June 25, 2011

The Apprentice

Young Apprentice
This young Roscommon man is developing a healthy interest in photography and lately I seem to be calling on him regularly for his assistance and expertise in photographic matters.
Photos: Both these taken with the LX5. The above at the RDS in Dublin.

Mocha Revisited - Dublin Street Artist
This gentleman was fully absorbed in his painting of a large rendition of a 'Mocha' inspired illustration. I have great admiration for all Street Artists and Performers, particularly in this day and age when they are struggling to make a living. On this occasion I was a bit strapped for cash myself but was more that happy to share a portion of my €2.00 worth of bananas purchased in Moore Street. The artist was equally happy to accept the offer but too busy for a bit of banter ... otherwise I could have accompanied this post with his name.
Photo: O'Connell St. Dublin.

June 24, 2011

Happy Wedding Anniversary Mum & Dad!

Bonfire Night Mockmoyne
Bonfire Night at Mockmoyne in Boyle. Thanks to the Dwyer Family, this ancient solstice tradition is kept very much alive. Tonight was my son's first venture out on Bonfire Night, I had a job to get him home. Things were only starting to 'warm up' when we left Mockmoyne at midnight.

My Mum and Dad are 46 years married today. Kisses to you both. XX

June 22, 2011

Boyle Arts Festival Launched Today In Dublin

Boyle Arts Festival Committee 2011 Dublin Launch 01 copy copy
Members of the Boyle Arts Festival Organising Committee with local politician Frank Feighan TD pictured in The Culture Box, Temple Bar, Dublin.

Boyle Arts Festival - 21st to 30th July.
View the full programme for this years's event HERE.

Boyle Arts Festival Committee 2011 Dublin Launch 05
Speakers at the launch included Barry Feely and Irene Madden

June 21, 2011

Bond Girls

Bond Girls
I passed this pair of lovely ladies having a friendly morning chat in Oliver Bond Street, Dublin on my way to work. Shot with the LX5, it was a grab opportunity I could not pass up. As I walked past I quickly fired off two frames, this being one of them. Great image clarity assisted by the sharp morning light which happened to be coming from the right direction. Taken in RAW, some minor tweaking done in PS.

Moore Street Dublin
Moore Street Dublin

June 20, 2011

More Good News?

More Good News

Got the rickety old train home this evening and in the absence of a power source for the laptop, I amused myself with the LX5. Must say, I'm getting to like this camera a lot and it's now a permanent pocket companion. It's light-weight, fast focusing and feature packed and performs very well on the street. The only down side is the absence of an adjustable LCD display, but I was aware of that at the time of purchase and will have to live with it.

I'm currently experimenting with some of the in-camera processing features. There are a variety of 'Film' modes which process captured files by altering contrast, saturation and sharpness to replicate the effects of film, e.g. 'Vibrant' = Velvia, 'Nostalgic' = Polaroid and 'Dynamic B&W' = 3200 Neopan. There is also a 'Colour Mode' feature on the Mode Dial where you can give additional input to the way the captured files are processed with regard to colour, e.g. 'Expressive' = High Saturation, 'Pin Hole' = adding a vignette, 'Elegant', 'Pure', 'Retro' ... the list goes on! Needless to say, you need some time to play around with these and of course the effect has to be suitable to the subject and lighting for best results. At the end of the day, is it any good? Well if you're a compact camera person that does not like to bother with your own processing in the computer, then you'll enjoy this.

Said 'arty' film and colour features are a bit better than the quality of the images produced by your iPhone but you have to remember that the computer in the camera is most likely not employing non-destructive editing processes so the resulting quality is not going to match what you can achieve by running your image files through Photoshop. If atmosphere is desired over image quality, then the aforementioned case won't be an issue. For casual, informal snaps it will be hard to top this camera. The kids will love it! You will get a decent, workable image from it in almost any lighting condition. Anyone want to buy a good second-hand Canon G9 then???

