November 27, 2010


On this day in 1967, The Beatles release "Magical Mystery Tour".

Dublin Dockland - Weigh-In

Another of the four shots taken last Tuesday night in Dublin. I was intrigued by this metal structure which traffic must pass through on the way to The O2 (The Point) from Customs Quay. I'm thinking it's some kind of device for weighing trucks and the like but I could be wrong, feel free to set me straight on this.

Photo: This is a double exposure bracketed shot. The first shot was a matrix exposure for the full scene followed by a +2 stop to tease detail from the shadows. I have refined my bracketing technique, usually I'd take a set of 5 with two stops under and over the main exposure. I found that most of the time I was able to get what I needed from two or three frames, so now I'm much more economic in my bracketing.
I have a tripod that can extend to 6.5 feet, useful here to compensate for lens distortion on verticals. In-camera, the result was pretty good but I did have to do a little work in PS with Perspective Transform.
Lens; 17-55mm. ISO 100. 10 and 15 second exposures @ f/11.

November 26, 2010


On this day in 1922, In Egypt, Howard Carter peered into the tomb of King Tutankhamen.

St. Pauls Newtownforbes Longford.jpg

St. Paul's Church, (c.1825) Newtownforbes, Co. Longford, full moon before dawn on a cold and very frosty morning. I simply stuck the lens through a gap in the railing and held it there for 20 seconds (wedged against the rails). Under normal circumstances, I'd have done some work with the moon but this 365 prohibits that so take it as it is. A multiple-exposure would have been really suitable for that sky but I would not have been able to hand-hold the camera that long.

A single frame, ISO 100. 20 seconds @ f/8 Post-processing, White Balance adjustment only. 

November 25, 2010


On this day in 1989, Several British and American stars got together as Band-Aid, and recorded "Do They Know It's Christmas". The project was planned by Bob Geldof. The proceeds of the record went to Ethiopian famine relief.

Dublin Dockland

I took to the city streets last-night and found myself on Dublin's Dockland. I wasn't prepared for the bitter cold breeze coming off the Liffey. The area was quiet between 10pm and 11pm, compared to the same spot during the day. The full moon was challenging to work with, especially with a wide-angle lens and my archenemy (lens-flare) visited for our usual dual. I took only 4 shots in total, each took about 10 minutes to compose and execute, this is one.

Photo: It was my aspiration to create a sync-flash effect (without the flash!), where motion is frozen during a long exposure. My exposure time was 15 seconds, so anything moving in the frame while the shutter was up would be a blur or invisible. To freeze the cars in the frame, I set-up beside traffic lights. A few test shots enabled me to get the exposure I wanted to preserve detail in the scene. Once this was done, I simply waited for the cars to come along and stop dead. Unfortunately I was unable to avoid the staggered approach of the cars, I didn't get an uninterrupted 15 second interval - thus the light trails on the taxi who came along about 10 seconds after the red car (try to envisage the image without the taxi, the red car would look like I caught and froze it in motion). At least now I know how to do it. Stay tuned for more results.
ISO 100. Single 15 second exposure @ f/11. Minimal post-processing, tweak to White Balance and Curve. Sharpened slightly using High Pass in PS.

November 24, 2010


On this day in 1859,Charles Darwin, a British naturalist, published "On the Origin of Species." It was the paper in which he explained his theory of evolution through the process of natural selection. 1936

Native American Piper

Grab shot, taken on Henry St. Dublin on Tuesday. I'm intending to revisit this image for the purpose of a post-production tutorial lecture next week. I'll attach the revised and edited image here in due course.

Photo: ISO 800. 1/250 @ f/2.8

November 23, 2010


On this day in 1936, The first edition of "Life" was published.


Masonite, a factory at Derryoughter near Carrick-on-Shannon. Co. Leitrim. A dramatic setting for such a structure, I pass it nearly everyday and from time to time I've photographed it in various lighting conditions. Tonight it's freezing, set to reach -3° tonight.

Photo: Lens - 70-200mm @ 157mm. ISO 100. Single 13 second exposure @ f/5.6

November 22, 2010


On this day in 1963, U.S. President Kennedy was assassinated while riding in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas. Texas Governor, John B. Connally, was also seriously wounded. Vice-President Lyndon B. Johnson was subsequently inaugurated as the 36th U.S. President.

Crime Scene

The strong direct sunlight shows up every blemish on even the cleanest windows. The tell-tale sticky fingers of a two-year old birthday girl is revealed in all it's glory. I thought this would make an interesting concept shot, I have a great fondness for reflections.

