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Home for the Summer

The world at your doorstep has a lot more to offer than you may think and now is the perfect time to explore the hidden gems in your local area.

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Home for the Summer

We recently conducted research to find out how we will be spending our summer and it turns out, the Irish have a newfound love for the world on their doorstep. For example, 57% have fallen in love with their local area during lockdown and 60% would prefer to holiday at home than abroad this year. Plus, 73% have revealed that making memories with loved ones has become more important to them as a result of lockdown - which tells us that a lot of new photos have been taken. Our Home for the Summer campaign will show you all the wonderful spots to visit this Summer and how to preserve those memories in the best way possible.

Republic of Ireland There are a whole host of destinations around the Republic of Ireland that will appeal any type of staycation you are looking for.

The North of England There’s certainly plenty to explore in the North of England for your staycation this summer.

Scotland Scotland is known for its astounding countryside, authentic culinary ingredients and range of outdoor activities.

The South of England From the nook of Penzance to cosmopolitan London, it’s no surprise the South rates highly on the top staycation spots in the UK.

Wales Wales makes the perfect staycation destination for those wanting to hunker down in the UK for their summer holiday this year.

Republic of Ireland

With its spectacular views over coasts and countryside, it’s no wonder 60% of Irish residents are choosing to stay home this year!

From its rich culture of music, sport, gastronomy and literature, there are a whole host of destinations around the Republic of Ireland that will appeal any type of staycation you are looking for. Sit back and take time to read about why staying in Ireland will be the perfect break this year.

What better way to experience Ireland than in the rugged countryside of Killarney National Park! As the oldest national park in the country, the 26,000-acre expanse is a thriving biosphere that is home to Ireland’s tallest mountain, Carrauntoohill, and a host of wonderful wildlife.

Take the day to explore the long loops of woodlands trails around the foothills of the McGillycuddy Reeks Mountain Range. Take in the diverse ecological landscape of native oak and yew woodlands, as well as the tall evergreens, shrubs and lichens. The lakes and waterfalls throughout the park are beautiful and make the perfect setting for a picnic on a bright day. Treading quietly, you might even spot the only herd of red deer that are native to Ireland, or maybe the Sika deer that graze peacefully throughout the park

The North of England

There’s certainly plenty to explore in the North of England for your staycation this summer.

From the wild moors of the Yorkshire Dales, to the rugged coastline of Northumberland and the quaint country villages of Lancashire, the North of England has a deep and diverse history that will truly enrich your adventure within the region.

With over half of Brits revealing they’d prefer a staycation than a trip abroad this year, we’ve compiled our top travel guide for visitors to the North of England in 2020.

Scotland

Scotland is known for its astounding countryside, authentic culinary ingredients and range of outdoor activities which makes it the perfect staycation destination this summer.

Whether you’re in the mood for adventure, or a spa break in the Scottish hills, there’s sure to be something to capture your inspiration. In fact, with Scotland ranking as the UK’s second most converted staycation destination, it’s easy to see why so many will be turning to the far north of the UK for their staycation this year.

No Scottish holiday is complete without a day trip to Edinburgh, voted one of the UK’s favourite cities. With regular and far-branching train links, Edinburgh makes an ideal destination for a day trip come rain or shine. Visit the iconic Edinburgh Castle, built high on the black crags of Castle Rock at the top of Princes Street. This impressive stronghold boasts stories of Edinburgh’s militant history and Royal family tales of old. Voted as one of Britain’s top 10 landmarks, don’t miss your opportunity to take a photo of this historic attraction.

The South of England

Whether you prefer lounging on sandy beaches, shopping in a vibrant metropolis or getting lost in deep pine forests, the South of England has something for everyone.

From the nook of Penzance to the cosmopolitan capital of London, it’s no surprise the South rates highly on the top ‘stay-cating’ spots in the UK.

Dubbed the ‘Venice of the East’, the Norfolk Broads National Park is an area of outstanding beauty where you can discover a host of interesting wildlife, picturesque villages and even try a new sport or activity. If you’re here just for the day, hire a boat to explore the 125 miles of waterways and see what interesting wildlife you can capture with your camera along the way. If you’d prefer something more active, hire a canoe, a kayak, a paddleboard or wakeboard and take to the shimmering water for a day of fun-filled activity! If watersports aren’t your thing, there are country tracks and trails galore that are perfect for a family bike ride or long walk in the fresh air.

