Saturday, 31 January 2009

Water & Rocks 2

I being going thru a Water and Rocks phase and I didn't even know it because here is another one.
This image is from Downpatrick Head, Co Mayo late in the evening. It was taken on the same day as the Four Images post. The rocks are been lit by the last of the sun light before it dropped below the horizon. Again with this image as in the other water and rocks the contrast between the rocks and the misty look of the water is what makes this image work. A very simple composition but yet interesting. What do you think?

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Water & Rocks

When I was up in Donegal last May. My god it's nearly a year ago since I was up that direction. I will have to get back again some time this year. However this image don't show you the wonderful landscape of Donegal but of water and rocks form Melmore Point, Rosguill, Co Donegal.

The story behind this image was a weekend trip away with Navan Camera Club in Donegal with our base in Downies. A couple of the members had never gone out before sunrise to take photo's. So I made a couple get up and out of the hotel before 5:00 in the morning. We headed for Melmore Head for sunrise, but on this occasion the clouds didn't play ball so a sunrise was out of the question. We turned our attention to more closeup/specific aspects of the shoreline. The light was still very low which made for long shutter speeds. In the above image you can see that the water has turned to misty effect. I like the way you can make out the rock surface below the water line in the foreground and compare this to the surface above the water. Also the flow of the water from the top left down to the bottom right and back again with the movements of the waves.

I was glad in the end that we didn't get that magic sunrise. Why ? Sunrise, colour that's not me. Also the other photographers who came out that morning got the bug and came out the next morning. They were rewarded with a very nice sunrise. Now there's two more photographers who understand the "Magic Hour" of Light ( 30mins before and after sunrise/sunset).

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Carlingford Lough

An interesting image I have for you today taken a while back. This is an image of Carlingford Lough taken from near a place called Greencastle, Co Down, Northern Ireland. What we have here is Carlingford and it's Mountains on the left in the Republic of Ireland and Greencastle and the Mourne Mt's on the right in Northern Ireland. Two separate countries separated by the waterway on the same Island. This is not the time or place to go into the politics, but we now live in much peaceful time thanks be to god.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Linux Tree

Well this is a first.
Today I went for a walk in Ardgillan Castle with the family and got a nice walk around before the clouds and rain rolled in. The above image was hand held using the Canon G10 compact camera.
What I mean by first is that I only used free software to do all my work from converting the RAW into a black and white Jpeg. By the way if you clicked on the link to Ardgillan Castle above the tree to the left of the castle is the above tree.

Here is the techno details:
OpenSuse 11.1 operating system on a 2year old laptop.
Raw Therpee to convert the RAW into 16bit Tiff.
Gimp (ie photoshop) to convert the 16bit into 8bit Jpeg.
Channel Mixer to convert to B&W.
Added a bit of noise to look like old fashion film grain.
The end result above.
The total cost of the above : Nothing (zero euro)

I would be interested to hear form anybody else who uses Linux for their photography.
So will I be giving up my Mac's with Lightroom and Photoshop? No, not just yet. But it's interesting times ahead for the free software enviroment.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Old Head Sunset

This is another place I visit regularly. It's Old Head, Westport, Co Mayo. I have been here at different times of the day and year and have always come away with at least one image. This time it's sunset over Clew Bay and Achill Island in the background. Shooting into the sun is very difficult and that's why I would normally wait until the sun drops down below the horizon or in this case behind the mountains. I have a good example of this and will post it to show the effects. Some like it, but I don't (that is sun flare).
Sunset is all about the colours in the sky and clouds. How many of you have gone out with the view to taking a black and white image at sunset? It can work if you play your cards right. This images works because of the contrast between the dark clouds and bright sky. Again the ND Grad filters were use as always to balance the sky with the foreground water and rocks.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

What The Duck

The last of Salterstown

It think that this is the last of my images from Salterstown location with a couple of wave shots. The funny think is, they are the last images I took at the locations before I moved to the next location which was Port Beach. I love the movement in the water. I am in the process of getting my hands on a 10stop ND Filter which will give me a 20-30 seconds exposure time in day light. I have seen some images from other photographers who have used this filter and they look amazing.

