Naomh Ciaran II

Naomh Ciaran II

Naomh Ciaran II, the Cape Clear Ferry for many a year is still going strong. Here she is tied up at the pier in Baltimore, Co Cork, Ireland. The last time I boarded her (probably 15 years ago) and travelled to Oilean Cleire she was painted green and white, but it seems she has had an eventful history since then.

Traditionally, for many years up to 2001, the provision of a ferry service to Cape Clear Island was handled directly by the State. The State (The Department of the Gaeltacht) owned the vessels that were in use – Oileán na nÉan and the Naomh Ciarán II. The service was managed by a committee that comprised representatives of Cape Clear Island and the Department of the Gaeltacht.
In 2001, a decision was made to transfer the service to a private company – Naomh Ciarán II Oileán Chléire Teo – that had been established by the skipper of the service. A contract was agreed with this company and, as part of that contract, it was agreed that the State (The Department of Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands) would lease the vessel, the Naomh Ciarán II, to the company and pay an annual subsidy of €104,126 for a period of 5 years, from June 2001 to June 2006.
As part of that arrangement, and under the terms of the contract agreed, the State made redundancy payments of €190,691 to the four crew members who were employed by the company before the transfer.
Unfortunately, the new company’s principal, who was skipper of the ferry service, died suddenly during the term of the contract. Comharchumann Chlére bought the company and continued to run the ferry service under the contract that was in effect

Aperture ƒ/8
Camera Canon EOS 40D
Focal length 10mm
ISO 100
Shutter speed 1/125s

Mulroy Bay II

Mulroy Bay II

Mulroy Bay II, one of two trawlers abandoned in the waters near Baltimore town in Co Cork, Ireland. Shot from Tullagh Cemetery.

PS. Calvin took a few nights shots of the Mulroy Bay II a few days ago when local artist Sheelagh Broderick and others lit up the vessel with high powered lanterns.

Aperture ƒ/40
Camera Canon EOS 40D
Focal length 200mm
ISO 100
Shutter speed 1/6s

Blarney Half Marathon 2008

The annual Blarney Half Marathon ran through the village and surrounding countryside yesterday. Here’s a gallery of shots I took while walking the dog. A light drizzle of rain soaked everyone, and hurried my steps home and back to the warmth. The weather was much nicer last year!


Aperture ƒ/8
Camera Canon EOS 40D
Focal length 21mm
ISO 400
Shutter speed 1/125s

The Curves Tool

The curves tool is a very basic tool that can be used to improve photos with a few clicks of the mouse. It is used to change the brightness and contrast of an image. It can also modify the separate Red, Green and Blue channels of an image too. The Curves Tool has a histogram to represent the shadow, midtone and highlight detail in the image. In the GIMP, you access it by right clicking on an image and go to Colors->Curves.

This is the second article in my GIMP for Photographers series, but as usual, all of this applies to Photoshop, or any other image application with a Curves Tool. The first tutorial was on The Levels Tool, and worth a read if you missed it!

Here’s an image I shot at the Lord Mayor’s Picnic in Fitzgerald’s Park a few months ago, and the Curve Tool below it. Notice the histogram? The photo is fairly well exposed, but some highlights are “clipped”, as the histogram hits right hand side without sloping off.

Brightening Curve

It’s easy to brighten an image. Just drag points on the line up.

Darkening Curve

Now, let’s darken the image by dragging points down.

Contrast Curve

A classic use of the Curves Tool is to increase contrast in an image. You do this by darkening the shadows, and brightening the highlights. The curve looks sort of like an “S” when you do this. Don’t go overboard on this though, because it’s easy to lose detail in either direction.

If for some reason your image has too much contrast, a quick inverted S curve will solve that problem,

Wacky Colours

You can select any of the Red, Green and Blue channels and do strange things to your photos. Here’s what happens when you play with the Red Channel.

And here’s what happens when you change multiple colour channels in different ways.

Colour Picker

After you have opened the Curves Tool, click anywhere in the image. Notice how a vertical line goes up and down the histogram/line? That vertical line is the colour of the pixel where you clicked. That can be useful if you’re trying to modify a particular part of a photo. This is what you get when you click on the black coat on the left of the image above.

Aperture ƒ/6.3
Camera Canon EOS 20D
Focal length 18mm
ISO 200
Shutter speed 1/250s

Tullagh Cemetery at Sunset

Tullagh Cemetery at Sunset

Tullagh Cemetery in Baltimore, Co Cork, Ireland is just a field away from the excellent Casey’s Hotel where we spent the last week. I went down there one evening to shoot a couple of half capsized trawlers in the bay when I turned around and saw some of the headstones silhouetted against the setting sun.

I went searching online and found that 3 Commonwealth burials of the 1914-1918 war were in this graveyard.

Aperture ƒ/11
Camera Canon EOS 40D
Focal length 59mm
ISO 100
Shutter speed 1/640s