Archive for May, 2007

The Abbey

Weed

On unsupervised and unplanned tours around west Cork, one often ends up taking the Kinsale – Kilbrittan – Timoleague – Clonakilty route. This week, we made it as far as the third stop and once again into the wonderful abbey, the first thing you’ll see when driving into Timoleague. The abbey is of course in ruin but is still hugely interesting and quite scenic for a stroll around. It’s use is mostly of the graveyard variety for both the recently deceased and those that shuffled off their mortal coil some time ago. This is perfectly evident by some of the gravestones in the abbey. Some are of the bright, big, new marble fashion. Others are simple stones marking the spot where a loved one is buried. Most have long forgotten (low maintenance plastic) wreaths strewn around them, maybe some relatives don’t get around as often as they could?

You don't bring me flowers anymore...

Practically the only thing you can hear when you first arrive at the abbey are the pigeons making their various sounds and the sound of your own footsteps. Somehow, you always know there’s a crow sitting on a crumbling wall eyeing your every movement. It’s that kind of place. But inevitably the silence is shattered by a parking car, slamming doors and either the laughter of small children or the low tones of any one of a dozen foreign tongues we experience every day. We got both. I even managed to scare a few children witless as I darted under the low stone passageways connecting the multi-room ruin. Result!

Ready to do some eye pokin'

Tower

If nothing else, it’ll serve as proof that I don’t get out enough with the camera these days. That is, the fact that I begun shooting and actually left the car park without realising there was no memory card in my camera. I didn’t go bright red, I don’t think I even swore. Well maybe I did a bit when I realised I’d have to walk back to the car…

Death on a budget

That’s about it really. The weather behaved admirably, only choosing to break and give my car an acid wash on the way back from Clonakilty. Walking around a fairly secluded ruin with a big white lens and a load of people that first look at you (or should I say “give you a look”) and then stare at your camera as you walk by gives me a chill. We went. Then we got burgers in Bandon. Not a bad weekend!

Adventures in Medium Format

Garrettstown, Rain Coming

A few weeks ago, I got the opportunity to run through a couple of rolls of Fuji 120 film in a borrowed camera. The results on the whole are less than encouraging and lead me to believe several things.

  • The camera leaks light like a drunkard relieves himself; all over the place and completely without warning
  • Whoever developed the film on behalf of O’Learys Camera World needs to find a new career
  • Whoever scanned the film needs to stop sneezing on their scanner and trying to clean it up by wiping a cat across it
  • The term “high resolution” means nothing anymore. In the high-res folder on the cd’s I paid extra for were JPEG’s of approx 800kb each. That’s not high-res. I’d have killed for a 30 odd meg TIFF file

It wouldn’t be enough to stop me from experimenting more with black & white medium format photography, but maybe with a properly light sealed camera and with enough equipment and chemicals to develop and scan the negatives myself. The prints I got back (although granted they were only proofs) were worth exactly feck all. I’d have paid extra again not to get them. The camera left whopping great streaks of light across most of the negs and then the scanner added in loads of dust and a few hairs. Thank God I got photoshop installed in the last few days.

Galley Head

I did manage to get a few usable prints out of the two rolls, most of which I’ve someway processed and cleaned up for flickr. To someway keep in line with the ‘old worldyness’ of it all, I left some scanner crap in!

Galley Head Lighthouse

Perhaps the single most annoying thing about all of it is, with such unfathomably low-res scans, I can’t even get any prints done! I could reprint off the negs or get them scanned properly but that’d be a little too much like throwing good money after bad. Ahh but it’s not all bad. It’s given me a bit of a taste for film again (when time permits). I wonder where my 35mm camera is gone?!? The perils of moving house, everything is in a box somewhere. I’ve got a couple more of these on flickr too.

Looking down on Macy’s

From the top of the Empire State Building

Finally delved into my New York photos that I never actually thought I was going to get to. They’ve been sitting on my hard drive since the end of February, quietly waiting and wondering when they were going to be used and abused. It’s a night of firsts, I’ve only now got a copy of photoshop for my macbook pro. No longer restricted to the wonders of lightroom, I can now dodge, burn, clone and do many more wonderful things… If only I knew how to. It does mean that thankfully, I’m now perfectly armed and ready for an upcoming photoshop training day in Dublin.

So coming back to the above. It’s the product of a little bit of fecking around in photoshop, trying in vain to emulate even a tiny percentage of what I’ve retained from the photofest. Not alot. I require the use of a brain of someone that knows photoshop. How many times in one post can I write photoshop? Photoshop, photoshop, photoshop! Maybe my next task will be to clean up my desk to create a space to work in with graphics tablet and external hard drive instead of balancing the lot precariously on my knee.

A beach, somewhere in Dublin…

Just before the blog awards back in March. While exploring in the Lusk/Rush/Skerries area in the hours before the ceremony, we came upon a beach (prizes if anyone can tell me where it is from the photos I’ve posted on flickr).

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Sweeties on the sand? Jewels on the jetty? Hardly. Heineken in the harbour! The beach was strewn with more rubbish and what eventually appeared to be either oil or sewage than I’ve seen on any beach for a long time. Nevertheless, it was still a good place to waste a few hours before engaging in the toils and related stresses that you get driving into Dublin city. Or at least the toils and related stresses I get.

IMG 9085

IMG 9108

There are a couple more on flickr, but nothing spectacular. On a related note, it pains me muchly to report that I haven’t raised the camera to my eye in about two and a half weeks now. Depressing or what?!? I’ll have to think of somewhere to take photos this weekend before I go completely mad.