The Old Mountains
by: Edwin Curran
The old mountains are tall, silent men
Standing with folded arms, looking over the world,
Lonesome and lofty in their manner.
They have seen empires come and go,
Civilizations rise and fall,
Stars break on their breasts.
They are full of history like great books,
And are merely the stone monuments that the kindly God
Built for the human race, to mark its grave tomorrow.
Thank you to Elen Grey !, for suggesting I use the word “Phoetry” in my Poetry and Photography posts 🙂 🙂
In Praise of Winter Trees
Excerpted from Late Winter by Bill Brown, published by Iris Press.
A closed heart can’t greet
a winter sky. Even a rain puddle
is filled by it, and a horse trough,
and the slow current of creeks.
Winter trees, sycamore and oak,
reach for the sky to offer praise –
stark, hard praise, born from all
those rooted years of bearing
the sky’s weight. Some nights
an open heart is filled with vast
spaces between stars the mind
can’t grasp. The thought of heaven
is not so much mammothed by
the sky’s grandeur, but mystified
beyond our silly notions. Winter
trees aren’t arrogant; they praise
no flags, no denominations,
they owe allegiance to the soil.
My sister, when she was younger,
awoke in winter to hold her arms
up to the sky, shiver in the wholeness
of it, let shadows of winter trees
dance sunlight across her face.
Oak, beech, sycamore, maple, and gum,
reenact creation, drop their seeds
from the sky, make their homes
in star dust, and reach back
toward heaven. Trees suffer
drought and freezing rain, accept
the annual tilt toward shorter days.
Some ancient hope, like winter light,
is allied with the gravity of stars.
If anyone has read my other camera reviews you will have noticed that I don’t review any of my Pro level slr cameras from Nikon or Canon , the reason I don’t do that here is simple.
Here is a good reason why, I was out walking our golden retriever, one Sunday about two weeks ago and passed two photographers with Canon SLR’s, Tripods, all top of the range equipment. On passing I overheard one talking to the other about the lens he had just purchased “It the best in the country , the only one so far”, I am mostly very good at passing on these types of comments and I didn’t know them . However on returning past them again about an hour later, they were still talking cameras, pointing in the same direction and taking pictures of very little if anything.
If this is what they enjoy doing then good luck to them, it did however remind me of just how some people can be, when it comes to camera equipment and the need to have the best. For what reason though, for image creation or talking to friends about.
So I don’t believe that the race to the top of the camera food chain has anything to do with good or great photography, photography is the skill of good and interesting image making, it goes back well over a hundred years and in all that time photographers have been making images that are both iconic and outstanding.
You don’t need the perception of owning the best and greatest equipment to create good images.
While being into image creation, you do need a camera that you both like to use and can trust. For me out in the field the choice of which camera I would take for any given function is selective. I don’t think I have a best camera body, they all do something differently good and bad, they can be used in different ways.
So down to this review
The Sigma SD15
Firstly I think this is one of the most interesting, challenging and creative cameras to be produced for a long time, it will never be seen as the king of the food chain nor will many photographers, with the need for the best to boost their self esteem, stop looking down on it and the even newer Sigma SD1.
Sigma cameras contain foveon, ccd imaging sensors
Foveon X3® direct image sensor
Foveon has combined the best of what both film and digital have to offer. This is accomplished by the innovative design of the three layer Foveon X3 direct image sensor. Similar to the layers of chemical emulsion used in color film, Foveon X3 image sensors have three layers of pixels. The layers of pixels are embedded in silicon to take advantage of the fact that red, green, and blue light penetrate silicon to different depths – forming the first and only image sensor that captures full color at every point in the captured image.
A Dramatically Different Design
The revolutionary design of Foveon X3 direct image sensors features three layers of pixels. The layers are embedded in silicon to take advantage of the fact that red, green, and blue light penetrate silicon to different depths — forming the world’s first direct image sensor.
From point-and-shoot digital cameras to high-end professional equipment, Foveon X3 technology offers multiple benefits to consumers and manufacturers alike. At the same time, it opens the door for other innovations, such as new kinds of cameras that record both video and still images without compromising the image quality of either.
Having read about this sensor technology and the camera for sometime, in May 2013, I exchanged an old Nikon D200 for a Sigma sd15 camera and a couple lenses, ( 15-30mm f3.5 and a 70-300mm f4-5.6).
I was no longer using the D200 so felt, why not take a chance and try the claims for the Foveon sensor and the SD15 out.
Something that is less important than you my think to the pro/semi-pro photographers alike is images size or pixel counts, a much more important aspect of a digital image is the amount of details captured at any defined pixel location and this is something that I have found the Sigma SD15 to be wonderful at.
There is little point in crushing huge amounts of pixels on to an image sensor if the detail capture is low or poor.
The simple facts with the Foveon x3 sensor is that all possible colours are captured at each pixel location, this fact alone increases the level of detail some three fold over a traditional sensor, that splits colour detection into groups of three pixels, each of which can only see one colour from (Red, Green or blue), the effect on an image using this method are the creation of unwanted artefacts in the final image. So the use of a filter over the sensor is needed to stop this effect. This filter blurs the detail level in the image by a factor of around a third at each pixel group locations.
In recent times traditional sensors have increased in pixel counts to a point where the effects of artefact creation are less than before, so some expensive camera models have removed the needed filter over the sensor. This is good and produces better image resolution, however you need a three times bigger image file size to produce the same level of true detail that you find from the Foveon sensor.
Large image sizes take up more disk space are slower to process and longer to upload or email.
My final question related to printed and end results, if you print an unprocessed file from the SD15 at the same size as one from say a Nikon D700, do you get the same detail in the final image, well I have found the answer to mostly be yes, in most cases, yes looking at large prints I can detect very little difference if any.
Don’t get me wrong, I still own and use other cameras , however I have been amazed at the results from this Camera and its Foveon sensor, the colour definition is also wonderful.
Sigma and Foveon claim that the SD15 has 14 million pixels, but this is in three layers and that the newer Sigma Sd1 has 48 million pixels again layered, this is a difficult and controversial claim as each image size is only the given amount divided by three.
However if you take into account that they are only saying this because the camera market has taken as a standard, mega-pixel counts, image detail and colour definition are a much harder subject to sell, to the general public. So what Sigma and Foveon are doing with this claim of high pixel count is to say our cameras produce the same detail yet better colour definition than other cameras with traditional sensors at the level of 14mp or 48mp.
Is this claim true, well side by side A3 or A2 prints appear to say yes. This along with the fact that I just love the colour and image brightness and the great exposure produced from these cameras.
Pixel Counting Definitions
Prior to the existence of the Foveon X3 direct image sensor, there has been a 1:1 relationship between the number of pixels (photodetectors) and the number of pixel locations for a traditional CCD and CMOS image sensor. Given this relationship, the generic term “pixel” has been commonly used to reference both the pixel (photodetector) and the pixel location. Foveon direct image sensors are a new type of image sensor that incorporates three pixels(photodetectors) at every pixel location on the image sensor. The definition of a pixel as indicated below is consistent with standard industry conventions as applied to CCD image sensors, CMOS image sensors, and the Foveon X3 direct image sensor.
A pixel on the image sensor of a digital camera is a light absorbing element (photodetector) that converts light (photons) into electrons. A pixel is also referred to as a pixel sensor when there is a need to distinguish the pixel from its location.
A pixel location is the X,Y coordinate on the two-dimensional grid of an image sensor at which the pixel is located.
Below I have included some images from my first six months of personal photography while using this camera, I have grouped them into colour and black and white images.
I have also found the camera to be wonderful in the production of black and white photographs, the fact that it is naturally capturing colours in the way it is helps to produce a black and white result as a finish image.
One area that is possibly the only down side I have found is the fact that at higher than 800 iso, the images are noisy in low light, which is why you would need higher ISO, my reaction to finding this out is to say well so, every camera has its weak points. I guess what you could ask is , do the good sides of this camera out do the bad, in my own opinion yes they do, every single bit of camera equipment on the market today has good sides and bad sides.
