March 14, 2014
One of the benefits of spending time travelling across the country is the endless variety of light and landscape that presents itself ... onOne of the benefits of spending time travelling across the country is the endless variety of light and landscape that presents itself ... once you take the time to notice it. These three images were taken at different locations in recent days.ce you take the time to notice it. These three images were taken at different locations in recent days.
March 13, 2014
To make the journey more interesting, for a few days recently I mounted the camera on a tripod in the rear seat and experimented with slow shutter-speeds and off-camera sync flash. Not the first time doing this, viewers may recall a similar (more successful) shot taken a few years back; HERE. Am presently active in attempting to conceptualise a new way to use my laborious commute as a source of inspiration for making images. Other personal project I'm currently involved with are; 'Cornameeltha', 'The Reek' and 'Sole Mates'.
February 22, 2014
February 19, 2014
It's been 20-years or more since I'd been inside St. Patrick's Cathedral, I'd forgotten how beautiful it was. My visit today was formal, attending the funeral of the late Patricia Casey. The ceremony was a splendid and emotional event, punctuated with contributions from a number of sacred music choirs. It was a great send-off and the sun shone to escort her on her journey. My thoughts are presently with Patricia's husband, Eddie. I had the camera in my deep coat pocket (never leave home without it) and stole a few images of the interior after the ceremony. Hand-held, I resorted to pressing the camera against columns or firming it on raised seat ends. It's been a while since I'd shot a church interior and played with the complexities of atmospheric light. At ISO 650, the result is a little soft but acceptable under the conditions. Minor tweaks in ACR. If you've not been here before, it's worth a visit. I was lucky to have a few minutes alone before the tourists returned. Magical!
February 13, 2014
An image from the archives used recently in a Digital Darkroom Workshop. Out of focus grab shot destined for the Trash until you familiarise yourself with Daidō Moriyama?
The original colour file was over-exposed and lacked punch. I by-passed a RAW conversion, settled for the default settings and opened in PS. Processing included a BW conversion using Silver Efex with filters and border from Perfect Effects 8. Priceless emotional value ... printable, yes.
See also work from Phil Burns, a fellow 'Are Bure Bokeh' fan.
January 29, 2014
Shot today. 13-frame JPEG composite taken with 70-200mm lens. 3-stop ND Hard-Grad Filter. ISO 400. 1/100 @ f/8. Manual focus pan on mono-pod.
January 19, 2014
Went walking today with the kids in Lough Key Forest Park, a damp but mild day here. We took a path we hadn't travelled before and walked the legs off ourselves. We happened across this unusually bright and mossy clearing in the woods, I resorted to a panoramic sequence in an attempt to effectively capture the scene and mood.
Shot: Hand-held, 12-frames (portrait format), stitched in PS.
Shot: Hand-held, 12-frames (portrait format), stitched in PS.
January 17, 2014
We all have those places we continue to return to in the hope of getting a better shot than the last time we visited. This jetty at Clontarf is one of mine, I always tend to stop when passing in case the tide is 'in' or the light is tempting ... sometimes just to eat a sandwich. This week I happened to be in the area but was not impressed with the initial scene. After a while, this guy bikes onto the jetty and contemplates the view. So seeing some compositional elements stack-up, I took out the camera to investigate. It wasn't until I started framing-up that I noticed the floral bouquet fixed to the rail in the foreground ... the narrative began to form. There was no text to accompany the tribute so I can only guess at the tragedy being remembered. Instinctively, we think tragedy, but it might well be celebratory? The cyclist held his pose long enough for me to whip out an ND grad filter to hold back the direct sunlight in the sky. 'Click', 'click' ... two frame bracket hand-held ... that was it. I wasn't optimistic and subsequently forgot about the shot until this evening when doing my usual trawl through the week's images. The colour version is pretty much straight from camera with some tweaks in ACR. The composition reminded me of a 'Joe Kennedy' taken at the '40-Foot' across the bay so in acknowledging that, I made a BW conversion (click image to view on Flickr). I put both up here because I think the processing impacts on the mood. I'm not sure which I prefer ... I'll have to live with them a while. In the meantime, I'll look forward to my next visit and maybe hope for better light.
January 12, 2014
A recent short film I've enjoyed working on explaining the story behind one of Boyle's local landmarks. Barry Feely talks about 'Brothers', the Alan Counihan sculpture adjacent to Boyle Abbey.
Shot using a Nikon D800.
Shot using a Nikon D800.
