Friday, 4 August 2017

Muckross Abbey

Muckross Abbey, Co. Kerry
These 14th Century (I think) cloisters in Muckross Abbey have been roughly restored to give an idea of the original ambience of the place. Set off the beaten track with foot or horse cart access it is a beautifully atmospheric place.

Because of the atmosphere I decided to change the image to Black and White as I thought it better represented the age and solemnity of the old cloisters. It was difficult to get a good vista as they were built for contemplative prayer and exercise, not beautiful camera angles!

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Pack Up Yer Ould....



The fair in Kinsale was shutting up shop one evening as I was passing and there was something irresistibly humorous about the closed tea-cup ride. I thought the rides were just switched off, unplugged and left until the next day. Guess not!

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Tap and Onions

Tap and Onion heads
There's something about layers of white flaky paint on metal that makes it eminently photogenic. Especially when it is accidental! I was going to move the pot of onion heads but then the combination of whites and textures grabbed my attention.

What I'm not sure about is whether I used too narrow a depth of field, and if more of the tap were in focus whether it would have made a better image. I am working with narrow depth of fields
 to see what sort of effects I get. The more I experiment the more mistakes I make but also the more infinite are the variations out there.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Wrong Shop?

Last weekend I went clothes shopping with a friend in Dublin. He found a shirt he liked but all the trousers were wrong in some way so we went and had coffee instead.

On the way home I commented:

I don't understand why none of those trousers fit you right because you wear M&S trousers all the time.

He studied me a moment perplexed.

We were in Dunnes not M&S.


Puzzle solved so!

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Light and Grass

Hill of Tara, Meath.
I have recently been looking at landscapes and how individual photographers get specific effects. I wanted to try an image with just grass and sky, or at least without any obvious focus.

Lying flat on my face in knee deep grass, trying to decide where to focus the little red dot, I realised that I had to add something else; grass and sky just wouldn't work. The graduations of colour in the grass were lovely but too subtle to capture in landscape width. The sky was beautiful too but I had left it too late as regards the light and it was starting to glare somewhat.

As far as experiments went, well, it was an experiment. As far as success went it was not very good at all, which goes back to what I have read about early morning and early evening being the best lighting conditions for photography.

Apart from the deficiencies of interesting light it was a great day out. The weather was hot and breezy, the sunshine glorious, the company fun. The Hill of Tara, historical centre of Ireland, was vast and impressive even covered with tourists, picnickers, happy dogs and horseflies.


Monday, 3 July 2017

Return of the...heckety?

Streetlights at Clontarf.
Recently I have been trying to get my act together and sort out website, marketing, Facebook, instagram and all that jazz and it occurred to me that it would be easier really to reactivate this blog as an interim measure whilst I try to figure things out.

Lazy bones!

Its been a while hasn't it? Lots has changed, some things haven't, and life goes on.

I was reading recently about how life changing experiences change some people's outlook so they promote living each day to the full, mindfulness, and lots of other carpe diem mantras with themselves as the embodiment of all that positivity. Great for them. The difficult thing for most people is that either there is no life changing moment or one can't change things, so its just 'same old, same old' with a bit more vinegar, trouble and hardship added each year. A lot of us are living life the best we can although it may not look like it from the outside. Not everyone can up sticks and live on a beach in Hawaii making millions on the internet...not everyone wants to either. For some of us a good day is getting up and cleaning one's teeth...or remembering not to wear slippers to school...or even just taking in the laundry before the rain!

Eldest told me last week to choose 'Fortitude' as the word of the day, perhaps 'Endurance' or 'Grit' was the word for the year but I missed that memo!

Still, lots to do, to see, to photograph. People to listen to, talk to, wind up.
And there's always chocolate.
Seize the day, they say, seize a nettle some days more like, sez I.

I need to get back to keeping a record of things, life, good things, places.
The habit of blogging was helpful before.

We'll see, as my mother says....

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Holiday Mishaps I Have Known

I was cruising round cyberspace ( in my Buick convertible, no less) reading people's Christmas posts and got to thinking about Christmases past when I lived in East Africa. They were extremely varied: occasionally disastrous, often hilariously funny and always action-packed.

There was the year when I gave Eldest and Middlest (aged maybe 6 and 4?) the hand-beater to whip the cream and they got so enthusiastic they turned the entire dish of cream into butter...plum pudding and home made butter anyone?

There was the year I catered for about ten and all the guests brought extra people who were lonely. We had the oddest multicultural gathering ever, including an ex-pat French Chef working in a Nairobi restaurant, and not enough chairs, plates, or food. Bread and butter for Christmas lunch all round. That was the same day that three  guests decided to climb on the roof to fix the TV aerial...the corrugated tin roof which was not built to withstand three men tromping round on it. It sagged so alarmingly that Pa-in-Law made us all get out of the house in case it caved in!

There was the year when, due to financial constraints, we had to go vegetarian but some guests just couldn't stand it so they nipped out mid-afternoon to the nearest kiosk (a sort of tiny African shop in a shed) for 'nyama choma' (local fire-charred goat's meat, tough as old boots but very tasty). That was also the year the askari (security guard) brewed a huge batch of changa'a (moonshine) under a bush in our garden without our noticing and the entire farm staff got so intoxicated they didn't wake up for nearly three days...

There was the year Eldest was three years old and the Hub made her a wooden Rocking Horse and the minute she got going she rocked so hard she upended it. By 8.30am Christmas Morning I was examining her at 20 minute intervals for concussion, having already bandaged her head and arm.

There was the year we were all at the in-Laws for Christmas, which always involved a huge table, beautifully laid out under the umbrella tree, and one of Pa-in-law's farm suppliers arrived with a belated gift of two turkeys...very alive and gobbling furiously! He had heard that wazungu (white folks) like turkey at Christmas and was being truly generous. Pa put them in the pig house to keep them safe from the dogs, but they gobbled and squabbled all day and quite put everyone off the usual grand turkey spread that Pa had prepared! Pa was only DISGUSTED!

There was another Christmas when Pa-in-law had the usual twenty or so people to lunch and mid-afternoon a gang of the twin's friends (17 years old-ish) decided to saddle up every horse they could find and go for a gallop on the vlei...I never discovered exactly what happened but it had something to do with swimming the horses across the dam and unexpectedly discovering a grumpy hippo in residence...anyhow they all returned indescribably wet and muddy, including the horses!

I won't say things have calmed down in recent years, but the entertainment tends to Church and other people's children related, so just different. Pa-in-Law, God rest his soul, was one of the greatest party givers I've known and tolerant of incredible chaos during the holidays. I won't say he instigated things, but they sure happened around him and he would just sit and smoke and smile like the eye of a tornado.

So how will your Christmas be, do you think?


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