Archives for posts with tag: Photography

Against my better judgement (as tomorrow is an incredibly busy day for me) – I heard there might be auroras around, so I ventured out to my favourite place and.. I was not disappointed.

Aurora - P1090310

It was a subtle enough effect. With the naked eye you might not have seen much, but with a camera set to 40 seconds exposure, the sky came to life.

Aurora - P1090307

I was expecting to see green, but not red.

Aurora - P1090305

Our atmosphere clearly got hit by something big tonight! A big explosion on the sun is usually the reason for such beauty.

Aurora - P1090310

Most of the time, Cork is too far south to see anything of value. Not tonight.

Looking back over all my photos this year, I found it hard to pick out the top ten shots that I was most happy with. It was a great year for photography for me. I managed to travel to a number of far flung places, but, in the end, most of my favourite photos were taken locally.  So here they are. Click on any one of them to get a better view.

Electric Sunrise

This photo was taken in mid-January 2015, in the hills near Glanmire, Co. Cork. I don’t usually stop my car when driving to work, but this was an exceptional dawn event. We often forget how beautiful the sunrises can be here in Ireland.

Electric Sunrise, Glanmire, Co. Cork

Pacific Breaker

I took a work visit to California in March. As always, I drive towards the Pacific coast as soon as I get off the plane. The waves are often enormous. This day was no exception. It was taken by Bean Hollow State Beach, about halfway between San Francisco and Santa Cruz.

Breakers, Cabrillo Highway, California

 

Rowing Boat, Killarney

Quite a story for this next one. Myself and my friend Ais had elected to do a charity night-time walk up Ireland’s highest mountain, Carrauntoohil, in April. It was a total washout. We just barely managed to reach the top of the Devil’s Ladder before we were forced back by strong winds and lashing rain. We arrived back at Cronin’s Yard soaked to the skin. The original intention was to photograph the sunrise from the top of the mountain, but in the end, we were lucky simply to get back uninjured. The afternoon before the walk, I took this photo of a boat near Ross Castle.

IMG_6263

Double Rainbow

This photo from June was taken just yards from my home. The weather was showery that day, with rainbows guiding me all the way from Cork. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a double rainbow so stark as this one.

Version 2

Beech Trees, Waterford

The following day, Claudia and I went on a drive through County Waterford, taking the northerly route across the county from Portlaw to Clonea. It’s wonderfully picturesque; a maze of tiny roads and high estate walls. I took this photo on the walled road out of Portlaw. In the background is the lone hill of Slievenamon, Co. Tipperary.

IMG_9763

Camphire Horse Trials

I’m not at all into horses, but in July I visited the Camphire International Horse trials, nestled in a beautiful part of Waterford on the banks of the River Blackwater. It was a thoroughly wet day, but this didn’t spoil the enjoyment in the slightest. This photo, taken during the cross-country event, was full of action; the horse has just landed into the water after a challenging jump.

Version 2

Running boys

I just love this. My two youngest boys full of action. Why walk anywhere when you can run? It was taken on Garryvoe Beach in early August.

Version 2

The Big Sur

A few days later I was back on a plane, again in California for a few days. This time I decided to drive as far south from San Francisco as I could, reaching the Big Sur before sunset. It was a 100 mile drive to get there (and another 100 miles back). But my, was it worth it.

Version 2

Jellyfish Clouds

This photo was taken near home in late August. As the sun was setting, the cloud formation took the appearance of a tentacled jellyfish. It’s quite a panorama.

Version 2

Night Trail

A few days later, I took this evening shot by Garryvoe beach – the contrail of a jet casting an upwards shadow on nearby clouds.

Version 2

A few more

These are the photos that didn’t make my top 10. A pity, because I love all of them for different reasons. There are photos here from Shanghai, the Burren, Bantry House, Mount Congreve, the Galtee Mountains, California, Fota Wildlife Park, Penarth and Singapore, among other places.

 

 

 

Posting a few photos from recent weeks that I’m happy with. I’m learning to use Affinity Photo (a Mac version of Photoshop) so it’s something of a learning curve.

This is a photo of my two boys running on the beach in Garryvoe.

Version 2

Some more photos soon.

In this sometimes stressful year, I often let my eyes do the talking for me. Here are some of my favourite photos from 2014. I hope you like them. Click on any of them to get a better view.

1. Storm Clouds

Favourites 2

January of 2014 was incredibly stormy, with high winds lashing the coast at least once a week. One compensation was the wonderful cloudscapes such as this one above, taken in Garryvoe, Co. Cork.

