Saturday, June 30, 2012

Ross Castle Killarney National Park

Ross Castle sits inside Killarney National Park. We made a stop there to do some shooting. Peter had hoped to get a shot from across the lake with a castle reflection but the water levels were high, a boat was moored in the shot and the trees had fallen; so the "Supreme" Castle shot was no longer available as is true in most photographic venues....everything changes...from day to instead I roamed around in the time allotted and found some interesting lake boats and scenes to shoot. When I was shooting them I had processing them with Snap Art in mind. I always shoot many different compositions in a scene then I have options when I finally review my images. I liked both of these boat shots for different reasons.

I walked behind the castle where the boat rentals were located and made a few shots of the landscape with the boats that were on the lake.

As I wandered over over the bridge in the first shot the other side had lots of tied up boats pulled into the grasses. I kept hoping in this shot the little boat on the right would drift away from the boat next to it so I wouldn't have to cut it off on the edge, "Give it room to breath as Dan Sniffin says," but it never did, I made the shot anyway because I loved the reflections. I never did get a shot of the Castle I liked.
More rain today as I write I can hear it falling! Had a fabulous dinner of Pan fried Irish hake, Irish chorizo, mussels & clams with coriander seed potatoes & garlic yoghurt last night at Nimmos in Galway.
Off to explore Connemara National Park and a long ride along the coast from Galway; hoping the rain clears a little.......and for the Irish Blessing today....
If God sends you down a stony path,
may he give you strong shoes.

Friday, June 29, 2012

On the Road to Killarney....

HDR Capture 3 Brackets ~  Processed in Nik HDR Efex Pro ~ Snap Art3 ~ Photoshop
We departed Dingle and headed for Killarney making a stop at Minard Castle along the way.
I loved the sweep of curved boulder filled beach and headed for the distant shore thinking I could get a sweeping shoreline shot leading to the castle but by the time I climbed over the rounded boulder shoreline it was too late....with the other guys choosing the short easy path and setting up right in front (for a fabulous shot I might add)...but that was OK, I turned my eyes toward the rocks filled with sea critters, seaweed and embedded shells. So I got my 105mm macro lens out and went to work. I loved the natural colors of the sea life here and the amazing patterns and designs they had created. I just needed to get the focus right, find an interesting composition, and get my tripod legs wiggled into the right spots. I could have stayed here for hours! This was a fabulous shooting venue! For many types of photos..seascapes, shoreline details, and the Castle..with a small waterfall running into the sea! Awesome! Today is a bit windy and rainy and I am departing for I have to get on the road now! Time for more exploring and touring. Almost forgot the Irish Blessing:
May the blessing of light be on you—
light without and light within.
May the blessed sunlight shine on you
and warm your heart
till it glows like a great peat fire.

Ireland even has green worms, look closely in the upper right under the seaweed leaf and you will see one!

After I cloned everyone out I was not happy with the quality of  the image and decided to add a little Snap Art3 Filter so you could at least see what I was going for...and the boulders I climbed over to get there. This was a "soft" they say.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Blasket Island, Ireland

This day was most interesting. Peter Cox had arranged a boat trip to The Great Blasket Island for us, which was super. We left early around 9:00 and had planned to return at 4:00.  The hotel packed a paper sac lunch for us which was super...but the sac the boat, as it got a bit wet and made for difficult carrying. There is no water or facilities (to our surprise) on the island so Peter also brought along some extra water. It was a beautiful day for a boat ride, except the tide was out when we departed Dingle and we had to board a Zodiac to get out to the small boat that took us across. Now that was quite fun with tripods and camera gear, but we made it with the help of the boat crew who were all very nice! We also had to disembark on a Zodiak upon arriving at The Great Balsket, the ramp was slick with sea moss and had to be sanded down for a sure footing getting off the Zodiak.
Upon arriving and hiking up hill to the ruins, I enjoyed my sandwich in the shade of an old ruin.  The view from the top was amazing!

This documentary shot will give you an idea....of the process we went through to get on the shore. The Zodiac boat made two trips to get everyone on to the island with gear.

