Irish

Nominations now open

Seems like all I’m going to be posting about lately is the blog awards that will take place this March 3rd in Dublin. Well, nominations are now open if you want to head along, fill in the form and nominate your favorite blog (i.e. this one). You can get in there and put your favorite blog on the spot until Friday 26th January so no excuses.

Irish Blog Awards 2007

Damien has announced the 2007 Irish Blog Awards and would like people to leave a quick note if they are attending. It’s penciled in for the 3rd of March in the Alexander Hotel, Dublin city. Very much looking forward to it, although this time as a purely social event rather than a nominee. Last year practically every blogger I’ve read were strangers to me and after meeting them I can’t wait to get back and catch up.

Not to say I wouldn’t be utterly delighted to be nominated in the shortlist again this year, but it’s not a huge priority. This year I’ll be taking on the duty of ‘official photographer’. Hey, does that mean I get a badge or something?!?

Mentioned in The Irish Times

Thanks to Haydn Shaughnessy for his kind words in his article on Irish bloggers on page 14 of todays Irish Times. I’m not going to repeat the whole article or even quote my favorite bit. I will however use the quote for some shameles self promotion in the very near future.

Ta me completely as mo parking spot!

Just a little tit-bit of what I thought was humourous news… While sitting in my legally parked commercial vehicle on the South Mall in Cork last Saturday morning, I spotted a celebrity of sorts parking in a disabled spot across the road from me, right outside the Bank of Ireland branch.

I rolled down the window and as traffic was light I didn’t have to shout the following very loudly…

“Wey hey, Ta tu parked in disabled spot Hectorrrrrrrrrr”.

Ok so I didn’t, but I wanted to. My guess is he was on the way to his book signing in Eason and didn’t want to look for a legal parking spot. I wonder if the very talented Mario on TodayFM could do anything with that?

Get the point, not the points!

Back in July 2003 (in the hells angel days), I performed some rather questionable feats of bravery/stupidity on my motorbike. One such feat involved riding around a public park at 11pm one weeknight but that’s not what we’re interested in for the purposes of this post. What we’re on about is the drag race I had with my imaginary friend on the road from Killarney to Macroom. Pulled for speeding; 2 points. Nards.

It came to pass that the points only appeared on my otherwise pristine driving record in October. The 6th of October 2003 to be precise. So we all know what this means. As of right now, this very moment in time I’m 100% points free. Back to 0. Full no points discount on insurance. I’m such a good driver, having managed to evade getting anymore of the dreaded markings over the last tempting 3 years of road rage. So tonight a small celebration to mark the event. Now, I wonder when I’ll get the congratulatory letter from the department of transport?

Nerdy Joy

Just sitting in work now, having had our internet access enabled and am currently downloading from heanet at 2210kb/sec. Incidentally, boards.ie is pinging 7ms and heanet is coming in around 6ms. Irishisptest tells me I’ve got a 30mbit fibre line all to myself.

Hmm, I wonder how long it’d take to backup the internet?

Cork & Cameras, a bewildering mix

Ok, so ya get the expensive stuff on the internet because you’re saving money, right? You get the small fiddly bits locally, because you can and because the rip-off Ireland phenomenon doesn’t screw you over as much as it would with say a camera body or a lens. So if you need a filter or a battery, a memory card or even a lens cap you can pretty much just walk straight in off the street and get it. Unless you live in Cork it seems.

Without mentioning any names, even though it’s blatantly obvious, it’s impossible to get alot of the smaller inexpensive stuff in Cork. Three times now I’ve been foiled in my attempts to get insignificant bits & pieces and it’s a case of three strikes, you’re out. First time was a filter, second time a couple of lens caps and most recently, this weekend I tried to get an off shoe flash cord. Sounds hugely technical but in reality it’s only a cord that connects a flashgun to a hot-shoe on the top of the camera. In other words, something that every shop should stock. Ok so maybe one shop might be out of stock, but all three??? I was even told in one shop that they’d have to order it in and didn’t have a clue how long it’d take. That normally means at least 2+ weeks.

Considering I can get pretty much anything I’ll ever be looking for within 3 days from ebay, it leaves me truly quizzed that anyone would bother to even try local shops anymore. In fact, if enough people were introduced to the ebay ways and means, would it spell the demise of local shops altogether? If I was to mount a part-time protest, could I possibly encourage these shops to stock up or die off?

When you think about it, what do they do?

  • Sell consumer point & shoot cameras
  • Sell pro-sumer cameras, dslr’s and the like
  • Sell pro level cameras
  • Sell accessories for all of the above
  • Bits and pieces like lenses, tripods
  • Print photos
  • Give advice to customers

So, with the exception of the last two items, everything else can be had on ebay for a fraction of the price. I’ve found that at least 75% of the time, a local shop will have to ‘order in’ the item you’re looking for. That means a wait of at least 1 week, often more. So, on an expensive item (like my lens on the right) I can save around €1k and get it into my hands in 3 days. As for getting prints, I always use Photobox. They’re significantly cheaper than anything I’ve ever found locally, can be just as quick and are 100% perfect quality. Advice? Has anyone ever gotten any useful advice in a local shop? Anything that couldn’t be found with just a few clicks on google? No, I thought not. With all this in mind, why would anyone shop locally? Why why why?!?