2.  Shanghai Surprise

Favourites 4

2014 was the Chinese New Year of the Horse. On my first ever trip to China in February I came across this wonderful display in the city of Shanghai.

3. The Long Walk

Favourites 5

The annual 19km Ballycotton Cliff Walk is one of my favourite hikes, as it marks the approach of spring and the end of winter. This photo was taken on March 16th.

 4. Garnish Island

Favourites 7

The wonderful gardens of Garnish Island in West Cork are full of surprises. This photo, from April, was perhaps early in the year for full bloom, but the flowers of spring always have a special place in my heart.

5. Rhododendron Blooms

Favourites

John F. Kennedy Park in Co. Wexford holds plenty of surprises too. During our visit in April I came across this wonderful display as a rhododendron bush shed its flowers.

6. Barley Fields

Favourites (1)

A quick walk up the hill gives me a wonderful view over south Munster, from the Celtic Sea all the way to the Knockmealdowns, the Comeraghs and even the Galtees in the far distance.

7. Leaping Laddies

Favourites (2)

By July, we had finally accepted that this was going to be one of the great summers. That’s worth jumping around for.

8. Summer Bees

Favourites 8

Bumblebees were everywhere this year. They go about their business with no real interest in us – focused on one thing only: nectar. When they have too much, they fall asleep, putting up a leg if you come too close. Mad about them, I am.

9. Coco the Cat

Favourites 9

Well, the Internet is all about cat photos, right? Right?

10. Glounthane Sunrise

Favourites 10

With the nights lengthening in October, I caught this morning sunrise in Glounthane, Co. Cork.

11. Ha’penny Bridge

Favourites 11

I took this during a day trip to Dublin in October. It captures many of its iconic structures quite well, I think.

12. Belvelly Castle

Favourites 12

I won’t forget the 26th of November too quickly. I had taken a few days off work and I rose early to discover a fog-shrouded landscape. What followed were some of my favourite photographs of the year. This one was taken from Belvelly Bridge near Fota Island.

13. Midleton Estuary

Favourites 13

After Cobh, I drove to Midleton, where I came across this scene. My parents had a painting at home that reminds me of this photo.

14. Castlemartyr Resort

Favourites 14

Then on to Castlemartyr Resort, where I took this photo as the sun was rising. Sometimes, you are just in the right place at the right time.

15. Little Spider

Favourites 15

After buying a macro lens for my iPhone in late November, I came across this little fellow climbing around a dandelion clock.

16. Dawn by the Lee

Favourites 17

This photo is from the 16th of December, taken during my morning commute. Though the sun had not yet risen, I just had to stop my car and start snapping.

17. Running Along

Favourites 18

I took this photo on Garryvoe beach just yesterday. It’s like the boys are running from a nuclear explosion.

18. Ballycotton Island

Favourites 19

Taken just this morning, this photo again saw me leaping out of my car. The sun was perfectly positioned over Ballycotton Island. Just glorious.

If any of you are interested, I post regularly to Instagram, and less often to Flickr. Maybe I’ll see you there.

We were treated to a wonderful morning a few days back. Fog and frost covered the fields, the rivers and the hedges. All was quiet. Armed only with an iPhone and Instagram, I visited a few beauty spots and took some photos. Some of them had a good reaction on the Internet, so I have reproduced them here, going back to the originals and seeing if I could improve on them.

View from Belvelly Bridge

View from Belvelly Bridge

Belvelly Castle, Great Island, Co. Cork.

Belvelly Castle, Great Island, Co. Cork.

Fortified House, Ballyannan, Midleton, Co. Cork.

Fortified House, Ballyannan, Midleton, Co. Cork.

Estuary, Ballyannan, Midleton, Co. Cork.

Estuary, Ballyannan, Midleton, Co. Cork.

Midleton, Co. Cork.

Midleton, Co. Cork.

Castlemartyr Resort, Co. Cork.

Castlemartyr Resort, Co. Cork.

Castlemartyr Resort, Co. Cork.

Castlemartyr Resort, Co. Cork.

The garden has been abuzz with insects over the past few weeks, going about their chores, unconcerned by the to-ings and fro-ings of us humans. I have been particularly taken by bumblebees. Industrious to a fault, full of variety and character, yet highly unlikely to lose their cool and sting. If you get too close to them, they’ll just fly off, or if they are particularly tired, out will come a leg to ward you off. Getting stung by one of them really is a last resort. Other visitors have included butterflies, moths, hover-flies and dragonflies, with the dreaded wasp conspicuous (so far) by its absence.

Here is a selection of shots, taken on my iPhone, which give a sense of the garden’s busy denizens this year.

