Walking with the Pilgrims: Reek Sunday on Film.

Last Sunday, being the last Sunday in July, was Reek Sunday.
In 2018, I went along and took pictures of the pilgrims making the climb up Ireland’s Holy mountain and released a zine of those photographs. Looking back, I’m still very pleased with that work but this year decided to record it slightly differently.

Over the years, many photographers have made this climb and photographed it, including a couple of my favourites in Chris Killip and Pentti Sammallahti. The images that I like best are those where the weather is bad, as it tends to add drama and make the struggle up the mountain look even more extreme.

On my previous visit, I’d had clear blue skies and magnificent views and I shot the day digitally; this year rain and low cloud with some grainy 35mm HP5 would complete the gritty, grey look I was after.

What this bad weather also meant was that I had the camera out less as it was getting soaked by the rain. While the Leica M6 can handle some extremes, I’ve not long had it back after a lengthy repair and didn’t fancy breaking it again, so probably shot less than I’d have wanted.

Still, I shot 59 frames that tell a decent job of telling the story of the day. Here are the highlights, and an audio diary of the day…

M6 HP5232

M6 HP5233

M6 HP5237

M6 HP5239

M6 HP5241

M6 HP5242

M6 HP5245

M6 HP5248

M6 HP5250

M6 HP5251

M6 HP5255

M6 HP5257

M6 HP5261

M6 HP5262

M6 HP5264

M6 HP5267

M6 HP5273

M6 HP5275

M6 HP5283

M6 HP5285

M6 HP5289

M6 HP5291

I like the pictures and am happy that they look like the results that I had in mind when making the camera, lens and film choices.


Leica M6, Carl Zeiss Sonnar 50mm/1.5, Ilford HP5+ processed in Ilford Ilfotec DD-X and scanned at home. I bumped the contrast a little further than I usually do to pick out the people in the greyness.


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