Now it’s Christmas.

A quick Christmassy post before the annual pilgrimage to the rebel county for for festivities. About this time of year, wonderful things start happening. Possibly the most wonderful of all is when Julie announces that it’s time for some experimental gingerbread baking. This year, I took it as an opportunity to skulk about so I could both test my new camera and so that I could possibly munch on the rejects of the experimental gingerbread baking process. But first, the tree.

Tree
Preparations began quickly. Plans were drawn up for front elevations, load bearing struts, supportive platforms and most importantly of all in the construction process, a couple of squirrels and rabbits.

Gingerbread

Following the baking there is of course the construction and decoration. I have some video of this too, just haven’t done anything with it yet.

Gingerbread

Finally, the anxious moments while I work out what I can eat that won’t get me into trouble. The answer of course is ‘nothing’ but I’m hoping the tupperware box of biscuits is going to make the journey to Cork with us.

Gingerbread

A quick note on the camera; I bought a now discontinued Sony NEX 5N as for some time, I imagined it would be a good second camera to have around with me when I’m using the X100. I was after one for quite some time and now that there are good discounts to be had (as it’s been replaced by a newer model) I thought I’d have one for an early birthday present to myself. So far I’m pleasantly surprised by the startup speed, the lack of shutter lag and the autofocus speed from the more than acceptable 18-55 kit lens. Time was against me before Christmas to pick up an E mount to FD mount adapter but I’m looking forward to getting the FD 50 f1.8 and the 135 f2 on there in the new year.

So all that’s left for me to say is to wish you all a very happy Christmas and in the quite likely event that I don’t post anything new before the end of 2012, a very happy new year too.

Avondale

A trip to Avondale park last year with Vlastik where I took the opportunity to use a few of the rolls of velvia in the fridge. I thought I’d get rid of the remaining slide film as my intention was to develop it then sell the Jobo CPE I bought a couple of years ago on ebay. I think I’ve had my fill of developing anything other than black & white and the Jobo, tanks, chemicals and all the E6 paraphernalia are just taking up space in the ‘junk room’. On that, if anyone is interested in buying a CPE plus, some tanks, spools and whatever else I’ve got, drop me a line.

One thing I’ve never quite managed is metering for scenarios like being in woods where you’re in & around different lighting situations. One minute we were in bright sunshine, then overcast, then under trees. As a result, quite a lot of the 5 rolls I think I shot that day are under exposed. I’ve dragged what I could out of them in scanning & post processing but alas, there’s only so much you can do. Pity, because one of the shots I really wanted was killed stone dead by poor metering, as you can see below.

What I captured compared to what I saw on the day almost made me lock the bronica up in a cupboard when I took the slides out of the tank. I believe I even said ‘I wish I had taken my 5D with me’. Another one below. I got the forest floor metered with some accuracy but sadly lost all the background. Let’s just say I meant to do it that way; Focusing the viewers attention on the tiniest of foreground rocks and not on all that messy shrubbery in the background.

Thankfully, and not to put me off shooting velvia again, most of the shots came out pretty much as intended. If that’s my skill/technique, a triumph of post processing or the hand of God during development is for the viewer to decide. It’s not too difficult to appreciate of the ease and forgiving nature of shooting digital when you come back from a day of film shooting and and up with crap. But that, of course, is an old story so don’t go sharply exhaling in exasperation and rolling your eyes at me just yet.

It does go right now and then and the film captures things in a way you only wished you could have seen them. While waiting for the sun to come back out I shot a couple of frames of this scene. The difference between this and the next shot, taken only about 3 seconds later, is amazing. Timing, or perhaps impatience to move on was on my side.

A low ISO film, a tripod, a cable release, ND filters and a river. No prizes for guessing what happens next. Vlastik may also have some mildly amusing photos of me getting into a precarious position on some slippery rocks and perhaps even more amusing photos of me trying to return to the safety of the footpath. I heard somewhere that it’s now been made illegal to not take ‘flowing water’ photos when the opportunity presents itself. That was tacked onto the ‘HDR Swan photo 2010’ legislation in congress I believe. (Forgive the in-joke).

That was pretty much our trip. An enjoyably sedate couple of hours spent wandering about taking conflicting light meter readings, arranging leaves, pine cones and other detritus while moaning about having to go back to work on Monday. If you haven’t already been to Avondale, I very much recommend it. It’s here, not too far from Rathdrum in Co. Wicklow.

Oh and as it’s my first post of 2012, happy new year.

Colours of Autumn

My first post in December and I’m back with a couple of photos and a large bag of excuses. I became the newest splitter at the end of November when I left my old job and started a new one. I think either I underestimated how busy I’d be or grossly overestimated the ‘settling in time’ I’d end up taking because it’s been crazy pretty much since I started. Sadly, updating the blog has been far from top priority although it’s always stuck in the back of my mind. It doesn’t really help either that I haven’t been taking any new photos of late. Above are two shots from Powerscourt Gardens taken in October. I imagine the place looks a little different now.

Growth

Growth
Taken a lifetime ago, this vibrant blue moss grows from time to time on the half dead trees at the Gearagh, just outside Macroom in west Cork. To the best of my knowledge, the Gearagh is a man made lake, created by the construction of the hydroelectric dam further down the river Lee, just outside Cork city. I am open to correction though!

White Gold

White Gold
Possibly the last photo I’ll post before the true nature of the festive season jumps us all in a dark alley. Currently without broadband after re-locating, hopefully I’ll get a connection to the outside world early on in the new year. So in case I’m not back before the first of the first, all of y’all have a great Christmas, a good new year and a moderately acceptable 2009.

Winter Gardens

Winter Gardens
One of the fine examples of Japanese Maple in Fota Gardens, the leaves of which are varying in amazing colours from bright reds to fiery oranges and yellows. Bit different than when I last visited the gardens some time ago. Well, possibly over a year ago. I did neglect Fota Gardens somewhat when I got wind that charges for entry had been increased significantly. Thankfully, that seems to be complete rubbish. Possibly the best visit ever to this wonderful spot!