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Road Trip

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El Cotillo, northwest Fuerteventura

Central Fuerteventura

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This is central Fuerteventura.

Fuerteventura is one of the lesser frequented Canary Islands. It tends to popular with the watersports contingent because it is well placed for waves on its north and northwestern coasts, and it’s particularly well endowed with trade winds which means for years it’s had a great reputation with the windsurfers, and more recently, with the kitesurfers. I was there last week, although not kitesurfing, just recceing out the place.

Like all of the islands, it’s volcanic in origin, and so it has quite a lot of uplands in the centre of the island. I recommend getting a coach trip across them which means you can be terrified as the coach driver concentrates on getting around what are often very narrow mountain roads. The scenery is well, well worth it.

For someone from Ireland, one of the most striking things about Fuerteventura is the complete lack of grass. I saw none all week. Any green that you will see comes from palm trees and various shrubs. You will see aloe vera plantations, and some of the volcanic rock has lichen. Otherwise, most of the landscape varies in shade from gold to red.

The island has a shocking lack of water. The water table has been dropping for years and rainfall is somewhere between 20-30 days a year. This means they have a fairly safe tourist industry, although it is not as developed as say Tenerife or Gran Canaria, and the island bears the scars of a construction boom and bust. But the net result is that their farming has been serious damaged. Fuerteventura has a large number of non-functional tomato plantations; they just don’t have the water any more, and the ground water is dropping all the time because for years, they have not had rain to replenish it. Most of the water on the island comes from desalination plants or is bottled water from the mainland. Historically, however, Fuerteventura had the resources to farm cereals going way back – 19th century for example – but this is no longer the case. Current efforts are focussing on low water harvests of which the two main ones for now, neither of which is necessarily making the island very rich just yet, are aloe vera and olives. The olive industry, in particular, is at a very early stage so it’s hard to say how the island will get on with it. In the meantime, the countryside has a lot of dried up river beds, and lots of evidence of past efforts to retain whatever rainwater did fall. The land is extraordinary arid although the mountains do not look as much like a desert as parts of the coastal area does with the large dunes and beaches on the east coast both at the northern and southern end of the islands.

Fuerteventura fascinates me – in another life I tend to play around with data so I do want to look at some of the weather records and see what exactly has been happening. For now, however, the above is just a small sample of some of the photographs I took while I was there. They will be posted here over the next week or so with some texts, or you can click through and have a look at them on the pixie site.

The morning after the night before

I had planned to go to Doolin this morning; it’s my soul food place and I knew there was a reasonable chance of decent, if somewhat scrappy swell.

But this morning when I woke up, it was to the news that the seafront in Lahinch was closed as was the road from Lahinch to Liscannor. Ultimately, this means that the road from Lahinch to Doolin was problematic, probably at the Lahinch end. I did not travel.

I’ve seen photographs of what has happened in both Lahinch and Doolin Point overnight. I understand that Lahinch prom is closed for the foreseeable future. Twitter and the Clare Champion have photographs as does Lahinch Surf Experience. The capstones on the sea wall have been dumped onto the ground, quite a lot of the tarmac covering of the seafront carpark has been covered, and much of the carpark was under water. The tourist information sign, amongst others, has been flattened.

Doolin, likewise, has been somewhat flattened. There are huge boulders dumped onto the boat slipway in the harbour, at least one of the carparks has been rained with stones. The shipping company prefabs apparently flooded; looking at the damage, I’m amazed they took as little damage as they appear to have.

Doolin Point is my favourite place in Ireland. Every time I go there, somehow the world always looks better, regardless of the weather. I really, really was looking forward to getting down there. I’m sorry I didn’t make it; and all the more so because it’s been some seriously trashed by the weather.

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.

Jericoacoara

Jericoacoara 116

I don’t believe I have posted this here before so….

also, need a new medium zoom as my trusty 70-300 is going to the great scrapyard in the sky.

when I look at these photographs, and try to decide whether to go to Fuerteventura to take pictures of sports guys, or to Brittany to take pictures of lighthouses, somehow Fuerte is winning. I need sunshine.

Airbus A380 over Dublin

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Well quite….

Airbus A330 at FlightFest, Dublin

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You can’t see it exactly from this angle, but that’s an Aer Lingus A330 flying down the River Liffey in Dublin. Flightfest on 15 September was a fairly unique event; if you hear aircraft over the city centre at all, the likelihood is that it’s the police helicopter which, in fact, spent a good whack of Wednesday evening flying over the city.

I wasn’t sure I was going to go; the weather was truly woeful in the morning and I didn’t carry my primary camera gear because I’m not really an aircraft specialist (there are thousands of people who are much better at that sort of thing than me. But I got lucky with 2 or 3 of the photographs I carried home on my phone; this was one.

There was a terrific atmosphere in the city, the sort of atmosphere I remember from the Formula 1 track in Spa-Francorchamps the last time I was there; a constant commentary and people walking around smiling. Despite the promise of rain, it stayed out of the way for the afternoon and all told, I really enjoyed the afternoon.

Sunset in Howth

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Another one from last week sometime.

Windy Evening, Howth

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My name is Treasa Lynch and you may not have heard from me for a while (bless me blog public, it has been 2 months since last I posted).

Truth be told, I have not been taking photographs, which is Awkward when you’re considering the purchase of a 70D but….really haven’t been taking photographs.

The photograph above was taken in Howth this evening, around sunset, facing away from the sun. It’s a long exposure – I can’t remember, 3.2 seconds or some such – and the highlights are deliberately blown. We tend not to see motion; I wanted to show motion. Deliberately. So these are the boats blowing gently in the wind, bobbing gently in the water. I’m aware some people will look at this and go “doesn’t she know how to take photographs”. The truth is right now, I probably don’t. I haven’t been doing it enough, you see.

Anyway, that’s all by way of an aside. I came to Dublin 14 years ago and when I look at it in that context, it seems an awful long time. I’ve been taking photographs in Howth most of that time. It is, with the possible exception of the Pen Corner on Dame Street and Pianos Plus out in the middle of nowhere near the M50, my favourite corner in Dublin. All human life is there, sometimes. All seagull life is definitely there, all the time, generally queuing outside Beshoff’s waiting for cast offs. All seal life is there and have they got the tourist fleecing down to a fine art.

For various reasons I find myself at an amazing crossroads, facing huge changes in my life, and a lot of decisions to be made and this to some extent, has led to my not taking time out to take photographs. For a lot of this year, I have been up the walls between college, work, and Considerations. Today is really the first time I got home and thought “I’m taking the camera for a drive today”.

So I went to Howth because it was a nice-ish evening, I could have fish and chips and generally, it’s photogenic. I wonder, most times I go there, whether I’ll do anything special today. I must have 1000 photographs of the sailing boats. I must have 500 photographs of the sun setting there. I must have any number of photographs of people walking on the pier. As for the lighthouse, I’m hardly short on photographs there. I have taken slow exposures, fast exposures, fire burning on the cliffs, trawlers in, trawlers out. Sailing boats in, Sailing boats out. Pictures on film, pictures on phone, pictures on the Big Camera.

If this photograph proves anything, it proves that yes, even though you may have taken 10000 photographs of a place, there is still something different to be seen, something different to be felt. It is a photograph I will almost certainly revisit at some stage. maybe early some morning rather than late at evening, when the light is falling a different way, the sky behaves differently, the wind and waves are subtly different.

Flags of fun

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Enough said :-) This from the decor on Dollymount Strand a couple of weeks ago. I’m starting to like playing with the camera again. I don’t know why this might be.