January 5, 2014
I spent a lot of my childhood and teens playing and socialising along this stretch of river in Ballina. I've seen it change too but there are still a few familiar aspects to the scene. It was my intention to attempt a 'blue-hour' shot of the new pedestrian bridge (out of view behind me) but I was surprised at how poorly it was lit ... I simply couldn't make a decent image of the scene. Instead, I looked back towards Ham Bridge and focused on the turbulent water rushing into the weir. The rain eventually drove me away but I think I'll be back here again ... soon, I hope.
December 30, 2013
This, hand-held, 13-frame, portrait format, panoramic stitch was taken on Sunday when a few hardy camera club members explored a small piece of the Sligo coastline. After witnessing a beautiful sunrise at Portavade, the rain slowly crept up on us and arrived just as we were about to head home from Easkey. A very pleasant and enjoyable day with good friends.
December 16, 2013
I'm not a 'sunset' kind of guy, but I couldn't let this one slip by. A few weeks ago we were blessed with some beautiful sunsets. Thing is, they were usually over by the time I got on the road home. Not so this particular day. I happened to be working right beside the beach at Rush and when finished, had little time to spare before I'd missed the chance to photograph this beauty. In fact, I'm standing in the car park, leaning against a sign to keep the camera steady ... no time for tripod. I managed to take about 5-frames, then it was over. Very little PS done here, some exposure adjustment in the foreground ... it really was this beautiful!
October 29, 2013
Had a great oul day in Mohill at the Horse Fair yesterday, shared with members of Boyle Camera Club. Our scheduled shoot was cancelled due to weather ... however, the promised storm never arrived and those of us that showed for the 'indoor back-up shoot' decided to take full advantage of the event in Leitrim.
I've been away from this space for a while due to other commitments but I'll be posting more frequently henceforth.
August 30, 2013
It was a dull and misty beginning but on the evening of the 5th, the clouds parted before sunset and the sky stayed clear for the next three weeks. God knows, we all deserved it!!
Memories of a memorable Summer.
August 25, 2013
Well done to the organisers, contributors and participants at Boyle Summer Show. The rain stayed away and despite the All-Ireland Semi-Finals (go on Mayo!!) they came in their droves to support it. An excellent and thoroughly enjoyable day out for the family.
August 17, 2013
St. Caomhán was brother to the great St. Kevin and it is not without interest that the ground plan of this church is so similar to that of Trinity Church at Kevin's Glendalough. The church probably dates to the 10th century and is presently sunken in a mound of sand blown across the island over the years. There are a couple of interesting features to the church, notably a relief carving of a crucifixion scene behind the alter (see below) and the portals of the main doorway. In the foreground is a small structure marking the supposed resting place of St. Caomhán. This is Inis Oírr's cemetery to this day, in fact I witnessed a burial here during my stay. The site gives a striking view of the harbour area and in the distance, Inis Meáin and Inis Mór are clearly visible.
Photo: 8-frame panoramic stitch in PS.
August 10, 2013
A 10-frame composite image (using a 10mm wide-angle lens) of this famous landmark in Carrick-on-Shannon. Individual frames are low resolution JPEGs, shot in landscape format, top to bottom. Hand-held with SB 910 mounted on camera @ 1/16. Making the most of a 60-second slot between visitors, I'd like to return to this space to do a better job next time, in an attempt to take more of the side walls and floor. It's difficult to get the space to yourself though ... all part of the challenge I guess. I'll be attempting a high resolution version now that I have worked out the best way to process the merge.
August 6, 2013
July 29, 2013
These past few years, my son and I have taken to climbing Croagh Patrick on 'Reek Sunday'. To add some spice to this very Irish traditional event, we decided this year to climb it at night. We set off from the car park at 2am when most of ye were fast asleep in your beds. Surprisingly, the numbers seem to have fallen off doing the night-climb despite the fact that this year the weather was perfect, moon-lite, balmy and no wind. There was just a scattering of individuals beginning the ascent with us. This made a very welcome change from the madness that usually takes place during the day when they climb in their thousands, accidents and discomfort as much the result of numbers as the terrain. We progressed at a comfortable easy pace reaching the top just after 4am. With sunrise not due until about 5.45am, we sat and admired the beauty of the surrounding landscape from this great height, chatted to the few that gathered about the church, had a bite to eat and rested. Must say though, it got a bit chilly after an hour up there and we eventually decided to 'greet' the sunrise on the way down. The above shot was taken just before the sun came up (5.30am) when it was still quite dark. This time around, I took very few photos even though the views were spectacular. I felt I couldn't do justice to the atmosphere and light so was content to just look and admire. At this stage I guess I'm more interested in the human aspect of this tradition. I'm fascinated by the diversity of reasons that people have for 'doing The Reek' and more interested in recording this with images. This time round though, I saw very little that was new to me so the camera stayed in the bag most of the time. My son is already thinking about next year's climb ... maybe we'll go bare-foot. I'll be putting a few more photos with this below in the days ahead. If you've never done The Reek, then it should definitely be on your bucket list!
