Architecture, interiors, Ireland, Leica, Photography, Uncategorized

Powerscourt Townhouse, Dublin

Recently, I have been looking back through some photos from 2013. I splashed out on a Voigtlander 15mm f/4.5 Super-Wide Heliar lens for the Leica M9. I should have also bought an external viewfinder but they didn’t have one in-store at the time.

Anyway, the lens was very small, well built and produced pin-sharp images with near zero distortion.

I ended up selling it on after a while as I found I just didn’t use it enough to justify keeping. Other reasons included:

colour casts/shifts in the corners of images, and no external viewfinder (my bad).

Voigtlander are now producing a newer version (III) of this great lens that has improved colour performance in the corners. I know what is on my wish list for Santa this year….

Here is an interior shot I took that required no perspective correction.

SB_20131203_0032-1

Advertisements
Standard
Photography, photojournalism, travel, Uncategorized

Christmas, Scandinavian Style: part 1

Arlanda airport, Stockholm, Sweden.

Arlanda airport, Stockholm, Sweden.

SB_20121221_0784_web

Delays expected.

I realise this post is coming a few months late. Better late then never, right?

I love traveling and experiencing new and different cultures, and Scandinavia is no exception. I hadn’t been to Finland – home of my lovely wife – for over two years. I hadn’t been outside of Ireland for over two years, so I was pretty excited to be heading off for two weeks to experience Christmas Scandinavian style.

Our journey would take us from Dublin to Helsinki, from there we would take the night train 700km north to Kemi and across the border to visit Hanna’s dad in Haparanda, Sweden.

Exiting Helsinki terminal the cold hit me like a block of ice. I fumbled round in my rucksack for a thick woolly hat, and then thrust my aching hands deep in to my pockets. The decision to purchase winter boots and a winter coat after we arrived at our destination now seemed foolish.

At Helsinki Central station we bought some greasy chips, hotdogs, shared a beer, and waited until our train was ready to board.

SB_20121221_0789_web

Night train from Helsinki to Kemi, Finland.

Twelve hours and a restless sleep later, we arrived at Kemi – northern Finland. The thermometer at Kemi train station read -28C. Luckily, Hanna’s Dad was waiting for us and had the inside of the Volvo nice and warm.

First port of call – after dumping luggage at the house – was the shops to get myself some proper winter clothing. Ankle-less socks and trail runners just don’t cut it in these conditions. Luckily, christmas sales were in full swing and (many) bargains were purchased.

Upon returning to the house we took some coffee (one of many obligatory daily cups), spent the best part of 15mins putting on our winter gear – long johns, woolly socks, thermal baselayer, t-shirt, heavy sweater, proper winter coat, insulated ski-pants, scarves, hats, gloves, etc, etc – and finally went out for a walk in the crisp winter wonderland.

SB_20121224_0666_web

Hanna-Mari, Haparanda, Sweden. -26 degrees C

SB_20121224_0644_web

I thought it was funny!

SB_20121222_0776_web

Home sweet (temporary) home.

SB_20121223_0731_web

Tools for work and play.

SB_20121225_0630_web

Haparanda, Sweden.

SB_20121226_0584_web

Joulupukki, also known as Santa Claus.

More photos to come in a follow up post. Thanks for looking.

Standard
Ireland, Photography, photojournalism

Port in a Storm

SB_DSC_0049_web SB_DSC_0050_web SB_DSC_0052_webI don’t always want to bring my camera with me everywhere, especially when the the rain is lashing hard and horizontally – as it does quite often in Ireland. So, I’m quite happy to have upgraded from my old Nokia (which was a great phone) to a new phone with a half decent built in camera.

Kilmore Quay fishing port was crowded last night, as beyond her protective walls, the wind howled and the dark sea heaved.

Standard
Landscapes, Photography

Chasing the light

 

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!

Standard
Architecture, Ireland, Photography, Vernacular architecture

Thatched Cottages of Kilmore Quay, Ireland.

Kilmore Quay is a picturesque fishing village In the South East of Ireland. One of the things that makes the village so scenic is the number of traditional thatched cottages. Most of these cottages date back to the 18th & 19th century, and are of national historical importance.

Standard
Ireland, Landscapes, Vernacular architecture

Visiting Clare Island

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.

Looking back to the mainland as we head towards the Island; the scenery was spectacular.

Local Architecture; new and old. If walls could talk!

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.

The younger kids didn’t appreciate the 3km walk we made – on more than one occasion – daily.

Amazing scenery: Original potato drills from the famine era are still visible.

The impressive Croagh Patrick across Clew Bay in the distance. 

SB_20120824_Clare Island_19_web

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.

Standard