Shameless self-promotion

Again with the ‘photos unrelated to text’ thing. This is my second attempt to write this post, the first died a painfully irritating death in about four paragraphs of complete and utter nonsense. This photos unrelated to text blog post features Kerry. Specifically, a few from around Muckross House.

I only realised after walking around the gardens that there is a pretty large garden at Muckross House. All the previous times I visited, I must have just strolled around the perimeter of the house itself, then jumped back in the car and drove off.

Anyway, on with the rambling. I have (for only about the last 10 years or so) been considering doing a bit of motovlogging (moto-vlogging/moto vlogging – never sure how best to write that made up term). I place the blame squarely on the shoulders of all the hugely talented practitioners of this form of communication that I subscribe to on YouTube. They make it look easy. Just strap half a dozen cameras to the bike, wire yourself and the bike up for sound and press the record button. Then, instant fame and profit? I’m a little unsure of the steps between those two.

The thing that always stops me at the end is the thing that always stops me from following through on so many things; I feel like I have nothing to say. I am also aware of the irony of saying this, given the years I’ve spent writing and posting photos right here and on previous blogs. When I can muster the motivation to do so, writing just seems to be easier.

There is also that whole part of it from which this post gets its name, the requirement to market and sell yourself to a massive audience. Shamelessly so, in order to get likes, comments, subscribers, sponsors, donations, free shit in the post (not literally, I hope) and all the other bits and pieces that seem to come along with being a content creator these days. I think I’d rather just mindlessly ramble here to my two or three daily visitors and not have to deal with trying to acquire a base level of success in a whole new medium. I have enough trouble trying to do that with this one.

But then I’d have to take my own advice, dished out generously like so many indigestible, sticky and possibly pre-sucked boiled sweets “Who really cares what people think?”

I did, once. Not so much anymore. Not caring is all well and good until you realise it applies everywhere. It must have grown over and intertwined itself in all facets of your life while you were so busy perfecting that grumpy face and attitude of extreme apathy.

I have it on somewhat decent authority that if you don’t actively market ‘brand you’ in your professional life, you don’t get anywhere. But to me at least, that goes back to making noise for noise sake. Sure I’ve got stuff that I’m really good at and really passionate about in my day job, but am I adding anything to the conversation if I’m just constantly telling everyone how great I am? No, no I’m not. Also, I’m very Irish. Saying nice things about myself is entirely foreign. I’d need to attend a course or something.

Incidentally, these photos are all with the X100. Since picking it up again, I’ve rediscovered the reason I bought it. All the fun of using an analog camera with none of the ‘now I have to get film developed’ pain in the ass. I’m working on a problem with the camera though, I need to find how to set the aperture to anything but wide open. From the next few posts I’m going to make in the coming weeks, you’ll see that’s a battle I’m mostly losing. I’m also eyeing up an X-T3 at the moment. Well, that’s not true. I’ve been eyeing up an X-T3 since the day it came out. I’m going to have to add it to a cart, then look away as someone else presses the ‘buy now’ button.

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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Gap of Dunloe

Taken an age ago on one of the increasingly less frequent (I know, I know) romps around parts of Kerry that aren’t 1; Molls Gap, 2; Kenmare or 3; Killarney. Back when I was only too delighted to leave the car, throw the tripod & bronica loaded with velvia over my shoulder and go off in search of a tasty foreground rock. Nowadays, Velvia (at least the developing and scanning part of it) has gotten old to the point where I don’t see myself planning on buying any more any time soon, the bronica sits in a dusty corner and I never get any further than 100 yards from the car anymore. Must try harder.

Meander

DunloeA bit further up (if I remember correctly) from where I took this, but the same roll of film none the less. Spurred on today having just had the Bronica out for the first time in a hell of a long time. Shot two rolls of B&W in the Irish Museum of Modern Art, came home all enthusiastic ready to dev & scan. Nope, developer is well expired. Balls. Decided not to risk it with the rolls as one of them is SFX 200 that I’ve had in the fridge for the last 18 months at least. I really want to see how that comes out. Shot the whole roll with a 25A red filter and chanced my arm using the metered prism finder.

