That Lighthouse again.

More of Neist Point lighthouse on Skye, this time from high above on the cliffs before the long walk downhill to see it up close. Like drinking yourself sober, my procrastination elevated to a sufficiently high level that for a brief moment, it turned into motivation. I assume everyone has photos in their respective queues that have sat for 12+ months, waiting for attention.

This was shot with Julie’s 5D Mark 2 but I find since getting the Fuji X-T3 I’m just as likely to do a RAW to JPEG conversion in the camera, suck a selection of photos down to my phone over WiFi and fire them onto Instagram making only minor tweaks to levels. After the relatively instant gratification of a few likes gained, I put the set of photos completely out of my head. I might see them again when I eventually import the RAWs into Lightroom, but that could be days, weeks or months later. By which time, no matter how good the photo is, I probably won’t be too motivated to do anything with it. As a photo sharing platform, the blog is pretty much dead for me. It exists only as a means to put up a few higher resolution photos and have a whine about why I don’t post more frequently.

Well, that turned from a simple photo of a lighthouse into an existential crisis in record time.

The Fairy Pools

An interesting spot. Endlessly scenic (as is much of Scotland) and the kind of place you feel should be oozing peace and tranquility. It probably would, if not for the tens of thousands of tourists I had to somewhat skillfully avoid in order to get a photo that made it look like there wasn’t tens of thousands of tourists there with us. All the while getting a serious amount of stink-eye from someone trying to take selfies with her iphone on a tripod.

Gougane Barra Forest

Back at the end of November, we took a long overdue drive to the forest at Gougane Barra. Long overdue in comparison to how frequently I usually visited in winter during, lets call it, the height of my photographic journey. Visit frequency dropped off quite rapidly for a few reasons. The introduction of the barriers with the eye-watering entry fee (or at least what I’d consider eye-watering for a forest) added to my imaginary woes. My other standard rant was the reworking of the path at the top of the forest, which destroyed one of my favorite photo locations. I say ‘reworking’, what I really mean is several tonnes of gravel being dumped over the existing path. All in the name of health & safety I suppose. Gotta do everything we can to prevent the stupidest people in society from damaging themselves. Very anti-Darwinian.

I’d just (a few months previous) picked up a nice new ball head for the tripod, as well as a couple of additional solid ND filters. So I had to get out somewhere scenic with flowing water to make sure I could still take those wonderfully clich├ęd moving water photos. I’m out of practice, more work required.

Despite all my ranting, the forest is still a lovely place to go for a couple of hours. Mostly in the winter mind you. Less people that way. Also less people to either attempt to exclude from scenes or to remove later on with photoshop.

Funnily enough, even at the end of November, there were still plenty of tourists around. And even more surprising, a full car park at the bottom of the forest. Don’t usually get that in winter, what with the entry fee and all.

The Post-Christmas Walk

Normally applied as a digestive aid after consuming a significant amount of dinner on Christmas Day. This time (owing mostly to laziness) it had to wait until St. Stephen’s Day. Usually to some beach or forest, in this case Garrettstown. An unexpectedly energetic affair, taking the rocky route between the two beaches thanks to the low tide. Except not really, quit a little over half way due to increasingly slippy conditions and not wanting to face plant onto a rock.

Plenty of ‘beach stuff’ to photograph at low tide, however practically none of the photographs either exposed correctly or in focus. Or both. I’m horribly out of practice.

Stars in the Solar System

Back to Fountainstown and I’ve always loved the wide range of colourful rocks that are on the various small beaches on the walk over the rocks to Myrtleville. Even more colourful when they’re being tossed around by the incoming waves.

Also, I just noticed that when I posted an image in portrait orientation, it was about the size of a modest billboard. That’s somewhat fixed. Now less scrolling is required to see the full image. Sorry about that. I’m also thinking I need to revisit the categories on the blog, possibly adding an ‘Abstract’ category…

Inch Strand

Surely there is no better way to spend a bank holiday than with friends, eating & drinking too much and taking in some amazing scenery.

This was Inch beach in Kerry, where I rediscovered the wide end of my 24-70. Great light, not too busy and better still, only a short stroll from the house.

Not so much with the writing this time around. Maybe next time.

The Wilds

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It’s been a little while since we were really in Kerry, not just passing through Kenmare or Killarney on a round trip from Molls Gap or Strawberry fields (a wonderful pancake house near the Kenmare side of Molls Gap). Really in Kerry, like so far west the land stops and the next stop is America.

We took an overnight trip down to the land of ‘here be dragons’ beyond Kenmare to celebrate our anniversary and stayed in Parknasilla. Of course, while you’re down that far you might as well go a little further and see all the sights there are to see…

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All the way out to Valentia, my first trip out there since back when Danny (who is of course sadly no longer with us) brought us to the top of the above very same hill to look over the world below. Just for giggles I decided to fire up the archive and check exactly when that was; August 2007. A lifetime ago. As I was already neck deep in the archives, here’s one from that trip.

Valentia 2007

I sure did love my ND filters and precariously placed tripods back then. Anyway, that’s enough sunshine and white fluffy clouds, back to the overcast greyness of it all.

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Of course when the opportunity presents itself, it’s only right to take a spin down to Sheeps Head. We got there, excuses were made and we didn’t walk out to the lighthouse. “Oh I’m not wearing the right shoes” and “I don’t have a waterproof jacket” were the top two. My excuses of course, but Julie seemed happy to go for tea instead of taking the walk. Next time we’ll do it. Yes, next time…

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While processing these photos, I decided to use the Google Nik collection I downloaded recently but never really figured out. As expected, the vast majority of the filters available are tacky as hell or completely batshit crazy. It brought me back to the time I used Picassa and had to wear sunglasses while processing photos. Purple sky? you got it! Blue grass? Sure, why not? I’m interested in going back to Silver Efex though, I do love some black & white and I’m quite pleased with how the one b&w photo I chose to process with Silver Efex came out. As for the rest of the photos above, it was pretty much a case of gathering them all up, throwing them in a sack with Google Nik, letting them fight amongst themselves and then observing the results.

The below was more of an accident. I’ve taken this picture in different counties, countries and continents. Not shown are several photos of old bundles of rope, rusted chains and lobster pots. I am indeed a creature of habit.

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The end of the year

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As per usual, it’s been a quiet few months photography wise. The camera phone has completely overtaken the DSLR as a means of recording events, places, people, everything. The farthest those photos ever make it is to instagram. As a means of delaying the onset of cabin fever as we approach the end of this festive season and indeed the end of the year, we left the house for the first time in days and made it as far as Garretstown, by way of Kinsale. I even brought a proper camera with me this time.

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As we’re both fighting off seasonal colds, walking on the beach was limited and time spent in the car with the heater on was preferred. When the sun came out from behind a very large rain cloud that appeared to be on it’s way to Waterford, we did have to jump out and brave the wind for a few minutes though.

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Happy new year everybody!