Sometimes... you just have to get your feet wet . 13 Feb 10

13th February 2010
Another sunny day in Mayo but again I only had limited time to get my pictures. In the morning I decided the sky looked great and so I would nip down to Rossbeg here in Westport and photograph Croagh Patrick .

My son Barry says I should change the name of the Gallery from Images of Mayo to Images of Croagh Patrick! I think he is a little unfair but when you live next door to the Reek it is vary hard to ignore, and it is very photogenic !

The tide was out and I had taken a few pictures when I saw this swan appear, I had never seen a swan there before and I immediately wondered how I could photograph it with Croagh Patrick in the background. I left my tripod and Camera bag were it was set up and walked about 150metres to my right, I walked to the waters edge but could not line the swan up with the mountain. I needed to be in the water, I was only wearing trainers but decided there was nothing for it only to wade in. So I did, the swan then co operated by turning back towards the mountain and the picture was in the bag. Despite the sun the water was freezing but I think it was worth it.

This afternoon I took time off to watch the match between France and Ireland. At half time I looked out the kitchen window and could see there was a very interesting sunset. Patricia was making coffee, I decided I would stay and watch the match. “Call yourself a photographer” my daughter Grainne teased. We decided half time was ten minutes long we could nearly be back, so Grainne and I grabbed our cameras and made a quick dash in the car to a good vantage point. The sky was spectacular, we grabbed a few pictures and returned to see Ireland Crash against the French. The pain of the defeat was softened by the knowledge that I had a sunset in the camera. Thanks Grainne for getting me to go out!


Huge Skies 12 Feb 10

The sky looked amazing today it was so blue and the clouds so white. The clouds also appeared to be so high that to make a feature of the clouds in the photograph and include the land I had to go very wide angle.

Croagh Patrick and Clare island both look small under a huge sky.


The rising sun. 11th Feb 10

Once again another lovely day here in Mayo and once again I had little or no opportunity to go out with the camera. I was travelling between Claremorris and Kiltimagh around 8.10 am. I was travelling from East to West and was very aware of the sun rising behind me.I wondered where could I grab a picture for todays blog, when I remembered the graveyard at Kilcolman. Gravstones always face east so I knew I could get a Silhouette of a cross. But it was easier said then done. firstly I had to find a cross that lined up well with the low lying sun, then lining the sun up with the cross in the camera meant sitting on the ground which was heavy laden with frost.I also had to be very careful not to look directly at the sun through the lens as it would be very easy to damage my eyes. The sun was still very low, and I had no time to wait for it to rise further so I just had to take the picture even though the cross appears very short.

The second picture shows the graveyard with the sun behind me.


Just on time. 10th Feb 10

Today was a lovely day in Mayo but Ihad little opportunity to use the camera. I had an evening class at 6.30 pm and dashed out at 5.30 to get todays photo. I was just too late to capture a sunset but the colours were really nice after the sun had dropped behind Croagh Patrick.

A few clouds in the sky would have added greatly in this scene. Im just never happy!! My wife Patricia would tell you, I so often come back from taking pictures and will report that I was to early, to late or it was to bright, to dark, to windy, to wet, to cloudy or not cloudy enough! Still I figure that when I get the absolutely perfect picture I will have to give up.


Freezing on Bertra. 9th Feb 10

I was up early this morning but the sun stayed in bed, even though there was low cloud there was a clarity about the light I intended to go to Carronisky Beach but stopped for a quick look at Bertra. Bertra is much calmer then carronisky, with very small gentle waves.

I ended up spending at least an hour and a half on Bertra. By the end I could not operate the camera my fingers were so cold . My feet were also wet as I had done my own impersonation of King Canute, standing in the water trying to photograph a wave as the tide came in and one wave brought the water over the top of my boots!

I love photographing water and beaches, part of the attraction is that you never now how the waves are going to break so even when you get a picture it is hard to leave because the next one might be better!


Flash Photography 8th Feb 10

This morning was very dark and grey so I got no pictures before starting in the studio.Finished in the studio this evening at 6.15 which was too late even for a good twilight shot, also I had to start my Monday night evening Class at 6.30 pm.
This evening in the evening class we did a class on flash photography. We started by just becoming familiar with using the flash on camera, my son Barry agreed to model. Monica Flanagan who attends the class kindly agreed that I could use her pictures to demonstrate what we did.

In the first picture Monica used the flash pointing straight at Barry the picture is slightly over exposed but you can see this type of flash provides a harsh unflattering light.

In the second picture Monica has bounced the flash off the ceiling this is much more flattering, but the eyes are still quite dark.

In the third picture Monica has pointed the flash almost backwards into the corner of the room above and behind her own head, This has resulted in a very flattering light in which the eyes are really well lit.

Flash can be very effective if used properly. Taking the flash off the camera increases greatly the creative potential.
In this fourth picture Monica has lit Barry with one canon Speedlight fired from the next room, through a sheet pinned to the doorway! Its a very interesting light that suits a male portrait very well.

I am not sure what people thought when I started to pin a sheet to the doorway but everybody was amazed at what we could achieve with just one light and a sheet!

Thanks to Monica for the use of these photographs, of course if I am to maintain my own resolution to put up a picture every day I am posting this Panoramic picture of Lough mask that I took in December.


A Grey Day 7th Feb 10

Well the forecasters got it right , it was a grey day. I woke this morning to low cloud and cold wind, even the most dedicated photographer is allowed to say ah well and go back to bed on a Sunday morning! So thats what I did. There was no sign of things improving all day, I had to drive to Kiltimagh to take my son Barry football training, I did not put the camera in the car and so when the sun did just peep through the cloud briefly, I had no camera! By the time we came home the sun was gone again and it got really cold. So I decided I would see what pictures I had that could be used for today. I came upon these two pictures with skies so different to today I thought I should use them. They were taken on a sunny day in December! Hard to believe ,but true. Taken on the road to Doolough the first picture required very carefull exposure and post processing.

As you can see the contrast levels between the sky and the valley are very high. Some people would use HDR for a picture like this, I always feel HDR looks false. In this case I have exposed to the right of the histogram, making sure I have kept the highlight detail and then used 6 levels adjustment layers to in effect burn and dodge different parts of the image. I find using adjustment layers much more controllable then simple burning and dodging and always teach this method to people on my nightclasses and digital Photography workshops, most people I find are afraid of layers , but it is really simple.
Anyway I digress if you are not a photographer, sorry for boring you!

The second picture was much easier, but I love the clouds.
Freezing on Bertra. 9th Feb

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