Friday, 16 January 2009

The Climb

Something different for you today. This images is not form Salterstown, you may be glad to hear.
This is a view form the mounation called Croagh Patrick in Westport, Co Mayo.
I posted a View from Croagh Patrick a while back but never showed you what you had to climb up. Well here it is. This rocky surface is what the last couple of hundred meter is like and to think people go up this in their bear feet. That's the track up the lower slops (white line on the right) of the mountain.
I can across this image as I was going thru my images to pick 20 images for my Licentiateship Panel for the IPPA (Irish Professional Photographers Association). The judging is not until February but I have to do the selection now, arrange the panel, print and mount them which will take a good bit of my free time.
However, guess where I'm going in the morning again? The first correct answer will get a free pen.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Planks on the Beach

I think we are near the finish of the images from the Salterstown, Dunny and Port locations from Monday. At this stage we were on the final leg home with a stop at Port Beach. Again from my previous visit I knew about the planks of wood. With the sun starting to set quickly now and I think we had about 1 hour to sunset, but with the hills and houses behind us the sun would be blocked in about 30min's. The angle and direction of the sun was just perfect to light up the surface of the planks of wood. Luck or timing, how cares, but I can safely say that was one of the most productive days I have had in a long time.
With this image above I had to wait for a person (as it happens another photographer to move out of the shot) before I would take the image and for the sun to come out from behind some clouds. It's a great feeling you get when you know after you release the shutter that you got a keeper as they say.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Dunny Point

After we had finished at Salterstown beach, we headed for Dunny Point. I found this location a few months back when Navan Camera Club came over here on a photo day outing. However the conditions were not right and I knew this location would be good if the light was right. Well on this visit it was just right. The sun was coming in over our shoulders and was lighting up the beach and headland. The tide was going out but the sound of the waves was wonderful. We set up the tripods on the beach , but I went a bit too close to the waters edge and well just imagine seeing a grown man with wellies on running for cover with a camera and tripod in hand. The smaller of the two images above is the image I got just before the wave hit. Unfortunately the image is blurred which is understandable so I did not do the final b&w work on it. I spent the rest of the day with ringing wet trousers and socks, but it was worth the laugh and I got the photos to show for it.

I think I have a few more images to show you for this one day. Here's me thinking to stay at home and not bother going out. Now there a lesson for me and you - Just GO -

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

What The Duck


This will be of interest to all my Irish followers as a Pro Photographer friend Carsten Krieger is to appear on Nationwide, a TV program on national television station RTE. The details are as follows:

A feature on Carsten Krieger and his work will be shown on 21st January as part of the Nationwide series on RTE 1.
The feature will give an insight in the everyday work of a landscape photographer and a sneak peek at Carsten's upcoming book "The West of Ireland".

Salterstown Slipway

Moving 20meters to the left from the previous post spot, you come to the slipway. As we got to Salterstown beach it was high tide, there was not much to see except for a couple of the big rocks and this slipway above. Another study in the movement of the water. This time the waves would come over the surface of the slipway and back into the sea. What's interesting is the 5 remaining stones left on the slipway after a wave came in and the motion of the waves around them but never touching them. I also like the way the slipway disappears under the waves. How far does it go? who knows?
I also like the way the images has lawyers of calm and motion. Starting with the calm static stones then the motion of the waves to the almost calm open sea and finally to the motion of the clouds. What do you think?

Monday, 12 January 2009

Salterstown Beach Revisited

I did manage to make it over to Salterstown today and before anybody asks I did not take the wife's car and my children did not have to walk to school. I might be mad but not stupid.
I got a lift from another photographer friend Ken Butterfield. This was new for him shooting landscapes because Ken normally shoots motor sports. I was in two mind whether to go or not, because I missed low tide. However as I always say to other photographers when I am teaching - Just get Out there.

So here is another image form the same location as the previous Salterstown post. By the time we arrived over there is was high tide and none of the rocks which I knew were visible. None the less we stayed at this spot for about an hour and the tide was starting to go out. With the tide being so high a different plan of action was called for. We concentrated of the movement of the waves and have some very interesting images to post later in the week.

We traveled around the coast to Dunny Point and finished the day at Port Beach. I have a few more interesting images to post later and a story about wet trousers.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

The Cooleys & Mournes

It's very rare for me to shoot with a long telephone lens, but this image was taken with the 70-200 zoom. This is the image I was talking about in the Salterstown Beach post. It's taken from the same spot as the image in that post but as I said with a telephoto lens. I could not remember how to take the 24mm lens off the camera cause its that long ago now :-)
Again this was taken early in the morning looking across Dundalk Bay towards Carlingford and further on The Mourne Mountains, Co Down. Theses two images are going to cost me a lot of money me thinks. It's a long story but lets just say a got a flat tyre on my car and then damages the special wheel nut on the alloys. The car will have to go the garage and will have to either drill the nut out or take the whole hub off the car to remove the lock nut. Either way it's going to cost me. Oh well I will have to take the wife's little car now to go back over to Salterstown on Monday morning. The children will enjoy the walk to school ?

The things we do for our Photography !


