I've always had a love of the outdoors.
As a youngster, I also enjoyed school from a sporting and social point of view, but I hated being confined between its four walls each day. I could often be found gazing out of the window just before a teacher would yell, "Quit daydreaming McMahon!" And daydreaming was exactly what I was doing, either about football or being outside in general.
The dream of football almost came through for me as a teenager, and I had opportunities to fulfil that dream, but those opportunities never materialised. I also held the desire to pursue a hobby as a profession.
Needless to say, when I left school in Ireland in 1998, college was never going to be for me. Most of the world was in a healthy place economically, so jobs were plentiful. After many heated discussions with my parents (who were adamant I was going to college) I ended up heading straight into the workplace.
That was 24 years ago and in all those years, I still have not given up the hope of turning my hobby into a profession.
Before the pandemic, I had been working as a National Tour Guide, here in Ireland. I escorted travellers (mainly from the U.S) on extended trips around the Emerald Isle. This was very rewarding for me, as I was outdoors, meeting and showcasing our beautiful country to tourists who were just so excited to be here. Like elsewhere in the world, tourism was locked down in 2019.
The Stumbling Block
The last number of years have been difficult and I for one am certainly not alone in thinking this. We have all faced many challenges and career choices. We have also had to learn how to adapt.
I was lucky enough to live in a very rural location. Here in Ireland we had a 5km radius restriction on travel, but luckily for me, this included mountains and beaches.
I now had an opportunity to get out more with my camera. Although they were not my brightest days mentally, the mountains, beaches and especially my camera, became a big part of the healing process. I was taking some wonderful photos and I felt alive in these photos, so much so that I wanted to share them in the hope they could make a difference, or brighten up somebody else's day.
As I have written in The Turn Of Phrase, I did not initially embrace social media because I was a rather private person. I had a Twitter account which I opened in 2014, but I had never tweeted. In 2021 I took a leap of faith and started publishing a mixture of poems and photos on it.
My profile photo was that of a red swallow (the privacy thing). I soon began to realise this platform could connect me to a community of like-minded people who had the same interests. It quickly became evident my photos were making a difference to some people's days. When you are strolling through life, and sometimes that life races so fast, it is hard to remind yourself there are millions of people confined indoors or not able to get out much. As you now know, I hated being cooped up myself, so I empathised. To then recieve feedback that I was 'bringing the outdoors inside' for these people, was touching. I will never claim to be the world's best photographer, nor do I aspire to be. What I aim to do is bring happiness to people through my images and words.
The support I received from the whole community on social media was enough to keep me inspired to climb mountains, fall down holes and get wet in the ocean in order to bring a few photos back. But in the process of all that, nature was healing me. By bringing joy to others I was bringing joy to myself. Although the circle may not be completely full, it is turning slowly in the right direction.
Colimac was the name I used on social media. After around six months or so on there, I had fallen into the most wonderful supportive community and I found the courage to reveal myself to the world. This was a big step for me, but a step in the right direction.
After being asked regularly for High Resolution images, or the possibility of sending printed frames & canvasses to people, I decided to create this website.
I would like my images to be more than just images. I have captioned each photograph and the words reflect how I felt at the exact moment I hit the shutter button. My goal is to transfer that emotion to the viewer through the beauty of the image and words.
Thank you for taking the time to read my personal introduction. I intend to build blogs on this site regularly, so hopefully you will get to know me a little better. And I love engagement, so feel free to get in touch either by WhatsApp, Twitter or Instagram.
Incredible! Thank you so much for sharing these photographs. You have no idea what it means to see these views.— Lisa Is Catching Up... 💙 (@ME_AndMy_Island) August 12, 2022
I really hope that one day I'll be able to hike up mountains again (and take in views like this one for real) but this is stunning.🙏🏻💙 Sadness and joy!