Photo: Shot in JPEG using the in-camera 'Film Grain' effect which converts the image to Black and White and adds a heavy, chunky grain. I thought it worked well for this subject and I was content with the result. Looked great on the camera's LCD but on closer scrutiny in the computer I was less happy. I opened it in ACR and pulled back the shadows a bit (why ARC? I thought that making any adjustment to contrast in 16bit would not further degrade the already seriously over-edited file). See the original file HERE and compare. I had to call myself aside to remind myself that I was shooting with a compact and not an SLR. Once I got over that, I was fine. For serious photographers that demand crisp quality images, that will always be the biggest obstacle to overcome ... get over it or stick with your SLR.


These two directly from the camera without adjustment. The LX5 'Film Grain' effect has a tendency to cook the shadows a little too much for my taste.

June 19, 2011

Tutankhamun at the RDS

Tutankhamun Exhibition at The RDS Dublin
This morning, after a sunrise photo shoot on the Bricklieve Mountains in Sligo, my son and I went to Dublin to see the Tutankhamun exhibition at the RDS. I've been a big fan of Ancient Egyptian Art for many years but I've never been to Egypt. Although all the items in the exhibition are replicas, it gave a very authentic account of the most famous archaeological find in history and the circumstances of it's discovery. Expensive I thought, then this is Ireland, worth a visit on a rainy day if you have an interest in Ancient Egypt.

Photo: Photography allowed, but no flash! Easy to see why as the whole exhibition is in virtual darkness from a photographers point-of-view. I resorted to a 50mm f/1.4 prime lens for the few shots I took but enjoyed the challenge of it all. ISO 1000. 1/80 @ f/2.5

June 18, 2011

LX5 Test Drive - RAW

LX5 Test Drive 2
Random street shot taken with the LX5 while walking. If you are using PS5, you'll discover that it's necessary to download and install the most current plug-in for Adobe Camera RAW (6.4.1). This will enable CS5 to read the Panasonic RW2 Raw file format. I must say, I was very surprised with the quality of the captured image which was not very impressive when viewed on the camera's LCD display. Rightly or wrongly, apart from the upgraded sensor in the LX5, I feel the modest pixel count of 10 mega-pixels, is a definite advantage. Interestingly, the race to cram more pixels into the sensors of compact and bridge cameras seems to be at an end and manufacturers are putting greater emphasis on enhancing the sensors ability to capture light in the most challenging environments - places where the compact camera currently cannot compete with a digital SLR. The LX5 is a vast improvement on my Canon G9 in this regard although I am aware that Canon have been active in sensor upgrades of which the current G12 is the beneficiary. Not going to harp on about this but I like the feel of the LX5 and it is fully loaded with a lot of creative shooting modes that are visually appealing. In the weeks ahead, I might deal with some of these in more detail here. For now, I hope you all have a good weekend. T

LX5 Test Drive 3

June 17, 2011

LX5 Test Drive

LX5 Test Drive
I'm currently test-driving the Panasonic Lumix LX5, seriously excellent pro-pocket camera. I'm rediscovering the beauty of JPEG and loving it! This is a serious street photographers camera and at the moment a favourite over the Canon G12.

Photo: I'm standing on the platform of Carrick-on-Shannon railway station looking into the convex mirror at the end of the track which is covered in bird shit. Camera set to iA (intelligent Auto) mode. The 1:1 format is done in-camera but I did indulge in a 'lomo' action to grunge this up a bit for effect. Apart from holding the camera, it's the technology that's doing the work here.

ps - apologies, I'm doing some digital 'Lomo' workshops at the moment so current work is in that exaggerated contrast zone.

June 16, 2011

Lunar Eclipse Boyle

Lunar Eclipse Boyle
A respectable gathering assembled at the Gaelic Chieftain just outside Boyle this evening to view the lunar eclipse. Personally, such events don't hold a great deal of interest for me, however my 9 year old son was most anxious to witness this fairly rare phenomenon. At about 10.15pm, a crescent moon began to materialise through a haze covered horizon, we didn't see the total eclipse at all. It was very subtle at first but gradually it brightened as it climbed into the night sky. Over the subsequent 50 minutes or so, the shadow cast by the Earth on the surface of the moon receded until it eventually disappeared to reveal a bright full-moon. Although it was a pleasure to stand there for an hour or so in the cold to witness the event, it was not as dramatic as I had hoped. I believe it was to be much more dramatic in the Eastern parts of the country. None the less, I was grateful for the clear sky and absence of rain and I'm sure it will be very memorable for my son too.