This is what photography is about, learning what your camera is good at and bad at and working with these details in order to get the best results possible.
Can this sigma help you do that, yes it can and some !
Black and white Gallery
By : Ellen Ni Bheachain
Winter hills of white with silverish gleam,
Of winter season and colors that reflect,
The shades of Gray and silver,
From the suns reflection on natures winter,
Bleak and empty yet in a solitude way,
Resting or sleeping,
Hibernating and regenerated,
Till spring arrives,
Bringing back its florishing blooms,
What is pretty to watch is cold to indure,
The chills of winter from watching it indoors,
For the nature trial of winter will,
Chill and freeze,
And numb you till,
Your lips turn color,
The freeze and chills of real winter,
And then as you warm up,
And your nose and finger tips tingle,
And looking around you on natures trails,
Will be the reminding of the hiding buds and roots,
Laying buried beneath the snows of winter,
That too in the spring,
Like the birds will return,
Bringing color and birth back into the light,
With the sounds of nature,
Becoming more musical than winter,
As the birds and the bees,
And all that return or hibernate,
All wake up to wake us up,
To the spring,
When winter chills and freezes thaw,
Taking away the winter chills,
By bringing in the springtime breeze.
One Sunday during the summer I walked to the top of the hill at Tullaghought, County Kilkenny, in order to get some photographs of the stone circle that sits on it.
Well on arriving at the circle some cattle who had followed me through the fields then decided to graze around the circle for some two hours before the headed off down the hill-side. In the end I did get some images that I was very happy with, including the last image in this set.
It was great fun sitting and waiting and looking at the great landscape of Kilkenny.
Self-Portraits Tony O’Malley, Centenary Exhibition 2013
Over the last five years I have been working for Jane O’malley, a local artist and wife of the late Tony O’Malley , photographing all of Tony’s archive work along with some of Janes own paintings.
Tony is a very well know artist in Ireland and it has been a great pleasure to work with Jane and record and see most of Tony’s Career through his paintings and sketch books.
Some of these photographs of tony’s self portraits have just been used in a new book and exhibition being held in the Butler Gallery in Kilkenny.
The below images taken this weekend are from the exhibition.
The Exhibition, held in the Butler Gallery Kilkenny
“Tony O’Malley holds an important and distinguished position in the history of twentieth century Irish art. A highly respected and beloved artist, his works are represented in all major Irish museums and included in the most significant public and private collections of Irish art. Throughout O’Malley’s working life he made self-portraits. They became a way for the viewer to know him. O’Malley taught himself to draw and paint, and in the early days the self-portrait was a convenient immediate means in which to put marks to paper whenever a mirror was available. The mirror was a non-judgmental, reliable ally.
Through the diversity of his self-portraits, we see O’Malley’s practice evolve. The self-portraits stare back at us, mostly unexpressive and unsmiling, sometimes severe, sometimes with one eye closed. Always we see O’Malley’s distinctive strong nose, bearded face, and a bald head at times dressed with skull cap, in later years with sunhat, protection from the hot Bahamian rays. From time to time, we see O’Malley viewed from only the side of a mirror, with the studio or the garden taking prominence in the remainder of the frame. The monochromatic self-portraits are stark and economical and echo the words of the artist himself, ‘The more I paint the less of myself is there’. O’Malley has left us a great gift: a wealth of self-portraits by which to remember him.”
It’s the weekend so why not put on some walking shoes and get outside into the country, walk for as long as you like and lose yourself in the Landscape.
Images for the weekend a Gallery
by Robert Stephen Herrick
Wild whisps of torn clouds swirl
rising in energy from wicked winds
and create a surge in the speed
of spinning in succession
slowly at first, yet the terror
turns into an ominous element
yearning and beginning
to take its path.
Forces of nature may often seem
to be manageable to the untrained eye,
though the might and horrifying height
sets its sight and it towers
from the heavens down to the low earth,
terror fills the most hardened heart
as the deadly dread devours
living souls with its suprelative speed.
Unconditional surrender to this fear
is a forced humbling indeed
as homes are flattened like sheet metal
from the turbulent courses
descending in an enormous twisting,
spiraling and ripping of the world
within pieces apart and yet
waiting for no reply.
