Tuesday, 30 December 2008
Monday, 22 December 2008
How do you protect your camera from the elements?
Answer: a Fedora !
No seriously, this comes in very handy when you want to shade the front element of your lens from the sun. You can't your your standard lens hood when you use your filters and the cost of a lens hood for the Lee Filter system is mad. Cable release in one hand and the hat in the other. Take your image then put the hat back on your head to protect you from the sun. Works both ways. A wonderful cost saving tip in these hard times.
Thanks to Peter Cox for the use of his spare hat in the making of this image.
Saturday, 20 December 2008
This is part one and I will post part two in a couple of day. Use the upcoming holidays to study them and start to put them into practice.
1. The Idea: You need to start with an idea, a germ of inspiration that will give birth to a stunning image. Without a starting point or an objective you'll find yourself aimlessly wandering.
2. Maps: First thing first, study a map of your chosen area to decide where to start. Google Earth can also be useful.
3. Get out there: There's no substitute for getting your boots muddy and eyeballing the lie of the land. Doing so from a car never works, get out there and use the most useful piece of photographic gear you have available to you: your eyes.
4. Seasons: How will the seasonal factors affect your shot. Does it cry out for autumn colours, or a frosty morning?
5. Sunrise or Sunset: Once you have found your chosen spot, consider how the light will paint the landscape at different times of the day. Is it a sunrise or sunset shot?
6. Bearing of the Sun: The sun rises in the east and sets in the west, right? Wrong. Here in these northely latitudes there is a massive seasonal variation from sunrise in the northeast in the summer to southeast in the winter. Consider exactly where the sun will rise or set for your chosen time of year.
7. Obstructions: Look around you. Is there a hill that will cast a shadow across the scene as the sun dips? Will those trees to the east mask the rising sun?
8. Weather forecast: Every landscape photographer is a weather forecast junkie. Check the forecast regularly and try to read between the lines to ascertain whether the lighting conditions you need could transpire.
9. Cable release: You need to keep your hands away from the camera when you're making the exposure, so always use a cable release in combination with a tripod. And if you loose your cable release use the camera's self-timer instead!
10. Check your batteries: Always carry enough spares to avoid them dying on you while on location. The weather can shorten battery life- in cold conditions it's worth keeping a spare in your clothing, underneath your main jacket, so it remains a normal temperature and ready to use in case the one in the camera gives up.
11. Polariser: This filter has a magic touch, saturating the colour in a scene, making rich greens, glories blue skies and fluffy clouds that look almost 3D. Polarisers also make a nifty neutral density filter as well, cutting the light down by two stops.
12. Graduated Filters: Skies are more often than not much brighter than the land and therefore need balancing with the use of graduated filters. They come in different densities, cutting the light by 1, 2 and 3 stops. There are both hard and soft gradient types also.
13. Compass: If the shot doesn't materialise on the first visit it's worth coming back another day when the light is right. Part of the preparation is knowing where the sun will be at a particular time and therefore a compass is useful.
14. Tripod: A tripod enables you to keep your camera steady, so that you can use a slow shutter speed to correspond with the small apertures required for plenty of depth of field.
15. Know your equipment: Only once you can use your equipment unthinkingly will your creative mind truly be free.
16. Know yourself: Don't be afraid to change direction. Accept what genre truly suits you - it may not be the same as that which you most admire.
17. Persist: If you really want to develop your photographic eye persistence is required, almost to the point of obsession. Absolute dedication is all that separates the good from the great.
18. Leave your camera at home: Sounds odd? Think photographically as you look about you in your daily life, when you are without your camera. This mental editing process will refine your eye. Tou will reach a point where you know exactly what a photograph will look like, and exactly which is the best way to make that image.
19. Keep is simple: When looking for a subject to photograph, compose your shot to remove as many un-neccessary objects as possible. A clean and simple composition is an essential ingredient to an eye-catching image.
20. Work in odd numbers: Odd numbers are always very effective in photography, especially threes. Any subject matter should work well this way, maybe three foreground rocks, or three trees on the horizon. It's up to you, but always remember that odd is more visually pleasing than even!
21. Use lead-in Lines: A good composition will consist of lead-in lines which draw the viewers eye from the foreground of the image towards the middle and then background. Obvious lead in lines would be a road, river or pathway, winding throughout the image. Less obvious lead ins could be a line of trees, rocks or waves breaking on the shore.
22. Foreground, middle and background: To achieve a strong composition, there should be subject matter in each of these places and they need to work in harmony. Look for subjects which compliment each other throughout the frame, this could be in appearance, colour or their association to each other.