Nothing to do with Black and White Landscapes but I use Adobe's Lightroom for converting RAW to B&W. If you use Lightroom may I point you to a site called: (News, Tips, Tricks and Workabouts)

A fellow Irish photographer Sean McCormack, from Co Galway runs this blog site but he is also one of the main contributors to the Lightroom News site.

One Locations Four Images

Downpatrich Head is one of my favourite locations. In the above image there are four photographs, some of which I have posted previously, all of which were taken within a few meters of each other. There are in sequence from top to bottom starting with the first one taken and then moving a couple of meters further down shoreline. What I want to show you with the above is just how different your image composition can be with a small move to the right, left, back or in the case forwards. Moving forward I found different compositions form the same location. It goes to show you that the best tool you can use for photography is your legs and eyes. In these images the camera position on the tripod did not change. I might have moved the filter a small bit to take into account the sky, but other than that nothing changes not even the exposure settings. I think this covers Tip No:3 in the "Shoot Better Landscape" posting series nicely.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Salterstown Beach

I was over on the east coast friday last in a place called Salterstown, Co Louth. It lies between Drogheda and Dundalk on the coast. It's a funny place because there is nothing there just fields a very narrow road right on the coast. However what a little gem of a location. I mean you pull over and stop your car (otherwise nothing can get passed) and take two steps and your on the beach.
We have had some very cold weather the passed few days with clear sky's and frosty mornings but wonderful sunrises and sunsets.

So with this in mind I checked the times for sunrise and the tide times. How may you ask ? Well with my best new toy, The iPhone. The amount of software you can get for the iPhone is amazing, and some of it is free to download. Using two of the app's for sunrise and tide times I knew at sunrise we will have a high tide. Not good, but none the less I still wanted to go over and see this location for myself. I have seen some wonderful colour photographs from Salterstown form another photographer called Richard Hatch. Richard lives over in that general direction and have known him for a good few years now. I have linked his name to his site with a selection of the colour images from here.
As he said himself "Salterstown is a fantastic location indeed but you really have to work out the tides and lighting up times. I have been there many times and got nothing but when you plan it correctly it turns out great. Its just a pity there isn't a wee bit more scale to the place. Everything is quite low if ye know what i mean...!".

When you see the place you will understand what Richie means by "quite low" as there is only a few rocks, some big ones, but nothing that stands out. However there is some great rock formations and with the right light wonderful. The background is taken care of by the mounatian ranges around Carlingford and The Mourne Mountains which can be seen in my image above, just about. I have a have a different image of just the mountains and will post that later.
With this image the elements were against me. High tide, low clouds, and the sunrise in the wrong location ie slightly behind the mainland so sun had to rise a good bit to light up the foreground. With the low cloud cover this would not happen. No problems, a return visit or maybe a few visits will solve that problem. I have checked the tide time and this coming Monday looks good so a return trip is on the cards.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Quiz Time

Can you guess what this is ?

OH ! hang on the answer is on my website.
OK what I will do is, the first person who can tell me the correct name will get a print of an image from the website (value 60euro). I will leave it open for the month of January.
Good Luck

Leave you answer as a comment with your name and email address.

Filter System

Here is a link I found to a book by Lee Frost called

"The Photographers Guide to Filters"

In this comprehensive guide Lee Frost offers clear answers to the many questions raised about this popular, but largely misunderstood, area of photography. Through easy-to-follow reference charts, specially commissioned comparison shots and inspiring images, beginners will see what filters are available and how to use them: the more experienced can use the images as a source of inspiration.

The Photographer's Guide to Filters
By Lee Frost
Published by David & Charles, 2002
ISBN 0715314009, 9780715314005
160 pages

Monday, 5 January 2009

Shoot Better Landscapes Part 2

Here is the second and final part of the Tips and Tricks to shoot better landscapes.
The tips were taken from 'Outdoor  Photography' magazine in their December issue.
"101 ways to take better landscape photographs - Improve your landscape technique by following our extensive guide. We asked 10 of your favourite outdoor photographers for their expert advice and tuition."

I have only posted 51 between the two posts which I use on a regular basis.  So enjoy the following tips and lets hope you have learned something: 

28. Be Original: Use your widest or smallest aperture to take depth of field to extremes. If you want to interpret the landscape in your own way then depth of field should be seen as a key tool.
29. Emphasise scale of landscape: With small apertures, exploit front-to-back sharpness by including foreground interest. This will emphasise the scale of landscapes, especially when you're using a wideangle lens.
30. Look for linear features: It pays to look for linear features which run front to background ,such as dry-stone walls or plough lines in fields. Set your smallest aperture and include them in your compositions for pictures with a dynamic look.
31. Hyperfocal distance: focusing at the hyperfocal distance gives you the maximum depth of field for any given aperture. To do this, first set your lens to manual focus and then refer to the depth of field scale on the lens barrel (if you have one). Then adjust the focusing ring so that the infinity marker is aligned with the chosen aperture value. The lens is now focused at the hyperfocal distance.

