An Oscar-winning director has given his seal of approval to an aerial ace’s new book of stunning photographs of Cork from the air.
Chariots of Fire director David Puttnam said Dennis Horgan has captured some truly “gob-smacking images” of the city and county.
“Dennis’s great talent is not just for framing a shot perfectly, but for finding the elevation that best suits his subject matter — somehow he always makes each image feel just right,” said Mr Puttnam.
Cork From the Air is Mr Horgan’s third such hardback book and follows on from his View from Above series on Cork and Dublin in recent years.
However, he said that he wanted this collection of 185 aerial images to feature more people.
As well as capturing beautiful landscape and coastal shots, landmarks such as the revamped Páirc Uí Chaoimh on the day the stadium hosted its first games — the All Ireland hurling quarter-finals — Spike Island, and Blarney Castle, hard-to-reach spots such as Kilcrea Abbey in Ovens, Inniscarra Dam, and Ballycotton Island Lighthouse, and revealing sometimes hidden gems such as the beautiful Italian-style gardens on the grounds of St Francis’ Church in the city centre, Mr Horgan also captured traditional residential estates and competitors in the city marathon.
In an example of such detail, in one photograph of Roche’s Buildings, a Real Madrid FC duvet cover can be seen through a skylight.
He also revealed some of the challenges he faced in pursuit of the perfect image, flying at times at an altitude of just 1,000ft, with his Canon 5DS in one hand and his array of long-range telephoto imaging-stabilising lenses in the other.
“Aerial photography can be challenging because one is always at the mercy of the weather,” he said.
“Some of the images were planned but others were not — I was just fortunate to be in the right place at the right time.
“I really love the photograph of Fastnet Rock, nine miles off the coast, because it took us four attempts to get it.
“We had a minor fuel issue on the first flight, and the bad weather closed in on the other two flights, but we finally got it on our fourth attempt.” He also said the photograph of Baltimore lifeboat slicing at speed through the ocean is a particular favourite.
“I think it captures the raw power of that machine,” he said.
Mr Horgan said the book wouldn’t have been possible without Cork city and county councils and the skill of the pilots at Atlantic Flight Training Academy.
“For 90% of the flights, it was Barry Twomey at the controls, and he just has this incredible ability to know what I need and to place the aircraft in just the right place,” he said.
“I’ve discovered over the years that it is only from above that one can truly appreciate the vast complexities of the Cork landscape in all its glory.” Some 100 copies have already been dispatched to China by a company which is embarking on a major expansion in Asia.
The book is dedicated to his brother Pat and in memory of their parents, and includes a foreword from Mr Puttnam and text from author and former RTÉ Seascapes presenter Marcus Connaughton.
‘Cork From The Air’, €25, is stocked at Waterstones and Liam Ruiséal in Cork City.
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