23. Rule of thirds: Compose your image following the rule of thirds and you won't go far wrong. Place the horizon on the first or second horizontal line, and place your focal point at one of the intersection of the lines.
24. Don't dominate the foreground: A wideangle lens helps to accentuate foreground and create shots full of impact. But unless you are careful, the foreground subject will dominate the frame and throw the composition off balance.
25. Watch out for unwanted items: An obvious one, but something that we all fall foul of occasionally. Once you have composed your shot, look carefully through the viewfinder for any unwanted items such as crisp packets, bottles etc. These can be removed so much easier before taking the photo than in the computer afterwards.
26. Go low or high: It is natural to take photographs at standing height. But often compositions can be improved dramatically by setting your tripod nearer to the ground. By doing this you can maximise the intricate detail near the ground and give people viewing your shot a far greater sense of being there. Alternatively, if opportunity allows, try setting up your camera at a higher vantage point to gain another alternative view.
27. Use a small Aperture: With landscape photography, a small aperture of f/16 - f/22 will allow you to capture the full depth of your subject matter in detail.
Ignore all the above
All the above tips are just a guide. Rules are there to be broken, and doing so can often make the most dramatic images. Don't be afraid to try something different.
Thursday, 18 December 2008
This is no joke, or trick photo. Yes that is a car in the sand on the beach down in Duncannon, Co Wexford.
I was walking around the beach and spotted soomething in the sand. It was a bit of a walk out to the object and was only when I was up close that I could see it was in fact a car. Don't know what type of car, but if you know please let me know.
Saturday, 13 December 2008
Friday, 12 December 2008
Monday, 8 December 2008
Here is another images taken on the same day from the previous post form Gougane Barra Forest Park. This was taken further on the road in the Park. The River Lee which flows through Cork city and county starts life here (just outside the frame on the left). The sun was not high enough in the sky to cover the complete foreground and give the image very strong side lighting with the trees on the left compared to the right side. I also like the V shape made by the tops of the trees against the sky background.
Wednesday, 3 December 2008
Saturday, 29 November 2008
This image of Glengarriff Bay looking out towards Bantry Bay was taken on the second day from the South West Trip with Peter last week. The weather was changing all the time with sun one minute and clouds the next. We found a path down to the waters edge just before you drive into Glengarriff village. I took a lend of Peters Lee Polariser filter to bring out the details in the rocks under the water rock pool in the foreground. As always the ND Grad filters were in use with this image and you can take it as written that this filters is always used for all my landscape images so as to hold the details in the sky.
Tuesday, 25 November 2008
Well I'm back now from my few days down with Peter Cox. I was staying with Peter in a place called Ballingeary, Co Cork. We had a couple of long days of shooting and interesting weather. However the final day was a wash out with rain, low clouds as the above image shows, but was still able to get a couple of images and this shows you don't have to have blue sky's and fluffy white clouds to capture a moody black and white photo. In this image you can just make out The Caha Mountain range on the Beara Peninsula taken from the Co Kerry side.
You can look forward to more images from this trip including Gougane Barra (what a wonderful place ), Glengarriff and Bantry Bay.
Tuesday, 18 November 2008
Thursday, 13 November 2008
Wednesday, 5 November 2008
Again another one from the same walk from Donabate Beach around the Headland towards Portrane. This is processed the same way as the previous post. Now I am hoping that Lightroom will be able to use the RAW files some time soon so that I can use my B&W conversion.
Sunday, 2 November 2008
Well here is the first B&W image taken with the new Canon PowerShot G10 camera. I am very pleased with the results from this camera. However none of my programs can handle the RAW file format so this did not go thru my usual B&W Conversion Process in Lightroom etc...
I used Channel Mixer in Photoshop to do the conversion with Dodge and Burn tools.
The image was taken today while out for a walk on Donabate Beach. That would be Howth Head in the background on the horizon. I still like to use my filters and so I had to hand hold the ND grad filter in front of the lens while the image was taken. I think I will have to buy the Lens conversion kit and attach the filter system to this.
However this is just the second time out with the camera and while I did say in am email to a friend that I am selling all my 5D, 1D and lenses etc.. I will hold off for a little while yet. The results form this pocket camera are indeed wonderful, but a few more tests will have to be done. I got the camera for the reason it was used today and not to replace the DSLR's in the big backpack.............
Thursday, 30 October 2008
A black and white rainbow ?
I put this image up for one reason and that is to say "Bring your camera with you at all times".