ISO 100. 1/250 @ f/2.8 Post-production in Silver Efex Pro.

November 21, 2010


On this day in 1929, Spanish surrealist Salvador Dali had his first art exhibit.

30 Minutes of Moon Light

Experiment - a single shot gamble. I opened the shutter at about 12.30am. Impressed by the vibrancy of the moon tonight, I thought I'd have a bit of camera fun. This is an experimental 30 minute exposure, pretty much hot off the camera. Exposure time was a guesstimate timed with a stopwatch. I probably should have held off on going into the studio mid-exposure as I doubt the light from the windows done anything to improve the shot. Once the condensation has evaporated from the camera, I may give it another try as the moon sets.

Alas, t'was not to be. On my return, the cloud had thickened and the moon had faded. Until tomorrow then?

Photo: Initially, I put on the lights in the studio to establish a point of focus. Once focus was established, I switched the Auto-focus system off. Subsequently, I switched off all lights. In camera, I selected 'Bulb' mode and attached a Nikon MC-30 cable release to a D300. Obviously, I used an ISO at the slow end - in this case 200. I find the Sigma 10-20mm EX lens performs best at f/10 in extreme low-light so was happy to run with it here. After that, the exposure time was a guess. The scene was darkness-of-night, lit only by the moonlight. Towards the end of the exposure time, I decided to turn on the studio lights for effect (approx 3 mins) but perhaps I should have limited the time here as highlights are very much on the threshold of over-exposure in this case. I'd say that 30 seconds would have been adequate.

Single frame shot, minimal post-processing. Lens - 10-20mm wide-angle @ 10mm. ISO 200. 30 minute (1800 second) exposure @ f/10.

November 20, 2010


On this day in 1947, Britain's Princess Elizabeth married Philip Mountbatten, Duke of Edinburgh in Westminster Abbey.

St. Nicholas's Church, Dundalk, Co. Louth

From January to June 1990, I lived over a shop called 'Eddie's Electrics' on Bridge St. Dundalk. I'd like to say the experience was memorable but alas, it most certainly was not! St. Nicholas's Church was pretty much on my door step, not 50 meters away and in my time in Dundalk, I never darkened it's door. I found myself back in Dundalk one morning this week and after polishing off a tasty breakfast roll and coffee while parked on Bridge St. I decided to explore the photographic possibilities that st. Nicholas's might present.

Photo: Lens 10-20mm wide-angle @ 10mm. IS0 100. f/10. 3 shot bracketed exposures of 1.0, 0.5 and 1.5 seconds.

November 19, 2010


On this day in 1998, Vincent van Gogh's "Portrait of the Artist Without Beard" sold at auction for more than $71 million.

Daybreak near Delvin

Taken on an early morning trip to Dundalk. At dawn, the country is starting to wake up to another wet and miserable day. This particular shop and petrol station grabbed my attention, not least for it's isolated location, it shone like a beacon in the middle of nowhere.

Photo: 7.30am, near Delvin, Co. Westmeath. Lens - 17-55mm @ 39mm. Set of 3 bracketed exposures, ISO 100. f/10 shutter speed 10 sesonds with additional exposures +1 and -1.

November 15, 2010


On this day in 2006, Andy Warhol's painting of Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong sold for $17.4 million. At the same auction "Orange Marilyn" sold for $16.2 million and "Sixteen Jackies" sold for $15.6 million.

Trim Co Meath

Today I was in Trim, Co. Meath, loved the light in St. Patrick's church and had to take out the camera and tripod. Shot from in front of the alter, camera at a height of 6.5 ft.

Lens; 17-55mm @ 55mm. Bracketed x2 ISO 100. 1 and 2 second exposures @ f/8.

November 14, 2010


On this day in 1970, Santana's "Black Magic Woman" was released.

Lonesome West Shoot TM2 5087

Had a bit of fun this morning on a promotion shoot for the play 'The Lonesome West' by Martin McDonagh. Actors, Jarlith and Oisin were in character on this authentic rural Ireland set. The play opens in Galway at the end of the month. My gratitude to Conor for his assistance with lighting.

Photo: Hand-held. Lens - 17-55mm @ 17mm. ISO 320. 1/60 @ f/5. Available light, with help of single circular reflector (silver). Post-processing involved a blend of colour, BW and texture layers.

More HERE.