As the sky touches the earth,
danger is eminent and to be found
in gigantic proportions
tearing apart homes and localities,
shreading living beings and lives
then showering down dirt and debris
across a wide landscape
like a wicked child at play.
Tumultuous and catastrophic with its
destruction, this titanic giant of air
collectively rushed together
breathed in its peril by inhaling
that which once covered
the surface of the earth then
exhaled all it had, but miles away,
staying solid on its path
with determinded disruption,
on its way with its
A Fellow Man
A Humanist Poem : Tom White
I have no prayers or charms of faith
If God there be, He’ll know my weight
If God be nought, I’ll still do good
And practice justice as I should
We should not seek reward to do
What decency expects us to
Should Heaven be a kingly court
I’ll go elsewhere to prove my worth
Don’t get me wrong – I’ve sought belief
But lust for faith brought no relief
Mere logic leaves me where I stand
I am not blest, nor am I damned
I seek to do what good I can
I am your friend, a fellow man.
A Slow Afternoon at the lake
Last year I stayed at Derryhick lake, county Mayo for a weeks holiday.
One very slow morning while taking some pictures of the lake, the time was moving by very slowly and by the afternoon I decided that I wanted to attempt to capture the feeling of these moments. I placed the camera onto a tripod and put an ND filter on the lens and took some 30 second exposures of which these are just three.
I was very please with the effect of the slow shutter speed on the surface of the lake as it captured exactly the feeling of this very windy but wonderful day.
by : William Cowper
There is a bird who, by his coat
And by the hoarseness of his note,
Might be supposed a crow;
A great frequenter of the church,
Where, bishop-like, he finds a perch,
And dormitory too.
Above the steeple shines a plate,
That turns and turns, to indicate
From what point blows the weather.
Look up — your brains begin to swim,
‘Tis in the clouds — that pleases him,
He chooses it the rather.
Fond of the speculative height,
Thither he wings his airy flight,
And thence securely sees
The bustle and the rareeshow,
That occupy mankind below,
Secure and at his ease.
You think, no doubt, he sits and muses
On future broken bones and bruises,
If he should chance to fall.
No; not a single thought like that
Employs his philosophic pate,
Or troubles it at all.
He sees that this great roundabout,
The world, with all its motley rout,
Church, army, physic, law,
Its customs and its businesses,
Is no concern at all of his,
And says — what says he? — Caw.
Thrice happy bird! I too have seen
Much of the vanities of men;
And, sick of having seen ’em,
Would cheerfully these limbs resign
For such a pair of wings as thine
And such a head between ’em.
Beyond the Sea
Beyond the sea, beyond the sea,
My heart is gone, far, far from me;
And ever on its track will flee
My thoughts, my dreams, beyond the sea.
Beyond the sea, beyond the sea,
The swallow wanders fast and free:
Oh, happy bird! were I like thee,
I, too, would fly beyond the sea.
Beyond the sea, beyond the sea,
Are kindly hearts and social glee:
But here for me they may not be;
My heart is gone beyond the sea.
Typhoon Haiyan, Meeting of Filipino people living in Kilkenny. ( Sunday 17th Nov 2013)
Photographs taken during a meeting of Filipino people living in Kilkenny, to raise awareness for the effect of Typhoon Haiyan, on their home lands.
– Elizabeth Coatsworth
November comes And November goes,
With the last red berries
And the first white snows.
With night coming early,
And dawn coming late,
And ice in the bucket
And frost by the gate.
The fires burn
And the kettles sing,
And earth sinks to rest
Until next spring.
is a genus of about 400 species of flowering plants in the family Hypericaceae
Some species are used as ornamental plants and have large, showy flowers. Numerous hybrids and cultivars have been developed for use in horticulture, such as H. × moserianum (H. calycinum × H. patulum), H. ‘Hidcote’ and H. ‘Rowallane’. All of the above cultivars have gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.
