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F16s overflying Dublin 9

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They were loud. Oh man were they loud.

So because this is a photography site, here’s the blurb: a) 40D, b) 50-500mm c) bit of a crop and increase in exposure in PS.

The weather wasn’t great but I think it added to the photograph. I would say that though.

Rough on the seafront in Garretstown today.

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I wasn’t absolutely sure which photograph to post today. I haven’t been taking photographs in a long time and today, by sheer force of will, I took myself to Garretstown to have a look at how the Atlantic was behaving. She was on her way in. She hadn’t yet reached the high tide point when I was there; I was gone an hour before she did.

But she was high and she was having a good bite out of the land. This is one of the seafronts; I was standing on another looking over with a 500mm lens when from nowhere – ie, from nowhere I was looking – she took a good spit at me, drowned me, and gave my camera and its 500mm zoom a nice bit of a shower. End of photography.

I intend to take more photographs this year than I did last year. I took some nice photographs, of which my favourite were a couple of the wave at the foot of the Cliffs of Moher, but compared to the previous five or six years, I essentially took no photographs. You can see this in the photographs now and probably in the processing. I’m out of practising.

I chose this photograph for today because I liked the scale of its story. The sea will never be fully pushed back no matter how many walls we build to protect ourselves. Also, the water was cold.

I know this for practical reasons.

Surf school

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This is from Newquay, Cornwall, a couple of years ago.

Joy. Pure unadulterated joy

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I just want to say the water was freezing but they were having a ball.

Surfing Aileens

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As I’ve mentioned before I am not a surf photographer and there are people out there who are five million times better at this than I am. Also they spend time in the water whereas I, I stand on top of a cliff getting vertigo instead.

This is from Saturday.

Offshore winds create beautiful waves….

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This off the coast of Doolin, not too far from Crab Island.

Behold the eye of a wave

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I’m never going to make it as a professional surf photographer for reasons which include the words “professional” and “surf”. The whole swimming business so far has not attracted me – I’m happy to wade 4 feet into water and have a kitesurfer or 5 jump over me. Swimming out into a wave that is as likely to hurt me as not….I don’t have the guts. I’m man enough to admit that. Woman enough. Whatever. Well being honest, it depends on the wave.

This wave is known as Aileens. Some people (probably not surfing types to be honest) call it Ailleach. I called it Ailleach myself but Aileens appears to be a higher profile brand for it. I had never actually seen it before yesterday which may explain why I took about 400 photographs of it. Her. Which ever.

I’ve seen a bunch of photographs of it – you can’t avoid it really. Most of the photographs I have seen are taken from the water, with the occasional one from the cliffs I think. I have always felt her to be a vicious, selfish wave, which would as soon as spit you out as given you the ride of your life. When I look at waves breaking, as above, I see one of two things, either an eye, or an eagle’s beak (actually, sometimes I think I see Sam the American Eagle). Some of the accounts I have read by surfers who have surfed her have left me with no changed impression. On other occasions, she seems almost benign.

Yesterday she was benign enough to be paddled. But I still think she looks less than friendly. She shut down her break quick enough on a lot of occasions. Yesterday’s hardy bunch of surfers spent a lot of time sitting and waiting for her to present them with a ride.

Playing chicken with the sea

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When I say yesterday was cold, I mean yesterday was cold.

High tide in Lahinch yesterday was very high and some of the kids had an absolute ball playing chicken with the incoming waves. More often than not, they won and beat the waves back up to dry ground. Occasionally they lost and got soaked. But once wet, they were wet. I was cold looking at them.

Visiting Aileen and hoping to find her home

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The journey began maybe two years ago, and it finally reached the first stage, at least, yesterday.

The road from Dublin to Lahinch is getting shorter. From 4 and a half hours the first time I drove it to a fairly reliable three now, it has, from a practical point of view, never been easier to get from east to west provided you can cope with the petrol costs which have doubled in price and the three tolls you meet from a house in north Dublin city to Doolin Point. There are days it’s worth every penny, every minute stuck in the car.

Arriving in Lahinch is different to arriving in Kerry. In Kerry, as you’re coming down mountains into Tralee, you can see the sea for miles out. Lahinch, you’re practically at the chocolate shop before you catch sight of the Atlantic. Yesterday, top right hand corner of my life. Northeast, I call it, through my camera lens, a long line of white breaking beyond the cliffs. I hang a right and head straight for Doolin instead of passing via the carpark in Lahinch which is where I usually stop first. I don’t know why.

All the week, my twitter feed has been full of an epic swell forecast. I couldn’t get in to see the Lahinch surfcam before I left but I left anyway. I could, I suppose, have left earlier; I would not have arrived in Doolin with the midday sun. I just want to take photographs of waves. I can live without the surfers to be honest – I don’t know any of them and I won’t be flogging the photographs anyway – I have this decent wave sized hole in my photography collection and three winters now, I’ve missed epic opportunities to go and take pictures of massive waves just because….just because. And somehow, I just haven’t been taking photographs because…well what’s the point of taking photographs of flowers when what you want are waves?

I don’t know which is my favourite. It probably won’t turn out to be this one, for all that I like it. And I have so much to say about the trip to Clare that I don’t know where to start. But I do know that it marked a stage in a hunt, a hunt which regularly gets delayed by other people’s cares impacting on my life.

Yesterday was mine.

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Details – 40D, Sigma 50-500 probably somewhere between 400 and 500. Mashed through Lightroom using the black slider, some exposure help. Shoved through Photoshop because I can’t find a crop tool on Lightroom yet.

Yesterday the sun was shining.

Today I reap the harvest.

Lines

I seem to have this thing about lines:

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This from Inch last week, those waves were from the post Katia swell. One guy attempted to go surfing; I didn’t really pay too much attention to him and he didn’t get much out of them.

Okay. Jeremie Eloy is doing some filming. This is some mega kitesurfing from Tea’hupoo.

This is a FANTASTIC short surf film titled Africa. Not sure where exactly.

And a great basejumping one here.

This is a terrific timelapse shot from the ISS which if you have not seen it, you should see it now.

Skydivers via the Flickr Blog.

Freediving via the Guardian Blog.