Ireland, Landscapes, Leica, Photography, travel, Uncategorized

Aerial Photography Wexford

For my 40th birthday I received a voucher for a one hour flying lesson with Wexford Flying Club. Initially I was nervous; there were so many stories in the news around that time about small aircraft crashing. It put me right off, in fact, I did’t book my lesson for over a year.

I finally plucked up the courage and set a date (October, 2016). The leaves were falling off the trees, the shadows were stretching across the landscape, and the small aircraft flying season was coming to a close.  I really wanted to get some good pictures and booked an afternoon appointment hoping for some dramatic lighting.

The airfield turned out to be exactly that: a green field somewhere near Taghmon, Wexford, and upon arrival I saw a small airplane coming in to land – on its one wheel. A few beads of sweat trickled down my back.

I was greeted at the Office/Control Tower, by Kay, who was very nice and put some of my fears at ease. Inside the Centre, Peter (the pilot) went through the basic workings of the plane (D-KIAH SF25C) with me using a scale model. It was a lot of information to take in, and my brain was almost fried by the end of the pre-flight session. I wondered if I would remember anything once up in the air.

As a teenager I spent some time playing flight simulators (Apache Gunship, F15 Strike Eagle, F16 Combat Pilot) on the trusty Commodore Amiga, and  had a ‘basic knowledge’ of flying, but this was different, now it was for real: No ejector seat options today.

My heart quickened when Peter said he will be turning off the engine mid-flight, and that we would be gliding, and landing, with the engine turned off. There was no turning back now. Only the day before I was watching some majestic Buzzards soaring high on the thermals, watching them through a pair of binoculars way up in the sky, so high that they were barely visible to the naked eye. I always wanted to fly like a bird, and now here was my chance. The opportunity to soar.

Once we were up in the air, it was only a few minutes before Peter handed over the controls to me. The plane was beautiful to fly, the controls only needing small adjustments to make noticeable changes in pitch, roll, banking. The hour up in the sky flew by so fast. It was totally amazing. Far more enjoyable than any flight with Ryanair, or Aer Lingus.

I meant to take more photos but I was so immersed in the whole experience that I forgot, which is fine, because the memories are now ingrained in my being, and not buried somewhere on a memory card or hard drive.

Our flight took in the following areas: South East coast from Cullenstown to Saltee Islands, to Carne, Rosslare, and Ravens Wood. Then across the Slaney River, Wexford Town, Forth Mountain, and back over towards The Airfield at Ardenagh, near Taghmon, Wexford. We touched down shortly before sunset, and the light was amazing.

I think the highlight was when Peter switched off the engine and we removed our headsets. It was just us and the plane, up in the clouds, and the sound of the wind. I stuck my hand out of the small sliding window and shifted it as a bird would its wings, feeling how it would be to really fly. That didn’t last long as the air temperature was pretty cold at 4000ft. As we soared through the air, and the fluffy clouds, there was little or no sound, other than the tiny air gaps in the cockpit canopy. Finally, I was flying like a bird.

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Our Carriage awaits.

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Wexford Town, River Slaney, and surroundings.

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Ravens Wood, and the ever shifting sandbanks of the Slaney Estuary.

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Slaney Estuary, Rosslare Strand, and Harbour.

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Kilmore Quay, Forlorn Point, and surroundings.

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Looking SW towards Hook Lighthouse, and beyond.

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Keeragh Islands, Cullenstown, and Burrow in foreground.

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Architecture, iphoneography, Ireland, Landscapes, photojournalism, Uncategorized

Coastal Protection Works at Bastardstown, Kilmore

From March to July 2017, I documented the construction of Coastal Protection Works at Bastardstown (i’m sure there is an interesting place-name history), Kilmore, County Wexford, Ireland. I documented the process while taking beach walks with our dog Pepper.

The past few years brought drastic change to sections of the coastline here in South East Wexford, and Bastardstown – or Seaview as it is also known – was no exception. Large sections of the coastline were eroded during the storms of 2014, and it continues to this day. See some of my earlier posts documenting the storms.

Erosion is an ongoing process. The land is always changing, whether its seismic movement, man-made, or the sea reshaping the coastline; it is in constant flux.

When the erosion of land threatens somebody’s home they are left with few choices: Sell up and move, sit tight and wait for the inevitable (which may take decades), or take action and use resources available to protect their land and home.

This project was commissioned by a private client in order to protect their beachfront property from eroding to the point of their house collapsing into the sea.

Large rocks were transported from a quarry on heavy duty trucks, and slowly, and strategically placed along a section of coastline to prevent or delay progressive erosion due to storms, high tides, rising sea levels, and other factors.