20140814 - Bumblebee1

Bumblebee on Ligularia Dentata

20140814 - Bumblebee3

Bumblebees on Echinops

20140814 - Common Blue

Common Blue on Lavender

20140814 - Peacock Butterfly

Peacock Butterfly on Buddleia

Magpie Moth

Magpie Moth on Phormium

Ballywilling Beach, close to Garryvoe but far more isolated and deserted, is a marvellous place to go for walks, relaxation and photographs, particularly as sunset approaches. Here are some of the photos I have taken there over the past few weeks. I really like how many of these shots came out. I first shared a few of them on Instagram, but I’ve gone back and re-edited them from the originals to see what I can do with different software.

20140814 - Ballywilling6

20140814 - Ballywilling5

20140814 - Ballywilling4

20140814 - Ballywilling3

20140818 - Ballywilling2

20140818 - Ballywilling

We had a anxious time earlier this week. One of our cats hitched a lift in my car when I was heading to work on Monday morning. The cat made a run for it about 100 metres from the house, but did know how to get home. That evening, despite frantic searches all around the neighbourhood, the cat was still missing. Found cat

The following day, we decided to concentrate the search in the area she went missing. Almost immediately we heard her calling out and within minutes she was safely back home.

While conducting the second search, I filmed this time-lapse. It was a beautiful evening, with a fog bank swirling close by Ballycotton island.

Yesterday, we had strong showers and hailstorms, so I set up another time-lapse as a fairly intense system passed us by in the distance. Luckily, our cat didn’t have to face that.

 

This weekend I was mostly playing around with my new camera. It’s a Panasonic Lumix LX7 and it has a gazillion different functions and features. Do you remember the days when most cameras had two functions: Wind and Click? They got rid of the first one, but they replaced it with 15,000 new ones, including “Quick AF”, “Multi-Expo”, “Flash Synchro”, “Wind Cut” and “Debt Cancellation”. (I made the last one up. Would be good, though).

So I took some photos. Don’t ask me to repeat these, since a) the functions are buried somewhere around page 100,334,456 of the manual, and b) I possess the memory faculties of a distracted goldfish.

Macro photos

Coin Macro 1

Here I was trying to experiment with close-up items and a short depth of field. The camera does not need any special lenses. I haven’t quite got the hang of it yet.

Toy Effect

BlackRockCastle1

This feature is offered in “Creative Control” mode: an option that gives your photo an Instagram type feel. This picture was taken near Blackrock Castle in Cork. The effect tends to highlight objects in the centre of the photo, dimming them towards the margins.

Astro Photos

Taurus Jupiter Pleiades

This photo was taken using Shutter Speed Priority. Using a tripod, I set the shutter speed to 8 seconds and pointed the camera at one of my favourite parts of the sky. As a complete novice, I’m quite happy with the outcome. The photo, incidentally, was of the Hyades in Taurus, the planet Jupiter in the middle, and the Pleiades to the right.

Time Lapse

This video is a composite of 50 photos taken this morning, while the sun was rising. The time-lapse feature is somewhat limited, in that you can only take 50 photos, and it cannot be converted to video without resorting to video-editing software, such as iMovie. As a result the sequence here finishes somewhat abruptly.

Panorama

PhotoPano1

The Panorama feature is quite impressive. You aim at the start point of the picture and as you move across the scene, the camera takes multiple exposures, quickly stitching them together into a coherent image when you have completed shooting.

Impressive Art

PhotoImpressive1This feature is part of the “Creative Control” mode. It accentuates bright colours while giving the clouds an oppressive shade. The output here is quite striking.

More to learn

I still have a ton to learn – depth of field, exposure, white-balance, ISO, auto-focus and high-speed movies to name but a few. It’s clear that as far as photography goes, this Toto is not in Kansas any more.

The verdict

This camera is compact, lightweight, yet sturdy. It’s packed with more features than I could possibly imagine and it’s pretty daunting learning about it all at the beginning. If I had one gripe, it is the batteries: the camera runs out of juice a good deal faster than I would have expected. A spare battery is a necessity if you are doing any worthwhile photography.

These things considered, I like it a lot. It suits where I am, having slightly outgrown the world of basic point-and-click. Now that I have had it for a few days, I now feel I’m glimpsing the world of grown-up photography. It’s exciting, to say the least.

Last month, just before the sun rose in the east, I parked my car beside Loughaderra Lake, taking a moment to exit from the busy line of commuters rushing towards the city. An engaging mist was rising slowly off the water and swans lazily paddled through the ripples. It was a gentleness quite in contrast to the busy N25 road alongside it that streaks its way through East Cork.

%d bloggers like this: