From the old hospital to the new

In stark contrast to the newly built Cork University Maternity Hospital this was taken in one of the older ones. If you look carefully you can read the notice on the wall which starts, ‘Central Sterile Supply Department’. This building is in a state of disrepair you’d hardly expect in a flourishing economy like Ireland but the public health services are underfunded and top heavy with too many managers and money is siphoned off into over-budget projects.

Part three of my old hospital series.

In other news, midwives voted against moving to the new maternity hospital in Cork from the three maternity hospitals in the city. The new hospital will be understaffed when it opens however, with staff numbers apparently being made up of unqualified porters, janitors and other personnel. The move was supposed to happen an hour ago, but has been set back to 4pm though doubts remain as to whether it’ll open at all today.

Escalator Moments

A one second exposure captures the movement through time of the escalator in Nikeworld San Francisco last August. This is one of a series of shots, including a few of Mark and Andy although I think this is the most dramatic of them.

I wasn’t going to post this at all except that a few days ago another escalator photo made the front page of Digg somehow. Digg away please :)

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!

Bay Bridge Reflections

Light from the Bay Bridge in San Francsico shimmers in the waters of the harbour. To the left one of the fire fighting boats of the SF Fire Department can be seen.

Posting this landmark of San Francisco today as most of the rest of Automattic make their way to Mexico. Here’s another shot from another night near the bridge.

The swans they are a coming

Swans rush to the bank of the Lough looking for bread from the crazy guy hanging over the water with a large black object…

This shows off one of my favourite night-time techniques. Long exposure with a flash. The long exposure captures the background while the flash illuminates the foreground objects, along with some nice movement blur.
It works really well at parties when people are dancing, especially if you’re lucky to capture a laughing face while the body is in motion.

Panoramic Traffic Lights

Traffic along the Mallow Road hurries past on a cold and foggy December night. This was taken from the bridge near Rathpeacon and Killeens.

The bridge itself as you can see from the map above is much wider than the one in this picture but I wasn’t going to stand in the middle of a dark road at risk of being knocked over for my art. At least not this time anyway!

Traffic from the right is coming from Cork, while traffic from the left is coming from the direction of Mallow or Blarney.

PS. Nominations for the Irish Blog Awards are now open. There are several categories and you can nominate your favourite Irish blog in whichever one fits. In Photos won Best Photoblog last year but this is the only time I’ll mention the awards here unlike last year when I did the dog on it a bit! (Not that I wouldn’t mind winning again of course!)

I like these: Snow Squalls! and Palm House – I wish more photoblog software understood trackbacks and pings. It’s hard to start a conversation with them.

Leading lines and bright lights

Studs on the ground lead down to the traffic lights on the South Mall, Cork.

In this long exposure shot a couple of cars passed by providing a nice light trail in the background. The twinkling of the street lighting is from the narrow aperture. Setting the aperture as small as possible is definitely the best thing you can do when making long exposure shots at night.

This was taken while out with Mallow Camera Club last December. More to come from that night too!

City Hall at night

Cork City Hall at night as viewed from across the river. It was all lit up for the Modern Homes Exhibition and as it was such a calm night the reflection on the River Lee was beautiful.

If you watch the RTE news at 6pm or 9pm tonight, watch out for the photo on the weather forecast. A friend of mine, Catherine Cotter, sent in a few entries to their photography competition and one of her photos will be shown tonight! I must set up the Sky+ to record it just in case. I might be able to get a screen capture somehow!

The River, The Brewery and the Cathedral

The River Lee rushes by the Beamish and Crawford Brewery on one side, and O’Sullivan Electrical on the other with St. Finbarre’s Cathedral in the background.

I have discovered there’s a dead pixel on my camera’s sensor. Fortunately it doesn’t seem to show itself much but when I take long exposure shots like the one above a little red dot appears in the top-right of the image. It’s easy to get rid of with the clone tool but also annoying.

The Wacom graphics tablet is great fun to play with but I haven’t got it working fully in Linux yet. Ubuntu thinks it’s simply another mouse device and GIMP doesn’t see it as an “extended device”. I spent quite some time on the Ubuntu forums trying to fix it yesterday before giving up and trying it out on a few images.
It’s a little fiddly to begin with, but I think that’s par-for-the-course when using a new tool. I do find that when dodging and burning large sections of images the brush can get stuck and won’t follow the cursor but I’ve read that once it’s properly configured performance is improved so I hope that is fixed then.

Hope you had a nice Christmas Day!