Category Archives: outdoor photography

Summer, Impromptu

Impromptu is often the best. A beautiful summer evening. 23 degrees at 8pm. No kids obligations. We get a bag of chips and have dinner at the beach.

A walk across the ripples. The sun is beginning to set. We pass through the shadow of the big chimneys. All I have is my camera phone. What I get is this.


Impromptu is good.


Location, Location, Location

Another weekend, another shoot for Locks and Lashes. Sonja is all set, grabs her remote release, her speedlite, the portable soft-box, a tripod and off she goes through the rain. She is enthusiastically greeted at the door of the shooting venue. “Can we shoot outside, you think? Has the rain stopped?” It has. And Sonja is delighted because shooting outside, under clouded available light is muuuuuch easier than in the confined impromptu studio with flash. Five models, one era. We were doing the 1940s on Sunday, and a variety of looks including the 1940sĀ  bride, the Marilyn, the relaxed (house) wife, the society lady – and some “casual-sophisticated a la 1940s”. Those are my monikers, no guarantee that that is what those different looks really meant to convey. Here is the latter:

Locks and Lashes 40s (162 of 413)

The fabulous Kat Moiselle

The last in a quick series of shots outside. The freshly painted exterior of a house in the neighbourhood provided a lovely background, with the doorway framing model Kat Moiselle nicely. The demure pose in the authentic garb fits the vintage look very well, I think. Where is Mademoiselle Moiselle off to, one wonders?

Within a range of 100 steps we shot on three different locations, all outside, all with available light, much to my *de*light. Dublin is brilliant that way – just go outside, and you have photo locations galore. That is when the weather plays ball.

Luckily it did – for all of the three-hour session. Upon return to the base, I discovered that I had forgotten an essential part for the studio set-up. Duh. Thank goodness for my clients’ suggestion we shoot this outdoors. Otherwise I’d have been f…



Landscape at Night

As we are nearing the end of week 2, I better get my skates on and spoil the world with another image *ahem*.

Killarney small

I have always been fascinated by night photography. Because it is difficult – and more a less a contradiction in terms. If photography is painting with light, then how do you paint if there is no light on your brush? Well, ok, there is *some* light available even in the darkest of nights. The moon, the stars and the little Prince, and, in our civilisation-pestered time, street lights etc.

Above picture was taken early last summer in Killarney. This is the Castlelough Castle which is situated in the grounds of the plush Lake Hotel. No doubt, thousands of hotel guests have taken pictures of the suitably dramatic medieval ruin, built in the 12th century. But maybe not quite so many did so at night. Or if they did, with rather grainy, shaky outcome.

Of course I did not have my tripod with me on this trip. I was travelling light – by train. No, space for a kilo and a half courtesy of Manfrotto. But who needs a tripod when there is infinite scope for shitty rigs? All you need is a bench – on the shore and suitably provided by the hotel. I had to balance the camera on lenscap and finger in order to get the horizon vaguely straight. Matters were complicated by an annoying outside light that kept going on and off, f*cking up my WB with interfering neon light (or whatever light it was). I spent at least 15 minutes manually releasing the shutter and avoiding to breathe while capturing this image. And time was of the essence as the atmospheric, misty mountains (…cold, to dungeons deep and caverns old… no chance wasted to refer back to the film du jour) were in and out of cloud coverage. Without the strong illumination of the castle the image would not have been possible (save myself freezing my butt off and holding the bloody shutter open for an hour and a half).

I like the ghostly fingers of the tree trunks.

Happy New Year

The new year is still fresh enough to announce resolutions. Mine is 72ppi.

Ok, lame joke. But nonetheless I am starting off the new year with resolutions good intentions. Same procedure as every year, James.

2014 I want to…

  • take make more pictures
  • try more new things with photography
  • finish at least *one* photography project
  • get more photography work
  • make my blog live up to its name (TWO pics a week, for Cod’s sake, can’t be *that* hard, can it?)

The last one is possibly the easiest resolution to reach. I am making my start now – on the penultimate day of week 1 in year 2014. At least that gives me the opportunity to post the second image tomorrow…


Whitepark Bay, Co. Antrim

Happy new year, everyone!

Nerd Alert

It doesn’t happen very often that I literally can’t wait to download my pictures from the card *and* start editing and post-producing them. Usually, it takes something really special for me to be impatient about checking the booty of a shoot – or a commercial project, of course. But would I have ever expected to be turned on by one of the nerdiest photo ops *ever*???

I have spent all afternoon today on the roof of my house. Sheltered by the two apexes of the roofs and in the wind shadow thus created, I had a fabulous vantage point from which to follow the fly-past of the Flight Fest. Despite rain in the morning, it stayed dry all afternoon, and wrapped in my winter fleece and cozy under a Breton woolly hat, I defied the wind bite.

Flightfest 2013 (43 of 741)

Consider yourself teased – there are better shots than this. But this at least gives you the context.

