Archive for September, 2005

Us

And so the preparation enters a hurried phase. Batteries for digital slr and point & shoot cameras are being charged, memory cards are being emptied, lenses are being cleaned and sensors are being brushed. For the 24 hours of Saturday I will be carrying a camera in one form or another, concealed somewhere about my person. That doesn’t include the phone camera either, which lets face it isn’t really a camera anyway…

Have I finally gone fully mad? Why no cherished reader, I went mad several years ago. It’s all in aid of Ray D’arcy’s “Us”. Think of the “day in the life of” series. 24 hours worth of memories post processed, compressed, resized and sent via email. Thousands of likeminded people (although granted many not as eccentric) all sending their photos to TodayFM in the hope that in the coming months they’ll have a book with their ugly mug’s in it. Not that I’m any different. Perhaps this, among all other events, is the single best chance of any regular Joe getting a photograph published in what will no doubt be an international selling publication.

Tomorrow is going to be a very long day. I’m quite excited…

Garretstown Surfers

I’ve grown quite a liking for shooting surfing lately and found it irritating to be limited with a mediocre 300mm zoom lens. Nevertheless, I’ve made a go of it and last Sunday at Garretstown was no exception. The waves were amazing, as was the talent on the boards.. Err skill, I meant skill. That’s what I meant. Honest…

Yes, there was also a guy on a jetski there, who at times seemed to be a bit inquisitive as to why somone was perched on the rocks taking his picture. Hey, everyone gets their 15 minutes of fame!

Forgot to mention (but you probably assumed it alread), there are more of these on Flickr.

More on the Meetup

Previously I hummed and hawed about organising a Photoblogger/Flickr/Anyone interested meetup for sometime…

Following a good response on the original idea, I’d like to propose Saturday the 29th October as the big day. I think the schools are on mid-term around then, which would no doubt make it easier for some to travel. I’m still open to suggestions on a location. Cobh, Co. Cork has been suggested as one possibility; if only for it’s numerous bars and nearby attractions such as Fota Wildlife Park (if wildlife photography floats your boat). I was thinking of somewhere more Galwegian myself or at least somewhere on the road between Ennis and Galway.

I’m open to suggestions and people whinging about the date. I just thought I’d throw something out provisionally so people don’t think I’ve forgotten about them ;)

Edit: If the 29th is no good, please suggest another date. The name of the game at the moment is accomodate as many as possible.

Update again: Now why didn’t I think of that? Gavin brought it to my attention that the weekend of the 29th is the weekend of the Cork Jazz Festival. No you don’t have to have an active interest in Jazz. I’m not even going to say it’d help to have an interest. Personally I can’t stand the stuff. It does however make for some interesting shots. Aswell as avoid obnoxious saxophony(?), there are too many other things to list in the area to do. There, it’s floated. Anyone interested?

Update again again: Converge on the bar in the new Clarion hotel for 2pm ish from where we will plan our photographic attack on the city. Some post-attack drinkies will be had in a non-city centre, possibly jazz free location. Possibly around Douglas, or whatever suburban bar will have us. Be there or be a trapezoid.

Just for you easily confused out-of-towners, heres a Google Earth map to the Clarion

Update 13th Oct: I’m sure this little fact has already crossed the minds of everyone that’s intending on coming to the meetup but if you haven’t already booked a hotel/b&b/hostel/cardboard box then do so now! Jazz weekend is possibly the busiest weekend of the entire year in Cork so if you haven’t already booked somewhere, get booking! If you can’t book something in the city, chances are you’ll get something suburban. Carrigaline, Ballincollig, Douglas, Rochestown, Little Island (new Radison hotel), Glounthane and a few more are all quite close and easily reachable by taxi. If there’s anyone really stuck, I’ve got a tent I can and will loan.

Inchidoney (again)

A deceptively warm yet windy Sunday brought out the surfers en masse all over west Cork. The first stop was Inchidoney. I took the opportunity to add a few shots to an already existing set.

Eighteen Turns & Fota Gardens

I’d been meaning to call into Fota House for months to see the installation “Eighteen Turns” by Daniel Libeskind that I’d seen a few times in the papers and heard bits and pieces about. So, to lighten the disappointment at the Slow Food Festival, I took off down to Fota!

Good job too; it was quite peaceful when I arrived and I took a stroll through the gardens and casually made my way to the front of Fota House, where the pavilion is located. I thought it quite impressive and I spent a while taking pictures with intermittent stopping and sitting (ahh, peace & quiet is great). Screaming babies arrived with their parental units and I put my mind back into taking pictures. Screaming babies left and I could have heard the gentle roll of a golf ball on the nearby Fota golf course. Ahh silence. A few more pictures and then, over the hill like a great thunder cloud, came a bus load of tourists. I made my hurried escape around the back of Fota House and eluded the hoards of point & shooters. Cursed masses spoiled my tranquility!

A cause for celebration and reflection; In the course of taking the “Eighteen Turns” photos, the counter on my camera rolled over to 0001. Yes, I’ve now taken over 10,000 shots with the camera I only got such a short few months ago. Frightening!

As you may have guessed, there are alot more on Flickr (which are probably worth viewing.. at least in my opinion..)

Slow Food in Cork

The Slow Food Festival comes to Cork… The blurb said something like 60 stalls would be setup on Patrick st. I’m going to presume it was the weather that kept 45 or so of them away…

I didn’t stick around for long, for I had more interesting places to be!

