One of my favourite historic Location to visit in Ireland is Ormonde Castle in County Tipperary.
Ormonde Castle description on Wikipedia.
The castle is located on the bank of the river Suir, on the edge of the town of Carrick on Suir, when it was first built the castle would have been set in a large private estate with much land surrounding it.
Today its location is in one of the parks that the town contains.
A summers day visit here is perfect as you can visit the Castle them make use of the park if you bring some lunch with you.
Ireland has such great history that is stored in locations like this, historic buildings are a part of Irish history and offer great attractions to visitors here.
If you are visiting then Ormonde Castle is a great location to put on your list.
Ormonde Castle Gallery
Last year while staying in county Kerry for a holiday and on a walk around the coast line of Valentia Island we came across a sign for a Tetrapod track way and just had to go and have a look. The Track-way is down a path to the rocky sea front and ends at a rope that you stand behind to view the footprints in the rock.
It is a little difficult at first to see the prints but if you wait for the right light you can see them very clearly. Its hard to imagine the significance of these prints, about 350 millions years ago a four legged Tetrapod took a walk along a beach and left its prints in the sand this sand then over millions of years turned into rock that now resides thousands of miles away from it original location, forming the west coast of Ireland.
The only four legged animal this day was our dog Molly who as you can see just had to go and have a look at the remains her ancestor’s left.
The Tetrapod imprints are thought to date from Devonian times – somewhere between 350 and 370 million years ago. This site is of international significance as it represents the transition of life from water to land – a momentous turning point in evolution and provides the oldest reliably dated evidence of four legged vertebrates (amphibians) moving over land. The Valentia Island Tetrapod footprints are the most extensive of the four Devonian trackways in the world. (The others are in Tarbet Ness, Scotland; Genoa River, NSW Australia; Glen Isla, Victoria Australia). Access to the track way is by a pathway down to the rocks.
Tetrapod footprints, Gallery
What is Bokeh
Wiki have a great description here : Lens Bokeh
“In photography, bokeh is the aesthetic quality of the blur, in out-of-focus areas of an image. Bokeh has been defined as “the way the lens renders out-of-focus points of light”.
However, differences in lens aberrations and aperture shape cause some lens designs to blur the image in a way that is pleasing to the eye, while others produce blurring that is unpleasant or distracting.
Bokeh is often most visible around small background highlights, such as specular reflections and light sources, which is why it is often associated with such areas.
However, bokeh is not limited to highlights; blur occurs in all out-of-focus regions of the image.”
I have been looking for a way to test this feature of my lenses for a little time, then at Christmas we put up some little led lamps as below. So using two different lenses one a Nikon 50mm f1.8 lens and A Mamiya 45mm f2.8 lens I took some images of the lights, with the lens as out of focus as I could get them.
I think that the images below clearly show the effects that are described in the Wiki link, seeing clearly the effects of the number of aperture blades and their shape.
The Nikon lens as seven blade but they are not curved , the Mamiya lens blades are curved. You can clearly see that the shapes created are very different.
Lens Bokeh examples
Mamiya Sekor lens
Nikom AIS Lens
Square format in the landscape
The concept of Square format images in photography dates back to its beginnings.
The idea of using this format makes great sense when you think about it, a lens placed at the front of the camera produces a fully round image so the idea of drawing a square in the centre of this circle and using this square for image produced on an exposed sheet of film would appear to make the best use of the lens for the final image.
In film cameras a camera that produces a square image is usually referred to as a 6×6 or 12×12, these figures referring to the size of the exposed film area. I have used and owned different 6×6 film camera using one during my photography course and for sometime after.
These are the basics of square format film cameras , today most Digital cameras work in a 6×4 image format, meaning that one side of the final image is 1/3 bigger in its dimensions that the other. Some digital cameras however (Such as the Canon G1 x) offer format options, because a sensor unlike film uses pixels to measure its dimensions, square format is now called 1×1.
Working with a digital camera in Square format your most likely going to use the LCD screen on the back of the camera to frame your image, cameras with electronic viewfinders however will show you the same 1×1 view of your subject. A camera with an optical view finder most likely cannot show you the view you need.
If you camera cannot work in anything other that 6×4 format , one trick if you want to produce a square image is to get some scotch tape and use it to square off the live view image that you see on you LCD screen, this will at least let you frame you image for this format.
Square format in the landscape
Ok, so that’s a little bit about the history of this image format and how to produce images using it today, so what about the landscape images produced in Square format.
Yesterday, I took my Canon G1x out on a walk and set it up for a 1×1 image size, Personally I really like using this format.
Many Landscape photographers don’t and I fully understand why, the main reason is that you do not get the same width to your images, this width would appear to be a basic feature of producing a Landscape photo. The idea of removing 1/3 of the image width would appear to be to limiting and it can be, but not always.
Personally I feel the very benefits that come with wide landscape images can also be a problem, some images need to be restrained in their content to reduce distraction, a square format is a great solution.
I feel that with a square image you gain the exact same hight to your image and this lets you include tall features like poles and trees or an old house , yet you can more easily confine your image to just these main subjects.
I have done my best in the images below to try and explore this and show what I feel is the benefits to going square format with your camera.