Wales

Wales makes the perfect staycation destination for those wanting to hunker down for their summer holiday this year.

Not only does it have miles of rugged coastline and green stretches of National Parks to fill your lungs with fresh sea and country air, it is also steeped in history that makes it a perfect place for an adventure holiday.

If the famous Welsh weather takes a turn for the worst, we recommend taking shelter in the National Museum at the heart of the city. Not only is this building beautiful on the outside, but the inside is a treasure trove of contemporary art, national history and even has the skeletons of dinosaurs and mammoths that once roamed the Welsh hills. It’s a perfect day out for the family, with the added bonus of free entry!

Print Your Staycation Memories

The adventure may have come to an end, but your special moments don’t have to!

Staycation Photography Guides

Exploring leads to creating a lot of memories that you’ll want to capture in their best light… literally! We’ve put together a host of helpful tips and tricks that will enable you to take photos that you’ll enjoy looking back on for years to come.
Seascape photography

Seascape photography An afternoon at the beach is the perfect time to practice your photography skills and capture your day of fun in the sun.

Seasonal photography

Seasonal photography Allow us to provide some handy tips and tricks when it comes to taking incredible summer inspired photographs.

How to take stunning landscape photos

How to take stunning landscape photos If you decide to explore somewhere new this summer, make sure you capture your adventures in the best way possible.

Making the most of homeland beaches: 5 tips to master seascape photography

What better time and place to refine your seascape photography than being at home for the summer! From the dramatic cliffs of Achill Island to the rolling waves of the Dingle Peninsula, it’s no wonder almost half of Irish residents are looking forward to holidaying at home this summer. Make the most of the varied Irish coastline with these top tips to capturing the ultimate seascape.

Choose your timing Timing is key for a number of reasons capturing the perfect image. Depending what height the sun is positioned, the light will affect the colours of the water and exposure of the shot. Sunrise and sunset tend to always provide an inspirational backdrop of intense orange lines and pastel skies, whereas at midday, when the sun is at its highest, the blue hues of the sea are intensified and provide a palette of sparkling electric blue and deep azure. Tramore on the south coast provides the perfect place to experiment with timing as you can capture the sun hitting the rugged rocks at different times in the day.

Experiment with height and angles Moving from clifftop to sand will allow you to test how colour changes from different vantage points. When standing on high ground, use a wide angled lens to capture those stunning, dramatic and far reaching views – this will allow the colours of the sand and sea to ‘pop’. If you’re on the beachfront, your proximity will allow you to capture the finer detail of curling waves, intricate shells and angular rocks. You could even try a drone to get a dramatic bird’s eye view of where the sea meets the land.

Maximise depth of field For that perfect postcard seascape, find a viewpoint where you can maximise your depth of field and have both a sharp background and foreground. The Cliffs of Moher are a perfect destination for this - voted as the most photogenic area in Ireland, you can expand depth to focus on the cliffs, sea and sky. If you’d prefer to isolate an object in the foreground, shallow your depth until the colours of the backdrop are blurred to draw the eye to your focal point.

Perfect your exposure The unpredictability of water gives the perfect opportunity to experiment with exposure and alter the mood of a seascape. With some photographers preferring to blur the movement of water, others prefer a freezeframe to capture each edge and curve of the waves. A minimal composition shot benefits from long shutter speeds that have a smoothing effect on the water’s surface. The removal of texture will give it a mist-like quality and complement the soft pastel colours of golden hour photography. Alternatively, faster shutter speeds will capture a more complex texturized shots of water, which can be particularly effective when taking pictures of waves crashing onto cliff walls. This technique can be adopted for rivers and waterfalls too – head to the Glendalough National Park to test it out.

Stay safe The Irish Sea and Atlantic Ocean can be unruly threats, particularly for those who are wanting to capture the rawness of the natural world in their seascape. Be aware of tide times and swells that can be critical to a photographer’s safety, particularly if you are choosing to head out to slippery rock formations. Heed advice from local weather reports and stay well back from the edge of cliff tops. Whilst the temptation of a unique photo angle may be great, it’s important to prioritise your safety at all times.

Seasonal photography – getting creative in the summer months

With most of us planning on staying home for the Summer, now is the perfect time to capture some photography that may be out of your comfort zone. Not being able to travel may seem restrictive at first, but it provides the perfect opportunity to take a longer look at what’s going on around you and get creative.

