Boats at the quay

Small boats or dingies tied up at the pier in Ballycotton, Co. Cork.

I was looking straight down when I shot this and had to crop out a tiny bit off the bottom where the pier was. The tide was way out, I expect the owners of these small boats weren’t in a hurry to get out on the water.

Owen Higgins wasn’t very happy that he wasn’t nominated for the Irish Blog Awards. Treasa blogged about his rant, quoting bits that he has since removed. He later commented on Treasa’s post that he didn’t understand how the nomination process worked. Go show him some love by visiting his site. Some of his photos are quite good!

Horse and Rider at Inchadoney

Riding through the waves at Inchadoney beach, Co. Cork. The horse loved the experience galloping up and down the beach with gusto!

Last night was themes night at the camera club and I had to come up with several images about the “sea”. Luckily I had a good few ready but I searched through my archives and found a few more. Expect more sea related images over the next few days.

The Cork County Hall and the web

Early one morning I visited the County Hall in Cork and took a few photos. In fact, this one is from the same shoot.

Webs covered a tree behind the building, and the early morning dew sparkled in the sun. I was hoping for an ominous feel to the photo but I failed, and instead I have something that mixes nature with our man made presence on this world.

I quite like the way the strands of the web stand out too!

The red and white man

A street entertainer on stilts entertained the crowd at the Midleton Food and Drink Festival last September. I took photos of him in Cork too and I think he recognised me and my wife as he made a beeline for us and stopped to chat.

This was shot from below as he was towering over us, but I cropped a much larger shot. I used flash to illuminate his face against the bright sky.

Caution Children

A sign at the entrance to my estate warns motorists to watch out for children playing on the street.

Just to prove that you don’t need a big digital SLR to take interesting photos, this was taken with my Panasonic FZ5. I saw the great cloudscape in the sky and illuminated the sign with the onboard flash.

Cobh at sunset

The tide is out in Cobh, Co. Cork while the sun sets in the west casting an orange glow over the water and boats in the harbour.

Method
This required some work to expose properly. The sky is bright while the harbour, houses and landscape are in shadow. Out with the layers, top layer for the sky was darkened and the opposite was done for the ground.
Then it’s the simple task of adding a layer mask to the top layer and rubbing out the dark bits to expose the brightened landscape.
When using a layer mask, never paint with an opacity of 100%, try 30% or even 5%. Don’t be afraid to do a rough job of exposing the bottom layer because with a layer mask you can always reverse the procedure by swapping the colour of your brush with an opposite colour!

Thank you all for the comments on yesterday’s post, The Lonely Swan, it’s great to get feedback and I’m glad when people get something out of my methods when I describe them. See what you’ve done? I did it again!

The lonely swan

A solitary swan swims on the calm waters of The Lough as the sun disappears at the end of the day.

Believe it or not, this is a 10 second exposure that turned out much better than I could have hoped! I balanced my camera on the edge of the Lough, set it to Aperture priority mode at f/11, dialed the exposure down two stops, flipped up the camera flash and took the shot.

How does this work?

  • By setting the aperture to a fairly high value little light is let into the camera sensor.
  • By setting the exposure down two stops the whole scene will be underexposed but bright areas will be exposed mostly correctly.
  • Given the above settings, any dark moving objects will be completely invisible so when the flash fired it picked out the swan swimming past and even created a nice reflection in the water.

Hope that helps!

Doneraile Park Stream

Water flows through Doneraile Park on a cold November afternoon. Despite the late season, leaves still cling to the branches of nearby trees although they’ve turned golden-orange and make a beautiful covering on the ground.

I was quite surprised that the Wikipedia page for Doneraile didn’t mention Elizabeth Aldworth, one of only three female members of a regular Masonic Lodge. Doneraile has quite a claim to fame!

I’ll have to get a good shot of Doneraile Court next time I’m down there. The sun was setting behind the building on my last visit so an early trip is necessary. The house is also surrounded by fencing making access impossible but hopefully those repair works will be completed soon!