October 21, 2010


On this day in 1805, The Battle of Trafalgar occurred off the coast of Spain. The British defeated the French and Spanish fleet.

Rooskey 20.10.2010.
Carrick on Shannon 10mm
Carrick-on-Shannon 20.10.2010.

New work in the Drive-by series. Up to recently, I've been shooting Drive-by with a 17-55mm lens, currently I'm experimenting with wide-angle and later will be incorporating some strobist combinations. Despite very regular sensor and lens cleaning, I'm discovering some very weird flare anomalies using auto focus which I can't explain, but won't be cloning out. More on this in due course.

Photos: 10-20mm lens @ 10mm. Both images are single frame and taken using a tripod mounted on passanger seat of car. ISO 100. top image; 2 seconds @ f/5 and lower image; 30 seconds @ f/22.

October 20, 2010


On this day in 1980, U2's first album, "Boy", was released.

Joe Rayfus - Film Maker

Spent the last couple of days working with film maker, Joe Rayfus. This snapshot portrait of the man himself taken at the end of a two workshop we ran in Dublin.
ISO 400. 1/125 @ f/4. Processed in Silver Efex Pro.

October 18, 2010


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Recently, I've become interested in the photographic possibilities that the iPhone App, Hipstamatic presents. After some deliberation, I decided to get off the side line and give it a go. Today I downloaded the App for the cost of €1.59 and took a few experimental shots. On the phone, the results have a certain aesthetic visual appealing but the quality does not stand up to close scrutiny. There are most likely three reasons for this; firstly, the iPhone camera is very poor, having an image sensor much smaller than other smart phones in it's class. Second, the lens elements are not great either. Finally, judging by the Hipstamatic images, the App gives them a hell of a work out in the compression chamber! At this point, I have not printed any of the images, nor am I likely to do so - in High Quality mode, Hipstamatic images are 1200 x 1200 pixels and generate a file size of under 500kbs. In lay-mans terms, at 300dpi, you will get a 4 x 4 inch print.
In the weeks ahead I intend to embark on a Hipstamatic voyage of discovery and will be sharing images and critique on the HIPSTAMATIC PAGE.

Photos; Taken using an iPhone 3G. Images are captured through the Hipstamatic Application using   John S Lens and Ina's 1969 Film settings.

October 17, 2010


On this day in 1888, The first issue of "National Geographic Magazine" was released at newsstands.


Standing by the roadside at Tully, Strandhill, Sligo, looking out across Sligo Bay, this light aircraft lined itself up for landing at the local airport. ISO 100. 1/1000 @ f/5.

October 16, 2010


On this day in 1793, During the French Revolution, Queen Marie Antoinette was beheaded.

Spider and the Berry

ISO 100. 1/1250 @ f/2.8.

October 15, 2010


On this day in 1815, Napoleon Bonaparte began his exile on the remote island of St. Helena in the Atlantic Ocean.  

Irish Blackthorn

Prunus Spinosa (blackthorn or sloe) is a species of Prunus native to Europe, western Asia, and locally in northwest Africa. At the moment, the ditches have sloes in abundance, signs of a harsh Winter I'm told.
ISO 100. 1/500 @ f/4.5

October 14, 2010


On this day in 1066, The Battle of Hastings occurred in England. The Norman forces of William the Conqueror defeated King Harold II of England.


ISO 400. 1/320 @ f/4.

October 13, 2010


On this day in 1792, The cornerstone of the Executive Mansion was laid in Washington, DC. The building became known as the White House in 1818.

Trials of Life

The Trials of Life. I guess it is a bit like snakes and ladders isn't it ... never trust a snake that smiles!!

Photo: Shot as part of an aperture test - 50mm Prime lens. ISO 100. 1 second exposure @ f/5.6

October 12, 2010


On this day in 1492, Christopher Columbus, an Italian explorer, sighted Watling Island in the Bahamas. He believed that he had found Asia while attempting to find a Western ocean route to India. The same day he claimed the land for Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain.


