March 7th 2012 will stick out in my memory, not for the aurora that never appeared, but for my first trip to the north coast to try out some night-time photography.
I had hatched a plan earlier in the day to meet up with Martin McKenna and Declan O'Doherty to chase the Aurora borealis at the north coast.This trip was long overdue for me and i couldn't wait to get going. I met Martin and Declan at 19:00hrs and we set off for the north coast with hopes of clearing skies and auroras dancing over the sea.

On arrival at the north coast we quickly pulled over in a lay-by and fired off a few images to see if the aurora was visible. The above image is facing north and shows a slight enhancement to the sky although we could not be sure it was aurora. Also visible to the right of frame was a large hail shower and more cumulus on the horizon.

The Giants Causeway was our destination and on the long dark walk down we were attacked by a heavy rain/hail squall which soaked the back of my legs. On reaching the shore we admired the two beautiful planets Jupiter and Venus who were getting closer together every night in the run up to the their close conjunction on the 13th March. We took advantage of the clear sky to grab some shots.

The almost full moon did a great job of illuminating the landscape and waves here.Venus is the brighter of the two and lower down, to the right of Jupiter. Completing the scene is the Pleiades or Seven Sisters at the top left of frame.

Down at the Giants Causway now trying out some long exposures. The above scene is entirely lit by the bright moon. At times the moon would be hidden by cloud and when the cloud drifted off and the moon reappeared it was like someone had flicked a switch and the landscape lit up.

We decided we couldn't leave Giants Causeway without a few shots of the famous rocks and pillar formations and Jupiter and Venus were lined up perfectly in the sky.The walk down was pretty dodgy over slippery rocks, as anyone who has visited the site knows walking on the rocks isn't easy during the day nevermind at night in the dark.When we got into position we noticed the sea very choppy and foam flying through the air was a problem for the camera lenses on a few occasions. It did make for some dramatic scenes with waves crashing all around.
The above image was the scene of the night for me.Beautiful Jupiter and Venus about to set for another night over the famous Causeway rocks.On the long exposure it was as if we were standing on a mountain looking down on a sea of mist.

One of the final images from a great night at the coast, another threatening looking rain/hail cell moving off the sea. I have a feeling this could be the start of many more adventures at the north coast! Thanks for looking.