Categories

Inkspot

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I am confined to barracks for reasons of books at the moment but I stole five minutes to play with a couple of fountain pens, some ink and a white plate.

This is one of the results.

Garden

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I took my macro out to play this morning. This may be why I now also have issues with hayfever, but that’s alright. I will be leaving the country to go back to the city this evening and there may be less pollen there. MetE says there isn’t much pollen around but I have some doubts that they are right.

Anyway, the sharper eyed amongst will notice that this is shot on aperture priority. My camera is giving some occasional trouble by way of not working properly on occasion. Currently it will not allow me to make any adjustments at all while on full manual. I can get around this on aV but it’s a hassle as you set under or over exposure but it’s just a hassle. Also, it refused to talk to the computer yesterday.

But still, it gives me some nice photographs. This is a dew laden leaf from my parents’ garden.

Raindrops

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Raindrops from the other side of a window, into the sun,.

The weather in Dublin hasn’t been great.

So this, 100mm macro 2.8 (lovely lens), some work with the black slider, desaturate and have at it with a scissors. I hope you like it.

Jewellery

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I’m not one hundred per cent sure where that necklace is at the moment.

I’ve always liked this.

summer sweetness

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This grew in my garden. In fact, I watched the plant for a year thinking helpful things like “I don’t need 15 runners, can’t I just have some red, sweet, fruit please?” Eventually today, one of them was ready to eat. So I clipped it off the plant, took a few photographs of it as it’s my first baby (as fruit goes – I’ve never grown any before) and then I ate it. It was lovely. I didn’t even feel the need to dip it in the hazelnut chocolate stuff that I made at the weekend.

The strawberry plants.

Last year, at a charity plant sale at work, I bought two strawberry plants. They spawned 15 runners, all of which I dutifully planted, 13 of which made it through the snow and about 5 of which have managed to survive still further. The mammy plants are also still alive.

One of the spawned runners and the two mammy plants this year are making a concerted effort to generate fruit for me. I have to say I never thought I would see this day but today, these are sitting in my garden.

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and

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Cute, baby strawberries that have not yet been pilfered by the local bird population. I’m immensely proud of them because to be honest, I didn’t think we’d get this far.

A sudden thought also went through my head as I downloaded the shots off the camera. They were taken with my 100mm macro, a lens I really only have accidentally. I wouldn’t have it except for a fatal accident involving my previous camera. In Brazil, my first 40D died. Stopped working. Suffered water damage and committed camera suicide. I was without a camera for about 4 months while I saved up the replacement money and traipsed into Gunns of Wexford Street – Dublin’s finest and friendliest camera store in my honest opinion. When I got there, the choice was pretty much a 40D or a 50D. The 50D was kind of new and when I looked at the technical specifications, it transpired that although less new and therefore potentially less sexy, the 40D was a better deal. It meant I had about 400E to play with, that I could save, or put towards some more useful equipment like a decent tripod, something which I still don’t own actually. I bought the macro lens.

I’m told I cried bitter tears when the original camera died. I don’t remember it, although I do remember the utter shock of realising I wasn’t going to be able to fix it. I hate the memory of it. But if it hadn’t happened, there are a lot of stunning photographs which I have now, like the above (okay, maybe not quite “stunning”) which I wouldn’t have because I’d have probably bought a tripod instead of a macro lens when I stashed spare 400E together.

So, skipping onwards from my green fingers, a couple of things.

If you go to NPX Wetsuits here, you’ll see one of the best uses of a kitesurfing photograph that I have ever seen – you’re looking for the Assassion shot by the way; there are three or four rotating. I saw it during the weekend in a spread-ad in Kiteboarder Magazine; an American magazine which is rapidly becoming my favourite kite magazine because the photographs are just that little bit different. It’s credited to Bryan Elkus although I don’t know who did the art work. I was looking at on an iPad going wow. Just a little bit envious (Andre Phillip, the kiteboarder in question, is the one kitesurfer I really, really want to photograph in the world right now). (Look, just because I point a macro at my garden doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten the stars of my camera show).

Then if you go to your local newsagent and they are flogging issue 9 of Tonnta, please look for the photograph of Lahinch Stack done by Mickey Smith. There’s actually a wave and a surfer there too, but the context of the shot is given by that stack (it’s huge, if you’ve ever been anywhere near it in a boat, which I have). It’s a stunning golden coloured shot and I’d tell you what page it’s on except I don’t currently have the magazine to hand. It is, however, possibly my favourite surf shot of all time. I want a print of that so much. Gloss paper I think I’d like too if I thought I could get my hands on it.

I’m off to Cornwall tomorrow; flying into Newquay with Air Southwest. Expert more beachy photos for the next while. In the meantime, have a good one.

