For reasons which I am not sure I can go into at the moment, I was back on the beach with the camera yesterday. It’s about 6 months since I was shooting kitesurfers and maybe I needed a day like yesterday.
This is my friend Mr T, on his brand new board, the Monk. It’s designed by a former world champion, a guy called Mark Shinn and by some distance it’s the best graphic I’ve seen on a kiteboard. Ever. I mean, it beats a few of the F-Ones and god knows their skeletons were good. And some of the Undergrounds; they were pretty attractive too.
Yesterday was a funny kind of day. I was waiting around for another cameraman to come and join me for a project he had on the go so we missed some of the sunshine. The weather swished and swashed a bit on us but when I got to the beach, it was a steady 16knots, and if I hadn’t happened to be doing some shooting, in reality, it probably wasn’t a bad day for me to go back body dragging and finally get my act together. Tomorrow morning I may take out the kite and pump it up to check it’s okay. As far as I know there are no thistles in the lawn.
I think this might be the best of the photographs I got yesterday anyways.
And Clark Little has a lovely shot from this morning I think (where morning is relative as he is in Hawaii and I am not. That link, by the way, goes to the pantheon of awfulness that is FaceBook, however, it’s where he posts new shots so there you have it.
Although they typically don’t welcome non-surf photographers (ie kite specialistsi) to pitch photos to them, Club of the Waves is unquestionably one of the best collections of surf photography on the web and you should have a look here. In particular, look at Roger Sharp’s selection. I like one of those in particular but can’t find a direct link to it.
So much for the waterstuff, during the week I went to see Steve McCurry’s exhibition in the Gallery of Photography in Temple Bar in Dublin. I’m not really that into documentary photography and claim to be perfectly useless at it. However, do make time to go and see it as it’s rather startling.
I didn’t quite read many of the photographs the same way he did and one thing that really and truly struck me was that the expression in the eyes of most of his subjects left me very uneasy. One of the thoughts that went through my mind is that there are times that photography can be very invasive and some of those shots; some of those expressions left me with that thought going through my head; the ideas about people who didn’t like their likeness being taken…all washed out in a feeling that while there’s a wider benefit to documentary photographs like these, there may be individual costs.
this is quite an old photograph and if you’ve known me a while, or even look at the collection of self portraits you’ll have seen it. At some point in the past I decided I didn’t really like the sepia tinge on the public released version of it so I touched it up. But you might never have known that except that a month or two ago I backed up some work files from my laptop to my external drives. I don’t do that very often; usually when I run out of disc space. I make a point of backing up the camera files regularly but the work files less often because there tends to be less ongoing change there.
I’d forgotten I’d done this. I usually clean space off the computer but the directory in question is a work file and full of digital manipulations and pictures I’ve grouped to gether for some reason, be it work for someone or whatever. Today it had an accident.
Up until today, I used a piece of software called ACDSee to manage image browsing on my computer and drives. I liked the way it worked but something went terribly wrong and somehow a key directory got “moved”. I saw the dialogue box telling me that it was moving the directory in response to the mouse, something which shouldn’t and undernormal circumstances couldn’t have happened. I was moving the mouse to hit a button in the toolbar. Somehow I dragged and dropped a file…nothing clicked, nothing. So I went to see if there was undo. There wasn’t. A google search didn’t reveal too many options and some frantic desk top searching revealed that while Windows Explorer claimed to be able to find the files, it could not open them. Anywhere.
It was irritating because I happened to have scanned a bunch of photographs this evening which I needed to manipulate for one reason or another. I had, in fact scanned them twice because there were issues with the output resolution the first time round. So I had to go back and rescan them, re-download images from a webserver to use them for the same project and restart the entire project from scratch. I lost about 2 hours work which doesn’t sound that bad. Except, the folder had a lot of other stuff in it.
I don’t want to list in too much detail what was in it, but the image above was in it and with the exception of one piece of digital art work which I did about 2 months ago, I pretty much have everything on an external drive. Admittedly, an external drive which earlier this evening would not power up, but I got it to work eventually and the stuff was there.
This is not an exhortation to back up regularly. It is, however, an exhortation to recognise that sometimes, for whatever reason, software does not behave as you expect it. I’ve used ACDSee for about 4 years. Because I really hae no idea what happened today, why files got moved to nowhere – and the dialogue box specified move rather than delete (they did not wind up in trash – they simply vanished completely – I am not sure I trust it any more. And that’s hard given that it’s a piece of software I’ve recommended to people a few times in the past, and very recently would have mentioned that I use as a very good image browser.
I’m going to test Lightroom. And I am going to reassess however the back ups to external drives go. I was very, very lucky today. Incredibly so. You have no idea how lucky I felt when the second external drive revealed that it did, in fact, have Pictures Special on it. There were a number of Works in progress on it,. There were some photographs which are extremely important to me for various reasons. If I’d lost them, I’d have lost them. But I would have assumed that the loss would be linked to a hardware failure because drives are not for life really. Sometimes they do. It just seems stupid to lose stuff like that because of a software glitch.