It is questionable as to whether the placement of these rocks increases risk of erosion elsewhere along the coast. As a long-time and regular visitor to the beach, it is my opinion that the introduction of Rock Protection around the access slipway altered the surrounding beach landscape and erosion patterns. Some people I have spoken to on this subject think that erosion in this area was exacerbated after the construction of the Kilmore Quay Marina.

There is a notable lack of tree planting in this area. It is hard to grow trees here – though not all species – due to salty sea air, and relentless winds. Tree planting would go some way towards slowing down the erosion process. However, it might take away from your view of the sea, which, over time, may get a little too close for comfort.

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Many of the photos are taken from the beach access slipway which already has rocks protecting it, and can be seen in the foreground above.

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7th April, my first sighting of the Swallows or Swifts. I wondered what would become of their homes as the construction progressed.

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The beach access slipway. the handrail is now in very poor condition.

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All photos were taken with the iPhone, and batch processed in Adobe Lightroom.

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cinema, Photography, surfing

Singlefin: Yellow, Surf Documentary Review

Title: Singlefin: Yellow (2004)

Director: Jason Baffa

Starring: Beau Young, David Kinoshita, Devon Howard, Daize Shayne, Bonga Perkins, Tyler Hatzikian (shaper/surfer).

Genre: Documentary/sport

Running time: 70 min.

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Written, directed, and produced by Jason Baffa, Singlefin: Yellow charts the journey of a surfboard around the world as it is shared by a community of surfing friends.

Inspired by the spirit of nineteen-sixties surfing, California based shaper Tyler Hatzikian builds a board, surfs it, passes it on to a friend, who then repeats the process.

Shot in economical 16mm format, the film has a nice grainy feel. Faded colours, and weird colour casts all add to the atmosphere of the documentary. It has a real sixties feel; even the clothing/wetsuits have a retro look. The only real reference to the twenty-first century is a short clip of Devon Howard tapping away on his laptop.

There is plenty of nose-riding footage shot from the beaches – possibly a little to much. Visually the documentary could benefit from a little more camera angle variety. However, editing is tight and the surf footage is real good, as all participants are world class surfers.

As the board travels to well known surf breaks in California, Australia, Japan, Hawaii, and Mexico, Baffa explores some of the history and culture of surfing. Along the journey each talented, mellow surfer describes their experience surfing Yellow, and share their philosophies on surfing and life. Daize Shayne is the only female surfer included, and although her section is a little short, it’s probably a reflection of the largely testosterone fueled/filled surf world.

The film flows smoothly from one section to the next, and in-transit footage of the board making its way from departure lounges to arrivals provides visual variety and a little respite from the waxing lyrical.

“Surfing is there for everyone to enjoy. Surfing is a truly beautiful thing to do, and something that can change your life forever.” – Beau Young.

The accompanying soundtrack adds real depth to the documentary: A carefully selected collection of offbeat folk, rock, jazz, and electronica tunes, by relatively unknown West coast artists like The White Buffalo, enhances the tone and mood.

The surfboard acts as a common thread throughout the documentary, and provides Baffa with the means to explore the spirit of surfing: It’s more than just competitions, sponsorship, and money. It’s about sharing the waves, friendship, new experiences, and having a good time.

This is a beautifully crafted documentary that will appeal to anyone vaguely interested in surfing. It’s got great cinematography, music, and an underlying message, and once the credits were finished rolling, l passed on my copy of Singlefin: Yellow to a surf friend.

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Uncategorized

Portraits

Has it really been that long since my last post? Between sea swimming, university work, family life, and god knows what else, I have had little time to dedicate to posting. apologies to all (if any). Excuses, excuses.
Just a quick update on my university status. For my photoessay project, I just edited 545 images down to 50; now to further edit to 25 images, and get the sequencing right.
History & Theory essay is about halfway there: I’m doing a critical essay on Robert Frank’s: The Americans. A wonderful book, rich and complex in content and history. If you don’t already have it, get it. I also just received a copy of Looking In: Robert Frank’s The Americans. A comprehensive exploration and analysis of The Americans, which includes contact sheets, essays, maps, and loads more. I will do a more in depth review of the book here at a later date.
For now, I will leave you with a link to Tommy Forbes: Portrait Of The Indian Male. Loads of people poo poo Flickr.com, but there are so many talented, dedicated photographers there. Heres the link. Enjoy.

http://strange.rs/1728680/Portrait-Of-The-Indian-Male

Simon

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Uncategorized

This land is our land

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/may/29/shell-ireland-corrib-gas-project

The Pipe is a compelling video documentary of one small irish community’s fight against corporate giants, Shell, and Irish political corruption, greed, and failure to protect it’s citizens.

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