Some photos taken on the iPhone 5S. A great camera when used in conjunction with the Camera+ app.
My Mamiya 7 camera body has been – gathering dust on the shelf – without a lens for over a year. I recently got lucky and found a 65mm lens in good condition for a reasonable price. Delighted to see no light leaks, and shutter speeds are working fine. Images are pretty much straight out of the camera with little or no photoshopping.
I love medium format film photography.
Sunday morning is the perfect time to go for a walk, and if you have a dog there is no better place to let them off the leash and chase the birds.
I have fond childhood memories of going for long weekend walks with my own family on the local beach and dunes.
The beach is ever changing: Somedays it’s calm, others its crazy wild. Sands shift upwards and downwards of 2 metres, revealing and concealing. Storms eat away the land, and bring in flotsam from all over the world. Last weekend I found what looked like a transmission engine from a motor car. How does something like this get carried in the sea, and from where?
And of course, if you have a dog, there is nearly always a big of doggy socialising to be done.
Back in December amidst the madness that is the run up to Christmas I spotted in the distance some glorious light shining through the cloudbreaks. I grabbed the camera, took a spare roll of film from the fridge, started up the car, and literally raced towards one of the local beaches.
There was a cold Easterly wind blowing, and in my rush to chase the light I forgot the tripod. Holding a small camera (M6) steady in low temperatures and freezing wind is not the easiest. I must have spent the bones of an hour taking around forty photographs of the scene, watching the light change, moving forwards and backwards, left and right. With only a few frames left, the guy in the bottom right of the frame arrived and started digging for bait. I took a few more photographs until the winder would move forward no more.
The film was sent off to John Gunn’s Camera Shop in Dublin for processing and scanning. The wait for negatives to return from a lab is a little like waiting for Santa to arrive; one never really knows what one will get.
I have looked through the contact sheet a few times and this image is my initial favourite. I realise in time this may change, but for now this is my catch of the day!
Once we passed passed through Galway, we inched our way deep into the heart of the Irish landscape that is Connemara: Rolling hills, spectacular mountains, bogs, sheep, and traditional architecture. All breathtaking. The journey to our destination took twice what it should due to multiple stops; jumping out of the car to compose, focus, and click, pause for a moment to be totally awed, then back into the car and on the road again. The kids weren’t impressed with our behavior, but understandably they were tired after a six hour car journey.
Two months has passed since visiting Clare Island in the west of Ireland: It seems like years. I first visited the island thirty years ago. My memories are vague, but I remember spending the night there after my great uncle – an island resident, and lighthouse keeper – insisted we spend the night.
Home, sweet (temporary) home. One thing I really loved about Clare Island was the fact that there were no manicured lawns anywhere. The small areas of land that were not in use for sheep grazing or agriculture were used to grow vegetables and herbs by, and for, the residents.
Traditional Currachs used for fishing in Clew Bay.
A few days before our arrival, a local man lost his life while using a currach similar to those in the photo. It was the first drowning on the island in 90 years, and the atmosphere was very solemn. The water was pretty choppy for August; I can only imagine how rough it gets during the stormy winter months.
We spent one full day on the beach – from low tide to high tide. It was possibly the best day we had all summer; 25C degrees, blue skies, no wind, and crystal clear waters. I swam more that day than I did during June and July.
Our point of departure/arrival on the mainland, with Clare Island’s distinct profile in the background.
I can’t wait to go back to Clare Island – ideally I would like to spend a full year there to experience the four seasons, and immerse myself in the islanders life. Until then, Clare Island, you remain in my thought and dreams.
As part of my research into representations of the Irish landscape I have been looking at Irish Landscape painters and paintings. The local library is understocked on the subject, and while the internet is a great source of information, I prefer to read about subjects in depth from a book – I just cant read more than a thousand words on a computer screen before my eyes and mind glaze over, or I am distracted by some flashing banner or link.
Luckily, my sister and her boyfriend have an extensive library of art: Both of them are artists. Irish Art, by Bruce Arnold, has a good introductory section to landscape art, and it is from this section that I discovered the art and artists featured below. (though not all are included in the section).
Most of these paintings are from the late 19th Century, a very different Ireland. So distant, yet still so close. This list by no means an exhaustive list, nor is it chronological. I will be updating in the near future with more paintings and painters from more recent times.