Capturing the world with Photography, Painting and Drawing

Nigel Borrington

Friday Poetry : The fisherman and his boat, Raghu Menon

The fisherman and his boat

Patiently he untangles the net
Standing calmly
Brazing the breeze
On the dancing boat
With an oar on its side
Which is cooled by the
Waters of the river..

The sun will set in an hour or so
And he has to finish his catch
Before the dusk
And back to his hut
Where his wife will
Waiting eagerly
To make the dinner
With the fresh catch

Another day
Another catch
The river but
Remains the same
Greeting the fishermen
Who roam the river
With their boats

Raghu Menon

Sunset over Cardigan bay
Wales
August 2017 Nigel Borrington


New site header August 2017, Landscape view from County Kilkenny towards Slievenamon mountain, county Tipperary

A View of Slievenamon mountain from county Kilkenny
August 2017
Nigel Borrington

This view of the county Kilkenny and Tipperary boarder lands is one of my most loved locations in county Kilkenny, it offers some great walks and places to take in the wonderful view towards the mountain of Slievenamon, Tipperary, as you can see from this image. I was very pleased to with this image as I felt that it captured the local country-side at its best in the month of August …..


Landscape Videos : Ballybay Wind Farm, Tullaroan, County Kilkenny (Video inside this post!)

Ballybay Wind Farm, Tullaroan, County Kilkenny
Nigel Borrington

Ballybay Wind Farm, Tullaroan, County Kilkenny, is home to a new wind farm owned by Renewable energy company Gaelectric.

The Location is one of the most beautiful that county Kilkenny has to offer, hidden in the hills near GrangeGrag and the Tipperary Boarder, it offers views of the lower lands towards kilkenny city and the mountain of Slievenamon, county Tipperary.

I am never sure about the impact that wind farms have on our Landscape, being a photographer and in love with my local landscapes some would assume that people like myself would be set against them. However now that this new wind farm is almost complete and having visited a few time, I find a kind of beauty and fascination with it.

The day I filmed this video the weather offered some great light, the fast moving clouds changed the areas of sun light and shade very quickly and I loved the cows grazing in the field below the wind turbines.

With this video I just wanted to share the visual effects it is having and If anyone wants, I would love to get some opinions as to what others feel ?


Ten days holiday in Cardigan bay, Ceredigion, Wales, Images of the River Teifi estuary

Sailing home
Cardigan bay, Ceredigion, Wales, Images of the River Teifi estuary
Nigel Borrington

Today is our first full day back in County Kilkenny, Ireland, having just spent ten days staying with a close friend in Cardigan Wales, here are just a few of the images taken during the time spend in this wonderful part of the British isles…..


Tamron SP 500mm f8 Reflex lens, a review of Mirror lenses

Tarmon SP 500mm F8 Mirror Lens, Real world review

When you make a start in the world of Photography, Sooner or later you will want to own a dedicated Long Telephoto lens. These lenses offer the ability to get some great images in the world of (Landscape, Wildlife, Portrait and Sports) Photography.

Fixed focus (None Zoom) Telephoto lenses come in many focus lengths, but the most usable are 200mm to 600mm, depending on how much magnification of distant subjects and objects you need. The cost of these lenses my surprise many starting photography and to be honest even many long term photographers, they can start in price range from around €800 and end up way into the many €1000’s.

There is however an alternative option with this type of lens, this being to look at what are called Reflex or Mirror Lenses. These kind of lenses replace some of the glass elements within their construction with two Mirrors both used to fold the light entering the front glass element in much the same way as a reflex telescope does.

i.e. NASA uses this method in the Hubble space telescope that has produced some amazing ground braking images of the cosmos.

Third party and OEM Camera manufactures started making these lenses in the 1970’s and continued through to the 1990’s, today mostly only third party lenses are available. The quality of these Early OEM/Third party – mirror lenses was very high, even second hand some of these lenses can set you back some €300 to €800 on ebay, even today in 2017.