November 12, 2010


On this day in 1840, Sculptor Auguste Rodin was born in Paris. His most widely known works are "The Kiss" and "The Thinker."

T Junction

T - Junction in Leitrim after sunset. This is a sketch for a shot I plan to take when I can get a dry road. A high spot on the road, I just love the arrangement of lights here. This was the first, test shot of 6 I took this evening. For some reason, it was the only one not effected by lens-flare ... the dread of the night-photographer! Lens-flare and me have crossed swords often and our engagements usually are amicably resolved. Lens quality and focal length have a lot to do with controlling this nasty anomaly.
It's been another long week, I'm looking forward to the weekend.

Photo: Single frame. Tripod shot. 17-55mm Lens @ 38mm. I usually fire a test shot just to see the quality of light, for this I'm not concerned about the camera settings, so here the ISO was 400, 1/15 @ f/2.8.
Once I deduced that the image was worth the effort, I set the camera proper - ISO 100. then decided on an aperture to give decent depth of field, f/10. The resulting shutter speeds were between 4 and 6 seconds. I took a further 5 shots, changing position and composition slightly in each case. However, none measure up to the first 'fluke' shot. In this exercise I'm thinking that a smaller aperture is less likely to have lens-flare issues, it certainly seems to be the case on this occasion. Post-processing was limited to WB and Levels tweaks.

November 11, 2010


On this day in 1987, Vincent Van Gogh's "Irises" was sold for a then record 53.9 million dollars in New York.

Bridge Buoy Bus

Looking down the River Liffey in Dublin towards the Four Courts on a dull and damp afternoon, I'm told there's a storm on the way tonight. I stopped briefly to assess the height of the tide which I thought unusually high, then decided to record the alignment of 'things beginning with B'.

Photo: Hand-held with 70-200mm lens @ 75mm. ISO 200. 1/640 @ f/2.8. Letterbox crop.

November 10, 2010


On this day in 1966, Jack Lynch becomes Taoiseach.

Face Your Fear

A fine case of 'Face Your Fear' if I ever saw one! The hens have taken to perching on the axe these past few nights ... obviously never saw the movie 'Babe'.

Photo: A grab shot, kneeling low to find a suitable angle, as you can see, nothing done to enhance or glorify the scene. I used an SB 800 speed-light mounted on the camera. This was set to 1/4 in manual mode and flash bounced off the ceiling. A slight crop applied in post-production. ISO 400. 1/80 @ f/4.5

November 9, 2010


On this day in 1989, Communist East Germany opened its borders, allowing its citizens to travel freely to West Germany.

Autumn Sun Bath

The sun shone for most of the day about Boyle adding Autumnal radiance to the few remaining leaves that cling to the trees. I've hardly made an attempt to record the changing seasons this year but I've marvelled from a distance at it's splendour. The strong, direct morning sunlight can be difficult for landscapes but can be very flattering for close-ups. The rich colour of these beech leaves against that blue sky could not be passed so easily.
Difficult to believe, but this shot is pretty much off the camera, there was nothing for me to do with it - the vibrancy of the recorded colour is a gift of the technology, not the skill of this photographer.

Photo: Shot with the sun to my back. Lens; 50mm f/1.4 Prime. ISO 100. 1/5000 @ f/1.4

November 8, 2010


On this day in 1793, The Louvre Museum, in Paris, opened to the public for the first time.

Lightly Passing

The homes of many of our ancestors would seem to indicate that they lived pretty much in the dark. Windows were little more than a squint in a thick, stone wall. Old photographs, museums and folk parks substantiate this. Of course there were practical and economic factors to consider not to mention the fact that much of daylight hours was spent outside. This shot reflects the interior of a typical Irish cottage from this time. My daughter heads for the door as I square-up to take the shot, her passing, an abstract displacement of pixels due to the slow shutter speed. I was less concerned with details, atmosphere had a stronger quality here.

Hand-held. ISO 1600. 1/4 @ f/8.

November 7, 2010


On this day in 1929, The Museum of Modern Art in New York City opened to the public.

Skyline Scaffold BW

It's been a very busy time recently and I've been unavoidably distracted from regular updates. In an attempt to reconnect with the world, I'll post a few recent snaps, shot in passing, when opportunity presented itself.

Photo: Shot through a filthy double-glazed, toilet window on a dark over-cast morning in Dublin. Edited in ACR and Silver Efex. Lens; 70-200mm @ 200mm. ISO 100. 1/160 @ f/2.8
See the original colour version.