I went for a walk around Skerries on Sunday afternoon after a very nice lunch with the family. The weather was sunny but a strong cold wind with rain, hence the rainbow. We took shelter in a doorway when it rained heavy. As we got back to the car park this wonderful rainbow appeared. Well talk about dropping everything and running. I managed to get a couple of shots before is disappeared. I was hand holding the camera as I forgot the tripod in the rush over to the shore line so that I got a clear view of the rainbow. It was funny to see other people taking photo's of the rainbow but they just stood in the carpark so they will have a forground full of cars (very nice). On the walk around Skerries I did manage to get a couple more images and will post them later.
I got my hand on a Canon G10 camera, so that I don't have to carry my 5D plus lens and tripod when I got out for walks. After reading the review on The Luminous Landscape website by Michaell Reichmann, I went and got one. I was looking at getting a compact camera for such a reason as my walking stick can be used as a monopod when you unscrew the top off. I will post image as soon as I can get out and shot with it.
Wednesday, 22 October 2008
This is another image from the last Viewpoints trip to north Mayo. We had driven up thru the Ox Mountains on our way to Sligo for sunset. We had lost Carsten some time back during the day but knew we would meet him in Mullaghmore. After a few shots down at Glencar Lake and Truskmore Mountain ( we drove up the mountain in Peters 4x4, I think that will be another post ) we stopped in Manorhamilton for dinner at the local Chip Shop. After dinner we headed out on the R280 towards the coast. Passing thru the valley at Glenade it started to get very dark as the clouds rolled in. We turned off the main road up a dirt track to get a better viewpoint when the sun came out and lit up the valley before us. By the time Peter got his large format camera set up I got the image we were looking for before the rain started again ( god bless the speed of digital setup ). The above image was the result "The Darty Mountains before the storm". We are heading down south, Co Cork for the next Viewpoints trip at the end of November.
Wednesday, 15 October 2008
This image was taken while I was down in Killarney, Co Kerry. At the back of The Lake Hotel is a walk way out to a castle. This location is called Castlelough Bay on Lough Leane. The sun was very bright and high in the sky. With no Grad filters with me at I had to try and hide the sun. Lucky for me the tree branchs did the trick and also added a nice frame to the image. The mountains you see the the background are called Purple Mountain and Tomies Mountain. I don't clone anything out of my images as I don't agree with it, but in this case I might clone out the branch in the lower left corner because...... What do you think ?
Sunday, 5 October 2008
This has got to be my fav place to take landscape images, Achill Island. This image was taken on "The Atlantic Drive" around the island. That's Clare Island you see on the horzion in the background. I could spend hours, no days here but as always I have the family with me and only can stay a short while at this location. But you can come away with so many different images. I have gone to this spot many many times and have come back with different images all the time.
Thursday, 2 October 2008
This was taken on the last Viewpoint trip to North Mayo. However this images taken on the day we drove up through The Ox Mountains in Co. Silgo. We stopped a couple of times on this road and Easkey Lough was one such stop. What you have to do on this road is avoid the sheep because they are free the wonder around especially in front of your car. For this image I got down very low ( as far as my tripod would allow me ) to get the angle and position of the foreground grass. The clouds had started to break up and show some detail which helps. I don't really care about the technical details for my images as this is taken care of with the EXIF data, but I do always use the Lee 0.9 ND soft Grad filter attached to either my 24mm or 24-70mm lenses. So you can take it that all my images are shot this way with a aperture between f16 and f22. ( f8 or f11 on the 24mm tilt and shift lens ).
Wednesday, 24 September 2008
Went for a drive over to the east coast around Drogheda to a place called Clogherhead. Actually this place is called Port Beach. You drive through Clogherhead village and then turn right at the church and follow the coast road sign. After some very nice days of sunshine I had to pick today, dull and overcast, to take some landscape images. The above image is one from today. You can just about make out The Mourne Mountains on the horizon. I think there is a great image to be had here from this location in the right conditions. I was at this location a good while back at 5 in the morning and have some wonderful images form sunrise with the sun, moon and the planet jupitor in the photo.
Monday, 22 September 2008
While out for a day shooting some landscape images over on the east coast near Drogheda we can across a bunch of mushrooms at the side of the road on our way back home. I am sure the people in the cars who passed us by must have taught we were crazy. Grown men on the ground with cameras ? I changed the colour image using a infra-red effect in Lightroom. I like the way the head of the mushroom stands out from the rest of the image.
Thursday, 18 September 2008
This is one of my images from Dublin Zoo. This is of one of the three Siberian Tigers at the Zoo. Early that morning the were feed some pigs head and chickens. I got some great images of them eating. When they were finished they have a rest and got to fill 2-3gigs worth os images as they just sat down and did not move. Shooting thru the glass can have major problems what with reflections and dirt, but because the light was coming in from the front of the enclosure this made for near perfect images ( no glass would be perfect but I would not be here to tell the tail ). If you do go to Dublin Zoo you might see some images printed in their leaflets by Neil McShane, that's me as I supply Dublin Zoo with alot of their photographs. As all the images are in colour I have posted none except of the odd one that I think looks good in B&W.
