December 29, 2010


On this day in 1890, The U.S. Seventh Cavalry massacred over 400 men, women and children at Wounded Knee Creek, SD. This was the last major conflict between Indians and U.S. troops.


We got out yesterday to stretch our legs and took the 'Tree-top' walk at Lough Key Forest Park. After the recent cold spell, the weather was an almost balmy, 9°C.
The once stately home of the King-Harmon Family, Rockingham House, was burned to the ground in 1957 and all traces of it's existence, shamefully bulldozed away in 1971. The site is currently occupied by the Moylurg Tower and at it's base, carefully arranged, these ionic capitals and cylindrical sections of the columns that once supported the impressive entrance to the mansion. A sad testament to the splendor that once resided here.

Photo: Single, hand-held shot processed in Silver Efex Pro. ISO 200. 1/100 @ f/2.8.

December 28, 2010


On this day in 1937, The Irish Free State became the Republic of Ireland when a new constitution established the country as a sovereign state under the name of Eire.


NCAD Art Student, Roisin Hacket - recent performance.

December 27, 2010


On this day in 1831, Charles Darwin set out on a voyage to the Pacific aboard the HMS Beagle. Darwin's discoveries during the voyage helped him form the basis of his theories on evolution.

Boyle at Night

Taken 23rd December on a bitterly cold night in Boyle. The town was almost deserted but the light was interesting. Shot taken from The Crescent looking down Bridge Street.

Photo: 10mm wide-angle lens. ISO 100. Bracketed exposure; 0.5 seconds (-1, 0, +1) @ f/ 5.3 I used a relatively wide aperture in an attempt to control lens flare as this can be exaggerated with small apertures. Exposures blended in PS with some adjustments to white balance.

December 26, 2010


On this day in 1921, The Catholic Irish Free State became a self-governing dominion of Great Britain.

Carrick-on-Shannon Dec 23rd 2010

The second wave of frost and snow that has gripped Ireland for the past two weeks is beginning to thaw. We saw temperatures plummet to unprecedented levels in the run up to Christmas. In Cornameeltha, we've had no water this past week but hopefully this will change soon. Still, it was a small hardship compared to some and barely effected our festivities.
To the followers of this blog, I hope you all had a Happy Christmas and wish you the very best for the coming year.

Photo: Taken is Carrick-on-Shannon on the day before Christmas Eve. There was a decent layer of ice on the banks of the river. Lens; 10mm wide-angle, ISO 100. 1/100 @ f/11. 

Carrick-on-Shannon Dec 23rd 2010 2

December 21, 2010


On this day in 1937, Walt Disney debuted the first, full-length, animated feature in Hollywood, CA. The movie was "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs."

Solstice Moonlight ll

Today was the Winter Solstice, shortest day of the year. I usually make a special effort to capture the rising or setting sun if possible, just to mark the occasion. However, the area about Boyle was shrouded in freezing fog for most of the day so there wasn't a sniff of the sun to be seen. There was moonlight though, plenty of it on account of the full-moon. It remains cold and is difficult moving about to nail a decent location so I stayed near home instead. A familiar subject to those who follow my work.

Photo: One of many moonlight shots. This is a six minute exposure and includes some light painting using a Nikon SB 800 speedlight @ 1/1 and a 20 second burst of light from the shed (anymore than 20 seconds and highlight detail is lost). Lens; Sigma 10-20mm wide-angle.
ISO 100. 6 minutes @ f/10.

December 20, 2010


On this day in 1946, The Frank Capra film "It's A Wonderful Life" had a preview showing for charity at New York City's Globe Theatre, a day before its "official" world premiere. James Stewart and Donna Reed star in the film.

Topaz Kinnegad

As stated some time ago, I'm working on a project to photograph all the petrol stations between Boyle and Dublin. Ed Ruscha done this in 1963 when he published his iconic 'Twenty-Six Gasoline' stations. At this stage, I've done most of them in sketch form, meaning I've done sample shots with a view to reshooting.

Photo: ISO 100. 8 seconds @ f/11.

Snow Plough on the Curlew Mountains
Baltic in Boyle
A rare sight in Boyle, night temperatures are dropping as low as -17℃ with conditions set to continue until Christmas Day. For the first time since moving here, the water to the house has frozen!

December 19, 2010


On this day in 1843, Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" was first published in England.


End of Term.
Photo: I'm not often in Dublin late in the evening so usually try to take advantage of the situation by taking out the camera ... and tripod. This is a 20 second exposure taken from Red Square on the campus of NCAD off Thomas St.
ISO 100. 20 seconds @ f/10.

December 18, 2010


On this day in 1865, Slavery was abolished in the United States with the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution being ratified. 

