northern ireland

North Coast Love...

A few weeks ago, we were treated to the most epic day up on the North Coast, exploring some secret spots and amazing coastlines. Our guide was the ever awesome Mike, one half of the Bearded Candle Makers and he was kind enough to show us, along with our pooches, Angus & Hamish, some of the most beautiful places we've ever been lucky enough to go in Northern Ireland (or otherwise)...

Having not had a car for very long, we've not explored all that much of this beautiful island... so, if you want to see some incredible hidden beaches, coastlines and scenery? Ask a surfer and rock climber who's made it his mission to seek out these stunning spots! He'll be the best guide (and company!) you could ask for.

The day started out as a perfect Autumn morning, crisp, cool and super misty. The photo's I've shared - just a very small selection of what I shot - track the day as it unfolded... going from misty and moody, to breath-taking sunshine and light moving across rock faces and gleaming cerulean waters. We marvelled all day at how lucky we were to get this stunning day out exploring... it was insanely magical.

We started near Ballycastle - ate fish and chips on the harbour walls, went up the road further to Ballintoy Harbour and Dunluce Castle and then chased the sunset home. It was a pretty perfect day, all in all.

Huge thanks to our fantastic guide Mike - it was the best roadtrip EVER! We had a really fab day with you - Let's go back soon! :)

Shooting for Story Horse - 'Chilly Days Out & Cosy Nights In' Campaign...

A few months back, we were approached to shoot the AW15 campaign for lovely local brand, Story Horse! The head designer, Olive, told us about the beautiful new collection she had designed in collaboration with her partner, Wendy, and we couldn't wait to see the beautiful range of raincoats, wellington boots, knitwear, luggage, umbrella's and toiletries they had designed!

The shoot location was to be Rowallane Gardens, near Saintfield, and we enjoyed a lovely afternoon ahead of the shoot date location scouting in the beautiful wooded areas and around the majestic lake... it was so beautiful. We couldn't wait to get started...

As a little bit of background to the brand Story Horse - which is currently exclusively available through their beautiful website - it roots took hold in the stories, landscapes and colours of Northern Ireland... specifically, Belfast Lough, over which the Story Horse studios look... 

The creative minds behind the brand wanted to take these ideas, motifs, feelings and invitations to adventure, to customers around the world, and so, set out to create a beautifully curated collection of patterns, designs and products that would inspire the women who wear them. The beautiful raincoats, boots, brollies and over-night bags are a call to action... get outside, have some adventures, and look great while doing it!

I love the warm autumnal, but contemporary, colour-palette of this collection... lots of ochre paired with grey, deep aubergine and burgundy paired with fuchsia pink and pops of green and blue. So lovely, and something for everyone..! 

I don't know about you, but I'm sold, you know ;)

We really enjoyed shooting this story - both on location in Rowallane (despite the downpours!), and also in our studio where we created more product shots. All the products are really beautiful, and we are thoroughly enjoying using our 'Wherever I Wander Umbrella' on rainy days!

HUGE thanks to Story Horse for asking us to shoot for you - we hope everyone likes the campaign, and thank you to the team we worked with on the day... we hope everyone will support this gorgeous new collection!

Our model Sarah was absolutely fantastic... I've never shot a model with such a high success rate and who knew her angles so well - I barely lost a shot! Such an absolute star and a pleasure to work with! :)

The team:

Photography: abigail*ryan (that's us!) / Model : Sarah Ennis from Style Academy / Hair: Lynette Murray Hair / Makeup: Ashley Morhej / PR: Victoria & Kaz at Weber Shandwick UK




Local Loves - A Samphire grazing Herd on an Islandmagee Farm...

A few weeks back, we went to a beautiful Farm in Islandmagee to photograph a handsome herd of Friesian Dairy Cows... their adorable calves, and of course, the Bull!

They were absolutely enormous creatures - you don't realise quite how big they are when viewing from a field (insert Father Ted joke, here), and we were maybe just a little intimidated at first! ;)

But the lovely, lovely Jane, who runs the farm with her husband and son (and daughters when they're at home!) soon put us at ease... They have the most gentle nature, and they were very interested indeed in what on earth these two city types were doing in their field, photographing them!

I was absolutely captivated by how different each cow was - their different markings, and personalities, so we ended up shooting almost a series of portraits. It was a really special shoot. I love how they just stared down the lens at us... it was almost like they were looking inside our soul. Wonderfully intense creatures. The Bull was really incredible - an enormous mass of rippling muscle, so majestic - I don't think I realised just how close I was to him until we got home and reviewed the shoot... 

These cows have a pretty amazing life... after milking in the morning, and evening, they stroll down to the banks of Larne Loch, where they graze on Samphire, seaweeds and grass, herbs and wild flowers, until it's time to head back up to their hay lined beds. I have to say (apart from the milking!)... I wouldn't mind a day in the life of these lovely girls! The wee calves are all hand reared by Jane once their Mummy's are back to milking - they keep both the boy and girl calves, and rear them up until they're ready to join the herd or go on to be Bulls at another farm... they frolic all day in their cosy barns, and have great fun moo-ing at the top of their lungs! We got a wee cuddle with some of them, and they're so cute!

I hope you enjoy this little glimpse in to some local Northern Irish farming - we so enjoyed shooting this one...



Local Businesses - Kilcoan Gardens...

A few weeks ago now, we visited Kilcoan Gardens in Islandmagee after hearing about their gorgeous grounds and wonderful tour for their open weekends.

Guided by the lovely Cherry Townsend, who manages, designs and runs the gardens, we were treated to a wonderfully informative tour, focussing on early Spring plants, what grows best in our Northern Irish climate, and what was flourishing and blooming for Spring. Cherry was so incredibly informative, and knowledgeable, rattling out the latin names for all the lovely plants, I felt like I was in the presence of a seasoned Garden TV presenter... it was SO fascinating.

Despite the rain, and hail (!), we had a fantastic time, and thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful afternoon tea that was laid on for us at the end, most of it baked by Cherry's lovely mum... on gorgeous vintage crockery, no less.

Such a beautiful, and tastefully done garden, I just loved every minute.

Cherry is hosting another Open Weekend this coming weekend as part of the National Trust NI - Ulster Gardens Scheme, and we're really looking forward to returning to shoot more of early Summer (I know, it's a bit of a laugh so far, right?) blooms. Make sure to pop along, and enjoy the beautiful surroundings and fascinating commentary from Cherry.

Saturday & Sunday 6th&7th June 2015, 2-5pm. 240 Middle Road, Islandmagee.