A sunlit river

The sun blazes over Cork City and the River Lee on a fresh October afternoon.

This was taken on Patrick’s Bridge looking out over the River Lee on a wonderfully bright October day. This bridge was opened on December 12th 1861 by the then Mayor, Sir John Arnott. I read a story that the first vehicle across the bridge was a man driving a horse and cart who rushed in front of the Mayor and the crowd. Does anyone know more about this?

Little Communion Girl

A girl dressed in a communion dress and veil walks with her mother through the crowds on St. Patrick’s Street Cork on Saturday. Dressed as she is, she looks almost lost but the crowd parted way for her and her parents.

I don’t know why she was dressed like that. First Communion ceremonies aren’t until next year. Is it a communion dress? Could she be a bridesmaid or flower girl at a wedding?

Two of my photos may be entered into the Irish Photographic Federation’s National Shield as part of the Mallow Camera Club entry. They need fairly large prints which is a bit of a problem but of they’re suitable I’ll link to them in a few days. The competition will be held in Portlaoise on the 12th of November so I’ll be eagerly waiting for the results! I’m not the only blogger entering. Jonathan Hill is entering too!

Currykippane Cemetery

It’s Halloween, that time of year that the souls of the dead rise up, goblins and monsters are abroad and witches fly about. I’ve already had my barm brack and even got the ring, but tonight is when kids go “trick or treating” looking for treats and avoiding tricks!

I made this image a few weeks ago early one morning in Currykippane Cemetery near Kerrypike. It was the first time I was in the area and I couldn’t resist shooting a few images. In the background is the beautiful Lee Valley. There are a few other nice vantage points up on those hills so I’ll have to go up there some other morning.

November is known as Samhain in Irish, but in Celtic tradition it’s also the end of the Summer and is accompanied by a festival. In modern times this is continued by the tradition of Halloween and All Souls’ Day. This and a lot more are covered on the Wikipedia page on Samhain.

It’s a spooky time of the year!

Hehe. What The Duck today is brilliant, although you may not get the joke in the last frame if you haven’t got a Canon DSLR. 😉

We had an interesting night – no kids called to the house but we went for a walk with Oscar down the road and bumped into several neighbours and spent almost an hour out in the cold talking to different people!

Dog on the beach

Oscar ambling along on the beach at Garretstown in Co. Cork. He never liked the beach, there’s just too much dirt and gravel and sand and just plain yuck, but he had a great time that evening. I don’t think Shih-Tzus are the most adventurous of dogs! Compare this picture with an earlier shot before he was groomed. Quite a difference eh?

Under Irish law, dogs should be kept on a lead in public places at all times, and really should not be allowed on a beach but I made sure he did his business before we went anywhere near the sand! He’s so timid he rarely left our side the whole time, and I had the lead in my pocket, just in case.

I spotted a horse in the distance and the hoof marks were visible in the sand, but I was too late to get a shot of the horse and rider this time unfortunately.

This page on Shih Tzus describes Oscar perfectly:

The Shih-Tzu is an alert and spunky little dog. Happy and hardy, endowed with loads of character. They are royally dignified, courageous and sometimes arrogant. This breed does well with polite, careful children. The gentle loyal Shih-Tzu makes friends easily and although obstinate can respond well to consistent patient training. A very alert watch dog, the Shih-Tzu likes to bark, but is usually quiet inside the house. They are stubborn and clever. Shihs can get snappish if they are surprised or peeved. Playful and lively, this affectionate little dog needs to be with people and are generally good with other pets. Some can be difficult to housebreak.

Go faster! Go faster!

A young girl in a buggy leans forward as her mother pushes her along St. Patrick’s Street, Cork. Looks like her mother was busy shopping in Penney’s and elsewhere so I’m sure she’ll look forward to getting home!

I like this: This Flight Tonight, and make sure you download the linked video tutorial. The statement that an “adjustment layer is a normal layer with a layer map on top” struck a chord with me. The GIMP doesn’t support adjustment layers and the technique he used, by rubbing out some of the map of an upper layer is one I’ve used in the GIMP previously.

Rusted and abandoned

An old oil drum stands on the quay at Ballycotton rusting away as the exposed metal is beaten down by the elements.

Technique: I increased the saturation of the reds to bring out the rust of the drum. I desaturated other colours so the drum would stand out.
I then duplicated the layer and darkened the top one to bring out the clouds and sky before using a layer mask to expose the ground on the bottom layer. After that a simple gradient at the top of the image provided a nice dark effect and finally, I dodge and burned the rust until I was happy. Was that useful?

I used CocoViewX to view my work directory from my Linux box on my Macbook. I was surprised that Finder didn’t display thumbnails and I didn’t want the iPhoto heavyweight when all I wanted was to know which image was which.

A visit to Pineapple Studios

I visited Pineapple Studios last night with Mallow Camera Club. Jessica Jones and Tina showed us around and it was an eye opener for me. Jessica is rightly proud of the lighting in her studio and went over each system answering questions as she went. A shooting session followed and I was roped in to model for a couple of shoots but unsurprisingly the guys seemed more interested in shots of Jessica and Tina!

Tina then showed us their lab and went through the process of working a photo in Photoshop. They have two large printers and plenty of facilities for printing all sorts of size images. Tina printed off an 8×10 and 8×12 explaining that they calibrate their printers several times a day to cope with changes in temperature as the day gets warmer from morning to evening.

The visit was great fun and very interesting. If, like me, you’re not very familiar with portrait photography, you’ll be shocked at how complicated it is and all the skills the photographer has to call on. As Jessica said, “if you don’t like people then don’t photograph them.” A huge part of the job is getting people relaxed and forgetting that it’s a photoshoot. She spends an hour making a portrait so the customer relaxes and the shot looks natural. She took a group portrait of us and hopefully she’ll send the image on to me soon. I asked everyone if they minded having their photo on the web and thankfully nobody dissented. I’ll update this post with the photo when I get it!

Thanks Jessica and Tina for showing us around!

Jessica has already sent me on the photo. Thanks, nice job!

Mallow Camera Club

The lone daisy

A solitary daisy grows in front of a small house in Fountainstown.

This was an interesting photo for me to take. I spotted the daisy while walking out the road but I didn’t stop to shoot it until returning. I’m glad I remembered it! I’m really happy with the way this came out.

Naturafit at the Cork Modern Homes Exhibition

A young visitor to the Modern Homes Exhibition in City Hall Cork flings himself enthusiastically on the very comfortable Naturafit bed covers while Naturafit representative Kurt Gamper looks on in amusement.

We bought one of those bed covers a few months back and it’s great. It helps keep the bed warm and it’s very comfortable. My wife Jacinta bought one of their pillows and she swears by it.

Disclaimer: Other than being satisfied customers we don’t have any connection with the company.

If you visit the exhibition this weekend make sure you buy some chocolate from the Fosters Chocolate stand by the entrance. It’s delicious!

There are hot spas on display too, but if you’re thinking of buying, please read about Carl Fogarty’s experiences. It might make you think twice!