Anyway, that’s the reason for the medium format shot today. Also reminded me that we passed the Gap of Dunloe only a few weeks ago on the way back from Waterville and my intense desire to ride up through there on the bike was cut short by worries about the lack of tread left on the rear wheel. Still haven’t managed to get the tyres changed so riding has been somewhat restricted of late. That and the weather is pants. This is priority one for the next trip to Cork. Spin down to Killarney, through the gap and onto the pancake house nearish Kenmare for something cheesy and bacony.

I’m sure the sun will come back for at least another week…

The Edge of the Country

Rally

A photo rally point yesterday on the edge of the country in north west Kerry. Somewhere not too far from Ballinskelligs to be precise. (Edit; also as photographed elsewhere, but with a bit more style than I can muster)

After coming back from the UK on Wednesday evening (and having had a very relaxing journey back), I repacked the bike on Thursday and along with Julie headed south to Cork for the second in a row of long weekends.

Getting out of bed on Friday morning to the sights and sounds of “The Royal Wedding” (I’m sure there’s a patent pending in there somewhere) was enough encouragement to eat a quick breakfast and head out on the bike once more. That and I was also getting the universal sign of ‘need coffee’ from Julie so we headed into Cork coffee roasters for a predictably tasty couple of large ones.

From there to Kinsale and thankfully avoided big rugby weekend. Got through the town without a hitch and made our way up to a breezy photo point on the old head. After some grass sitting, some munching of ’emergency chocolate biscuits’ (that is, the chocolate biscuits that live in the top box of the bike so they’re on hand 24/7) it was back to Carrigaline to buy some socks.

As I’d recently discovered that my head fairly closely resembled some kind of budget priced mop, I also took the opportunity to get much of my hair removed. Saturday morning and down to Waterville to do the above photo rally point and meet a friend who was holidaying/chilling out with his daughter in the area. One tasty Chinese takeaway, several well needed beers and a couple of handfuls of crisps later and the next thing I knew, it was Sunday morning.

Back to Cork and I’m now eying up a large kinder easter egg. It will shortly disappear entirely, except of course for the large inner quite indigestible part of it. Back to Dublin and/or normality tomorrow. The lack of tread left on the back tyre of my motorbike is testament to what an amazing double bank holiday I’ve had. Who needs double rainbows when you can have double bank holidays?!?

Kenmare Uncovered

Kenmare Uncovered
July 2003. Clearly not designed for the well-being of anyone’s livers. Several of us took off to Kenmare and rented a holiday home for a few days. There was a lot of fishing, a lot of drinking and a medium amount of falling into the lake while fishing done. There were people accused of being homosexuals, people doing strange things to cattle and a video produced that covers most of the above. Above is an example of drunk people, albeit quite well behaved drunk people. Still can’t remember if anyone actually caught anything though…

Torc Waterfall

Torc Waterfall
Part of the stack of Velvia that\’s been sitting, waiting to be scanned for months. This is my very first post of a shot taken on velvia and I\’m going to start as I mean to go on. All the velvia shots I\’m going to post will be exactly as they came out of the scanner. Which, hopefully, will be very close to exactly how they came out of the camera. The only alterations I\’m going to allow myself are crops to remove frame borders and very minor colour temp shifts where for some inexplicable reason, my scanner decides to tint the scans purple or blue.

Boating on the Lakes

Boating on the Lakes
Possibly one of the most fantastic places in the world* is the ring of Kerry. I love the place. I had a habit of going down there every other weekend when I lived in Cork so taking trip down a couple of months back to drive around there for a few days was a plan brilliant in it’s simplicity. Or err, something like that. (*given that I haven’t seen a lot of the world…yet)

Ross Castle Sunset

Ross Castle Sunset
Walking around the woods at Ross Castle in Killarney while the sun sets behind us. Just starting to get hungry too. Lucky there’s loads of hotels, pubs and restaurants in the town. Lucky also that it’s just before the tourist season. Although, there was one in the bar. How did she stand out? Why she asked for half a pint of Guinness and half a pint of Bulmers. Mixed in the same glass. A grand ol Irish cocktail.

The Gap

The Gap
Driving through the Gap of Dunloe in Kerry. This time with a camera and with the inclination to take photos. Last time, not so much. There was a heavy mist lying low on the hills so the black and whites possibly look a bit dull and grey. The velvia should be interesting though. The place was crazy colourful.