St John’s Point Lighthouse, Killough

1 min read

Summer had arrived and the sun was finally out. The conditions appeared perfect for some practice flight time along the shores of Tyrella Beach and St John’s Point Lighthouse with the DJI Mavic Air. Unfortunately, much like a recent visit to the mountains I was surprised to find the weather along the Mourne coastline was akin to winter rather than summer. See Forest Fog.

The fog acted as a natural filter to the warm sun and the light levels were ever changing. I have started to experiment with the Polar Pro filters for the DJI Mavic Air. I opted for the polarising version which makes a real difference to the 4K drone footage.

To be honest, I’m still unsure about using the filters given that I shoot a mix of video and still images during each flight. The ND (Neutral Density) filters result in a much slower shutter speed / long exposure which is obviously a challenge on a moving camera 150m in the air. I was shooting in full auto mode as my focus is on flying the drone along the coast. Auto mode means the Mavic Air is going to try and compensate for the ND filter resulting in a bit more noise than I have seen on previous photos (as the Air bumped up the ISO). Going forward if I am going to use the ND filters then I need to be shooting in full manual mode.

Read : Seven Ways to Improve your Long Exposure Photography

I’m definitely getting to know the Mavic Air and have noticed I’ve a bit more capacity to consider the settings and composition. It’s a great little hobby drone that offers both the excitement of flight and curiosity to get back to the computer and see the 4K footage.

St John’s Point Lighthouse and Tyrella beach are two of my favourite locations for experimental photography. It is a great place to detox and unwind; referenced in Van Morrison’s ‘Coney Island’ the area of Killough is stunning. Killough village has actually been used as a film location a number of times over the last decade, ‘Fifty Dead Men Walking’, ‘The Shore’ and ‘Whole Lotta Soul’ to name but three.

St John’s Point Lighthouse

St John’s Point Lighthouse was originally built in the 1840s and was extended to 40m in the late 1880s. The then white Lighthouse was given black stripes in the early 1900s and its unique black and yellow styling in the 1950s.

The fog made long distant / wide shots a bit of a challenge. I couldn’t travel too far from the Lighthouse to find it has been swallowed up in the Irish Sea fog. It will be no surprise than within five minutes of depleting my final battery the fog cleared and the sun reappeared.


3 Days with the DJI Mavic Air
DJI Mavic Air First Impressions
St John’s Point
Tyrella Beach, County Down
St John’s Point Long Exposure Photography

David is a documentary and landscape photographer covering everything from dramatic long exposure landscape photography through to live music. David is a former Official Fujifilm X Photographer.

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