More shots from The Reek in THIS SET.
June 22, 2013
May 25, 2013
Known locally as 'The Bluebell Wood', it's very difficult to get an original image that captures the magical qualities of this special place ... I will persevere.
The hot-air balloons returned to Lough Key Forest Park this evening after an absence of some 20-years! The weather was beautiful, if a bit on the cold side, but the sky was blue which put us all in a festive Summer mood. This was an unscheduled test flight in advance of the morning and evening flights due to take place on Saturday and Sunday ... weather permitting. It was quite something seeing the balloons up close and what's involved in getting them in the air. Fantastic as they are, there's no way I'd be able to climb into one of those baskets and take to the air. I believe the privilege is available over the weekend at a cost of €180.00?
May 13, 2013
I was in Monaghan today and dropped in to see this fine church. It's as majestic on the inside as it is imposing from the outside. I had the place to myself for half an hour to struggle with the ever changing light.
May 11, 2013
Cornameeltha shot with a bit of a difference ... 'motion photography' perhaps? A brief but enjoyable shoot today with my good neighbours. Such great musical and artistic talent in this house, very reassuring with regard to the preservation of our heritage. Unintentional it may have been, I was honoured that Conor played a tune associated with my home in Mayo.
May 2, 2013
April 2, 2013
Spontaneous Bog Fires in late Spring are not unusual in Ireland but with temperature so low these past few weeks, I was surprised to find this healthy and mobile blaze in The Windy Gap today. Low temperatures are accompanied by the absence of rainfall and new-growth, the ground is very dry on the mountains. I'm guessing this will become a familiar sight until the weather changes. I notified the Gardi in Ballina of the blaze and was informed that the fire brigade had visited the site and decided to 'let it burn itself out'! When I passed, there was at least 5-acres of bog on fire. Great country this.
March 27, 2013
We were first visited by this pine marten about a month ago. Cheeky as you like, he scampered about on the front lawn for 10-minutes or so, then disappeared. Only that some friends were visiting at the time, no one would have believed me. That was the first time I ever saw a pine marten although I've been aware of the havoc they caused with my neighbours fowl! My neighbour Brendan visited today and as we sat catching up on the Cornameeltha news, it was he that first noticed the now familiar creature in the trees. This time the pine marten stayed among the branches but was not deterred by the sound of the tractor ticking-over outside the house. Conditions did not favour my taking this shot through the window with the sun shining directly into the camera lens. The captured image was bleached and colourless, contrast and saturation were boosed in this post-production edit. Although I feel privileged to have access to such an abundance of native wildlife, I'm a bit nervous about the fact that the new hens will be arriving at the weekend!!
March 18, 2013
The Caves of Keash are lit-up in green as part of this year's St. Patrick's Weekend celebrations. Fair play to the Patrick Ward and The Foxes Den Bar and David Connolly, great idea. The last night tonight by-the-way (Monday 18th March).
March 11, 2013
I spent a very enjoyable Saturday afternoon with some friends from Boyle Camera Club taking long-exposure images along the Sligo coast. We were accompanied by long-exposure virtuoso, Rohan Reilly, who shared his expertise with us during a long, cold, exhausting but very enjoyable day. Fair play to the lads who were on the coast since 6.30am!
Photo: ISO 800. 254 seconds @ f/5.6. Last shot of the day for me. The light was fading fast so rather than lose it I pushed the ISO to 800 to facilitate a 4-minute exposure (any longer and I figured noise would kill the image). Also I opened the aperture to f/5.6, usually I'd be shooting at f/16 for this kind of shot but there is no obvious impact on the depth of field. As ever, a combination of very low light and long exposure time will certainly result in some noise. In this case, I had to do some minor spot-healing in PS but the result came out better than I'd expected.
A single exposure using a Lee filter system and combining a 3-stop Hard Gran ND and 10-stop ND filters.