This image was taken just beside the R251 road in Co Donegal on a weekend trip with Navan Camera Club. The mountains in the background is Mt. Errigal. This was the last image taken on the trip as we packed our cameras away and headed home. I took a few different images from this location looking west and turning around to the north and then east. I will post them later just to show you the range of images you can get from standing in the same spot but just turning the camera around. The reason for this as you can see from this image we were standing in the bogg surrounded by cut turf. I will have to make another visit some time soon back up here as we had no time to explore Glenveagh National Park.
Wednesday, 17 September 2008
My dreams have been answered with the arrival of the new 5D.
Follow the Link below to the 5d Mk2 website to see for yourself.
DP Review already have a hands-on preview up on their site :
Is this new standard DSLR with the New 24mm F1.4L II Lens for landscape photographers.
Oh! no wait what about the 5D Mk2 with the new Carl Zeiss Distagon T 21mm f2.8 lens.
Another one from the archive's and this time I am going back a year or so. Not my usual wide open landscape images but one has to make do the the Irish weather sometimes. The was taken along the bank of the lower lake in Glendalough, Co Wicklow. Parking the car in the first car park you come to in the Park a path follows the bank of the Lower lake and end up down at the Upper lake. Overcast and rain, but still got a couple of images. For some reason I like this image. I am not going to go too deep into this image but I think its the relationship between the dead trees on the ground and the living one's standing up. Or maybe its just all the angle made by the trees. Anybody have their views on this one ?
Peter said :
The programme is hosted by Sean O'Donaile and features a different guest every week. The guest chooses a series of locations that are important to them personally. At each location, a photograph is made and a photographic tip is passed on to the viewers. At the end of every programme, the guest is presented with a print from each location and gets to pick their favourite one.
While I am not seen on camera, I was heavily involved in the program's photographic content. Each week, I'll be putting the images from that episode online for you to look at in detail. I hope you enjoy the images and the show as much as I enjoyed making them!"
And take a look at http://www.inferno.tv/broadcast/files/page8-1054-pop.html - it's the title sequence for the TV show.
Tuesday, 16 September 2008
Last night, 15th Sept, was the opening night for the new season of Navan Camera Club. It was wonderful to see all the new and old faces. We had a packed room full of new members and lets hope I gave them some insight into the year ahead.
Click here to jump to the Navan Camera Club site.
A good Friend and fellow Landscape Photographer Carsten Krieger has just started his own Blog at The Captured Light. With two books under his belt and new one in the pipeline his blog should be very interesting. Here is a extract from the blog:
"The month of August was not a good one for landscape photographers in Ireland. In fact the summer of 2008 was one of the wettest on record in Ireland and the UK.
And so was my trip to West Cork. The week brought a mixture of rain, drizzle and mist, followed by some heavy downpours. After that we had some more rain, drizzle and mist.
After my third morning waiting for some light but getting soaked instead I decided that it would be a good idea to get another day job. Anything indoors would be nice."
Good Luck Carsten and look forward to the new book.
PS: Let me know when its in the bookshops.
Sunday, 14 September 2008
Saturday, 13 September 2008
Monday, 8 September 2008
On the north west point of Co Mayo is a village called Carrowteige which looks out over Broad Haven. From here turn left and head down to the coastline and you will come to this location, in the image above, Rinroe Point. After a morning visit to Downpatrick Head it was time to start the trip back home. However I went the long way (as you do) home by going further west and ended up in Ross Port. I could not go home after seen this landscape so more driving and map reading I ended up at Rinroe Point. I have a great colour image of just my car parked down by the beach. After a few hours it was time to make tracks for home.
I was away over in London at the weekend shooting the London Hydro 5K for MarathonFoto.
"MarathonFoto provides great photos of individual achievements, while making life simple and dependable for event organizers and providing marketing support for their key sponsors.
A team of professional photographers takes multiple photos of event participants at several different locations on the course as well as at the finish for selected events."
I am now part of their European operations and will be covering events across europe, with the next event on the cards in Turin, Italy at the end of September and then the Dublin Marathon.
