack

During Irish winters, temperatures regularly drop low enough to freeze areas of upland bog. This shot was taken late one January afternoon, when the low sun was highlighting the auburn grasses and providing a contrast for the icy surface of the bog pools. A three-stop graduated filter helped to balance the exposure difference between the relatively dark foreground and snow-capped Errigal Mountain on the horizon.

- Gareth McCormack

Slieve Binnian Summit in Winter, Mourne Mountains, Co Down
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Photographer: Gareth McCormack

This shot was taken one February after the Mourne Mountains were dusted by snow. To me, the most appealing aspect of the scene was the juxtaposition between warmth and cold. I knew the granite tors on Binnian's summit were particularly effective at reflecting evening light - they glow bright orange in the right conditions. Along with crystal-clear views provided courtesy of the north wind, they make the sub-zero conditions seem positively balmy.

- Gareth McCormack

Evening over the Dingle Peninsula, Co Kerry
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Photographer: Gareth McCormack

The Dingle Peninsula must be one of the most beautiful corners of Ireland. I drove out to Clogher one evening during a spell of settled summer weather. There I discovered numerous boulders cloaked in lichen - a testament to the clean Atlantic air. I composed a sweeping view stretching from Clogher Beach to Mt Brandon, and as the sun dropped into a gap between the clouds and the ocean, the scene was lit for a few fleeting minutes in a rich, vivid light.

- Gareth McCormack

Winter Sunset over the Sperrin Mountains, Tyrone
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Photographer: Gareth McCormack

The Sperrin Mountains receive deep snowfalls most winters. One Christmas the Gortin area was obscured by a covering of thick fog, so I decided to climb above it to the summit of Mullagharn. From the top I looked out across a sea of fog as the two highest peaks in the Sperrins, Sawel and Dart, were lit by the setting sun. I singled them out with a telephoto lens and pushed the film one stop to improve contrast and warmth.

- Gareth McCormack

Summit tors on Slieve Binnian, Mourne Mountains, Co Down
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Photographer: Gareth McCormack

The summit of Slieve Binnian has been weathered into fascinating granite tors, and provides a superlative vantage point for the rest of the Mourne Mountains. One winter's afternoon I packed my camping gear and made it to the top twenty minutes before sunset. I took a few shots in beautiful light, using a three-stop graduated filter to hold back the sky. By morning the summit was cloaked in mist and I descended without making another picture.

- Gareth McCormack

Evening light over Trawbreaga Bay, Inishowen Peninsula, Donegal
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Photographer: Gareth McCormack

I had been trying to photograph this bay on the Inishowen Peninsula for at least a year before taking this shot one winter's afternoon. Even now I had to shelter from a biting wind for over an hour as I waited for the sun to sink into a gap beneath the clouds. As the light began to filter through, I scrambled down the cliff overlooking the beach, where I used a 3-stop graduated filter to hold back the sky.

- Gareth McCormack

Atlantic Swell Hitting the North Mayo Seacliffs, Mayo
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Photographer: Gareth McCormack

North Mayo is one of the least populated regions of Ireland, and it's coastline is wild, remote and impressionable. Vertical cliffs stretch for miles on end, and successive headlands jut into the churning Atlantic. The elements feel particularly powerful during winter storms. On this day in January, a dusting of snow covered the uplands while the waves thundered below. Needless to say, my equipment and I were both caked in salt by the end of the day.

- Gareth McCormack

Backlit Wave Breaking at Five Finger Strand, Inishowen, Donegal
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Photographer: Gareth McCormack

I wondered why this beach in Inishowen was called Five Finger Strand until I saw the series of rock stacks at the end of the headland. As a surfer, I've always been fascinated by the shape of waves. Here I was able to use a 300mm telephoto lens to bring the wave and rocks together. I waited for a set of waves large enough to crest on the sand bank beneath the cliffs. As the first wave stood up ready to break, the setting sun lit the plume of spray from behind.

- Gareth McCormack

Clew Bay and Croagh Patrick, Mayo
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Photographer: Gareth McCormack

This shot was taken from a hill overlooking Clew Bay one winter's afternoon. The light on this occasion promised to produce an unusual shot. The sun had disappeared behind high cloud, leaving a bright reflection on the water and strong shadows on the many small islands in the bay. Knowing my film would accentuate this contract, I composed using a telephoto lens to draw together the boat, trees and distant silhouette of Croagh Patrick.

- Gareth McCormack

Evening light on limestone pavement, The Burren, Clare
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Photographer: Gareth McCormack

The unique landscape of the Burren provides a fantastic location for photographers, but fine light is needed to make the most of the karst geology. As I scouted for a composition above the village of Fanore one September evening, a heavy shower cleared and strong light filtered across the hills. I centred on an exposed stretch of limestone pavement, and used a graduated filter to balance the difference in brightness between land and sky.

- Gareth McCormack

Evening Waves at the Giant's Causeway, Antrim
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Photographer: Gareth McCormack

The unique geology and World Heritage status of the Giant's Causeway make it a popular place, and one of the main challenges for photographers is keeping people out of the shot. Fortunately on this November day, a 15ft ocean swell kept the visitors well back, though I struggled to keep the spray off my lens long enough to take this image. A graduated filter balanced the exposure between foreground and sky.

- Gareth McCormack

Evening light on Boyeeghter Strand, Melmore Head, Co Donegal
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Photographer: Gareth McCormack

There aren't many beaches in Ireland that can't be reached by car. Boyeeghter Strand on Melmore Head is one exception to the rule. It is guarded by steep cliffs and its isolation means it always feels like a wild and special place. One September evening I climbed to an exposed bluff overlooking the beach. Recent wave action had moulded the sand into regular patterns and as the sun set, the cliffs and sand glowed with a golden hue.

- Gareth McCormack

Evening Reflections in Kylemore Lough, Connemara, Galway
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Photographer: Gareth McCormack

Kylemore Lough lies at the foot of the Twelve Bens in Connemara, Co Galway. I have always considered the solitary farmhouse an evocative scene, and was lucky to be driving beside the lake as a day of rain and mist suddenly cleared. For a fleeting moment, the setting sun imparted the clouds and mountains with a beautiful warm glow. I had just enough time to shoot a single frame before the light was lost once more.

- Gareth McCormack

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