Nikkor Reflex Lenses at 500mm, 1000mm and 2000mm

I purchased a Reflex lens made by Tamron (500mm SP F8) way back in 1988 and in this post I just wanted to share my thoughts on some of its upsides and some of its downsides.

To be honest, I have not used this lens very much, for two main reasons.

Firstly : at 500mm and with an lens aperture of F8 it needs to be Tripod or at the very least mono pod mounted in order to create very sharp images. This maybe a little unfair as this is true for most long lenses but Nikon VR lenses are so good at helping go handheld!

Secondly : these lenses have one very different down side to that of refactor (Glass only) lenses, they produce a doughnut ring effect on bright out of focus objects or even just areas in the image that have a bright, lighting than the darker areas around them. I have included some examples at the bottom of the posts images below.

With the first point above, today in 2017 with the high ISO abilities of SLR cameras such as the Nikon D7200 and D750, this issue has been made redundant to a great extent! When this Tamron lens was produced, 35mm film could only produce clean images at a rating of no more than ISO 400.

Today the Nikon D7200 can work very well between ISO 3200 and 6400 with very little help from good noise cleaning software in post processing, this up-rates the usable shutter speeds for hand held work for even a lens of 500mm at f8, letting you work handheld more than ever before !

Remembering that even on a DX sensor slr, you need for some 750mm (X 1.5 DX factor!) to keep a shutter speed of 1/800th to 1/1000th to create fully stable images, If you have a steady hand. Even on a cloudy day ISO 1600 gives a shutter speed of around 1/1600th and ISO 1600 on a D7200 is little to worry about! noise wise. It is for this reason that I am starting thinking of trying using this lens again.

For the rest of this post and review of the lens, I will let the following images do the talking, with a small amount of comments made in each of the related image types.

Tarmon SP 500mm F8 Mirror Lens – sharpness and quality

To test for the image sharpness and quality I placed the camera on a tripod, I don’t use a remote release, so there could be some small effects but all in all these are sharp images.

You can see from the below image that this lens can produce some very sharp images under the correct conditions, its just as good as some much more expensive glass only lenses from Nikon.

I have no worries here and would be very happy in trusting this lens to produce sharp images from corner to corner of the frame.

Above : Nikon D7200 with Tamron SP 500mm Mirror lens, Tripod Mounted

As image sharpness has been tested above, what about color fringing and other detects, color fringing is visible in an image at bright edges in the frame, so I used the wires and other equipment on the telegraph post in this image, I see no fringing Green, blue or otherwise in this image.

So again I would trust this lens to produce sharp and clean images that need little or no post processing to clean them up later.

Using the lens – in the Landscape

The following images speak for themselves, just general landscapes and animal images from medium focus distance subject to long distance landscapes, the town and wind farm in the last landscape is some 8km away from the location of taking the image, crazy!. Again its sharp enough taking into account the haze of the atmosphere, no color fringing problems in the wind turbines.

With the main set of images here, I am less happy with the out of focus effects as the bokeh of this lens is not great!, anything bright and a little out of focus (i.e. The grass!) takes on a distracted look, feeling tangled and distracting with the image smoothness, Most noticeable in the two images of the sheep sitting down.

Those Doughnuts !! OMG!

As you can see from the photo of this lens sitting in my camera bag at the top of the post, a mirror lens is constructed very much like a reflecting telescope, like this diagram :

Mirror lens
Physical construction

You can see that the center of the front glass element is used to hold the housing for the smaller secondary mirror in the construction, that folds the image light back down the lens and into the camera.

This system works amazingly well but for one problem!

For in-focus areas of an image the central lens obstruction is never visible, however for brighter areas of an image that are out of focus this central obstruction created by the secondary mirror housing, created a bright doughnut effect.

In the below images this is very clear!

The light gaps in the trees below turn into bright cycles, the rain on the table in the background focus also does the same.

In some images you can work around this effect and even use it as an interesting advantage?, you just have to get to know when this kind of lens is and is not usable !!!

