Yesterday was fantastically beautiful. The sun was low and bright, the clouds started off pretty and ended up dramatic, and birds tumbled across every sky if you waited long enough.
It's not officially spring yet, but it was the first weekend after Imbolc, or Candlemas, or St Brigid's day, and there was a strong sense of the earth stirring and waking, unfolding ready for the new season.
I drove down the other side of the lough (not the Ards peninsula side, which always seems the correct side.... ;)) and explored some roads I'd never seen before. (Though when I told my parents this, they sighed and said I'd been down them plenty of times as a child, but was always reading a novel in the back of the car and paying no attention to the beautiful scenery all around.)
Coming back out of Whiterock after visiting the Petrel, I took the Ballymorran Road to the left and wound my way slowly all the way to Killyleagh, taking what seemed like the most attractive direction at every junction. In Northern Ireland it's often hard to park and take photographs of the views which so often leap out at you. It was a little easier on these tinier roads, where the traffic was light and there were occasional verges on which I could stop.
And the views were stunning. The lovely County Down drumlins were lit to their best advantage, their curves marked by skeletal trees and hedges.
The colours were gorgeous, but as I worked on the photographs today I found myself drawn more to the black and white edits, which show off more clearly the striking geometry of the landscape and the joyful light of the day. I hope you enjoy them too.