January 31, 2011


On this day in 1893, the trademark "Coca-Cola" was first registered in the United States Patent Office.

Gift 1219

I am regularly surprised by some of the images captured by my digital camera and have occasionally got myself into hot water in certain circles by proclaiming that a 'proportion' of some 'art' photography today is more a gift of the 'medium' rather than the product of the genius of the photographer. I've had many heated debates on this issue with colleagues and peers and struggled, like generations before me, to explain why certain types of photography is called 'art' and others, not. I have no intention of getting into this debate here, it resurfaced today when I was deleting some images from a compact camera I use for teaching. I discovered I'd taken some photos a while ago with the camera in 'manual mode' using long exposures and exaggerated camera-shake. The above is one from the set. I'm not trying to say that this is art but it is a good example of a gift of the medium for me. Firstly the colour, not enhanced in PS by-the-way, but the result of a long exposure taken hand-held in tungsten lighting. I love that deep red and warm yellow mix. The ghostly figure is my daughter peering into the camera lens but not staying still long enough for clarity to be established. I have dozens of this type of image and I am not promoting them as samples of creative photographic practice, however, I'm reluctant to subject them to the delete button treatment. They have their place and they have their value.

Photo: Taken with a Canon G9 compact camera.

January 27, 2011


On this day in 1997, It was revealed that French national museums were holding nearly 2,000 works of art stolen from Jews by the Nazis during World War II.

A Thursday

This, taken today in Dublin standing on the LUAS platform in front of BusÁras. I stood at the end of the platform and 'framed-up', waiting for something to happen in the viewfinder. This was a famous Cartier-Bresson tactic on the streets of Paris in the 40s and 50s. He had been a big-game hunter and was used to waiting for and stalking his prey. He often used the same approach in his photography. Unlike Cartier-Bresson however, my prey never really materialised so I had to be content with this mouse instead. I simply liked the way the various elements came together in the frame and the combination of colours on this otherwise dull and colourless day, were visually appealing. I was waiting for an interesting subject to diagonally cross the track towards me to complete the composition, but it was not to be ... maybe next time.

Photo: Hand-held, single frame. It was late afternoon and the light was very poor, a dull and cloudy day, I thought it might even rain, thus ISO 400. 1/100 @ f/3.5.

January 26, 2011


On this day in 1998, President Clinton says "I want to say one thing to the American people I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky"

Time Traveller

4pm Train from Connolly Station, Dublin to Sligo. Somewhere in Leitrim! I'm settling nicely into my now routine commute by train. It's great having the facility to be productive with my time compared to the daily 200 mile drive by car. This could be a critique of Irish Rail if I thought anyone was interested but I'm in a good place today and in a more positive and optimistic frame of mind.
Having no image for Wednesday and an empty carriage to play in, I set up this shot between stations. Without the assistance of flash, I was forced to use ISO values of +2500, and that with the aperture fully open on a 2.8 lens. The constant vibration of the train did little to contribute to image sharpness. In the end, I resorted to flash, bounced off the ceiling. I was able to drop ISO to 400 but the result is less than satisfactory and still lacking the sharpness I've come to expect from my gear. I put it down to the fact that the camera was simply resting on it's bag and not secure. I'm sure I would do much better with a hand-held shot. I like this angle, shooting between the seats reflects that 'people watching' thing we do when standing at bus stops or looking out a cafe window. In any case, do say hello if we meet on the train.

January 25, 2011


On this day in 1533, England's King Henry VIII secretly married his second wife Anne Boleyn. Boleyn later gave birth to Elizabeth I.

Man and Woman on a Tram
Took a group of aspiring photographers onto the streets of Dublin recently to capture images based on the theme 'City Folk'. After spending some time discussing the work of the great street photographers like Cartier Bresson, Garry Winogrand, William Klein, Tony Ray-Jones, Joel Meyerowitz and Martin Parr we unleashed our open lenses on the city. The objective for the evening was to 'get closer!' In doing so, these are some of the techniques employed; camera around neck on self-timer or cable release pointing at unsuspecting subject (as in the above shot). Ask permission or be cheeky, take the shot and run. Another favourite is to use a wide angle lens and frame the subject out at the side. It was not our intention to be rude but there is no doubt about it, this kind of photography is invasive! I'm just posting one from the set here because I later helped the nice lady from the tram with her bag.
We also spent some time editing with an emphasis on processing in black and white and how to increase drama by playing with dynamic range, distortion, motion-blur and grain.
Overall, a very successful evening.