So it’s now 11pm, and I had intend to be packed and ready to go to Cork and in bed by now. INstead, I’m writing a slightly mopey blog entry on how I had technical problems today that means the work I had planned to finish two hours ago had to be restarted from scratch is finished just now and instead, I’m getting up early in the morning.
Sometimes, you know, negatives would be easier. It’s much harder to accidentally delete them.
I had some difficulty trying to decide which image to post. I was at the Irish Leadclimbing championships at the weekend in PlayAtHeight in Dingle. Just one of those things; went along, had fun, took some photographs and I quite liked quite a few of them. I’m not done processing them yet seeing as I did this all while in the middle of moving house. So there may be more of this during the week.
This from Guidel in France, a few years ago. You can see I haven’t taken many photographs lately…recycling mad.
Okay. Before I go anywhere else, I have to say that if you are in Dublin, the Red Bull Illume exhibition currently in the quadrangle in Trinity is well worth your time, even if you’re not really into action sports. The photography is basically on a different level to anything you’ve ever seen. That’s all I can say about it.
Another from the World Photowalk last week. This didn’t strike me immediately but it’s starting to grow on me now. I’m bored lately but I have a trip to Mayo coming up which may alleviate some of the photographic boredom.
This weekend was the annual Battle for the Bay which is generally afflected with a massive lack of wind. There was less this year than last year, which is saying a lot. The sun shone on Saturday though; it did not on Sunday so there was dancing in the rain and stuff.
Anyway, I took a few photographs; not too many, just a few to play with.
One of the major sponsors of the event is Red Bull and they have a fleet of Minis. And a big tent. They also have a big Dodge too but I’ll come to that in a while.
I like messing with cars. Not Minis so much but I had a ball at Japfest last year. I didn’t really know quite what to do with the Minis – there were 4 Red Bull Minis and 3 Spin 1038 Minis and apart from getting down on your hands and knees with a 10-20, there’s not a lot else of interest. At some stage though, the clouds caught my eye, and I lined up the pyramid behind it. The Dodge was nowhere to be seen but that’s just a small price. The biggest hassle was realising the Mini had a dent on it. Darn it anyway.
I wanted a slightly more ominous cloud so I poured a pile of sepia paint onto the sky and bumped up the contrast a little. Had to undo that for the car which got overly dark after that.
I seem to wind up photographing these things in the rain. I should possibly have tried the day before but at most I got a couple of the Spin girls in front of their Minis and while the photo is nice, it’s not cover of a magazine nice. I’m heavily influenced by the cover of car magazine, basically, and maybe a little TopGear thrown in now and again. If I were doing this again, I’d try and get the front wheels of the car turned out a little.
Here’s the Dodge.
I’d love to know where they got it. I saw it for the first time last year or the year before, can’t remember which now and it’s amazing what they’ve done to it. Megapimped up. I love it. I pushed this as far into the high keys as I could so it’s a bit burnet out looking. I’m toying with painting out extraneous stuff in the background and then seeing if I can get more of the sand back in to a floor texture. Could be fun. Not doing it now though.
Right. Now for some pointing out of nice things that other people are doing.
I used to do the singer songwriter evenings in the International years ago, at the same time as Damien Dempsey in fact. Which is why this one of Tommie’s caught my eye. That being said, I wouldn’t go so far as to say Damien Dempsey gives me hope…per se.
I know when I first met Danny. I was a stressed out boardsie at People’s Photography who’d only agreed to do this 2 days beforehand and had all sorts of fun and games getting ready to try and flog some of my – I thought – fabulous photographs to the world at large. Boy did I have a lot to learn. I knew Valentia because you couldn’t not. But I hadn’t met him. He was, Al Higgins told me at the time, an awfully nice person. Al wasn’t lying. When I met Danny that day, he was sitting in a deckchair saying “oh I’m Valentia.” Wouldn’t have known him otherwise.
Danny took one of my all time favourite photographs. It blew my mind as soon as I saw it. He gave me a print of it following the boards.ie photography exhibition last year and everyone I know who’s seen it is similarly affected. You couldn’t argue with the talent. Amazing, amazing photographs.
But an amazing man too. The last time I saw him, a few weeks ago on a phototrip out to Trim, he was in great form. I’d missed him. And I talked to him at the weekend about possibly going to the balloons. It would have been a tall order for me – I was in Mayo for most of the weekend. But somehow…you felt it could be worth it. It was for him. The last I heard from him, he was slagging me on twitter. When I heard he had died, it came as an enormous shock to me. These things are not supposed to happen. You could add, not to Danny, but then, who should they happen to?
We – a number of his friends – went to Trim today where some of the hotair balloons were taking off again. I took the photo above with my iphone – didn’t have my camera with me. You can just about see a black flag flying on them if you look carefully. I got myself completely covered in mud this evening.
When you look at the tributes to Danny that are popping up around the place, on various weblogs, on boards.ie/photography, you get a sense of a great man and he was that. But more than anything, once you had met him, Danny was your friend. Not because he was a great photographer, or a terrific actor, or heavily, heavily involved in working for the good of his community. But because he was a lovely, lovely man. I will miss him for occasionally reminding me of obscure music I haven’t listened to in years, for reminding me that there are places to go in this country, and things I don’t often see.