Sligo photographer goes to extremes for perfect shot

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DEDICATION: Gareth McCormack sets up his camera to capture the perfect shot, having climbed to the summit of a nearby mountain top.

A Sligo-based photographer climbed some of Ireland’s highest peaks to get a unique perspective on the island’s mountains for his new book.

“The Mountains of Ireland” – a landmark collection of imagery showcases the Irish mountains at their very best – has been nearly two decades in the making.

It was delayed when photographer Gareth McCormack developed psoriatic arthritis in his knees, which seriously curtailed his ability to get into the mountains for a number of years.

Undeterred, he went to extraordinary lengths to capture Ireland’s summits in the wildest, most dramatic light, hauling heavy camera equipment up and down Ireland’s most rugged terrain.

“I clocked up more than 50,000 metres of vertical ascent and descent and several thousand kilometres of walking,” the Co. Tyrone native explains.
“For some shoots I bivouacked on summits to capture the first light of dawn. At other times I targeted the sunset, to descend precarious ground alone in the dark.”

Often he returned empty-handed, the possibilities ruined by the fickle mountain weather (the lowest temperature he experienced was -15 °C).

The images bear witness to a labour of love that transcends physical and creative challenges. Gareth has created a body of work encompassing all the major ranges of Ireland. Some are shot from well-known vantage points; many others from remote locations rarely visited.

For more on this story, see this week’s Sligo Weekender newspaper. In shops now!

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