Square format Gallery
Mount Gabriel, (Cnoc Osta in Irish) is a mountain on the Mizen Peninsula to the north of the town of Schull, in West Cork, Ireland.
The Mountain is some 407m high and is the highest in the region of west cork, you can use a roadway that services a air traffic control radar to walk or drive to the top.
From the peak of Mt. Gabriel, there are spectacular views South over Schull Harbour and Long Island Bay. To the east and southeast, the views take in Roaring Water Bay and its many islands, popularly known as Carbery’s Hundred Isles. North and West is a panoramic view of the mountains of the Beara Peninsula and South Kerry.
The day we visited it weather was warm and very clear and we got some great views, this is a wonderful walk to do if you are in West cork and one that you will not forget, on a clear day you can see the entire county and all the Peninsulas of west Cork and Kerry to the north.
Mount Gabriel, County Cork, A Gallery
The cove at Stradbally, County Waterford is on of my favourite places to visit along the coast line of souther Ireland, it a deep cove that contains some wonderful little caves that have a long history, Most likely used for smuggling goods in the past.
These days they more used to take shelter from bad weather or just sit in and enjoy for views of the blue sea here , they are a great feature well worth a visit.
Stradbally Cove and cave: Gallery
Light is just an amazing subject in photography, the searching for and finding of interesting lighting conditions can become an obsession for many visual artists.
I have found over the years that the best light can be found in places that need to be search for, looking for limited amounts of light is I feel my personal interest when getting an image I feel happy with.
Burnchurch is an old Family Farm in county Tipperary, the land here is still farmed but the house is no longer occupied, we visit and stay here a few times during the year, its a wonderful location to get away and relax for a week.
Some of the images taken here are an example of my attempt to explore and experiment with the use of limited light in photography.
The Images in the below Gallery are all taken inside some of the sheds around the farm yard and even on a wet day the light through the windows and doors here is just perfect. I love the way the light falls through the windows and into the rooms, falling onto objects that have been hanging here for many years.
I feel that photography and the images it captures is a great way to explore subjects like light, capturing in an instance the light in a room or how it is falling over a landscape.
Finding light on the Farm , Gallery
Melfort Village, is located about ten miles south of the fishing port of Oban , Argyll , Scotland, It sits on the banks of an open sea Loch that faces the western Islands of ( Luing, Shuna and Scarbe) all home to golden eagles and red dear.
This is a wonderful location for a holiday as the views from the holiday homes are just wonderful and walking along the coast line and loch side lanes here is just as relaxing and inspiring an experience as you can have. Even in the winter a stay is spectacular , sitting by an open fire in the evenings with the wind blowing in the trees and on the open Waters of the Loch is an experience I will never forget.
The Images below were taken last November on a weeks stay here…..
What is an Altar ?
I have visited an old church yard at Castlemorris, county Kilkenny for many years, its a fascinating location. Its the Altar that sits within the old church and castle that’s just drawing me back everytime.
It sits below an old chapel window and the light from the doorway highlights it even on a very wet day, the old chapel is still roofed but the water gets through the stone and drips onto the floor of the chapel.
This Alter has started me wondering about the history of such constructions and what they have been used for over time.
Today in Christian times we think of an Altar as a place that a priest stands and performs a service for anyone who is in attendance, this however has not always been the case.
An Altar in Pagan and pre-Christian times was a place of personal worship they could be in any location but a place of spiritual meaning was common, in the woods and at a river or spring a place that meant something to the community, A pagan believer could and did have Personal Alters in their own homes.
Personally I feel that the Altar is the key to Pagan beliefs, they are places of personal dedication and an indication as to where we find ourselves as Humans.
At an Altar you usually leave an item of dedication, food, something you have made, an item that means something too you personally and that you are willing to spiritually hand over too forces that you both respect and/or rely upon for your very existence.
I feel that this alone contains a truth about our spiritual beliefs, we worship the elements the seasons , Nature because we live in it , we rely upon it and we feel the need to in some form get closer to it by forming a spiritual connection. Then to worship the elements that give us our existence and lives.
This is the function of an Altar, or at least the function of human spirituality relating to it for many thousands of years. Many feel that the Altar is the centre piece of this worship of the forces that we exist in.
Forces that for many thousands of years mankind has noted yet not understood, The season and the growth of food. In the winter its shortage, Storms, Other Animals that we live with and in many cases in the past and even today could pray on us.
Sometimes, simply leaving out food in the hope that they did not was a form of dedication.
Today could the the first day for weeks that we get no rain, the forecast is for a completely dry day, so in a effort to get my mind away from the bad weather I want to post some images from one of my best loved walks in the south east of Ireland.
These images are from May 2013 and show the River Suir in county Tipperary as she winds her way slowly towards the coast at Waterford Harbour, Myself and our Dog Molly do this walk many times but May just has to be one of the best Months. Life has returned to the river Banks with many birds and flowers returning. Molly just loves this walk as it offers her the chance to swim and walk along the river path for some miles.
These images show the views that will soon exist here and the recent floods will be a long forgotten part of this rivers annual cycle.
May on the River Suir, Gallery :