A few weeks ago, the National Hot Air Ballooning Championships took place in Ballymahon, Co Longford ... at least they were supposed to! That week it seemed to rain non-stop and flights were postponed on a regular basis, so I decided not to go there. Then one evening on my way home from Dublin, they came to me. A group of about ten balloons sailed north from Ballymahon, cutting across the N4 between Edgewordstown and Ballinalack and landed in nearby fields. Needless to say, it was quite a sight and I was able to take a few shots. I came across the photos tonight, nothing exceptional - I'm blaming my poor vantage point and the failing evening light, I was forced to shoot into the sun. Rather than bury them on a hard-drive I thought I'd put one up since it was the first time I'd ever seen balloons close up.

Photo: Cropped from a portrait format shot. Processed in ACR with WB and Levels adjustment. ISO 100. 1/1000 @ f/2.8

October 11, 2010


On this day in 2001, The Polaroid Corporation filed for federal bankruptcy protection.

Coco Popped

Because of the nature of this blog, I'm getting a chance to present work that normally would have remained unpublished and dormant. Public responses are mixed to say the least, some viewers find this snapshot approach refreshing, others are more vocal in their criticism regarding my 'diminishing ability' to discern between the mundane and the downright boring! My apologies to you all if you are one of the latter group, no offence taken by-the-way. This is pretty much a learning blog ... not for you but for me! I'm trying to rediscover a freshness I've felt absent for some time in my work and if viewers get something from following my journey, that's a bonus. Also I'm trying to adapt to the fact that I have a lot less time to devote to post-production and formal presentation, I'm spending minimal time in Photoshop and depending more and more on getting the shot in-camera. I'm sure this phase will run it's course and I'll be cured in time, but for the moment I'm thinking differently about photography. There are some very fine artists using photography about at the moment whose work I'm drawn to, notably Tom Hunter and Lieko Shiga. So many ways to look at and respond to the world we live in.

Photo: Coco, the family cat having breakfast. A simple BW conversion in Silver Efex Pro and some good old-fashioned colour popping. ISO 200. 1/100 @ f/6.3

October 10, 2010


On this day in 1997, The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, opened to the public. Architect Frank Gehry designed the 450 ft. long and 98 ft. wide building.


Memory or emotion can often be prompted by something of a non-visual nature. Sometimes, an event can be recorded in a poignant way with an image that is lacking in clarity of detail, that is not composed in a conventional way, that photographically - is poor in quality. While giving a lecture this week on the subject of Aperture and Shutter-Speed, I found myself kneeling on the floor with students gathered about so as to view the leaf mechanics of a prime lens. Lens attached to the camera, I inadvertently shot off a couple of frames, not focused or composed ... and this was one of them. In-camera, the colours were mute and I was reminded of the work of Robert Capa on Normandy for some reason. I felt the camera had captured a moment in time, pretty much of it's own accord and I was compelled to give it a voice.

Photo: Straight off camera to Silver Efex pro and filtered through a high-grain film using the default settings. ISO 200. 1 second exposure @ f/5

October 9, 2010


On this day in 1967, Che Guevara was executed by Bolivian soldiers for attempting to incite a revolution in Bolivia.


Autumn for sure. It's quite pleasant at the moment, the wind blowing the leaves from the trees big-time today. It's been predicted, I'm told, that this will be a relatively dry month and that we should prepare for another severe Winter. Warning appreciated. Isn't Autumn lovely though ...

Photo: Maple leaves in water. IS0 100. 1/125 @ f/3.2

October 8, 2010


On this day in 1971, John Lennon releases "Imagine". Also worth a 'goo'. Lennon would have been 70 on the 2nd of October.

Oliver Bond St. Dublin

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.

Photo: 70-200mm @ 70mm. ISO 400. 1/320 @ f/3.5 Processed in ARC.

October 7, 2010


On this day in 2001, The U.S. and Great Britain began airstrikes in Afghanistan in response to that state's support of terrorism and Osama bin Laden. The act was the first military action taken in response to the terrorist attacks on the U.S. on September 11, 2001.

Welcome Committee

It's becoming difficult to maintain my commitment to this 365, things are particularly hectic and I'm busy preparing for a post-xmas exhibition. It's still the little things that make a difference to my life, like the extended family members assembling to send me on my way or to welcome me home.