St. John’s-worts can occur as nuisance weeds in farmland and gardens. On pastures, some can be more than a nuisance, causing debilitating photosensitivity and sometimes abortion in livestock. The beetles Chrysolina quadrigemina, Chrysolina hyperici and the St. John’s-wort Root Borer (Agrilus hyperici) like to feed on Common St. John’s-wort (H. perforatum) and have been used for biocontrol where the plant has become an invasive weed.
Hypericum species are the only known food plants of the caterpillar of the Treble-bar, a species of moth. Other Lepidoptera species whose larvae sometimes feed on Hypericum include Common Emerald, The Engrailed (recorded on Imperforate St. John’s-wort, H. maculatum), Grey Pug and Setaceous Hebrew Character.
Hypericum olympicum in Botanic garden Liberec
Common St. John’s-wort (H. perforatum) has long been used in herbalism. It was known to have medical properties in Classical Antiquity and was a standard component of theriacs, from the Mithridate of Aulus Cornelius Celsus’ De Medicina (ca. 30 CE) to the Venice treacle of d’Amsterdammer Apotheek in 1686. Folk usages included oily extract (“St. John’s oil”) and Hypericum snaps.
H. perforatum is the most potent species and it is today grown commercially for use in herbalism and medicine; other St. John’s-worts possess interesting properties and chemical compounds but are not well researched. As these secondary compounds appear to be related to deterring herbivores, they are present in varying and unpredictable quantities: still, a number of high-yield cultivars have been developed.
Two main compounds of interest have been studied in more detail: hyperforin and hypericin. However, the pharmacology of H. perforatum is not resolved, and at least its antidepressant properties are caused by a wide range of factors interacting. As psychiatric medication, it is usually taken as pills, or as tea. Standardised preparations are available, and research has mainly studied alcoholic extracts and isolated compounds. What research data exists supports a noticeable effect in many cases of light and medium depression, but no significant improvement of severe depression and OCD.
The red, oily extract of H. perforatum may help heal wounds. Both hypericin and hyperforin are reported to have antibiotic properties. Justifying this view with the then-current doctrine of signatures, herbalist William Coles (1626–1662) wrote in the 17th century that
“The little holes where of the leaves of Saint Johns wort are full, doe resemble all the pores of the skin and therefore it is profitable for all hurts and wounds that can happen thereunto.”
Hypericum perforatum may also be capable of reducing the physical signs of opiate withdrawal. Caution should be taken, as high-dosage H. perforatum interacts with a wide range of medications due to activation of the Pregnane X receptor detoxification pathway, and it also causes photosensitivity.
Hypericum extract, by inducing both the CYP3A4 and the P-glycoprotein (P-gp), can reduce the plasma concentrations of different antineoplastic agents such as imatinib, irinotecan and docetaxel, thus reducing the clinical efficacy of these drugs.
It’s the weekend so why not take yourself out for the day, find some wonderful landscape to look at.
Sit down for as long as you need to clear your mind and relax ….
By: Ernestine Northover
The harbour lights are beckoning,
Our stout boat is riding high,
By the distant view, we’re reckoning,
We are nearly home and dry.
We’ve travelled many an ocean,
And weathered storms so wild,
Of the seas, we have a notion,
By it all, we’ve been beguiled.
There’ve been times when we have wavered,
And times when concern was rife,
Many moments we have savoured,
And pondered upon this life.
But seafaring days are our days,
And when all is said and done,
These seas attract, in such special ways,
And conquering them can be fun.
But, like now, we’re to base returning,
Friends and family to meet and greet,
There’s a rest from the sea’s endless churning,
Somewhere solid to plant our feet.
Now the harbour lights are gleaming,
And the sails relax their strain,
Our faces begin their beaming,
For we’re safely back home again.
© Ernestine Northover
Sunrise from the Mountains, By : Anna Katherine Green (1846-1935)
Hung thick with jets of burning gold, the sky
Crowns with its glorious dome the sleeping earth,
Illuminating hill and vale. O’erhead,
The nebulous splendor of the milky way
Stretches afar; while, crowding up the heavens,
The planets worship ‘fore the thrones of God,
Casting their crowns of gold beneath His feet.
