Archive for October, 2005

Us

It struck me a while ago that I hadn’t yet uploaded any of the photos I took for TodayFM’s “Us” competition which took place back on the 1st of October. Anywho, I haven’t gotten chance to listen to Ray & the gang much lately with work so I’m not aware of any news on the upcoming book but it’s still a case of wait and see and hope… Here are a few of the shots I submitted back on October 1st.

There are many more from that magical day on my flickr account.

Ferns Clerical Abuse

Listened to “The Last Word” this evening on TodayFM where Matt Cooper & guests discussed clerical abuse in the dioces(sp?) of Ferns in the east of Ireland. The horrifying events recounted by an abused person really put the notion of wholesome Catholic Ireland on ice.

What struck me in particular was one incredibly accurate point that the guest had. Priests were seen as infallible and therefore anything they did had to be right. After all, they are God’s representatives on earth! Family members scoffed at the idea of a man of God doing anything remotely like what was being reported and indeed responded with physical violence and yet more exclusion. It truly boggles the mind…

I have mirrored the first hour of The Last Word for anyone that wishes to listen to the interview. Be warned though; it is graphic. It’s in windows media format too by the way…

Back but gone again.

Phew! Just got back from Sligo to a very wet & soggy Cork. The Lee is almost spilling into the streets but I’m just too tired to mull around in the city wearing wellys and my camera, waiting for it to happen.

Witnessed some more of Irelands famous great drivers on the way back down; so much so that I’m pondering on setting up a message board where people can vent spleen at the whole fog light craze. There’s no fog, why the lights? Anyway, back only for a short stint, off to Dublin on Saturday morning.

ShutterStock; a quick bitch.

I recently submitted 10 photos to shutterstock in an attempt to get approved and make a bit of moolah. The photos I submitted for approval were, in my usual style, a mixture of sports, events and arty stuff. It would appear that the bigwigs at shutterstock want mindless camera clickery. Oooh no, nothing too far from the ordinary. Nothing with a bit of contrast. In fact, the only two that were accepted were a fairly standard shot of the surfers in Garretstown and a fireworks shot from Cobh. I’m disgusted. How patronising was the email they sent me? Something like;

“We hope you develop your skills and return to us at a later date”

I know I’m far from professional but every so often I am capable of taking a decent photograph. I know that from the comments I get on some of them. A good deal of my stuff might not be pro standard but I get lucky every so often. I guess I’m just nursing a bruised ego at the moment. Feckers!

The Atlantic Manor Hotel

Lets see, what to do on a wet, windy and boring Sunday afternoon? Not many windsurfers about, no action on Garretstown beach so why not commit a little trespass? With that in mind I bring you “The Atlantic Manor Hotel”, Garretstown’s finest (and only) establishment. About a hundred rooms (as far as I can see), half with sea views. A large function room and good sized bar, also with a sea view. Travel websites regard it highly and there are numerous listings for it.

There’s only one tiny snag… for further details, see below.


The reception, where you will be given a warm welcome on your arrival.


The function room, where you can dance the night away.


The world class kitchen, where all your meals are lovingly prepared.


But don’t forget to wash your hands before dinner!

And finally, some good advice for anyone wishing to visit The Atlantic Manor Hotel in it’s current state…

All in all a charming location to get away from it all for the weekend.

Coming back to reality, it’s an interesting building. Interesting in that I felt it nessecary to bring along my survival kit for the short time I spent inside the hotel. Yes, by survival kit I mean an extremely sharp lock-knife. The place has obviously been badly looted, however much of the furniture, office paperwork and fixtures/fittings still survive. On climbing the stairs to the first level, I suddenly came over all paranoid and found that no matter how I tried to convince myself I wasn’t going to die, I just wasn’t able to walk down that narrow, dark hallway. The wind was making strange noises in & around the largely empty building and panes of broken glass, still hanging from their window frames swung violently. I started to see things out of the corner of my eye as I walked around downstairs, so I got the fuck out of there and back into the daylight.

Before I fled like a little girl however, I did explore much of the ground floor. The kitchen remains oddly intact. There are appliances still in place, although presumably they are nailed down. The doors of several meat lockers and cold rooms swung open ominously, as if to say “c’mon in, there’s no dead bodies in here.” Needless to say, I declined on this occasion.

I fully intend on re-visiting and exploring the entire upper floor and the other half of the building I never saw. Although next time I’ll bring the following with me;

1. At least one other person
2. At least one torch
3. Six pairs of surgical gloves
4. One pair of heavy duty work gloves
5. A dozen large plastic ‘sandwich bags’ for evidence collection
6. Something to temporarily incapacitate anyone that may spring out of one of the dark, empty rooms.

Anyone up for a bit of fun? But hey, before you decide on something that could potentially scar you for life, take a look at the rest of the photos!