Break For The Border

Taken about 2am, facing West near Dromod, Co. Leitrim, in between snow showers. This National Primary route between Dublin and Sligo was so quiet, I simply parked my tripod legs right in the middle of the lane. It was silent as a graveyard but so very, very beautiful.

Photo: Single frame. ISO 100. 3second exposure @ f/8.

December 17, 2010


On this day in 1538, Pope Paul III excommunicated England's King Henry VIII. 

Schools Out

A different world. On this small island in the Atlantic, I can travel from the Metropolis in the East to the wilderness of the West in a few short hours. I drove home very, very early this morning from Dublin, from a cold and dry night in the city to blizzard conditions in the Midlands and West.
This morning, school's out in Boyle on account of the dramatic change in weather. There's six inches of snow on the ground ... again! Only this time we're told only the main roads will be gritted and salted due to shortages (failure to prepare!!). In other words, it's every man for himself. The message came late, lunches were made, so we took a stroll to the main road to access conditions. Walking in the drive-way, Jack and Billy coming up the rare.

Photo: After sunrise in the Curlew Mountains. Single, hand-held shot in changeable, low light. Texture added to give warmth and address White Balance issues, otherwise it's 'off-the-camera'. ISO 200. 1/200 @ f/6.3.

Same view and model taken some time ago.

December 16, 2010


On this day in 1809, Napoleon Bonaparte was divorced from the Empress Josephine by an act of the French Senate.

I'd Rather Trust a Dealer

I went to see an exhibition today in the Gallery of Photography in Temple Bar. There are some fine young photographers out there at the moment. I was particularly interested in the work of Kirsty O'Keeffe and the use of artificial light in her portraits from suburbia.
The short stroll from Thomas St. presented me with a chance to take a few snaps of my own. In a 'Cartier-Bresson' moment, I positioned myself in a dark lane facing Essex St. and waited for life to appear. My patience only lasted 10 minutes, the man in the three-piece suit, never materialised ... I got some very suspicious stares from passers-by. I have no idea who that woman is, she just had to come back for a second look, and now I've frozen that moment for eternity ... or at least until my latest hard-drive crashes.

Photo: Hand-held in low light and colourless conditions. ISO 1000. 1/60 @ f/6.3

I'd Rather Trust a Dealer 2

December 15, 2010


On this day in 1939, "Gone With the Wind," produced by David O. Selznick based on the novel by Margaret Mitchell, premiered at Loew's Grand Theater in Atlanta. The movie starred Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable.


Caught in a 'Big Brother' moment. This roving camera took a great interest in my activities recently during a stint of street photography. So, pretending to be unaware of the camera, I put on an appropriate performance for the viewer. However, it mustn't have been convincing as nobody came to enquire as to what I might be up to in this secluded and obviously guarded space.
Companion piece to the earlier post on Thomas Street.

An interesting combination of surfaces, the barred windows and  CCTV camera, hostile and very much a sign of our times.
Photo: ISO 400. 1/60 @ f/2.8.

December 14, 2010


On this day in 1903, Orville Wright made the first attempt at powered flight. The engine stalled during take-off and the plane was damaged in the attempt. Three days later, after repairs were made, the modern aviation age was born when the plane stayed aloft for 12 seconds and flew 102 feet.

The Narrow Lane

The Liberties of Dublin, were jurisdictions that existed since the arrival of the Anglo-Normans in the 12th century. They were town lands united to the city, but still preserving their own jurisdiction. The most important of these liberties were the Liberty of St. Sepulchre, under the Archbishop of Dublin, and the Liberty of Thomas Court and Donore belonging to the Abbey of St. Thomas (later called the Earl of Meath's Liberty). Today's "Dublin Liberties" generally refer to the inner-city area covered by these two liberties, commonly associated with the junction of Meath St. and Thomas St. The area is honeycombed with dark and narrow lanes, many of which date to the 'tenement' days of Georgian Dublin and before.

Photo: Single, hand-held shot. I was interested in the glow from the subdued orange light, just out of frame. It added a warm but sinister quality to this narrow space. Just off the very busy thoroughfare (Thomas Street). In the ten minutes or so I spent here, no one ventured by ... retrospectively, it may have been because I looked a bit shifty myself! There are stables just around the corner where the local youngsters keep their horses, a tradition taken very seriously here. Photographer, James Horan has spent a great deal of time photographing them over the years and has published a book on the subject.
ISO 400. 1/60 @ f/4.5

December 13, 2010


On this day in 1913, It was announced by authorities in Florence, Italy, that the "Mona Lisa" had been recovered. The work was stolen from the Louvre Museum in Paris in 1911.

