Archive for February, 2006

City & County

As the title suggests, I started in the city, took a few shots and later got bored. Then I went out west toward Innishannon & Bandon, took another few shots and yet again got bored. I do however approve of my latest reincarnation of “how to find somewhere to take photos”. When driving around the city I took it upon myself to take go straight through any junction I met. If straight wasn’t available, I’d go right. Yes, I am that odd…

Lazing on a sunny afternoon
Fitzgeralds Park

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More rust than iron
Near Innishannon; a gate held together by rust

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Rough Seas
Old Head of Kinsale. Yes, I did get wet!

Rough Seas off the Old Head of Kinsale


A fairly well-rounded short drive. I was amazed to see how rough the sea was off the Old Head and was treated to a fresh yet decidedly salty shower as one of the larger waves crashed over the wall. I guess my theory “wait for a few big waves to pass, then duck in and take a few shots” didn’t pass off too well in this case. Oddly, a few miles away in Garretstown it was perfectly calm. A few more of these are currently lurking in dark corners over on flickr.

Odds & Ends

Inspired by Chromasia, I went out tonight with the intention of capturing some night time scenes at my local beach. In a word, they’re rough. It’s a method that certainly warrants further investigation however.

Fountainstown

Damn noise killed it stone dead. With practically the same hardware that I’m using, I’d like to see how David manages such fantastic noise free shots. After feeling the effects of standing on an exposed beach in the middle of February (i.e. bloody cold) I retreated to capture some general junk.

Bulb 1 Bulb 3

Tin of Screws

In related news, I’ve already grown quite attached to my new Canon 50mm f1.8 lens. To me it looks soft in the viewfinder but there’s no arguing with the sharpness of the shots. Also related, this is the first time I’ve shot raw in bloody ages. I thought it’d cut down on the ol’ noise on the beach shots. I was wrong. More of this set, “Randomness” on Flickr

Amsterdam

Disclaimer

Due to the holiday nature of this excursion, a good deal of these pictures were taken with a highly portable point & shoot camera. Not much time or inclination to walk several miles taking photos with a heavy camera around my neck. Hope the photos don’t look too ‘holiday snaps’.

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On arriving in Amsterdam, getting soaked and finally finding the hotel, took a few hours to walk around the city (but only because I couldn’t check into the hotel and sleep for the day). Maybe it was a bit of a harsh introduction to such depravity for an innocent young fella like me, but I was mentally scarred the first day after walking around the red light district and viewing the many varied windows that apparently only came out at night.

Near our hotel

Just outside our hotel

The above is a view from more or less outside the hotel on the fringes of the red light district; a sea of sex shops (complete with the hugely hygenic ‘booths’), window dressing (or undressing would probably be more appropriate), crack dealing hoore pimps and homeless people with perfect English. Never in one hour have I had hard drugs offered to me so much. Every few seconds you’d hear a little whisper in your ear, the funniest of which had to be “Hey man, cocaine ecstacy? Is good for the sex!” Eh no. I’m perfectly happy with the soft stuff, if only by that I mean getting knocked on my arse by the rotten stench of hash every time you pass a coffee shop. Having said that though they do sell the most magnificent muffins. Odd flavour but hugely pleasing after savouring for several minutes. After some enquiries, it seems unlikely that I’ll be able to source said muffins in Ireland. How unfortunate. The whole red light district had me feeling rather uneasy for the first few days, but that’s possibly because I’m not used to the whole thing. I’m sure if I went back there (raging drunk) I’d have a simply splendid outing.

The rest of the city was a complete mirror opposite. Well, almost complete. There were tacky souvenir shops a plenty and of course I had to visit every single one of those no less than twice. There was a certain degree of shopping undertaken as I searched for other things to do. The famous flower market was, although seemingly not in full bloom, quite a nice sight.


Flower Market

Flower Market

One thing that disturbed me greatly was the price of the beer. For the week I drank mostly Heineken, which averaged out at roughly €5.50 per half litre (in metric world). It even rose to €6.50 in one place, but we only went back there, ohh three times or so. Teasers. A pub to be reviewed if ever there was one. I feel that myself and Eoin should go on a fact finding mission to Amsterdam solely to review Teasers. Although the drink is pricey, I can’t help but feel that you’re also paying for the entertainment.

Inside Teasers Bar

Teasers: Babes & Beer

Above you can see quite a conservatively dressed Teasers girl. The rest of them, I can only presume, either do not know what the Dutch translation for ‘conservative’ is or don’t care. I certainly didn’t care! So to recap; visit Teasers, where you’ll be served by half naked women while watching more half naked women dancing suggestively atop the bar. If all that doesn’t fill you with a wonderful sense of stiffness, you can also partake in a ritual known as a ‘bodyshot’, a term which confused me greatly up to this point. I don’t think I need to explain it. I’ll just say that if you’re going to get one, have €25 at the ready and make sure you get the first one of the night. Otherwise, contracting a communicable disease is a huge possibility.

In the days that followed came an orgy of shopping, dining out and generally taking it easy. Nothing really that warrants an extra paragraph. I did venture to Rotterdam on one rainy day but I’ll cover that in the next post. Speaking of rain, it did rain on and off for the first few days which didn’t lend itself very well to photography. Thankfully in the last few days it was quite nice and I even managed to leave the hotel without raincoat and umbrella. Perhaps spring isn’t the ideal time to visit a country below sea level?