It is hard to imagine life on this island with the steep slopes and distance to the main land. There are  stories and books written on the Island life:    The Celts,  The Blasket Islands, The Western Island by Robin Flower,  The Islandman by Tomas O'Crohan,  An Old Woman's Reflections by Peig Sayers,    Peig by Bryan MacMahon,  A Pity Youth Does Not Last by M. Guiheen,  Twenty Years A-Growing by M. O'Sullivan,  Hungry For Home by Cole Morton   
I hope to pick up a few on Amazon when I get home, and learn more about the lives of those that built and abandoned these structures. We had fun photographing the donkeys that remain. A few folks shared their apple cores with them and then they started following us around. It was a fun day! (everyone got a good suntan this day as there are no trees for shade)
That's all for now  the sun is breaking through and its time to get driving, or walking!

Dingle, Ireland Sundown

Processed Nik HDR Efex Pro

One of the nights we spent in Dingle we returned to the top of Clogherhead for a sundown shoot. There was a brief moment when color appeared in the sky facing away from sundown. It was yet another hike up the hill with gear, hopefully the energy spent will combat all the fabulous meals we have enjoyed. Although my jeans do feel a little tight today......too many Irish sausages and desserts probably!
Valentia Island Sunset from the top of Clogherhead
As the sun set I noticed the horizon had a wonderful glow of pink light so I zoomed out to 300 framing just the sea and the beautiful sky. It was another late night getting back to the hotel as sundown is 10:00pm this time of year. I have found the late light to rearrange my personal clock a bit, staying up another two hours or so after the light is gone and getting less sleep.
Last night it was good to get a solid 8!
Now, sitting here by a sod fire enjoying a little down time. I hear its been very hot at home, so I am happy for the cooler temps here. Just my kind of weather! Hope to drive the coast a bit or head into the Burren today.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Dingle, Ireland

What a busy tour it was last week with Peter Cox, John Barclay and Dan Sniffin. Internet was spotty and we often arrived back in our rooms with little time to process or post, so I hope to catch up over the next couple days. Peter arranged a fantastic tour of Southern Ireland or as he called it "Wild Ireland." Dingle was our first town stop. After checking in we were cut loose for a little personal shooting time around town. Dingle harbor was quaint and calm.
It was a magnificent day! The town was filled with colorful homes, doors, windows, and gates reflecting the colors of the land and sea.

After dinner we headed out to Slea Head for an evening shoot with sundown at 10:00pm. 
The hike up the hill and over a stone wall through a well fertilized sheep meadow was quite interesting. I slowly made my way up the hill in time to catch a soft sunset. The guys got there before me and I loved the silhouettes of them I saw as I crested the hill. Today we finally arrived in Shannon around 6:00pm. I picked up my rental car for the next ten days I will be touring around Ireland.

This morning as we were checking out of the hotel I had time to browse through books in the hotel's library. One of them was an Irish photo book accompanied by Irish Blessings. I loved the connection and decided to add an Irish wish to each of my blogs from Ireland.

May you always have walls for the winds,
a roof for the rain, tea beside the fire,
laughter to cheer you, those you love near you,
and all your heart might desire.

Good night from Ireland!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Connor Pass Sunrise

By far the most beautiful light we have had was Tuesday, at sunrise around 5:15 on Connor Pass, as the low morning clouds drifted over the mountains while the sun rose turning the sky amazing colors. The idea for the shoot at Connor Pass was for the sunrise over over the bay and the mountains, but I was taken by the light in the sky and the landscape.....and then there are the sheep!
So that is what I shot yesterday morning.
No internet in my room again tonight or tomorrow night while in Killarney. Rain predicted for all day, but variable so not sure if we will get out to do any shooting.