Fadeout again

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I’m not a Radiohead fan. They’ve never really spoken to me but I heard Street Spirit for the first time on Wednesday and there are elements of it that just really appeal to me. I am not sure why.

Anyway, this is from the front garden; I took pictures of it before it faded. I’m not sure what it is because I didn’t plant it. I have this tendency with flowers and pastel colours to do something to the saturation, between dialing up the intensity or …

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…dialing it down a lot.

Anyway, I’m trying to interesting small things to take photographs of at the moment and flowers seem to be it.

Blue

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This from the recent winter. As I have plants in the garden that are not currently dead, I am hopeful of no further snow.

Via LinkedIN, I’m subscribed to a bunch of groups and get discussion emails every day. A few of those are photography related. Anyway, from the Canon EOS Digital Group today, came an update to the discussion thread on

If you only had to use one lens, what would it be.

This is a problem for me. Some of the most beautiful photographs I have taken have come from the 100mm macro. A few nice ones have come from the 50mm as well and of course, there’s all that zoom I use on the kitesurfers. Although I use a 10-20 on them from time to time when I feel like risking my life in the water.

I think if I had to keep one lens, it might well be the kit 17-85mm. It’s not as fast as either of the two fixed focal lenses that I use, and it hasn’t the reach of the two zooms I carry around. However, it is more versatile and allows me some options albeit with a reduced DOF.

When I shot film, I got by mainly on the 50mm lens. There was a 35-105 that was good as well. I found my 80-250mm very difficult to use. If I were shooting with that camera, I guess I’d ditch the two zooms and stuck with the Zuiko 50mm which is unquestionably the best lens I’ve ever used.

warmth on Christmas morning….

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More from the Christmas morning selection box :-)

Word has it the cold weather is on its way back. arggh.

Okay – some plugging. Julie is flogging very nice handmade photographic calendars here. I’ve seen her prints. I wouldn’t be plugging them if they weren’t worth flogging.

Richard has a very ominous moody sky here. I’d like to say it’s nice but it feels like a complete insult to the atmospheric malevolence pouring out of those clouds so instead I will say you should go and look at it. It’s got snow as well.

Something a little different from PhotographyServed here. I never quite get that softness of colour – I try but somehow something contrasting bashes its way in.

Tommie and I went to Trim together the evening the balloons went up with black flags for Danny O’Brien. I feel this post.

John Smyth has nice things to look at shooting Venus. I have a housing estate. Colour me slightly envious. It’s in the wrong place for me to get it over an eastern sea.

Redmum has had some great, great shots over the year. This is a classic I feel.

In the bleak midwinter

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I took some photographs in Cork on Christmas morning. Some sunrise shots, and also, some of the frosted snow using the macro lens. I would never have seen myself as a macroey person but…Anyway. This is from wild parts of my parents garden; nothing cultivated I must confess.

Tomorrow is the last day of 2010. The year has been a rollercoaster for various reasons, and as it closes, I’m not perhaps as happy as I could be. Although I took a few lovely photographs, I never felt I quite got into groove. I realise that some people may consider this to be closet insanity but to be honest, it’s been a feature of my life that I never really had a lot of confidence in things I do well. That being said, the good folks at twitter picked a few of those photos out as TOTDs and I am going to be vain enough to nominate one of them as a contender for picture of the year.

I want to dedicate the photograph above to one of my friends whom I’m not going to name but who always seems to be around when I need one, and who actually listens to me when I’m asking for advice before rushing in with said advice. This is such a rare skill that it’s worthy of mention. Hope 2011 is good to you.

In other unrelated news, I’ve a new photography book called The Photographer’s Mind by Michael Freeman who appears to be my tutor of choice at present. As noted above, I seem to be slightly lost on the photography front, so in the best traditions of TG4, I’m in search of Súil Eile if you like. I will, when I get around to it, post a review of it after I’ve read it.

That being said, taking photographs is a journey and sometimes it takes you places, as on a rollercoaster – it is to my camera that I owe trips kitesurfing to Brazil and Morocco in the last few years, also to Spain and Portugal. I owe several very good friends to my camera and they come from both the kitesurfing and photography worlds. One or two even come from the yarn world now also. It is to my camera I owe the ability to stand still for hours on end just watching things, although I’m still bloody useless at wildlife photography. On the other hand, you need similar skills for kitesurfers and with a 2.8 macro lens. Always useful. Sometimes, the journey isn’t that clear, so I find myself thinking of a poem by Robert Frost, along with Patrick Kavanagh my favourite English language poet (I tried to love Emily Dickens as well but somehow she never quite took my heart). It seems odd to be discussing poetry on a photography blog.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Identifying that road is hard sometimes.

In the meantime, I wish the burglar alarm that has been going for the last 20 minutes would shut up. It’s blocking out the music of Keith Jarrett.