I would simply love to start importing camera gear and selling it at below Irish retail to anyone interested. Take rip-off Ireland outside and give it a swift kick in the family jewels. I’d even go as far as publishing a price list in the local media. For example, take a common photojournalist camera, the Canon 1D Mark II N. In Ireland, you’re looking at €4,000 ish. That’s a pretty conservative estimate too.. Or, from ebay, a smidge under €3,000.

So, anyone want anything?

Verdict on Peoples Photography

Well, back from Dublin and from Peoples Photography. All in all a tiring yet wildly enjoyable couple of days. I loved peoples photography but predictably enough, still 80% hate Dublin city centre. Next time I’ll shell out for more expensive lodgings too, don’t like being treated somewhat like a prisoner in the evening returning back to the glorified hostel and then being treated to a crap breakfast in the morning served in a manner last seen in a line up in the canteen of some maximum security prison. So Saturday on the green was largely uneventful, apart from the arrival of my glamorous assistant and the spanking new Canon 30D. More on that later…

There didn’t seem to be any sales at all on the south side on Saturday. I was shocked. Well, not too shocked. Had a stroll around the perimeter of the awfully large green to see that some of the exhibitors had brought depressingly good prints, some had brough depressingly bad prints and the rest of them were somewhere in the middle. Saw a couple I’d buy if I wasn’t saving up for a massively expensive new lens. According to various trustworthy resources, some were charging up on €600 for a print. Madness!?!

Mine, on Sunday morning

My reassuringly modest setup could well have expanded into the space beside me if not kept in careful check… by the person who eventually turned up and setup beside me. Drat and double drat! Next time I might just bring twice the number of prints! Next time we’ll also have to sort out an area of space big enough for all the boards crowd to stay together. It really was too long to walk just to take the piss out of someone.

Himself and the expensive setup

After Saturday’s lack-lustre performance both sales and crowds wise, it was time to drown the would-be sorrows with a trip to the porterhouse. Somewhere I’ve never been (because I hate Dublin city, remember?) but always wanted to try. Their strawberry beer, despite looking like a pint of alcopop, is simply marvellous. Also, standing at the bar screaming “A pint of strawberry please” makes one question ones sexuality. 10ish pints of it later, it started to become decidedly average. The beer that doesn’t come with a mandatory hangover (so I was informed by my so called trusty resources) left me with a feeling the next morning that led me to believe strawberries were eating my brain from the inside out and had kept my eyeballs for dessert. Nice. I must say I was incredibly surprised that my farts didn’t smell like strawberries though. Surprised is the wrong word… more dissapointed.

Did I mention that it rained? (a bit)

So it rained in short bursts, more the second day but I didn’t really care because my prints were well protected (and I had setup under the shade of a tree, wah ha ha). We got a quota of sun too and Sunday picked up both numbers and sales wise. I managed to sell three and wondered how many I’d have sold if I was in Fermoy instead. Hmm… I’m open to correction on it, but with so much choice and competition that weekend, is it really an area conducive to sales? I mean if you have a print of a flower macro and are selling it for €40, someone right around the corner from you might have a similar print for €25 or €30. Psh, I’ll just have to stick to Fermoy where I’ve currently got the monopoly on photography.

So I think we’re all pretty much in agreement that it’s a goer for next year. We’ll just have to get in early, block book a few spaces for all interested boards photographers and bring a disposable barby. Oh and a table. And perhaps a patio umbrella. And a deck of cards. And most importantly of all, a honking great big sign that says “Prints For Sale!”

I’ve stuck a few photos from the 2 days up on Flickr if anyone (everyone) is interested. Expect more news on the 30D once I bother to post it.

Off to Dublin

Posting will be extra light for the next few days as I’m off to partake in Peoples Photography. I’ll be back on Monday, hopefully when there will be at least a spanking new Canon 30D waiting for me. The news on the 20D isn’t too bad; €254 for a CF slot replace and something important sounding with a motherboard. Also, I think I’m being charged to sort out the known and recognised problem with the battery grip, but that’s pending investigation from this side as the grip is still under warranty.

So, if anyone’s in Dublin this weekend, come and see me at slot 425 on the south side of St. Stephens Green. I’ll be there, along with many others, basking in what I hope will be glorious sunshine. Ah shur, if not.. I’ve got enough raingear to keep a small flood at bay.

Peoples Photography

Some time ago, there was a post on boards relating to the upcoming Peoples Photography exhibition in Dublin. If you’ve ever been to Dublin around this time of year you’ll know what it’s all about. Hundreds of amateur and professional photographers lined up around St. Stephen’s Green, showing off their work for the whole of the city to see over 2 days at the end of August. That’s basically it.

Procrastinating as I normally do (and admittedly I never actually thought to apply for it), I left it until a few days ago to think about applying. I presumed that all the spaces would be allocated by now but low and behold, a great deal of the south side of the green was free. So I sent off my application and €15 entry fee and thankfully, I’ve now been allocated my space; I’m 425 on the South side. All that’s left to do now is mount loads of prints, find some way of protecting them from the elements (and grubby fingers) and find some accomodation in Dublin. Ohh and if you’re thinking of coming along, keep the 26th and 27th of August free. So much work to do, so little time.

Eventually, when I’ve made up my mind about it, I’ll post a full list of prints that I’m taking with me in case anyone is interested to see what I’ll have on display.

Bit of an afterthought now, but here’s a list of prints for peoples photography. Also, now having returned from Dublin, here’s the verdict on the weekend!