Ireland Quick Post

From almost the top of Clogherhead, quite a hike I might add.....
We have been running like crazy Sundown until 11PM sun up ready to go out at 4:30 ~ so few chances in between with spotty internet to post but here are a couple....and yes it is sunny in Ireland! Gotta Run!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Blurring the lines.....Modern Grunge Desktop App

Captured Nikon D4 Processed Photoshop and Modern Grunge

Another busy week down! After getting work done in preparation for my Ireland trip, today, I had a chance to regroup. Yesterday was a full, fun day in Chesapeake City conducting an iPhone photography workshop.
My next iPhone workshop there has been rescheduled for December 8 in Chesapeake City so if you have an interest in learning more about capturing and processing images on the iPhone please sign up! Just click here to go to registration.
Tonight I wanted to work on a few images I captured in Delaware a couple weeks ago.
Near the Prime Hook beach, there is a section of dune that has been destroyed and the water in the freshwater marsh has been changed, so the old trees that encircled the marsh have died. It was late in the afternoon when I drove by this area and the thick cloud cover had all but obscured the sun. I loved the haunting look of the scene so I stopped and made a few images.
Modern Grunge is an application that originated as an iPhone app and now has developed into a desktop application in the App store. It's $5.99 and supports Nikon NEF raw files as well as tiffs. How cool is that!!
So I decided to use that as my processing application tonight. I also wanted to share this group of images to show how to make many compositions of a scene when you have great subjects and light. I always shoot vertical, horizontal and fit the subjects into the frame in different ways. When you have a great subject work it, you never know until you get your files downloaded which ones you will like best! Bottom line.....have fun with your photography and explore software processing options!
Captured Nikon D4 Processed Photoshop and Modern Grunge
Captured Nikon D4 Processed Photoshop and Modern Grunge

Sunday, June 3, 2012 Longwood

Processed with Alien Skin Snap Art3 and Photoshop
This week was busy after arriving back in Baltimore late Tuesday night from the beach; I met Marie, with Capital Photography Center, and we did workshop planning for fall. On Friday I met a great group of photo friends at Longwood Gardens.  On Saturday, I conducted a workshop shoot at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore and conducted a private lesson this morning! In between all that I had to clean up the yard from the horrible storms that blew through here on Friday evening.

Now for photography.........on Friday, while at Longwood, I was in a social mood and not so much into concentrating on making stellar flower I spent most of my time wandering around after shooting some water lilies which had just begun to bloom. When it was just about time to head to lunch and join up with the group, I saw a cluster of Amish women in the conservatory. I love the uniqueness of the Amish and I tried making a few telephoto handheld shots without being so obvious. It is amazing how the children are protected and stay very close to their guardian women. In the opening shot I tried to convey that, by framing the children with just the silhouettes of the women's waists.

It always intrigues me how this group of people can hold on to their traditional garb. They were moving through the conservatory in a tight group. They seemed to be enjoying each others comapny and the conservatory...I kept making pictures.

I was trying to be respectful and not capture their faces as they really don't like to be photographed and often don't mingle with the outside world. When they came by me, the little girls were really curious looking at my camera and as the group passed me, they paused and I said it looks like its girls day out. Surprisingly I got a reply, yes, one of the women replied. The elder woman with them was turning 60 and this was in celebration of her birthday. I congratulated her on her birthday and told her I was going to be 60 this year too, we indeed had something in common...I wished her a happy day, she in turn asked me when my birthday was and I was a real treat to share some conversation and common human experiences.

Now on the other hand......after spending the day in the gardens just really wandering with Dick and Rad...we sat down by the rose arbor. As we sat there, a group of young Asian teens appeared on the hill in front of us. They were having a great time photographing each other...jumping up and down. They saw us and I had my camera pointed at them and Rad made a jumping up and down motion as they were too far away to hear us...and they got the message and proceeded to have more jumping fun. Differences in people....its what makes the world go round....from the reserved, cloistered Amish, to the fun loving out going Asian teens....I felt like my best shots of the day were these....not what I usually come away with from Longwood Gardens, but what fun!! It was a great day meeting photo friends at Longwood!
Captured with Nikon D4 fitted with Nikon 28-300 lens at 300 ISO 1000 at f 5.6 1/1000sec.