Sunday, 31 August 2008
"Peoples Photography is on Open Air Exhibition of Photography. It is open to all photographers, professionals and amateurs alike. Each exhibitor is allocated a section of the railings of St Stephens Green to mount their exhibition"
It was good to see some old friends again and to meet some new ones. This year I introduced some new image products. I printed some of my images upto 24 inchs wide for the exhibition and this turned out to be a great hit with the public and comments were all positive. So now I will have to add this onto my website sale area. I also had some of my colour sunrise/sunset images on display for the first time also.
Comments like this was the best black and white landscapes images see for year and they had the wow factor were great to hear. I also ran out of buz-cards to hand out to the public. With this I am hoping to see an increase of traffic on the website with the possibility of a few more sales.
Saturday, 23 August 2008
Not to be out done by Peter Cox and his "Ruined Cottage, Ox Mts.", here is a image taken in the Ox Mounatins from our last Viewpoints trip. We had finished shooting at Easky Lough and were driving north towards to coast when another ruined cottage was spotted by the road side. I got out this time (long story for another time and place) and took this image. I have not seen Peter's version of this cottage but you can look at another one he took a couple of hours before this one.
Monday, 18 August 2008
There is a mountain range in Co. Mayo called The Nephin Beg Range. The road out of the village Lahardaun leads you up through the Glen on a winding road until you come across a parking spot at the side of the road. All you have to do is walk about 10 steps into the field and this image above is the view you see. The mountain on the right is Nephin Mountain itself. It was taken in early evening time before i headed on up to Downpatrick Head for the sunset. Again this was taken on the last "Viewpoints" tour with Carsten Krieger and Peter Cox
Thursday, 14 August 2008
This is the image that is on the opening page of my Fine Art B&W website. It was taken on the last trip to Westport. I drove out to Achill Island and around the Alantic Drive coast road which goes aound the southern end of Achill Island. This bay is called Ashleam Bay and if you look on the right side of the image you can just see the road as it winds is way around. We were luckly with the weather this time but not like what we are having the the moment. I live in Ireland and have never seen so much rain this last few weeks.
Monday, 11 August 2008
Friday, 8 August 2008
For thoses who are interested here is the origional image (top) taken from the camera of The Rock of Cashel. It is just a jpeg version of the RAW file from Lightroom and the B&W conversion (bottom) from Lighroom using a Desaturation method to converting. The final image after the layer mask and dodging/burning in Photoshop can be seen below.
Thursday, 7 August 2008
Well the weather was worse than I hoped to expected down in Cork. I had only one good day and that was the drive down to Cork. I stopped in Cashel , Co Tipperary for a bit of lunch and to get a photo of "The Rock of Cashel". This is not your usual image of the famous place but a viewpoint I came across a while back but with no tripod I made it a point to return again. This is one of a couple of images taken that will make up onto the website for sale (www.blackandwhite.ie get the plug-in). What interests me about this image is the angle and lines of the wall and the hill.
Sunday, 3 August 2008
I am now off to Cork for a short break and lets hope I will return with a couple of new images. I have not being down to Cork for a good while now so this will be interesting. It will more than likely be a recon- trip for further trips. So here is one to keep you going until my return. It's a very dark and dramatic image from the The Mourne Mountains, Co Down. I think we got back to the cars just before the rain came down and boy did it rain.
Thursday, 31 July 2008
Here is another image form the very productive trip to Downpatrick. If you look closely you can see a wave breaking on the rocks. The very same rock you see in the post below. For thoses who do not know where Downpatrick Head is I have added a Link here.
Thursday, 24 July 2008
This image was taken back in April of this year at about 7 in the evening while we were waiting for the sunset. I thing I have a whole sequence of different images from Downpatrick Head with the different rock formations along the shoreline. You can walk around here all day and not one image would be the same. I was luckly in this one to have caught a wave coming in over the rocks which adds a little action or distraction to the image. Your comments please. I may post some more images from Downpatrick but they will be uploaded to the Gallery section on my website: www.blackandwhite.ie
Tuesday, 22 July 2008
While down in Cork at the June Bank Holiday Weekend I went for a spin around the Old Head of Kinsale. It was in the late afternoon so I had to wait for a good few hours until the sunset. It was a wonderfull day and the beach was packed with people. One by one they started to pack up and leave and by 9:30 there was nobody left on the beach to walk in front of the camera. What I like about this image is the rock formations in the foreground and the rays of ligth in the clouds details. The location for the image was the beach just before Lispatrick on the R604 looking out over Courtmacsherry Bay, Co. Cork.
Saturday, 12 July 2008
Here is a funny one for you to comment on and explain the effect on the sun.
It's an image taken in the afternoon on Glencar Lough with King's Mountain on the right. I think I had 3 ND Grad filters on the lens (0.9 +0.6 +0.3) and this might account for the effects but how ?