Man and Woman on a Tram original
Original shot straight from camera.

January 24, 2011


On this day in 1965, Winston Churchill died at the age of 90.

On Parr copy 2

Something about this scene caught my attention, I'm still not sure why I photographed it, but the more I look at it, the more I'm liking it.

January 23, 2011


On this day in 1989, Surrealist artist Salvador Dali died in Spain at age 84. Check this out.


Some new images of Dublin City. This one from the Docklands. I know there's been much written about the abandoned building sites across Ireland these past two years by people much better at words that me, so I'm not going to go on about it. The docklands area has some of Ireland's finest contemporary architecture and has benefited from massive development since the early 1990s. That said, it's a pretty lonely place at the moment, despite the fine blocks of apartments and extension to the urban rail system that connects 'The Point' with Connolly Station. This particular structure caught my curious eye and the scene pretty much reflects what it looks like today and how I felt about it.

January 22, 2011


On this day in 1666, Shah Jahan, a descendant of Genghis Khan and Timur, died at the age of 74. He was the Mongul emperor of India that built the Taj Mahal as a mausoleum for his wife Mumtaz-i-Mahal.

Georges Dock Dublin

I've had my eye on this Dublin street for some time now, but have never been able to capture it in the right light as it lies on an East/West axis that never seems to catch the sun when I'm about. This was another one of those days. Like hundreds (thousands!) of my images that never make it to a public space, this would have been confined to the abyss were it not for the grief and bull-shit I had to put up with to take it. For all you aspirational 'Street Photographers' - beware!

I inadvertently took the 'Point' train (Luas) as opposed to the 'Connolly Station' train on my way home the other day. Realising my mistake, I got off at the next stop, it being George's Dock ... grand job, a short walk back to the station will do me no harm. En route, I took out the camera (always make the most of a bad situation) to take a shot and looked back the length of the street towards Lower Mayor St ... the view you can see in the shot here. In doing so, I was tapped on the shoulder and told by a civilian that I was not allowed to take photos at that spot! ... Say What??? I informed the gentleman that I was just after getting off a public train and standing at a public train stop on the public footpath, etc. However, I was informed that the area about the Financial Services Centre was a Private Space and No Photography allowed! This was a red rag to a bull to which the gentleman concerned abruptly realised as I had told him how I had just come from the gates of Dáil Éireann and the 'flapping about politicians'. I'd also been told that my salary would probably be about €300 down at the end of the month and that my kids will still be paying for the mess the bankers and Financial Services people made for the rest of their lives!! And this as***** was telling me I couldn't take a photo of an empty street!!! With foam starting to flow from my mouth, I also took a photo of the fat arsed financial services civilian briskly making pace away to alert the nearest security guard ... but I preferred this shot and decided to post it instead.

Please excuse the rant!! Politicians beware, if ye come near my house without the winning numbers to Lotto, I'll set the dogs on ye!!

And I will go back and photograph this area when ever I f****** feel like it!!

January 21, 2011


On this day in 1978, Bee Gees' "Saturday Night Fever" album goes #1 for 24 weeks.

Hide and Seek

Shot on Dame St. Dublin, Wednesday. For a short while I was reminded of the Final Act in 'Goodfellas".

Photo: ISO 100. 1/800 @ f/2.8. Light texture added in PS.

January 20, 2011


On this day in 1942, Nazi officials held the Wannsee conference, during which they arrived at their "final solution" that called for exterminating Europe's Jews. And on this day in 1944, The British RAF dropped 2,300 tons of bombs on Berlin.

Masonite Dusk

Pulled in at Drumgilra Lough this evening after the sun had set behind the Masonite factory between Drumsna and Aghamore on the N4. The light was fading fast and changing by the second. I raced to get this shot before the light bled from the sky. There was a slight fog developing which is responsible for the lack of detail on the horizon but I particularly like the definition of the fence and it's reflection - foreground right and the horse-shoe vapour trail.

Photo: 10 frames, Multiple in-camera exposure. ISO 200. 5 seconds @ f/8. (equivalent to a single 50 second exposure).

January 19, 2011


On this day in 1793, King Louis XVI was tried by the French Convention, found guilty of treason and sentenced to the guillotine.

