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!

The gull and the flag

Two teenagers watch a seagull on the way back from Alcatraz Island in San Francisco. The US flag flutters in the same breeze that keeps the gull aloft, who no doubt is hoping for food from the boat full of tourists.

I’m going to be shooting at a fund raising night for Cope Foundation tonight. It’s an Eighties Night in the Ambassador Hotel here in Cork. It starts at 9:30pm, tickets are €12.50 on the door, and there’ll be spot prizes throughout the night! All are welcome, especially if you can get out your 80’s gear again. Time for big hair, leg warmers and shoulder pads?
If you’re there, watch out for me and say hi!

Water Drops in Cobh

Water drops from a railing in Cobh after a particularly heavy rain early in the day. That day’s shooting in Cobh was quite successful and by the evening there was a beautiful glow from the setting sun.

I took these firework photos from a spot on the right of this image.

PS. Happy Australia Day!

Alcatraz Cell Painting

Could these be the paint and artwork of Doc, a character in the film Escape from Alcatraz starring Clint Eastwood?

This was only one of a number of cells with personal belongings in them.

Tourists on the tram

Tourists on a tram in Chinatown, San Francisco. I got lots of smiles and waves from the passengers when they saw my camera pointed at them!

The couch on the street

A couch rests against a pole on a street junction in San Francisco. That’s a novel way of getting rid of unwanted furniture but I wonder who’ll pick it up? For all I know, it could still be there with a family of squirrels living in it.

The same happens everywhere. Here in Ireland bed frames, mattresses and other other furniture can sometimes be seen dumped by the side of the road, usually in the country away from the watchful eyes of the authorities.

John Harrington posts about cuts among staff photographers at major US publications. Not a good time to be working in the “old world media” in some places.