Foleys Bridge, Tollymore Forest Park, Newcastle, County Down, N Ireland by Derek Smyth

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Tollymore Forest Park was the first state forest park to open in Northern Ireland, and was established on 2 June 1955. It is located at the village of Bryansford, in the Mourne Mountains near the seaside town of Newcastle. The River Shimna flows through the park and is crossed by numerous bridges. The most famous and well known is Foley’s Bridge, which is shown in this picture. The bridge was constructed in 1787 and has been photographed by others and myself many times over the years.

It was a dull overcast morning as I made my way through the park looking for compositions late in the Autumn Season of 2018. The Shimna River has cut a deep valley through the park over many years and therefore the sun doesn’t get much opportunity to shine down by the river.

As I approached the Bridge it started look as if the sun might possibly break through the gloomy cloud covered sky. Arriving at the bridge I started to take a couple of test photographs to check out various compositions. Happy with this composition I sat back and patiently waited for the light to change. After what seemed like an age my patience was rewarded when the sun broke through the cloud very briefly to illuminate and totally transform the autumn colours of the leaves in the background. I really like the contrast of the glowing leaves in the background against the subdued light on the bridge and the ferns in the foreground, which help draw the viewer into the picture. The lesson I learnt here is the importance of patience when we are out and about taking landscape photographs.

Tollymore Forest Park is a really nice place to visit at any time of the year with lots to see and do. However for photographers the Autumn Season it really when it comes to life in a blaze of wonderful colours.

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