It is a scene refulgent! and the very stars
Tremble above, as though the voice divine
Reverberated through the dread expanse.
But soft! a change!
A timid creeping up of gray in east–
A loss of stars on the horizon’s verge–
Gray fades to pearl and spreads up zenithward,
The while a wind runs low from hill to hill,
As if to stir the birds awake, rouse up
The nodding trees, and draw off silence like
A garment from the drowsy earth. The heavens
Are full of points of light that go and come
And go, and leave a tender ashy sky.
The pearl has pushed its way to north and south,
Save where a line spun ‘tween two peaks at east,
Gleams like a cobweb silvered by the sun.
It grows–a gilded cable binding hill
To hill! it widens to a dazzling belt
Half circling earth, then stretches up on high–
A golden cloth laid down ‘fore kingly feet.
Thus spreads the light upon the heavens above,
While earth hails each advancing step, and lifts
Clear into view her rich empurpled hills,
To keep at even beauty with the sky.
The neutral tints are deeply saffroned now;
In streaks, auroral beams of colored light
Shoot up and play about the long straight clouds
And flood the earth in seas of crimson. Ah,
A thrill of light in serpentine, quick waves,
A stooping of the eager clouds, and lo,
Majestic, lordly, blinding bright, the sun
Spans the horizon with its rim of fire!
I just reached 500 posts on my blog.
In the time I have been Blogging and posting images along with commenting on the locations I love to visit and photograph.
I this time I have received some 41000 hits, 20000 likes and over 5000 wonderful comments.
So I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has visited my Blog and helped to make it something I am very proud of and love sharing !
THANK YOU !
Here are just some of the Local flowers I found and photographed during the year in and around county Kilkenny.
Thank you flower Gallery
Autumn through Kilkenny’s trees
Autumn is in full flight here in Kilkenny, I took these images yesterday while on a walk through one of our local woods.
The Gold of the Beach trees is just Wonderful.
The Nation trust through Culzean Castle, estate let you adopt a deer for a year :
An exciting Animal Adoption Scheme is now available, providing the opportunity to help support the Deer Park at Culzean Castle & Country Park by adopting one of there deer herd. This could be purchased for yourself and /or could also make an excellent gift for a family member or a friend.
All monies from your adoption go towards the upkeep of your chosen animal, which include feeding, veterinary care etc and lasts for a period of one year.
The is Cost Per Year = £40.00
Culzean is one of Scotland’s best loved Castles, offering something for everyone to enjoy. Situated on the South Ayrshire coast, just off the A719, Culzean Castle is located 12 miles south of Ayr and 4 miles west of Maybole.
Culzean Castle was constructed as an L-plan castle by order of the 10th Earl of Cassilis. He instructed the architect Robert Adam to rebuild a previous, but more basic, structure into a fine country house to be the seat of his earldom. The castle was built in stages between 1777 and 1792. It incorporates a large drum tower with a circular saloon inside (which overlooks the sea), a grand oval staircase and a suite of well-appointed apartments.
In 1945, the Kennedy family gave the castle and its grounds to the National Trust for Scotland (thus avoiding inheritance tax). In doing so, they stipulated that the apartment at the top of the castle be given to General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower in recognition of his role as Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe during the Second World War. The General first visited Culzean Castle in 1946 and stayed there four times, including once while President of the United States. An Eisenhower exhibition occupies one of the rooms, with mementoes of his lifetime.
For opening hours, admission prices and directions to reach the Castle please see ‘General Information’
Culzean has a long tradition of welcoming local people, members of The National Trust for Scotland and holiday makers from all around the world.
During the Summer Season, the Castle, gardens, Visitor Centre, shops and restaurants will be open daily from Thursday 28 March to Sunday 28 October 2013 (inclusive). Please see ‘General Information’ for more details and opening hours.
During the Winter season our Visitor Centre Shops and Restaurant are open each Saturday and Sunday (with the exception of the Christmas and New Year period) from 11.00am until 4.00pm. However, please see ‘Events at Culzean’ for further details.
The 600 acre Estate offers many spectacular features. We look forward to welcoming you soon.