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Capturing the Mourne Mountains from Slieve Commedagh

Capturing the Mourne Mountains from Slieve Commedagh

Slieve Commedagh, in the Mourne mountains sits 767 metres above sea level making it the second highest mountain in Northern Ireland. (Slieve Donard being the highest). Commedagh, derived from the Irish: Sliabh Coimhéideach means “mountain of guarding/watching” resides next to the famous Slieve Donard mountain. We have hiked this route a number of times but have yet to have any clear visibility thanks to low cloud cover.

The Route

Despite climbing a total of 1047 meters over the course of the hike we covered just over 18km horizontal distance. We took the route from Donard Park to Slieve Donard following the Glen river.

Visibility started poor but we were confident things would change throughout the day given the optimistic weather forecast. At Donard saddle we made our way to the top of Slieve Commedagh; there was still a fair amount of snow around so we slid our way back down toward Slieve Corragh.

I was determined to get some footage of the famous ‘Castles of Slieve Commedagh’. The castles are a group of granite tors along the faces of Slieve Commedagh. Thankfully the clouds lifted but there wasn’t much time to concentrate on the type of shot required to document the area effectively in video. The result is a rather haphazard series of clips of the route which I hope still offers a taste of the area. Check out additional drone footage of Slieve Bearnagh.

Slieve Commedagh, Slieve Corragh and Slievenaglogh

The weather began to improve and we were able to briefly get the Mavic Air into the sky. It really was two very short low level flights capturing the Commedagh castles and a 3-4 minute flight to take in Ben Crom and Slieve Bearnagh. All photos processed in Lightroom with the FlixelPix Lightroom Presets. Click any of the images on this page for a larger view.

I am still exceptionally cautious when it comes to flying a device remotely. As a result most of the still images captured with the Mavic Air look like they could have easily been taken on the ground with a camera. Hopefully this will change as confidence grows but I’ll walk before I run; I am definitely taking my time.

The temperature dropped as we reached Slievenaglogh and we made our careful descent to the famous Hare’s Gap. From Hare’s Gap we made the meandering hike along the Brandy Pad in almost zero visibility. We had to navigate our way back to the saddle between Commedagh and Slieve Donard, we didn’t stop long due to the temperature and a desire to keep going.

The weather and thus visibility didn’t improve until we passed the tree line at Donard wood. At this point our tired legs managed their way back to Donard Park following a thoroughly enjoyable day in the hills. Mountains noted: Slieve Donard 853m, Slieve Commedagh 765m, and Slieve Bearnagh 739m.

Video with the Mavic Air

Despite ending up capturing a range of still images the focus of the day was video both with a camera and with the DJI Mavic Air. The opportunities for both were slim due to the visibility and too much time spent playing in the deep snow.

The video at the top of this post was shot in 4K with the Mavic Air and hastily edited. I need to move from focusing on flying to focusing on the type of shot I want. It’s only when back at the computer that I discover a range of issues.

  • Too many shots of the same thing.
  • Poorly composed framing.
  • Correcting composition during a shot / changing direction.
  • Change of speed during a shot.

The recent weather hasn’t been drone friendly, as a result trips out have been about flying the drone rather than considering what is being shot. As for the hike, although it is a reasonably challenging walk the views across the Commedagh castles, across to Ben Crom and to Slieve Bearnagh are spectacular. The slide down Slieve Commedagh in the snow was the highlight.

Links

Mourne Mountains : Gallery
Northern Ireland landscapes
DJI Mavic Air
Understanding Depth of Field
5 Things I learned about Photography in 2017
FlixelPix Video
Slieve Commedagh on Google Maps

Slieve Commedagh : Grid Ref: J346286.



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