Would I go back there? I’d wait until the weather gets nicer and perhaps then only for a couple of days. A long weekend of drinking and general sexual mayhem perhaps…


Flamethrower

Dam Square

Belltower

Kolkswaterkering!

Coffeeshop 36

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Way more on Flickr.

Back to the land of 40 shades & all that jazz

Got back into Cork from Amsterdam this morning on a rather packed Aer Lingus flight. Five days; perhaps too much. Maybe next time for a long weekend. For some odd reason the uncontrollable urge to go forth and take photos only dug it’s claws in on the last couple of days. Maybe I just needed the break after all?!?

On hitting the tarmac in Cork airport I learned via text that I’ve been shortlisted for two awards in the Irish Blog Awards; Best Photo Blog and Best Blog Post. A huge thank you to anyone & everyone that voted for me. I, like all my fellow shortlistee’s, will be dusting off the gladrags for the ‘big do’ in Dublin on March 11th.

Back to the subject of my recent return from 5 days of Dutch debauchery; expect a few photos in the next couple of days as return to the idle pleasures of home and turn to processing the shots.

Amsterdam Unprocessed

Just to escape the madness of the red light district for a few minutes, I took the option to get on a computer and post a few of the as yet unprocessed photos. Nothing inspirational so far; it’s been raining pretty much 60% of the time we’ve been here so far. Can’t complain though, it’s a great place. Been using mostly the point & shoot camera so far but hopefully I’ll get chance to whip out the 20D when we travel to Rotterdam tomorrow. Don’t judge me too harshly, some of these will probably look alot better when they’ve been through picassa!


Red Light District
Taken outside our hotel.

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The famous flower market.

Dam Square
Dam Square.

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Its.. a… CANAL!

A bit more of the same when I get home to my faster and cheaper internet connection…

Why I Buy Online

Is it to save money? Because practically everything camera related one could ever wish to buy in Ireland costs double what it would elsewhere? Is it out of convenience? Easier to shop from your armchair, instead of visiting shops and hashing out prices. Well, yes and yes. There is a far more potent reason however. With a reputable seller on ebay, you’ll know exactly how much you’re paying and exactly when it’ll be in your hands. I’ve gotten lenses from Hong Kong in 3 days and saved hundreds of euros!

On Monday morning I ordered a Canon 50mm f1.8 MKII from a Cork photo shop. “No problem, it’ll be in this evening or tomorrow morning.” Rang that evening, no sign of it. “Might have missed that shipment, try again tomorrow around noon”. Rang at 1pm, no sign. “Few more deliveries scheduled for this evening, it’s in one of those”. Rang at 5pm and y’know what? Yep, no sign of it. So the lens I wanted to take with me to Amsterdam tomorrow morning will sit in the back of some delivery van until I get back. It boggles the mind.

Had I bought the lens online from a UK or Irish ebay seller, I’d have it mounted on my camera right now. Hell, had I bought the damn thing late last week from Kea-Photo in Hong Kong I’d have it mounted on my camera by now! I blame my optimism in local suppliers. My fault. €150 locally with a 2/3 day wait or around €100 from the other side of the world with a guaranteed 3 day delivery. This place is way too laid back. Why did I buy the bloody lens from that shop in the first place? I won vouchers for the damn place!

As always, I shall remain a great believer in “why give vouchers that can be used in one shop when you can give cash that can be used anywhere?!?”

Sheeps Head

It’s been years since I was last on sheeps head, the day of the Summer Solstice in 2003 to be precise. It’s quite a different experience taking the steep hills & tight turns on 4 wheels this time around; maybe it would have been easier with 4 wheels that have a decent engine attached to them? Nevertheless…

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Nice day for a ride

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Burnt Out

Pourous

Watch that first step...

The light was pretty crappy, as was the blanket of mist. I’m not even going to get into the nose nibbling temperatures! All in all though a welcome re-visit; even if the locals are a bit too inquisitive for their own good…

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Mizen Head; one or two

Hadn’t been out to Mizen head in a while and didn’t want to pay a fiver to walk right out to the headland so here’s the best of whats left.

Nice day for a stroll

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Couple more on Flickr.

Doneraile Park

Braving the misty rain and the outside world to bring you brand new photos of north Cork. This is Doneraile Park near Mallow. Well, maybe nearer to Newtwopothouse really but we won’t argue for the sake of a few miles.

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Boarded up

Weed underwater

Breaking through

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Although quite soggy, we had a very pleasant stroll around the grounds. Well, it was quite pleasant after I abandoned all hope of jumping the wall of the house and getting a closer look at the boarded up buildings and mysterious looking courtyards. Although the place had a somewhat pervasive odour of sewage, it was as scenic and as relaxing as I remember from my last visit several years ago. The deer were a nice surprise and unlike the ones in Farran Woods, were quite friendly (once the guy with the bag of bread rolls turned up).

I took the opportunity to get some ‘flowing water’ shots after finding my tripod under a mountain of rubbish in the back of my van. Take one and they become addictive; I’m quite pleased with how some of the weed shots came out. Yeesh, that sentance will have a completely different meaning this time next week :)

But for now, if you only do one thing before tomorrow evening, check out the rest of the set on Flickr.

Some advice for the weekend…

Smile!

Looking forward to getting out and taking some proper shots this weekend. There’s only so much of this “exploring your own house” craic one can bear in a few short days. Stay tuned!