For the most when you have a subject that has the potential to create this circle effect ! it just distracting and not likeable. This is the point at which the little price you paid to get a budget Telephoto lens €300 not €2000 starts to gets you back !!!

Getting Arty , MayBe?

Like any camera lens, Mirror lenses have their down sides (Slow, bright Cirles, Manual focus, etc …), you just have to get to know these features and ether use them to your advantage or don’t !!!

Some people love the bright rings and make good use of them 🙂 , one use could be nighttime street photography ?

So then ?

So if your looking for a cheep way to get a telephoto lens into your camera bag, a Mirror lens is well worth looking at in my own opinion. Don’t expect to work quickly with them or be lazy in your approach, however – but then most telephoto lenses need hard work to get good images, with a mirror lens you just have to add a little on top!

In the end, just like with all of your image making, you get out what you put in !!!!

Will I take this lens out more than I have? Maybe ! most likely not !! Watch this space ?

If I was starting again with few lenses and wanted a low budget long lens, would I get a Mirror lens , Hell YES !!! , With Great high ISO SLR’s even more so !!!

Sometimes the harder you have to work to get good images , the more you learn !!!!

Also see : Mirror Lenses – how good? Tamron 500/8 SP vs Canon 500/4.5L, a older review, ISO has moved a long way since this article but its a great comparison test (€300 Tamron v €2000+ Canon).


Monday Poetry : These Farmers; These Fields, By: Don Bouchard Jul 2015

Monday Poetry : These Farmers; These Fields, By: Don Bouchard Jul 2015

Don Bouchard Jul 2015
These Farmers; These Fields

Who are these farmers,
And who, these fertile fields,
Verdant under native grass,
That stand un-plowed,
That shake beneath the plow,
That lie now fallow,
That bear the planted seed,
That wear the heavy grain,
That await the Harvest pain?

And who, these Harvesters,
And who, these close-shorn fields,
Desolate in short-cut stubble,
That stand, stiff in silence,
That wear the heavy tracks,
That have endured the harvest,
That yielded up their dead,
That bristle through the falling snow,
That whistle wind-song low?

And who, these merry Farmers,
And who these stubbled fields,
Glistening beneath the melting snow,
That warm beneath the glowing sun,
That host the migrants of the sky,
That tremble the biting plow,
That accept the falling seed,
That wait beneath the welcome rains,
That cycle through the seasons once again?


Kilkenny landscape photography : Ballybay Wind farm, county Kilkenny

Ballybay Wind Farm, near Tullaroan

Renewable energy company Gaelectric has completed a €38 million financing agreement with AIB for the construction of two wind farms in Co Kilkenny.

Ballybay Wind Farm, near Tullaroan, will feature six Enercon turbines generating 13.8MW of electricity, which will meet the demand of about 9,300 homes.

Foyle Wind Farm will have four Enercon turbines generating 9.6MW, Gaelectric said, and will meet the demand of about 6,500 homes.

Operational in 2017

Both wind farms are expected to become operational during the second quarter of 2017.


County Kerry without words, an irish landscape gallery …….


Christ of Saint John of the Cross, by Salvador Dalí 1951, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow

Christ of Saint John of the Cross
Salvador Dalí made in 1951
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow

At the start of May this year (2017) I visited the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgowm, there are many great works of art there, including a full collection of works by the Glasgow boys group of artists, I will share some of their paintings very soon.

One of the most famous works of art in the Gallery is “Christ of Saint John of the Cross, by Salvador Dalí painted in 1951”, the painting has its own viewing room with subdued lighting and a set of seats, so you can spend sometime viewing this amazing work of art by Dali. It was while in this room that I captured the above image of the painting.

There is something deep and spiritually moving about this painting even if your not a believer in its subject matter.