32. Appreciate light: in all its many variations and learn to see it to your advantage.
33. Sunrise and sunset: These are the conventional times for the majority of landscape photography. The low angle of the sun creates modelling of the landscape, conveying a sense of depth, while the apparent warmth of the light adds emotional impact.
34. Into the sun: Choose a morning or evening with broken cloud and wait for the moment when the sun begins to appear in a gap, before it gets too strong. ND grad filters will be vital to retain a balanced exposure.
35. Backlight: Autumn leaves, water droplets on trees and plants, and ice all lead themselves to a touch of backlighting for that added sparkle.
36. Explosive light: On a stormy day brave the elements and you may be rewarded with stunning moments when the sun bursts through a gap in the clouds. Nothing beats a landscape set ablaze with dark clouds glower in the distance.
37. Mist and fog: perfect for isolating subjects and adding a sense of mystery to your shots. Mist can diffuse sunlight wonderfully, creating an ambient glow in the landscape.

38. Maximise image quality: buy the best quality filters you can afford.
39. Positioning your polariser: A polariser's greatest effect can be found at 90 degrees to the sun. To help find this angle, make a 'gun' with your forefinger and thumb. Then, simply point at the sun and rotate your thumb 90 degrees either side.
40. Using multiple filters: Vignetting can prove a problem when using multiple filters or a holder. Before shooting, check for darkening of the frame's corners by taking a test shot of a light coloured subject, like the sky. If vignetting is present, adjust accordingly.
41. Remenber: Filters can't magically transform a poor picture or boring scene into a good one; they can only enhance an already well lit and composed image.
42. White Balance: If you shoot digitally, your camera's white balance setting can be utilised as a great form of creative in-camera filtration. Select a low colour temperature to create a cool colour cast, or a high one to add a warm, orange hue.

43. Expose for the highlights: When shooting for slide film or digital you must expose for the highlights. Over-exposed highlights will contain no information and will ruin your picture.
44. Expose to the right: When shooting digital expose to the right ie adjust your exposure so that the histogram gets as close to the right-hand side as possible without clipping the highlights.
45. Contrast is the enemy: of colour photography. Over-exposed areas will appear white; under-exposed areas will appear black, regardless of their actual colour. If contrast is too great, consider using a neutral density graduated filter. If this isn't an option, consider changing your composition.
46. Sunny 16 rule: If you find yourself without a light meter, remember the 'sunny 16' rule. The correct exposure for an average scene taken on a bright sunny day is f/16 at 1 over the ISO setting ie at iso 100 use 1/100sec at f/16.
47. Exposure compensation: Your camera's meter expects the subject to be a mid-tone grey (18%) and will suggest an exposure that will recreate this. If your subject is brighter (eg a snow scene) you must over expose ie dial in positive exposure compensation.

48. Shoot in RAW: There's simply no sense in shooting Jpegs if your camera can capture Raw files. Like the latent image on undeveloped film, the raw file can be 'processed' in unlimited ways and can never be overwritten.
49. Go non-destructive with Adjustment layers: If you apply Photoshop edits as adjustment layers, you can keep the image in a state of permanent flux. This way, there's no need  to make a long sequence of correct edits, as you can go back and change earlier commands until you've created the desired effect.
50. Sharpen as the final command: Always apply the sharpening command as the final step in your editing sequence. Just like using a focus finder to tweak your enlarger lens in the darkroom, sharpening extracts the maximum detail from your image, but if additional edits are applied afterwards, the image will start to get noisy.
51. Print with profiles: If you've spent hours fiddling around with printer software, then its time to use proper paper profiles to print with. Available as a free download from all good paper manufacturers, profiles are tiny data files that translate the colour of your pixels for use with specific ink, paper and printer combinations.

Friday, 2 January 2009

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Happy New Year

Well I didn't manage to get today (New Years Day) for the family walk in the mountains. Let's just say the weather was not the best and leave it at that ?

Instead here is another image taken last week when I was over in Westport. This was taken at the far end of Fallduff Beach with Croagh Patrick been lit by the last rays of sun  before the sun sets. On the full size raw version you can make out the church on the summit of the mountain. Thinking it was a piece of dirt here was I  going to remove it. Again a slow shutter speed was result of a small aperture (f/16). The front grad filter was covered with water spray after this image and I did not notice it until after I had finished the shoot and was packing the camera away. Lucky for me the best images were taken before the spray.