Photo: A single exposure. I wasn't bothered trying to shoot the moon on it's own in the sky, instead I wanted to record the scene and light as accurately as it existed. Shot with a 70-200mm lens @ 155mm simply resting it on the tripod. ISO 800. 1/80 @ f/2.8. Focusing on the foreground area with a wide aperture, I was content to sacrifice the detail on the surface of the moon.

June 12, 2011

Young Art Teachers of the future

Class of 2011 BA Art & Design Education with staff
The National College of Art & Design in Dublin opened their graduate show on Friday evening. I was delighted to be there to wish this group of young art teachers, who graduated from the Faculty of Education, the very best of luck for the future. Have a look at their catalogue HERE.

Gallery of Photography - Dublin

National Photographic Archive from Gallery of Photography
Graduates from Dublin Institute of Technology are currently having their annual show at the Gallery of Photography in Temple Bar, Dublin. I visited the show on Friday. As always, it's worth look to see the direction the landscape of Irish photography is taking. While there, I took this shot through the window which looks out on what used to be a very nice square that led to the National Photographic Archive. At the moment, as you can see, it is very much an archaeological excavation.
Archaeologists uncovered a Viking settlement, on what was once an island in here. Two Viking homes were found during excavations at Meeting House Square in advance of building work at the site. It is believed the settlement was built on an island in the River Poddle in the 10th or 11th century before it was destroyed by flood waters. A number of pottery artefacts from a later date have also been discovered during the dig, which began in late April this year. Four large retractable umbrellas are to be built at the site for shelter during outdoor events. The dig is expected to last six weeks.

Summer in Dublin

City Hall TM2 2666

Located at the top of Parliament Street on the city's southern side, Dublin's City Hall stands next to Dublin Castle, the centre of British government in Ireland until 1922. The street had been built in 1753, providing a continuation of Capel Street on the north bank of the Liffey, across the newly widened Essex Bridge, and so the exchange ended (and still ends) a long streetscape.
The large size and fine fittings of the Royal exchange, with carved capitals by Simon Vierpyl, and plasterwork by the leading stuccodore Charles Thorpe, reflect the standing and prestige of Dublin in the 18th Century. The neo-classical building contains a central entrance hall or Rotunda, with a large dome supported by twelve columns which is surrounded by an ambulatory where the merchants strolled and discussed business meetings.
The building was restored to its 18th-century appearance at the beginning of the 21st century, and Dublin City Council has won awards for the conservation of this historic building.
Most Dublin City Council staff are located in the relatively new and controversial Civic Offices, built from 1979 on the site of a national monument, the Viking city foundations on Wood Quay.
Dublin Corporation itself was renamed in the early 21st century as Dublin City Council, previously the name of the assembly of councillors only. Council meetings take place in City Hall.

June 2, 2011


Boyle v East Harps U8 June 1st 2011
A great evening's entertainment had yesterday when Boyle U8's and U10's played East Harps under the gaze of Keashcorran Mountain, Co. Sligo. Despite the presence of one of the darkest skies I've seen this year so far, the thunder and rain stayed away. The light was stunning and the backdrop of the dramatic sky was exceptional. All the young men and women of both teams gave an excellent performance. Fair play to players and their coaching staff.

June 1, 2011

Not Another Fashion Book!

Not Another Fashion Book
The library at NCAD has the finest collection of books on the Visual Arts in Ireland. The photography section alone would fill the shelves of most regional County Libraries. In these days of computers and the internet, it's very refreshing and enlightening to spend time here and thumb through the pages of some exceptional books by some of the finest artists and photographers on the planet. Today was one of those days, a brief interlude at a time of madness and hysteria in the academic year.