Here are some details :

Christ of Saint John of the Cross
is a painting by Salvador Dalí made in 1951. It depicts Jesus Christ on the cross in a darkened sky floating over a body of water complete with a boat and fishermen. Although it is a depiction of the crucifixion, it is devoid of nails, blood, and a crown of thorns, because, according to Dalí, he was convinced by a dream that these features would mar his depiction of Christ. Also in a dream, the importance of depicting Christ in the extreme angle evident in the painting was revealed to him.

The painting is known as the Christ of Saint John of the Cross, because its design is based on a drawing by the 16th-century Spanish friar John of the Cross. The composition of Christ is also based on a triangle and circle (the triangle is formed by Christ’s arms; the circle is formed by Christ’s head). The triangle, since it has three sides, can be seen as a reference to the Trinity, and the circle may be an allusion to Platonic thought. The circle represents Unity: all things do exist in the “three” but in the four, merry they be.

Inspiration

On the bottom of his studies for the painting, Dalí explained its inspiration: “In the first place, in 1950, I had a ‘cosmic dream’ in which I saw this image in colour and which in my dream represented the ‘nucleus of the atom.’ This nucleus later took on a metaphysical sense; I considered it ‘the very unity of the universe,’ the Christ!”

In order to create the figure of Christ, Dalí had Hollywood stuntman Russell Saunders suspended from an overhead gantry, so he could see how the body would appear from the desired angle [3] and also envisage the pull of gravity on the human body. The depicted body of water is the bay of Port Lligat, Dalí’s residence at the time of the painting.

History

The painting and intellectual property rights were acquired for Glasgow Corporation in the early 1950s by Tom Honeyman, then the Director of Glasgow Museums. Honeyman bought the painting for £8,200, a price considered high at the time although it was less than the £12,000 catalogue price, and included the copyright, which has earned Glasgow Museums back the original cost many times over.

The purchase was controversial and a petition against it, arguing that the money should be spent on exhibition space for local artists, was presented to the City Council by students at Glasgow School of Art.[6] The controversy caused Honeyman and Dalí to become friends, corresponding with each other for many years after the original acquisition.

The painting first went on display at the city’s Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum on 23 June 1952. In 1961 a visitor attacked the painting with a stone and tore the canvas with his hands. It was successfully restored over several months by conservators at Kelvingrove and returned to public display. In 1993, the painting was moved to the city’s St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art, but returned to Kelvingrove for its reopening in July 2006. It won a poll to decide Scotland’s favourite painting in 2006, with 29% of the vote.

It is said that the Spanish government offered £80 million ($127 million USD) for the painting.


Critical reception

This painting has continued to generate controversy. At the time of its purchase by Honeyman, the verdict by Modern Art critics was that producing such a traditional painting was a stunt by an artist already famous for his surrealist art. In 2009 The Guardian art critic, Jonathan Jones, described it as “kitsch and lurid,” but noted that the painting was “for better or worse, probably the most enduring vision of the crucifixion painted in the 20th century.”

In May 2013, in BBC Radio 4’s Great Lives, British poet John Cooper Clarke described this image as being utterly different from any other image of the crucifixion, as the angle of view conveys the hanging pain of this method of execution, whilst hiding the ordinarily clichéd facial expressions normally seen in such depictions.


Native Irish Wild flowers, Early Marsh Orchid , Ballykeefe, county Kilkenny

Early Marsh Orchid
Dactylorhiza incarnata
Magairlín mór
Family: Orchidaceae
Ballykeeffe, Kilkenny
Nigel Borrington

Flowering May-July. Tuberous perennial. Native.

Flowers usually white, pink or purple. (Ssp. coccinea has reddish flowers.)
Narrow, cylindrical flower-spike, lower bracts longer than flowers. Sides of lip strongly reflexed, weakly 3-lobed, 2 U-shaped loops enclosing dotted patches. Leaves erect, keeled, usually unspotted. (Ssp. cruenta, leaves spotted both sides) Hollow stem. Very variable, links to subspecies below. Identifications by Ian Denholm

Damp calcareous soils, meadows, fens, marshes, dune-slacks. Also slightly acidic bogs, damp heaths. Declining due to habitat loss.