Spencer Tunick photoshoot in Blarney Co. Cork, Ireland

As luck would have it, one of the more famous or perhaps notorious photographers of our time, Spencer Tunick, is shooting in Blarney, where I live, tomorrow morning.

Update on Jun 8th, 2009 – I’ve justed posted a small gallery of Spencer Tunick photos as his website is down.

It’s no great secret now, even Ray D’Arcy revealed the location on his radio programme this morning. He’ll be revealing a lot more in a few hours time.. Anyway, it all happens very early in the morning, at a time when most sensible people will be snuggled up in bed and that probably includes me. If I do feel the urge to visit Blarney Castle at dawn I’m sure all I’ll photograph will be groups of dazed and tired volunteers stumbling from buses, full clothed. I have no desire to shoot any naked skin.

Spencer – if you’re reading this, I’d love to go to shoot a portrait of yourself, and perhaps grab an autograph!

There are lots of people looking for Spencer Tunick’s Blarney photoshoot!

This is poisoning my son

ash from burned plastic

A few days ago, in the middle of the day, I noticed a smell of burning plastic wafting in the open window of my home office. I looked outside and saw small flecks of black soot or ash tumbling to the ground. When I rushed downstairs and investigated, I discovered a thick plume of noxious smoke coming from a neighbour’s chimney. The little flecks of ash are so fine that the merest touch turns them into black smears.

Burning rubbish seems to be a common enough practice where I live in Blarney, Co. Cork. It hasn’t happened as often in the last few months as in previous years, maybe because of stricter surveillance of backyard burning. When it was at it’s height, I jokingly considered campaigning for an incinerator to be located in Blarney. At least that could properly trap all the toxins released by burning rubbish and it would be regulated.

Anyway, I decided that I need to speak to my neighbour. I politely asked them to stop burning rubbish in their fireplace, I mentioned that there was soot all over the patio in our garden, and that it had wafted into the house through open windows too. They were suitably apologetic, promising that it wouldn’t happen again. That’s as far as I took it, because I like that neighbour. He’s a nice guy and his wife is a warm woman with a ready smile.

Imagine my shock this morning when I looked out the kitchen door and say soot all over the patio again. Someone had been burning rubbish last night. What do I do now?

My son Adam sleeps in a bedroom overlooking the back garden. His window was closed last night because of the chill, but if it’s warm, then it’s open. According to this article I should be very worried about what my son breathes.

Children can be at much greater risk. Because of their body size, they inhale more air per pound of body mass than do adults, and can absorb a proportionately larger “dose” of toxins.

Children’s bodies are more susceptible to damage from the heavy metals found in the smoke of rubbish fires because their nervous systems are not fully developed. Poly-Vinyl Chloride, or PVC, is a commonly used plastic for vinyl flooring (sometimes called carpeting or lyno), drain pipes, guttering, shampoo bottles, packaging, and thousands of other products.

Apparently 57% of rural dwellers in West Cork burn their rubbish. That’s 5 out of every 12 households. Blarney is an urban area however with a regular waste collection. Quentin Gargan has a blog post on this and gorse burning. Here’s the Irish Examiner article he mentioned. A note from Cork Corporation reminds residents that burning rubbish is illegal:

Cork City Council wishes to draw attention to the fact that under the Waste Management Act 1996 as amended that it is an offence to dispose of waste in a manner which causes or is likely to cause environmental pollution.

The disposal of household and garden waste by burning is one such method of disposal that is deemed likely to cause environmental pollution and furthermore is a source of annoyance to persons in the adjoining locality.

I have no idea who burned the rubbish that caused the soot in my garden this morning. I could presume it was the same neighbour but there isn’t any proof. I could stay up all night, with a window open, ready to catch the tell tale odour of burning plastic. Or I could call the Cork County Council litter warden.

Besides the obvious damage burning rubbish does to your health, this may also lead to neighbours falling out and fighting. If the same neighbour is responsible, they have put me and my wife in the unenviable position of having to fight this illegal behaviour. If this turns bad for them, if they’re fined, they’re going to blame us even though it’s their fault in the first place. No wonder people don’t report their neighbours.

What would you do?

Aperture ƒ/8
Camera Canon EOS 20D
Focal length 72mm
ISO 100
Shutter speed 1/160s

A lonely flower’s water drops

Water drops on Flower

We had a glorious bank holiday weekend just past and I took full advantage of it by taking the camera with me everywhere while outside, even when I was walking the dog and my son Adam in the morning. I snapped this flower while Oscar sniffed around and Adam looked on. We were all happy!

Don’t forget the Doneraile Photowalk next Sunday! Hope we had the same sort of weather we had last weekend, but a few degrees cooler would be welcome.

PS. posted this one today in response to Pete’s gorgeous photo from 2 days ago.

Aperture ƒ/8
Camera Canon EOS 20D
Focal length 72mm
ISO 100
Shutter speed 1/160s

Poor old Clyde

clyde radcliffe exterminates all the unfriendly repulsive earth ridden slime

Poor Clyde. At one time he exterminated all the unfriendly repulsive earth ridden slime in the 1990 Thalamus game Creatures on the C64, Amiga and Atari ST, but now look at him. He’s missing his feet, his eyes are starting to go brown with age and he’s looking the worse for wear. No wonder, he’s almost 20 years old. For years he sat on top of my monitor. His feet stuck to the beige surface, but alas they were amputated when I moved out and between this and that he never got them back.
If you’ve never played Creatures, then find a C64 emulator (Vice is a good one), and look for the game. It’s easy to find as it sold bucket loads when originally released. The Roland Brothers did a great job of coding this masterpiece. Here’s the original Zzap! 64 review of the game. Brings back plenty of fond memories!

All this leads me to today’s post. I cleaned up my office with the help of my wife. I can see the floor now. There are no magazines lying around. Adam had great fun messing with some of my lens covers and bits and pieces while we cleaned. To my surprise I found the Autofocus On/Off switch from my Sigma 10-20 lens. There it is! I had no idea it was in my office. I was convinced I had lost it while out walking! Also pictured is the cover of the Canon 50mm f1.8 lens I used to take this shot.

In the background is this month’s issue of Retro Gamer. There’s a special on Zelda, a game I’ve never played except for 5 minutes on Starlight Princess on the Wii. Apparently the series is quite famous and well liked.

Aperture ƒ/4
Camera Canon EOS 20D
Focal length 50mm
ISO 100
Shutter speed 1/60s

Volkswagen Beetle

Volkswagen Beetle

A Volkswagen Beetle in Blarney reminds me that not everyone has bought a shiny new car. It even has the old style number plates. Does anyone know what year and county “WFI” relates to?

I love how this image is framed by the old fence. B&W works particularly well because of the timeless nature of the subject.

If you know Blarney, this was shot from the car park of Blarney Castle and I posted a shot of the other side of this building in my Emerald House B&B post a while back.

PS. New theme, what do you think?
PPS. David Lavery has posted the Photographer of the Year results on the Mallow Camera Club website. 1 point more and I would have drawn on 3rd place in the novice section.

Aperture ƒ/9
Camera Canon EOS 20D
Focal length 22mm
ISO 200
Shutter speed 1/125s

Blarney on April 24, 2008

I had to get the car fixed today. A ball bearing was broken in one of the rear wheels and driving was like one of those modded cars with huge exhausts. Noisy and annoying. So, I took the car down to Blarney Auto Centre where they sorted it out this afternoon. I took the opportunity to get some exercise in by walking back home and took a few photos. Enjoy!


Aperture ƒ/9
Camera Canon EOS 20D
Focal length 10mm
ISO 100
Shutter speed 1/250s