Mind you, three hours of solidly spying the sky for planes, and keeping Marky Mark plus heavy 300mm zoom at the ready has been quite an exhausting experience. At the end of the afternoon, my wrist hurt really badly from cradling the equipment to keep it from shaking in the gusts of wind and blurring my shots. I will get into that in-depth on another occasion, because as yet I am still in the middle of post-production. Crop tool here I come. There’s a lot of sky in these images, and rather minute aircraft, especially the fighter planes that tended to bank towards the North, while I was sitting towards the South *hmph*. A few of the smaller aircraft thankfully banked in a tight bend and more or less flew directly over our heads. I stole a few good shots there, but it remains to be seen in my post-production what kind of images I can crop from the 80 percent sky/20 percent plane I captured in most.

Until then, I am off to the Big Smoke for another one of my annual trips to London. Catching up on lots of exhibitions. There’s some really cool stuff on, at the mo. But who am I kidding – there *always* is some really cool stuff on in London. How to get it all into my tight schedule is the question.


Sunsets for Sanity

Could be the headline for a some new age-y, esoteric therapy that involves people staring into the sunset in an effort to regain their sanity. Come to think of it, maybe that is what it is for me? I keep making these pictures of sunsets. Nothing special – taken from my kitchen window, most of the time with the iPhone. A quick snap. More often than not because I need another shot for my Project 365. If I am honest, it is probably my sanity project. Or that’s what it appears like now that I looked through my camera roll and noticed how many of them there are.


This is actually just a selection of them. There’s more. Am I going mental? Or just soft with age? Or lazy? Sunsets are the easiest thing to photograph. Somehow the camera does all the work, creating a stunning image every time. It’s chemistry, really. Well, or maybe it is physics. The low position of the sun near the horizon means that the light has to permeate through more atmosphere. A lot of the usual blue light is thus filtered out, leaving the wonderfully warm orange, red and purply tones. Pollution from the city adds to this – more gas means more filter for the light to penetrate. A natural blue filter – great stuff.

Come to think of it – I must bring marky Mark out and photograph with him. The different WB settings might give some interesting effects.

A Gaggle of Photographers

What do you get when four photographers go on a mini-break together? Two car boots full of gear – and hardly any pictures taken. Well, I exaggerate. The boots also held our overnight bags and a shopping trolley full of bottles. But prepared we were. The four of us were heading off for a weekend in the country. Admittedly, the intention was not to go on a photo excursion. We only wanted to spend some time together, away from it all, enjoying each others’ company. Not since the end of our degree course last summer had we been together so intensely. Plus – without any pressure of impending deadlines or looming exams.

However, the full loot of the weekend away was 12 shots taken with Marky Mark – and 30 iPhone shots. *arrrrgh* And I really couldn’t pretend that there was nothing to photograph. As a matter of fact, the area where we were, turned out to have some of the most stunning Irish scenery I have ever come across. South Co. Fermanagh with its interconnected waterways and Lough Erne was absolutely gorgeous, both on the cloudy Saturday, as well as the bright and sunny Sunday.

Alas, we were not exactly doing photo-friendly things, I suppose… The most stunning vistas passed us by as we were sitting in the car, driving to our first port of call – a cave. Now, I have shot in caves before. (And you can see some evidence of that here…) But – if you have seen *one* cave, you have seen them all… Not that that would keep me from visiting yet another cave. I still love going underground – but this cave was really special because the tour involved a little boat ride on the underground river that has created the cave system of Marble Arch Caves. On the flipside, dark, damp caves are just not particularly conducive to shooting pictures. That coupled with the fact that my footwear was rather incompatible with cave exploration (flipflops should really only be worn on sandy beaches, not rough, wet, subterranean passage ways), meant that I stowed Marky Mark safely in my camera bag because I just didn’t trust myself to slip, bump, stumble or trip and crash the precious hardware in the dark. The iPhone was much quicker, too, as opposed to the fancy-schmancy massive cameras which brought up the rear of the group *ahem*.

If it hadn’t been for the proximity of a particularly stunning view just 2 minutes away from the Caves carpark, I would not have exercised Marky Mark’s shutter even *once* all weekend… What was so beautiful of this view was the absence of signs of habitation in it. There was one farm house in the distance, but everything else was green rolling hills, cliffs, a table mountain in the distance. A few cows dotting the landscape, some trees – this could’ve been Hobbiton for all I know…

Hobbiton, Co. Fermanagh. Awwwww.

BTW, I must point out that I was not the *only* lazy photographer. None of my fellow snappers made many photographs. Does it matter? Hell, no. The impressions are all there in our brains. The eyes are, probably, the best camera in the world. They only really haven’t yet developed a printer that you can rig up to your hippothalamus and print what your eyes recorded. UnlessĀ  you consider drawing from memory an adequate conservation and sharing process. Analog, though.

A wonderful weekend it was, nonetheless. And any time spent with good friends is worth-while, even if you don’t make any pictures at all. But if I am honest, I would love to go back – and next time hardly take the camera away from my eye. Must go on my own then, because two many photographers spoil the picture.