Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Black Valley, Ireland

Half way through our tour, we made the trip into the Black Valley. The Kerry Way passes by this Old Homestead in the Macgillycuddy's Reek.
Last year on tour with John Barclay,  Dan Sniffin, and Peter Cox, was my first time in the Black Valley. I loved the old homestead and wanted my group to also have this experience. A sunny day in Ireland, imagine that, we had large drifting clouds overhead casting shadows on the land. There are many compositions to be made here and these are just a few...

There was a Black Valley ram munching on grass just outside of the Avoca shop where we stopped or lunch in the Black Valley.
and...on the way out we stopped by the lake but the light was bad on the water when we were there so I made a shot of the landscape instead. 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Colors of Portmagee, Ireland

I just love this little seaside town in Ireland! The colors are bright and energizing along the waterfront. When we were there the sun was shining and the air was clear. I enjoyed making images of the colorful windows, planters, and stucco buildings with textured shadows. Boats in harbor and supplies piled high on the pier added a few more photo ops in morning light.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Coumenoole Strand ~ Along Sleahead Drive A Beach Day in Ireland

The weather continued to amaze us on the tour with Peter Cox. Warm sunny days became the usual! On an afternoon drive we stopped by several of the beaches along Sleahead Drive. It was quite a day for the Irish, flocking to the beach...thinking this might be their summer. We were told they had not had a string of fine weather like this for five years! Normally I would stay away from shooting on sunny days like this but hey, I was in Ireland and for travel photography you can't always get the best light so you have to shoot what you have! I loved the wild flowers in bloom over the hillsides, something I don't get to see often living in an urban environment. It was fun watching the Irish beach goers enjoy the day. Even Peter had to take off his boots and wander to the waters edge. It was another great day in Ireland!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Great Blasket Island

Day two of the tour with Peter Cox, we traveled by boat to The Great Blasket Island. This was my second visit there and the island was once again amazing to me for the grand views and ruins of a society long gone. It is hard to imagine that one could live on such an isolated land with it's unforgiving landscape of rocky cliffs and barren ridge which drops precipitously to the sea.
The weather was amazing, blue skies with high clouds drifting, and moderate temps; great for traveling on the sea. On the way to the island the crew spotted Minke whales.
The Captain was on lookout as they had seen a friendly group of whales a couple days before. We delayed our arrival to the island in hopes of catching a whale breach, but the most we got was a fin! It was still awesome to witness! And then there are the Blasket donkeys....which are always fun to watch. It was a great day of exploration and photography in Ireland!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Magical Ireland Photo Tour ~ Slea Head Drive

Flypaper Textures (August Painterly Pac)

Our first night in Dingle the mist blew in as we were sitting down to dinner and we all thought that a sunset shoot would be out. But as we enjoyed our meals the mist began to lift over Dingle Bay, so we decided to head out and make a run up Slea Head Drive.  The mist became heavy as we made our way up the head. By the time we arrived there was a heavy fog over the land. We stopped along the drive to shoot the stone house ruins. Along the side of the road the grasses were filled with dew. As I was making the opening image a local pulled up to their home and asked the group what we were doing. We explained about the photo tour and she invited us all in for tea and tarts. Amazing hospitality and we had 11 people. We politely declined and went about making images of the stone houses on the hill.

As we were packing up the lady in this house came back out and once again invited us to enjoy some tea and tarts. We again declined, but that just demonstrates how hospitable the Irish people are! It was a great first day in Ireland on tour with Peter Cox.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Magical Ireland Photo Tour ~ First stop Dingle

Just back from co-leading a Photo Tour in Ireland with Peter Cox. It was fabulous to be in Ireland again with an enthusiastic group of photographers! Our first stop was in Dingle. We had an hour of free time to run through Dingle after checking in. So before dinner we grabbed our cameras and ran out to see what we could capture. Within a few short blocks of the Dingle Skellig Hotel is the town area and opportunity for imagery abounds. I love walking down alley ways and side streets and one of the first side streets we came upon lead me to the opening image. The image was processed with Nik Color Efex Pro ~ Glamor Glow and then I added a layer of  Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 ~ Antique Wet Plate II. Using several layers in Photoshop, I adjusted the opacity and masked out effects to achieve the look. All of the following images were processed similarly. Another turn down an alley way netted the sofa image. The sofa was sitting at the end of the alley with weeds growing through the arm. Processing this image first gave me the inspiration to process this series of images with the same effects.

A few short steps from the end of the hotel drive on the way to town, I found this scene.

No matter what there are always lace curtains at the windows!

A weathered stone fence finial caught my eye because of the layers of colored paint, deteriorated by the elements, to a wonderful texture over many years.

Stone walls, lush vegetation and old world architecture  come together in layers against a gray sky.
Seaside houses are strung together along the shore line. It was a great hour and I only made it six blocks before rushing back for our first dinner with the group. As we headed back for dinner, the mist was moving in and we were afraid we might not get in our sunset shoot, but that's Ireland!