Bokeh 1

Like many houses in Ireland, today we put up the Christmas Tree. As ever, the search for the perfect tree eluded me but I'm certain I done better than the last few years. Tonight I decided to do some experimentation with 'out of focus' bokeh using a 50mm prime lens. The shots show christmas tree lights taken from a distance of 10ft. This is my prep-work for a 'Writing my Letter to Santa' shot - soon to be posted here.

Photo: Triptych - set of hand-held single frames. Manual focus mode, lens adjusted to maximum blur. In this instance, the bokeh is circular, characteristic of a fully opened lens. If the aperture was closed slightly, the blades of the aperture diaphragm would generate hexagonal orbs. By bringing the shot more into focus, the orbs will be more dispersed, it's worth experimenting to explore the capabilities of your lenses in this regard. Remember, adjusting the degree of focus and aperture setting will give different results. More bokeh experiments HERE.

Tip; If you're feeling really daring, try a long exposure with a zoom lens and during the exposure, twist the zoom-ring - guaranteed to give some very cool abstract results!
Lens; 50mm prime - f/1.4. ISO 200. 1/15 @ f/1.4.

December 12, 2010


On this day in 1863, Norwegian painter Edvard Munch was born. His most known work is "The Scream."

Sycamore in Morning Fog 2
Photo: Single frame, intentionally over-exposed. ISO 100. 1/250 @ f/11.

Sycamore in Morning Fog

Morning in the Curlew's outside Boyle. The sycamore wood about my home takes on a mysterious quality in the fog that struggles to lift. See this one too.

Photo: Single frame, intentionally over-exposed. ISO 100. 1/80 @ f/14.

December 11, 2010


On this day in 1997, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams became the first political ally of the IRA to meet a British leader in 76 years. He conferred with Prime Minister Tony Blair in London.

09 December 2010

Thursday 09 December. As the end of another difficult week looms, the thaw is setting-in and the roads are a bit safer. For the first time in two weeks, I clocked 100 kmh. I'm heading home, West on the N4 somewhere near Kinnegad.

Photo: More long exposure experimental work. This is a single 5 second exposure, hand-held, shooting through a dirty windscreen. It was impossible to keep the windscreen clean, the water sprayer was frozen and dirt seemed to freeze on impact and stick. As a light-study, it works for me, although the clarity of definition is lacking slightly, it captures the atmosphere very well. I particularly like the framing and vignette caused by the head-lights and dashboard. The shot is straight off the camera, unprocessed except for the default settings applied by ACR.
Lens; 10-20mm. ISO 400. 5 seconds @ f/5

December 8, 2010


On this day in 1980, as he returned from Record Plant Studio with his wife, Yoko Ono, John Lennon was shot by Mark David Chapman at the entrance of the building where he lived, The Dakota, in New York City. He gained worldwide fame as one of the founders of The Beatles, for his subsequent solo career, and for his political activism.

Dublin Dusk

Yes, I like the view from this window and regularly study the changing light over Dublin from this spot. At last, after almost two weeks, the temperatures may start to rise and hopefully put an end to the snow and ice that covers the country. It's been tough on the roads, I've been spending about nine hours a day in the car, thus the absence of photos here of late. I've seen some really stupid driving and some really beautiful scenery, neither of which I could photograph. The frozen snowscapes were particularly beautiful between Mullingar and Kilcock but it was impossible to find a place to pull-in and take photos, just far too dangerous. With the improved weather, I may have to spend less time travelling and perhaps get back to taking pictures.

Photo: Single frame. ISO 100. 4 second exposure @ f/10. Nothing fancy in processing, slight tweak to White Balance and subsequent adjustment to Hue to diffuse a red cast.

I'm now officially at the bottom of the league table with regard to days missed in the recording of this 365. That should put a smile on your face Aongas!

December 2, 2010


On this day in 1804, Napoleon was crowned emperor of France at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris.

Heading Home

Once again, my work has prohibited me from regular updates. Despite the fabulous snow scenes on the Eastern part of Ireland right now, I've had no desire to record any ... particularly since it's rumoured that this weather could persist until February! So I'll have plenty of time then. Besides, I've seen plenty of images contributed by the many Dublin photographers who are doing a great job at recording this unprecedented event. I've braved the road to the capital four times this week, insane for sure, but considering the current economic situation in Ireland, I feel lucky to have a job to go to, and as long as I have my health ... I'll be making the trip. This journey is not for the weak-hearted or nervous driver, it really is very dangerous on the roads at the moment, I've seen dozens of accidents and there is no shortage of abandoned cars ... stay at home if you can.

Photo: Grab shot using 'live-view' with camera on the dash. ISO 640. 1/200 @ f/6.3

Oliver Bond Street Dublin
View down Oliver Bond Street, Dublin, this afternoon.