Gougane Barra (again)

Forgive my absenteeism(?), I’ve been off procrastinating. While running around inside picassa I spotted this set that I soon realised I hadn’t yet uploaded. Shame on me!? Anyway, here are some from Gougane Barra in west Cork that I took a few weeks ago. Damn place, it’s near impossible to drive past without wanting to go in and take a quick peek.

I’ve found myself getting quite caught up with the ol’ autostitch after dumping the comparatively crummy Canon photostitch. Hurrah for tripling the post-processing workload! :(

Few more; Flickerised

The great Sigma lens experiment

…or something along those lines. Took a walk into O’Learys camera shop on Oliver Plunkett st. today while wandering aimlessly around town and spotted something I’ve been oogling now for ohh… ages. A batch of Canon fit Sigma 10-20′s had arrived! Hurrah! Finally! Quite a compact lens, probably smaller than the outrageously expensive Canon EF-S 10-22mm and most certainly cheaper. Before they arrived, I was given a rough price of €650/700 from another camera shop. Took a few shots…


10mm


Again at 10mm, but err, outdoorsy.


@20mm

There doesn’t seem to be anything immediately evident in the pictures that would make the wide angle sigma an inferior lens.. Or at least not as far as I can see. As far as I can make out, these shots look quite similar to the ones I took with the Canon 10-22 some months ago. There’s bound to be slight differences in contrast & colour tones, but whatever takes your fancy. Personally, I think it’s an amazing lens. Comes in a bit cheaper than I was quoted previously too. Turns out the actual price is €499. Why… that’s almost as cheap as ebay!

Not wanting to leave the shop without first fulfilling my raging lens lust, I spotted what I can only assume is a new Sigma 80-400 with “Optical Stabiliser”. Took a few shots but at 400mm it appears soft. Maybe it’s just me.


@ 80mm.


@ 400mm.

High-res versions of all the above available on flickr.

No HSM in this one. It’s a weighty beast and would no doubt require you to have a monopod permenantly connected to your hip if you were out shooting with it. It’s not a Canon L, it’s a bit soft on the long end but it’s a hell of a lot cheaper. In Ireland it’s around the €1k mark, or about €150 cheaper if you get it from ebay (and can avoid import duty). Compare that to the Sigma 50-500 (or Bigma if you prefer). No “OS” but you do get HSM. €300 more than the 80-400. Of course, you can get it from ebay for around the €800 mark (plus shipping & import duty if youre unlucky) but that’d just be cheating. Choices choices…

The cheapest I can find the 10-20 on ebay for is €409. That’s without shipping (approx €50) and any import duty. But for an extra €40 or so you could walk into a local shop and get it. Hardly worth the effort of turning your PC on. Well, I’m in love with the 10-20; and I find it simply stunning that even at the ebay price of the Canon 10-22 (approx €650), the Irish price of the Sigma 10-20 still beats it by €150! A cheap lens in Ireland? What’s going on? I’m scared…

A few from Fountainstown

Not exactly the most exciting place in the world but it’s close to home and you could do alot worse on a lazy Sunday afternoon. So, instead of watching the All-Ireland hurling final in a crowded pub, I opted for a walk on the beach.

Anxious times; paddling around in knee deep salt water whilst carrying the ol’ camera. It lived to tell the tale and I finally managed to get a few more up on Flickr.

Bobblehead Ray

The hype, the excitement, the bobbleheadedness of it all! Weeks spent trying to think of an occurence in my life so incredibly mad that it would earn me one of the prized bobblehead Ray’s. Failure. The woes of leading a mildly humorous life. I could have bullshitted my way to an amazing story, dreamt up alibi after alibi to support my “How Mad Is That?” application only to put it to the ultimate test; The critical eye of Jenny Kelly and the sharp(?) mind of recently barified Will Hanafin.

No, alas I was destined to always have that empty space on my desk and over time it grew dusty and became occupied with CD cases and other various debris one collects during the course of daily web surfage (and of course blog updateage). “Who cares anyway?”; I bravely consoled myself and over time, learned to forget about the existence of the little man with the disproportionate head.

All until earlier today. I arrived in Kilkenny at one of our customers premises only to find a Bobblehead Ray smiling from ear to ear, his head gently nodding in the soft breeze. I went about my work, installing & upgrading computers, with Ray D’Arcy on the radio in one corner of the room and Bobblehead Ray standing next to me, watching my every move. I’ve seen plenty of pictures of Bobblehead Ray and heard countless descriptions of him while listening to the show; none of which can fully prepare someone to be in the presense of such an icon. For a tiny moment it was like being in the presense of a Hollywood movie star. The voice coming out of the radio in the opposite corner of the room and the little fella standing on the desk next to me, minding my cup of tea and smiling all the while. I think I’m listening to morning radio a bit too much. I imagined that at and minute, I would turn my head to see the figurine perched on my shoulder, uttering the timeless word “bauble” into my right ear. “Bauble” he’d say, only to follow it up with “bauble”.

I faced my demons and before long, I found that midday had come and Bobblehead Ray was overseeing the data transfer between two computers (see picture above). He’s a helpful little chap who seemed to be adjusted to life in Kilkenny well. High praise indeed coming from a Corkman.

So now I must flee and resume my plans of several months ago to construct my own Bobblehead Ray. Either that or have something hugely mad happen to me so I can claim my own genuine, bona-fide copy from the man himself.

As for my brief meeting with the man, the legend, the bobblehead.. I can only imagine that it’ll be an experience I can recount to my children and my childrens children long after I’m diagnosed with alzheimers.