Peter Walls - Tenor

Tenor - Peter Walls in Dublin today. More from this shoot HERE.

January 18, 2011


Today, Taoiseach, Brian Cowen survived a vote of 'no confidence' in his leadership of Fianna Fáil and will lead his party into the next General Election. 

2 Brians No Brains

Like many others, (by coincidence) I was at Leinster House today to see the politicians flapping about to see if the current Taoiseach would capitulate to the overwhelming demand for him to step aside ... alas, 'twas not to be.

January 17, 2011


On this day in 1997, a court in Ireland granted the first divorce in the Roman Catholic country's history.


One from a shoot for Breathing Water with Jarlath Tivnan. More details HERE.

January 16, 2011


On this day in 1920, Prohibition went into effect in the U.S.

9 Hours on Your Feet

My longest absence from this blog in a while. Back with an oldie from a year ago, recently printed large for a friend as a C-type which looked really well, so decided to post here. Taken in Dublin ... Duke St. I think, or somewhere near by. I just loved the signage.

January 7, 2011


On this day in 1610, Galileo Galilei sighted four of Jupiter's moons. He named them Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto.

Boyle at Night

While waiting for a 'Chinese', I stood outside in the cold and was surprised at how much water there is in the Boyle River. I've not shot the bridge from this angle before, I just never seem to get the timing right ... the light too. With some time to kill though, I took the tripod from the car and took a few photos. This is another in-camera multiple exposure, taken thus to accentuate the movement in the water. As ever, there are the usual white balance issues, in this case, coming in at a warm 3600k.

Photo: 10 frame in-camera multiple. ISO 100. 8 seconds each @ f/11.

January 6, 2011


On this day in 1540, King Henry VIII of England was married to Anne of Cleves, his fourth wife.

Drumod Revisited

Disillusioned with yesterdays shot of Drumod station, I returned today about half an hour after sunset (5.00pm). I still wouldn't be happy with this interpretation although the exposure is generally better with more detail in surfaces. By chance, I just about managed to catch the train pulling away from the platform which added a bit of movement to this otherwise static scene.

Photo: same as previous shot except this is a shorter exposure at 10 seconds and aperture closed down to f/13.

Annaville Ranelagh Dublin

A trip down memory lane for me with this one. Had reason to be in Ranelagh, Dublin today and parked my car in Annaville. I lived in a basement flat here for a number of years in the late 1980's. I distinctly remember that my rent was £18 per week and was collected by a very pleasant lady called Elizebeth whose brother, Ambrose, lived above me. They were relatively difficult times but I was very happy here.

January 5, 2011


On the day in 1956, Elvis Presley records "Heartbreak Hotel".

Drumod Railway Station

Very challenging light in this shot from the pedestrian bridge that crosses over the railway tracks at Drumod Station in Co. Leitrim. The lights throw a serious yellow cast on everything they touch. The above is as close to the effect as I could get to create a realistic interpretation of the scene. I intend to return to this spot and see what it's like with some light left in the sky.

Photo: 10mm wide-angle lens. A single 30 second exposure. ISO 100. f/10.

January 4, 2011


On this day in 1986, Phil Lynott died of heart failure and pneumonia in Salisbury Infirmary. He was 36.

Horse Outside

I've been looking at this house decay for many years on the N4 near Longford. It's not a casualty of the current recession, it was abandoned mid-built long before 2008. In the hard light of Bank Holiday Monday, I stopped to observe the pair of white horses that stood guard there.

Photo: ISO 100. 1/1000 @ f/4.5.

Aughris Head Sligo

Aughris Head, Sligo. ISO 250. 1/100 @ f/10.

January 1, 2011


On this day in 404 ad, The last gladiator competition was held in Rome.

The Ox Mountains near Coolaney

Took a trip through the Ox Mountains in Co. Sligo today. I'd not travelled these roads before and was taken by the wild beauty of the place, even on this damp and misty afternoon. Definitely an area worthy of a proper photo shoot, time was limited today and the light was very hard and at time diffused by low passing cloud. On the decent heading towards the main Ballina - Sligo road, the sights across Sligo Bay into Donegal are spectacular. Go there!

Photo: Single hand-held shot using a 4-stop ND Grad Filter. 10mm wide-angle lens. ISO 250. 1/60 @ f/5.6.