Squeaky Clean

The results of my very first Copper Hill cleaning are in and I must say, they’re awesome! The kit arrived this morning, handed to me by the postman just before I left for work. I followed the included instructions to the letter and all went well. It’s a hugely uncomfortable feeling, putting pressure on an instrument which is directly in contact with the AA filter but alls well that ends well. Still left with a bit of krud along the bottom of the frame but no doubt that’ll sort itself out with future cleanings. I won’t waffle on endlessly, instead the pictures can do the talking.

All the photos are clickable; so click on them to view the high-res version. Only post-process was to tweak the highlights so dust is more visible and resize for the web.


Before I started. Taken at f32


After the 1st swab. Dust starts to move around and become streaky. (f32)



After the 2nd swab. Much of the dust has now gone, or simply been moved to the bottom of the frame. (f32)



Again more dust has disappeared and the thick trail of dust at the bottom of the frame begins to break up. (f32)


Practically all of the dust has been removed now, leaving only some in the line at the bottom of the frame. (f32)

I decided to stop swabbing after the 4th pass and label the venture as an unprecedented success. I am left with the the line of dust at the bottom of the frame but as I have said above, I’m sure I can remove that as my practice with swabbing and my confidence improves. Just for larfs I decided to take a quicky at f8, which up until today was producing several dark spots on images and some distortion on the right of the frame.


f8 and not a cloud in the sky

Those are results I can most definately live with. A big thanks to the first brave pioneering photographer that decided to put pec pad to sensor.

Update: Got rid of the line of dust in one go after a smidgin of reading.

Lego!

An all too forgotten about subject. Whilst doing some reading over on Winds & Breezes I happened across the lego digital designer website. Oh My GOD! Lego! Now the only question remains, do I go to bed or stay up playing with my new lego set? Jesus, it’s like being 10 years old again.

At least now I’ve got something to do at work tomorrow.

Curses, on closer inspection, the digital designer is cack. As a marketing tool however it’s superb! It made me want to go out and spend lots of money on lego.

* This space reserved for a future rant on why lego always has to be something these days. Back in my day we’d get colouded blocks and use our imaginations! *

On Copper Hill Cleaning…

And so the time came to polish the sensor; and all grimaced at the thought of the task ahead. The time came and went and dust grew thicker and formed minature colonies on the glass surface of the AA filter, resisting all half-ass attempts to remove it from it’s cosy existence.

Yes, I’ve got a dust problem. Wait, to be more accurate – Yes, I had a dust problem. Now I’ve got a dust, grease & streak problem. Woe unto the fool that goes near their digital camera sensor with anything but the finest of surgical materials. Well, either that or something that’s actually designed for the task. But that just wouldn’t be me. If I did a job with the right tools at hand It’d probably go so well I’d die of shock. To put it simply, my sensor is in a bad way. It now really needs a professional cleaning. REALLY needs it.

With that in ming, I rang Canon Ireland today to enquire about the time & money thing. I spoke to a rather helpful woman in Dublin who informed me that it could take anything up to 6 weeks. Err, no. That’d mean I’d have to medicate myself to cope with the loss for at least 5 of those 6 weeks. Apparently (and I must admit this doesnt exactly surprise me), Canon don’t clean sensors. Or at least Canon Ireland don’t. They fob that off to another Dublin company; Image Supply Systems (who now seem to go under Photologic). Again I spoke to a rather helpful chap who told me it’s generally a 24 hour turnaround time provided I book the timeslot about a week in advance and it’s done at a cost of €45 + VAT. (So around €55 quid then).

“Hmmm” I thought to myself and before thanking him and hanging up I proceeded to question him on the subject of how exactly camera sensors are cleaned. “What do you mean?” he asked, as if trying to hold in the secrets of the McDonalds secret sauce. “What exactly is the method by which they are cleaned?”, “What do you use?”. Again, rather unsurprisingly the answer came back “Swabs and an alcohol solution”. “Hmmmm” I thought again and wanted to say “Ohh, just like the famous Copper Hill method then?”.

Oh to have options. Wait, I do! So I could pay Photologic €55 for one cleaning, only to have to pay them €55 more in a few months (if I’m VERY lucky) to clean it again. OR I could buy a Copper Hill cleaning kit myself and do the exact same thing for ohh €52 (plus P&P). Now presuming I used my own bought kit and clean the sensor like an obsessive compulsive every, say 2 weeks, that kit would last me for at least three and a half years. Oh to have options eh. Lucky then that I leaped before looking on this one and have already purchased the Copper Hill kit from Chili-pix, their European distributor. It should hopefully arrive before the weekend to leave me with a shiny, good as new sensor for the weekend’s photo session.

If it works, and I presume it will seeing as it’s the sworn solution by many a pro, it’ll save me God knows how much money both in courier costs to & from Dublin and in the cost of the cleanings themselves. Not that I’m trying to beat Photologic down or anything, I’m sure the service they provide is top notch. As a technically competant and somewhat intelligent human being, I feel quite safe in saying I can handle the Copper Hill learning curve. I guess blowing air on the sensor to clean it just got old…

Update: the kit arrived this morning just before I left for work. Much of my Friday evening will now no doubt be spent swabbing and praying.