Golden Hour It wouldn’t be a summer photography round up without mentioning the holy grail that is Golden Hour. Golden Hour is a short period in the day when the sun is low in the sky and fills the landscape with a stunning and flattering golden glow. It’s perfect for capturing long shadows and the suns golden orb gives your images texture and form. From scenic shots to selfies, the natural and warm light provides a beautiful glow that can take your photos to the next level.

Set up a picnic Or even better, have a picnic! There’s no better time to take a family portrait than when they are genuinely enjoying themselves. Sitting in the sun on a blanket in the park with delicious food and great company will put a smile on anyone’s face. Picnics with the family are what summer is all about and it’s an opportunity to take some candid family shots you’ll cherish for years to come.

Nature Summer is the perfect time to capture blooming flowers, trees bearing fruit and nature thriving. Ensure you include a plethora of colours to enhance the summer feel. If it’s close ups you’re after, use a macro lens or a close focusing zoom. A telezoom will be best for taking wide shots and using the compress feature is an easy way to make flowers appear crowded together.

Use a polariser A polariser is ideal for making your summer images pop. Polarisers can deepen a blue sky, emphasise white clouds, reduce glare and reflections and boost saturation. The reduction of reflections is particularly helpful if you’re shooting water, metal or glass. Keep an eye on your shutter speed if you’re not using a tripod as polarisers tend to lose two stops of light. Be careful of over polarising too and watch your focus as your camera may struggle with the use of a polariser.

Silhouettes If you’re looking to do something a little different - silhouettes are the perfect opportunity to experiment. By simply placing a solid object in front of a bright background, you’re creating different elements to your photograph. Try to use an identifiable object such as a person, a building, a boat or a bike. Sunset, sunrise or midday sun can all create a striking image, so take your time and get creative.

Send a postcard! How about putting your photography skills to good use and creating postcards from the images you capture? Consider the location, time of day and the type of imagery people like to see on postcards. Landmarks, beach scenes and rolling hills are always a postcard favourite. Make the most of being home for the Summer and discover that there is beauty all around you just waiting to be captured.

How to take stunning landscape photography from your doorstep

With so much potential on our doorstep, what is the secret to capturing the perfect shot of fantastic landscapes? Here are some of our tips for taking stunning landscape photography that will help you beautifully preserve your Summer 2020 memories.

Patience is key Unfortunately, landscape photography often depends on the elements behaving how you want them to. A certain amount of planning is necessary, for example - don’t head to the North York Moors looking for a sunny scenic shot with rain forecast. That said, it’s still possible to get a great landscape image on a rainy, cloudy day – it’s all about using the lighting and conditions to influence the look and feel of your images. These may make for different holiday snaps to usual, but let’s face it, sometimes there is a new perspective from the unexpected.

Allow yourself time There is nothing more frustrating than feeling rushed when you’ve travelled for miles to visit a landmark or scenic spot. We’ve all had those fluke moments when the first picture we take is the one, but more often than not, the more time you take to take in your surroundings, the better your image will be. Take time to understand the landscapes and try different lenses and shots. The more you experiment, the more likely you are to end up with something special.

Lighting Sometimes, regardless of how beautiful a location is - if the lighting isn’t right, it will be impossible to do the landscape justice. The best time of day for this type of photography is early morning or late afternoon (otherwise known as the ‘Golden Hour’) and really bright sunlight will often be too harsh. If you’re just starting out with landscape photography, stick to times when the lighting is most likely to compliment your shots. As you become more confident, you’ll be able to adapt to lighting conditions and use them to your advantage.

Depth of field The most visually impressive landscape photographs will have a sharp background and foreground – which is usually what makes them so stunning. A shallower depth of field can be equally as impressive if you capture it correctly. By isolating the main subject of the image and blurring the background, you can make a section of a scenic location stand out. This works particularly well for mountains and landmarks.

Carry the right equipment Never underestimate the power of a tripod! This is not just a piece of advice for landscape imagery but all photography in general. A tripod will help you capture slow shutter or long exposure scenery shots, without the worry of a shaky hand. This means that those moving clouds or river scenes will no longer appear blurry.

Avoid relying on post-production If the scene doesn’t look how you want through your view finder, it won’t in post-production. Relying on your composition to get the image right will help you become a more skilled photographer in the long run. A good way to practice this is using the rule of thirds; simply put, this is breaking your image into nine equal squares. Where the lines intersect is called the points of interest, these are the spots our eyes are drawn to. Aiming to have your subject and the other key elements in these points of interest is a great way to take striking landscape photography.