Thursday, September 27, 2007

Reluctant model

I was going to shoot Declan O'Rourke tonight. Yes, I know what you're thinking: "that's a bit mean!" you exclaim. But hilariously, I didn't actually mean shoot him with a gun, but with a camera! At his gig! I know, I know, I should be a comedian and make lots of money...

Anyway, I checked everything. I was hoping to get some into the college paper or magazine. I checked my lens for dirt. My battery for charge. My ISO. My ISO again. My ISO yet again. Centre-weighted metering, AF-S, and any other acronym I could think of I checked. But then I got on the bus, got half way to the University just to find out that it was cancelled. Sigh. On the plus side, I did go the whole way around the bus route in a great big circle for the first time in my life. That was pretty amazing.

So instead of what hopefully would have been decent photos of Declan O'Rourke singing, I'm going to treat you to some photos of my cat taken earlier in the day. I've never really liked cats - our ones in particular. I don't know whether it's the air of superiority and disdain, or the fact that they spend every waking moment futilely trying to sneak into the house. I mean jeez, get a hobby! Go out and meet people, join a club or society! Gawd.

My reluctant model today was our aptly-named mog Fuzz, who gave me bemused, almost pitying looks as I took her photo. She stretched a bit, and then with all the enthusiasm of a potato, strolled away from me as one might casually leave a bad dinner party, or some other minor annoyance. Slight curiosity for a time, and then nothing.

As usual, click the photo below to be whisked to a Gallery of Earthly Delights.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Anti-speeding adverts

Apparently we're pretty bad here in lovely ol' Ireland for speeding and road traffic accidents and of course drink-driving, and the government have produced some pretty shocking television ads promoting safer driving. However, I've never seen something like this before, and I must say I'm pretty impressed. It's innovative, to say the least. I came in on Monday morning to the University of Limerick where I study, and was suprised to see a crashed car at the front gates. On closer inspection, it turned out to be an ad promoting safer driving and asking drivers to slow down. There are another two similar 'displays' in other parts of the campus. The cars are covered in graffiti-style slogans urging people to slow down - probably to appeal to the 'kids', but it also means (whether intentional or not) it takes longer to recognise that these are not genuine crashed cars, increasing the impact of them.

The cars look genuine; they have stickers from a recycling company nearby so presumably they were sourced from there, but whether or not they are actually as a result of car crashes I don't know (I would assume that it's unlikely, both for legal reasons and for the risk of upsetting families) It's still most definitely impressive. Any advertising that surprises you and makes you look twice is bound to have an impact, and in this case it's even better because it's for a good cause. And now, some pictures!


Slow Down 3

Don't Speed

Speed Kills

Garda No Parking

As an aside, I made the age-old error (well, since digital came in anyway) of forgetting to check my ISO before taking the pictures, resulting in these all being shot at 1600. Oh well, luckily the exposure was ok - I don't think they look too noisy.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Cult of Leica

My poor, abandoned, malnourished blog. Nothing but filler and experimentation for a few weeks. I promise I'll return to love you again soon; I'll re-hydrate you virtual soil with the water of amateur-ish photos. I'll feed you with the fertiliser of badly written rants. And then, my friend, your seeds will re-sprout, and you will blossom once again with the flowers of more than five page views a day. Oh, the memories! In the meantime, I really want to share this fantastic article I just read about Leica cameras. I want one, oh yes I do...

In order to not have to delete you, as per my promise, I went and took some photos to upload. The things I do for you! I hope you appreciate it.

Click on this following photo to go to a web gallery:

They may not look like much, but I'm actually quite excited. By placing one lens on front of the one on my camera, I can focus extremely close up. It's not exactly ideal, but it's fun and it lets me see stuff from a different perspective. Expect more of this poor-quality nonsense over the coming weeks.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Sky at Night

Here's a couple of photos taken over the past year or so of the moon and the stars. This is in no way connected to the fact that I just figured out how to host fancy galleries for free and want to use it...

Click on the image to go to the gallery.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Nothing on the top but a bucket and a mop...

After spending a couple of glorious days in Kerry - soaking up the only sun of the entire frickin' summer, I'm increasingly convinced that I have reached a potentially dangerous plateau with my photography. The last year has been largely exhilarating; learning new techniques, in the camera and afterwards in post-processing, as well as rules and tips about exposure and composition. And it worked. I'm not an amazing photograper - I probably never will be - but I'm almost immeasurably better than I was this time last year. Looking back at old photos is (sometimes painful!) proof of this.

However, the whiny emo at the back of my mind is finally telling me that my best stuff may be behind me; I reached my level and this is where it stays, ridiculous though this may be for somebody who has only taken photography seriously for less than a year. I've spoken previously about how my will to learn new techniques drives me forward and motivates me to take photos, and even though I view this as to some extent negative, an even worse scenario is one where I don't feel I can learn anything at all.

Perhaps I've just reached a stage where I am a technically competent photographer. Perhaps it is time to learn other, more important skills; how to think creatively and how to 'see' a photo before putting your eye to the viewfinder. I'm also extremely interested in the other side of the lens - controlling lighting and in some cases subjects. Skills I certainly don't possess at the moment. While I realise I have much to learn, I have a feeling I'll never get that concrete satisfaction you get from seeing an obvious, indisputable improvement in your work.

Gear is another issue; Somehow I feel that acquiring new stuff could be the key to moving off this plateau and back to an upwards slope in my photography, despite the irrational argument here. I have an almost painful lust for an ultra wide-angle lens (the Sigma 10-20mm), and although I try not to, I often think that it will be the answer to all my problems. Which it won't be. As it could be a long, long time before I can afford even that inexpensive piece of kit, I'll have to make do with what I have and not let it make me complacent and lazy.

After that musing, I should probably post some photos (the first time I post something without photos I will probably delete this blog - I'm bad enough as it is) As I mentioned above, I was in Kerry for a few days last week; one of the most glorious places on earth in good weather: one of the most miserable in bad. Luckily we had the former. Despite the weather, I came away with fewer 'keepers' than I was hoping for. It's difficult to make time for photography when you go away with one other person, but that's a subject for another day... Without further ado, some photos. Click on the image below to go to a slideshow of my favourite images.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Ultimate Collector

Another short post, this time by time limitation rather than design. The man who owns the apartment in the following photos is fascinating; one of the best photo subjects I've ever come across. He has an interesting, time-weathered face, a head of shockingly red dyed hair, and the most amazing apartment I've ever seen. He collects everything. Absolutely anything. His living room is like some kind of deranged museum. Personally, I would go a little bit insane living here, but he obviously gets a lot of joy out of it.




The Mask

He could charge people to come in and take photos of it. I would have stayed there all day.