Stepping out of the crowd

A girl steps away from the maddening crowd on a busy street.

This was a bit of an experiment for me. I blurred the background by making a duplicate layer, blurring, adding a layer mask and then revealing the girl through the layer mask. It’s not perfect, and in fact, the closer I look the more imperfections I see. Unfortunately I never saved a .xcf file preserving the layers so this is the final product.

I like it. The blur successfully separates the girl from the backgrond and even the zone of sharpness takes in some of the ground around her which exaggerates the effect!

Taken on St. Patrick Street, Cork last October.

Solitary figure

A man bends over and adjusts his shopping bag outside Tesco shopping center on Paul St. I was waiting outside the shopping center and this scene enfolded in front of me.

On a busy street people studiously ignore each other. Strangers pass by without a glance, busy with their own lives, friends gather to chat and gossip. The man bending over and checking his shopping bag was an incongruous sight in the midst of all this bustle.

I like these – Chris Weeks has some great shots of Britney Spears and party-goers at Caesars Palace’s nightclub, Pure. She played host and here’s what Chris says of her.

All this shit about Britney Spears passing the fuck out is fucking bullshit. I was 20 feet from her from the time she “walked the carpet” to the time she “gave the nod” to her security detail … and was whisked away …

She was not carried out of the club. I watched. I was there. Most of the people spewing bullshit weren’t even in Vegas.

Your mom knows kung fuu

I’ve been bursting to tell everyone for the last few months that in 2007 I will become a father!

Jacinta, my wife, is pregnant and she’s due in the middle of April! We’re very excited about it but also nervous. We don’t want to know or care if the baby is a boy or a girl. A healthy baby is all we want. Guys – look out for the book, “A bloke’s guide to pregnancy”. It’s a great read, very entertaining and will explain a bit about what to expect and what’s going in your partner’s body! Now you know why I was more than a little interested in who was pregnant on Today FM!

Don’t be surprised if my blogging slows down a little bit around April, but I will try and have about 2 months of photos ready to be posted for late April and on to May. Hopefully things may quieten down and get into a routine after that.

And now I can reveal the only event that marred what was a great year in 2006. The main reason I didn’t attend the Irish Blog Awards last year was because Jacinta was pregnant at the time and the pregnancy wasn’t going so well. Unfortunately, she had a miscarriage soon after.
I find that miscarriage is a taboo subject to talk about. Very few bloggers will talk about it even though 1 in 4 pregnancies will probably not go full-term. Maybe it’s superstition and considered tempting fate to even bring the subject up. Whatever the reason, it’s an awful tragedy for expectant parents to go through.

Happy new year!

Enjoy diet Coke

A sign blazes it’s message above our heads in San Francisco. The Diet Coke logo could be seen from the end of the street so I had to snap it as we got closer!

Jesus Christ Loves You

A man stands alone amid the bustle of downtown San Francisco holding a sign proclaiming the message, “Jesus Christ Loves You”.

This photo brings to mind the preacher in Chicago I photographed while on holiday there. I wonder if the man in San Francisco has the same colourful history.

Happy Christmas to all, I hope you’re having a great day!

Last minute shopping

Today many major cities and towns around the world are going to be thronged with shoppers doing last minute shopping before Christmas Day. Traffic is going to crawl and frustrate and the crowds will be suffocating.

I’m glad I’m staying at home. We may head out to the Lough later for a walk. So stressful!

I like this: Europe – The Parisian Chapter

Take the GoCar around San Francisco

Matt Rudd took the GoCar around San Francisco and I remembered seeing one on my travels there last August!

Sixteen miles per hour and I’m absolutely terrified. You wouldn’t think a grown man could be terrified at such low speeds, but it’s because I’m being chased up one of those Steve McQueen hills by a tram. Unlike Steve McQueen, I’m not in a Ford Mustang. If I were, it wouldn’t be a problem, would it? But instead of the Mustang, I’m in a bright yellow buggy with a top speed of 40mph. That’s 40mph if you threw it off a cliff. Top speed up a San Franciscan hill seems to be 16mph. Sorry, 15mph. No… 13, 11, 9?

Christmas Street Lights

The Christmas lights in Mallow, Co. Cork illuminate the streets with a lovely cheerful glow.

A passing car provides another source of light in this long exposure shot on the main street of the town.

The Girls of Cork City

Two girls standing at the edge of a crowd on Patrick’s Street, Cork.

A quick search for irish cork girls hoops earrings led me to the answers.com page on scanger. Judging by the definition of both male and female clothing, there are plenty of them about!

Stereotypical Appearance

* Very short haircuts (sometimes with a short fringe or quiff at the front) in males. The wearing of a high pony-tail in the girls (usually at the crown of the head), negatively referred to as the “knacker knot”, “scrunchie” or “Annie”. The wearing of ‘quiffs’ on women is also becoming quite popular.
* Peroxide blonde highlights, usually on the top of the head and quiff of males, and as streaks in females have been popular in the Summers of recent years but are losing out to shaved-in patterns among short haired males.
* The wearing of thin moustaches, (“knacker-taches”), such as that made famous by Irish Boxer Barry McGuigan.
* The wearing of branded baseball caps (such as the Burberry check pattern). The cap is often worn at a sharp 70-90 degree angle. The Nike brand has a high take-up rate traditonally among this market segment. In recent years Burberry has also emerged as a strong market player.
* Prominent jewellery: sovereign rings (on men); large earrings, especially hoop earrings, (on women); and thick chains (worn around the neck or wrist) is another characteristic of the scanger; another overt display of affluance, these are often hallmarked silver or gold, or at least gold in appearance—another similarity with the british chav.

Females can be identified by the so-called “Knacker Facelift”; a ponytail with hair pulled back so far that it stretches the facial skin, hiding the wrinkled skin developed from years of eating chips and smoking since childhood.