Photo: A snapshot I couldn't resist as I left the house the other morning. Shot from sitting in the car with a 70-200mm lens resting on the door sash. ISO 400. 1/1600 @ f/2.8 - not recommended camera settings here for this kind of shot but there was no time for fiddling with buttons when I knew that, in a flash, the livestock would disperse in all directions ... and they did!

October 6, 2010


On this day in 1889, Paris, the Moulin Rouge opened its doors to the public for the first time.

Round-About Longford

Three circuits of the round-about on the N4 Longford by-pass. This is one from a current project I'm working on in an attempt to be productive with my time. I will be adding to the series in the coming weeks on the DRIVE-BY page. The series is called Drive-By, studies of motion and light. The colour and effects of movement are not enhanced.

Photo: Before dawn. Camera on tripod, fixed on passenger seat in a moving car. Window is open and a cable release is used to fire a sequence of 10 frames. Camera is set to Aperture Priority and the Multiple Exposure setting activated so that the 10 frames will marry as one when last frame is captured. Because of the semi-automatic setting, the exposure times vary from between one and five seconds. It took 3-laps of the round-about on the by-pass to get this blend, needless to say, the greatest of care was taken when driving; both hands were on the wheel and eyes firmly fixed to the road.
ISO 200. Aperture set at f/5.6

October 5, 2010


On this day 1962, The Beatles release their 1st record "Love Me Do".

Ted Maughan Tinsmith 03

I've not done much black and white in a while but pulled this one out today when I came across the fine copper vessel I bought from Ted Maughan a few months ago. In fact, that's it in the photo. Ted recycled an old copper water tank and forged a variety of utensils from it while I watched on. I was so impressed with the mans skill, I bought the artefact and now use it as a flower pot.

Photo: Taken at the Ballina Salmon Festival 2010. Nikon SB 800 used for Fill-flash (here I'm guessing, but for these kind of shots, I always use flash in manual mode at 1/32 and adjust exposure accordingly). Lens; 17-55mm @ 38mm. ISO 100. 1/125 @ f/5

October 4, 2010


On this day in 1539, King Henry VIII married his fourth wife, Anna of Kleef.

Medieval Still Life

I can remember the smallest details, places, emotions and smells from my youth which I regularly revisit with longing and relish. Ask me what I was doing yesterday? ... I find it difficult to recall. Is that normal? I was coming out the gate of King House Sunday afternoon and saw the medieval enactment personnel having their medieval supper. They drew quite a crowd and looked very impressive in their costumes and assorted weapons. I didn't photograph them, the light was harsh and the background not complimentary but I was drawn to the vessels on the table which they used in the preparation of their meal. I used a long lens here to flatten the perspective and retain the dark background. Natural light with a studio quality reminiscent of Caravaggio and the dramatic lighting of the Baroque.

Photo: Snapshot, processed as you see it in ACR and slight crop in PS. Lens; 70-200mm @ 150mm. ISO 400. 1/1000 @ f/5.6

October 3, 2010


On this day in 1990, The Berlin Wall was dismantled eleven months after the borders between East and West Germany were dissolved. The unification of Germany ended 45 years of division.

Try Walking In My Shoes

On the first day, I'd ask students to take off their shoes before coming into the studio, this usually met with mixed reactions but heightened the sense of expectation for them. Paper and pencils were already prepared so we were ready to start once they'd been seated. I'd ask the students to make a drawing of one of their shoes from memory, the task was usually executed with moderate enthusiasm. After 10 minutes, I'd ask the students about the activity and review their work, then I'd collect the drawings.
Students were now permitted to get their shoes. The next part of the lesson focused on teaching them how to look ... and subsequently draw. Emphasis was on recording information visually through drawing ... it's necessary to learn how to look and see before considering how to draw. After about 15 minutes or so, we'd place the two drawings side-by-side and compared them. Visually, the lesson was obvious; too often we take things for granted, we think we see, think we know ... but to really see, then we need to look and look closely.

Photo: Hand-held snap-shot, discarded shoes caught in afternoon sunlight. Simply processed in ACR. Lens; 17-55mm @ 38mm. ISO 100. 1/100 @ f/8.