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Sand & Ice

This was my first ‘themed’ exhibition. It had been in planning for some time ever since I found a true peace in the deserts of Australia.

Daragh photographed the sand dunes in Merzouga,Morocco

I was longing to go back to a sandy desert and take my time to connect with my surroundings and photograph the wonder of light and sand. I also love the intense and infinite beauty of ice and I began exploring the possibility of putting together two trips back to back, one to the desert and one to ice.

My two destinations were the western part of the Sahara in Morocco and the Vatnajokull ice cap in Iceland. Each trip was just 23 days.

I flew to Marrakech and took a bus to Merzouga which is nestled at the edge of the most magnificent sand dunes. From here I walked with Amar, my Berber guide, and a camel throughout the sand dunes finding my space to connect with nature and the rhythm of the desert. It is in this, almost dreamlike space, that I feel I capture my best images.

On my return to Ireland, I had 6 days to get Wanda, my 1986 Volkswagon campervan, ready for the trip to Iceland. To get there I took a ferry to Holyhead and drove to Scrabster in the North of Scotland. From here I took a ferry to the Orkney Islands and then one to the Shetland Islands. In Lerwick I was able to pick up the Smyril Line from Norway on route to Iceland stopping for a day in the Faroe Islands.

Daragh photographed glaciers whilst in Iceland

Once in Iceland, I made my way immediately to Jokulsarlon, a tidal lagoon at the foot of one of Vatnajokulls glacier tongues filled with icebergs of varying sizes. I spent many days here, walking the shores of this lagoon, marvelling at the ever changing array of stunning ice sculptures.

Next, I wanted to get onto the glacier and look into a few crevasses. I had brought all the kit with me (crampons, ice axes and ice boots), so I was all set to get onto the glacier. In the desert my pack was relatively light. Here my pack was double the weight due to extra clothes, climbing gear and food, which made jumping over crevases more difficult. It was a deeply humbling experience for me, to be alone on a glacier, listening to icefalls and staring deep into crevasses. I spent many days here photographing glacial formations and returning to my fridge freezer of a van every evening. Despite the beautiful 24 hours of light it still got down to –10C some nights.’

The images are a collection of contrasts from opposing climates, but despite being opposites there are a number of comparisons to be made. Sublime sand formations to exquisite ice sculptures, rolling dunes gently lit by the Saharan sun to cold glacier lines. Brown and beige to blue and white.

Nature, our finest artist, shows us once again, how stunning our beautiful planet is.

Daragh photographed glaciers in IcelandSand dunes in Morocco
 
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