Stepping out of the crowd

A girl steps away from the maddening crowd on a busy street.

This was a bit of an experiment for me. I blurred the background by making a duplicate layer, blurring, adding a layer mask and then revealing the girl through the layer mask. It’s not perfect, and in fact, the closer I look the more imperfections I see. Unfortunately I never saved a .xcf file preserving the layers so this is the final product.

I like it. The blur successfully separates the girl from the backgrond and even the zone of sharpness takes in some of the ground around her which exaggerates the effect!

Taken on St. Patrick Street, Cork last October.

Solitary figure

A man bends over and adjusts his shopping bag outside Tesco shopping center on Paul St. I was waiting outside the shopping center and this scene enfolded in front of me.

On a busy street people studiously ignore each other. Strangers pass by without a glance, busy with their own lives, friends gather to chat and gossip. The man bending over and checking his shopping bag was an incongruous sight in the midst of all this bustle.

I like these – Chris Weeks has some great shots of Britney Spears and party-goers at Caesars Palace’s nightclub, Pure. She played host and here’s what Chris says of her.

All this shit about Britney Spears passing the fuck out is fucking bullshit. I was 20 feet from her from the time she “walked the carpet” to the time she “gave the nod” to her security detail … and was whisked away …

She was not carried out of the club. I watched. I was there. Most of the people spewing bullshit weren’t even in Vegas.

Dog in a lampshade

Poor Oscar. It’s not bad enough that he got the snip but he had to wear what looks to all the world like a lampshade for two weeks. This was only a week after he moved in with us last Summer and the poor fella was not impressed.

Thankfully he got over it remarkably quickly and doesn’t have an aversion to lighting fixtures as we suspected he might have.

Our Oscar is quite a needy little character. He loves human attention. This faq on Shih Tzus is quite good, although it does contradict an earlier page I read that said they are a one human dog. Oscar definitely prefers Jacinta to me, but he goes crazy when he sees me after an absence too!

He sleeps in the kitchen and up to recently we kept the door closed to stop him coming upstairs but unfortunately he has the door half-ruined from scratching and his whining and barking kept us awake many times.
The solution? Train him and be more strict. He’s not allowed upstairs now and I leave the kitchen door open at night. No scratching, no whining. Sometimes he sneaks upstairs and we find him curled up on the landing but a quick and sharp, “Oscar! Get down!” and he’s scurrying down to his bed again.

So, it is possible to teach an old dog new tricks. Well, a middle-aged one at any rate.

Jesus Christ Loves You

A man stands alone amid the bustle of downtown San Francisco holding a sign proclaiming the message, “Jesus Christ Loves You”.

This photo brings to mind the preacher in Chicago I photographed while on holiday there. I wonder if the man in San Francisco has the same colourful history.

Happy Christmas to all, I hope you’re having a great day!

Last minute shopping

Today many major cities and towns around the world are going to be thronged with shoppers doing last minute shopping before Christmas Day. Traffic is going to crawl and frustrate and the crowds will be suffocating.

I’m glad I’m staying at home. We may head out to the Lough later for a walk. So stressful!

I like this: Europe – The Parisian Chapter

The Girls of Cork City

Two girls standing at the edge of a crowd on Patrick’s Street, Cork.

A quick search for irish cork girls hoops earrings led me to the answers.com page on scanger. Judging by the definition of both male and female clothing, there are plenty of them about!

Stereotypical Appearance

* Very short haircuts (sometimes with a short fringe or quiff at the front) in males. The wearing of a high pony-tail in the girls (usually at the crown of the head), negatively referred to as the “knacker knot”, “scrunchie” or “Annie”. The wearing of ‘quiffs’ on women is also becoming quite popular.
* Peroxide blonde highlights, usually on the top of the head and quiff of males, and as streaks in females have been popular in the Summers of recent years but are losing out to shaved-in patterns among short haired males.
* The wearing of thin moustaches, (“knacker-taches”), such as that made famous by Irish Boxer Barry McGuigan.
* The wearing of branded baseball caps (such as the Burberry check pattern). The cap is often worn at a sharp 70-90 degree angle. The Nike brand has a high take-up rate traditonally among this market segment. In recent years Burberry has also emerged as a strong market player.
* Prominent jewellery: sovereign rings (on men); large earrings, especially hoop earrings, (on women); and thick chains (worn around the neck or wrist) is another characteristic of the scanger; another overt display of affluance, these are often hallmarked silver or gold, or at least gold in appearance—another similarity with the british chav.

Females can be identified by the so-called “Knacker Facelift”; a ponytail with hair pulled back so far that it stretches the facial skin, hiding the wrinkled skin developed from years of eating chips and smoking since childhood.

Shopping Expressions

Worried looks accompany the average male during the Christmas shopping season. While this was taken at the end of October I bet that young man is still walking around with the same harried look.

My quest for a graphics tablet is complete. The Wacom Graphire4 arrived yesterday from Pixmania. As I promised to myself, I haven’t opened it yet and won’t do so until Christmas Day, or after because the 25th is going to be so busy!

Oh those lines!

Pedestrians gather at the traffic lights on Grand Parade and wait to cross a busy city-center street. Yes I got a few funny looks as I crouched down with my camera but I’m used to it by now!

This was a construction site a few months ago but work is progressing well and most of the work is done.

This was an entry in the MCC Patterns around us competition a few weeks back.

The city shoot last night with the club was a great success. I didn’t have a tripod with me and in the dark that posed a challenge sometimes but at other times it was a blessing. There’s enough street furniture to rest a camera on if needed.

Port of Cork

The Port of Cork seen from the hills on the north side of the city. Looks carefully and you can see several landmarks:

And many more sights!

I entered Little Communion Girl into the Photo Friday “Fresh” competition this morning. Let’s have a look at the other entrants.