March 2, 2013
A week ago tonight (February 23rd), this little man came out of the woods to our door. We have no idea how he came to be wandering about Cornameeltha but he seems to be used to people and well looked after. Of course he was made feel welcome and his cheeky, playful, curious and mischievous nature has been a great source of entertainment for the children. He's a 6-month old mackerel tabby-kitten and if any of my neighbours recognise him, be assured that he is safe and well. We've decided to call him Max and if unclaimed, we are happy for him to adopt us.
February 19, 2013
February 6, 2013
I posted the above image a couple of years ago after purchasing a Lumix compact camera. Snapped on Thomas St. Dublin, the gentleman on the right was known to me only by sight but everyone in the Liberties knew him. A few days ago I learned of his passing and was informed his name was Ned Delahunty, he was 83. Ned was one of many homeless men living on the streets of Dublin and he lived for many years in the doorway pictured below. When I took the photo of his doorway, this is what I said; "Every day I'm in Dublin, my drive down OB St. coincides with the waking of one of it's street residents. I've not spoke to him, don't know his name but from a distance, I've admired his dignity and resilience. This is his home. In this time of hardship, it's people like the man that sleeps in this doorway that make me appreciate my good fortune. If you sleep in a bed, have a roof over your head and a fridge to put your milk and cheese in ... then you are better-off than 75% of the people in the world."
Ned's doorway at the moment with flowers and cards left by locals and others.
February 2, 2013
January 20, 2013
On Friday, January 18th, it snowed for a while about Boyle. It was a modest fall to say the least but beautiful none the less. When we woke on Saturday it had disappeared without a trace ... the children were so disappointed ... and so was I.
January 19, 2013
January 16, 2013
I've been putting the Canon G1 X through it's paces these past few weeks and am starting to post some of the results. I've developed a love/hate relationship with it but am very impressed with it's low-light performance so far.
Compare it with this shot taken in the same church some time ago using a Lumix LX5.
Compare it with this shot taken in the same church some time ago using a Lumix LX5.
Photo: Canon G1X. ISO 100. 0.5 seconds @ f/2.8
November 16, 2012
This morning I happened to be in Laytown, Co. Meath and witnessed a beautiful sunrise on my way there. Not a typical scene for the east coast being so close to Drogheda and Dublin city. I sipped an americano as the sun burst the seams of the autumn dawn clouds.
November 3, 2012
October 20, 2012
Lucky and Billy have been with us from the beginning of our life at Cornameeltha. Inseparable, they're getting on a bit now but are two of the sweetest, most loyal companions anyone could ask for. No matter what kind of a day I had, it lifts my spirits to see their welcoming, wagging tails as I come down the drive from work.
October 17, 2012
You know the place ... the café beside the sculpture of the horse hanging up-side-down from the ceiling!
Photo: ISO 4000. Hand-held 1/30 @ f/4. 10-20mm lens at 10mm.
I had very little opportunity to photograph this beautiful city during my recent visit to Prague and was limited to grabbing low-light evening photos. On my final day I was rushing to find locations to take advantage of the 'Blue Hour' light, this was a hand-held test shot taken in advance of setting up the tripod for longer, bracketed exposures. It's the only one I took to measure the light using a shutter speed of 1/100 which froze motion (subsequently all the other long exposures blurred the busy, moving crowds).
Although it worked very well as a colour shot, I could see the BW potential which gives a vintage feel to the scene. I'm sorry now I didn't take more of these. The food vendors were one of the attractions for me as they were like beacons on what are mostly dark, poorly lit streets. Same location as previous shot but 25 minutes earlier ... the clock tells the story. Goes to show how long I was hanging about this spot.
Photo: ISO 800. 1/100 @ f/2.8
October 6, 2012
I remember many years ago seeing a documentary where the artist Francis Bacon, gave some insight into his work. I've long forgotten the content of the film but have remained a great admirer of his painting. At a talk I gave yesterday on the influence of photography on Bacon's work, which was at times 'heated' to say the least, I revisited some of the books I have at home to see if I could justify my defence of his artistic genius ... I am resolute. I took this photo as a tribute.
September 18, 2012
"Ireland has plenty of ancient settlements and monuments. But on Achill Island, off the far west coast - up a mountain and in the middle of a bog - sits a different kind of monument that locals are calling Achill-henge."
I was there on Saturday with some good friends to check it out. I have a feeling it will not age as well (or last as long) as the henge on the Salisbury plain.