Archive for October, 2007

Gallery ICA

Gallery ICA

For some months now, a selection of my photos have been on display in Gallery ICA, a well situated gallery in the heart of Kinsale. I first got an email from Haydn Shaughnessy about a year ago, asking me if I’d be interested in displaying my work in his upcoming gallery. Needless to say I jumped at the opportunity, as did several other artists including fellow photographer Donncha O Caoimh. The gallery started life in a very scenic spot overlooking the bay up in a building behind the Pink Elephant restaurant in Kilbrittan, but moved to it’s new home across from the yacht club (between the Trident hotel and Actons hotel) in Kinsale.

Gallery ICA

It’s great to see the photos finally hanging in well made frames, printed with the gracious assistance of Hewlett Packard, who gave the use of one of their first Z3100 12 ink printers in Ireland to Haydn for a couple of day’s of intense printing. The results were staggering. Up till then, I’d seen my photos printed at 30×20 inches. He printed a few test shots that were 4 feet high. That’s slightly surreal. I guess now I can start making wallpaper out of my photos!?!

Both the quality of the paper and the print itself speaks volumes. It’s all too easy to get digital photos printed today; Walk into any chemist and you can have any number of prints within an hour. It is still quite an art form (as far as I’m concerned anyway) to print properly and onto paper that compliments the type of print. The printing exercise with the HP Z3100 was a great success.

Gallery ICA

I won’t go on at length about the other artists in the gallery, I’ll leave it to you to take a trip down to Kinsale and pop into the gallery to have a look at the unique artwork. Finally, much credit is due to Haydn on the truly stellar amount of time and energy he’s put into both organising the creation and the ongoing operation of the gallery. I for one am hugely grateful for the exposure that having my prints there has allowed me and even more so because he actually sold a print of mine a couple of weeks ago! Here’s hoping for a long and busy Christmas shopping season!!

I’m all talk…

…and can’t decide how to communicate! I’ve been looking into getting a ‘landline of sorts’ at home since we moved in but I’m caught between a rock and a hard place. This is where you, my learned readers, come in very handy. I’m seeking the benefit of your experience. A bit of background; I didn’t get a physical phone line installed at home, primarily because I’d rather melt my eyeballs with a lighter than give eircom €25 a month to rent a crappy out of date copper cable. So I got symmetric 1mbit wireless broadband from nova networks to fulfill my internetty needs. As I see it currently, I’ve got two options.

1. Get skype. I’m already on skype, so all I’d have to do is create a ‘home’ account, buy something like this for €180 ish (incl delivery) and use skype pro @ about €50 a year (incl geographic 021 number). Upsides are free landline calls in Ireland and cheap as chips for worldwide calls. Downsides include the inability to ‘text chat’ from the phone and the apparently inability to send text messages from it. I’d live without both as I have a mobile. Also, skype is a closed network so I’d be unable to call regular VoIP phones. Err, don’t currently know anyone that has a VoIP phone.

2. Get Blueface. They were my original first and only option. Skype only entered into it a few weeks ago when it broke that they are now offering Irish geographic phone numbers. I’d have to get a phone; something like an s450IP (Siemens Gigaset) and probably get the second package for €99 a year. Instantly, that’s about twice the price of the skype option. It is a more open and adaptable system but is that so important?

Both have a minimum charge of around 2cent per call (connection charge) so I fail to see how an unlimited national landline package (skype) compares with a 300 minute national landline package (blueface) compares. I know I could do additional mad stuff with blueface like connecting it up to the sky box and possibly a monitored alarm and maybe even home automation, but that’s just fanciness for the sake of it. I could setup my own asterisk server, if I so chose. I could get a fax to email phone number with blueface, if I so chose.

Landlines these days are coming with broadband and calls packages that come in around €40/50 for something around a 2mbit (asymmetric) line and in some cases, unlimited calling in Ireland and the UK. I suppose at the end of it all, is blueface worth twice the price of skype? Does Blueface have twice or more of the functionality of skype? I’m not talking about all of the posh stuff either. Just talk, voicemail and maybe some text. How well does €5 per month (roughly) compare with €10? Skype is by far a more user friendly system as far as I can see. Anyone with even a fundamental knowledge of computers can download and install it. It might take a bit more insight to go out and buy a headset to use with it, but it’s not beyond the realm of possibility for even a novice user. Blueface, while not much more complicated, can get confusing for the layman with all the talk of ATA’s and SIP settings. In skype, if you can remember your username and password, you can use it anywhere.

Finally, for my own interest… How many of you are either on skype, have VoIP services or have both? I welcome your thoughts on the above.

Trying (not) to spend money

I got to thinking recently about 86ing my Sigma 24-70 and investing the difference in a Canon 24-70L. It’d be the long slippery slope toward doing the same with my beloved Sigma 30 f1.4 and replacing that with a Canon 35L. Then eventually (some time next year), doing the same with my 20D and replacing that with a 5D, or it’s replacement coming out next year (according to the rumour mill). But anyway…

Float (again)

Much like this one from some time ago. I suppose it’s good in a way. I don’t have much opportunity to test out the 24-70L, so it’s hard to really see the difference between the two lenses. I can thank the poorly stocked photo shops of Cork for that I guess. If it’s anything like my Canon 70-200, it’ll boast sharper, more contrasty and overall more ‘L’ looking results. If you get my drift..

Don't you wink at me!

So… currently unsure as to what to do next, I’ll go and drink alot of black coffee and it’ll come to me in a caffeine induced madness later on. Incidentally, if anyone out there is interested in buying a Sigma 24-70 f2.8 and a Sigma 30 f1.4 (and possibly a Canon 20D) give me a shout. My latest excuse for the lack of updates is that I’ve started a CCNA course that’ll run until June next year. There’s nothing I love more than theory by the bucketload. Mmm Hmm theory. *Groan*