Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Warm Beverage, Anyone?

Not having much of a chance to leave my apartment today, I had to find something indoors to help me get my daily photo.  Not being in the States, where I am surrounded by a lot of (interesting and more photogenic) crap, I am limited to the things I brought with me or purchased here.  Which really isn't much.

Luckily my wife is constantly drinking tea...and leaving her teacups where I stumble upon them and realize they are as good a subject as any.  Especially when you are going for an overexposed and washed out look (things with smooth surfaces are better for this (or so it seems)).

Monday, January 30, 2012

Pathways...Through The Woods, Through The Brain, Around Dams, And Under Arches

It's been a rainy past few days.  My picture for the 27th makes that apparent.  It's nothing more than what a rainy wet day looks like on one of Belfast's main roads...

Redburn Country Park is a great place to go for a good hike.  You can pretty much hike for the better part of a day without seeing the same thing twice.  That's what we did on the 28th...here are some naturish photos without being straight up trees or wildlife...

...a path that looks like it would take you all the way to Samson and Goliath (Belfast's big yellow ship-building cranes)

...a slightly different perspective than what you normally get from a  waterfall photo (I was hanging off the waterfall ledge)

...and an abstract shot.  The way the branches of a tree were reflecting in a stream reminded me of neurons firing in the brain.  I had to create a negative of the image to get my desired effect.

Yesterday my wife and I met up with one of her classmates and her family for a very nice afternoon.  They live much further south than we do, quite close to the border actually, and thus were able to show us a side of Northern Ireland that we don't get near where we live.  Their house is in the middle of nowhere...surrounded on all sides by mountains and the greenest of pastures.  We were taken to mountainous parks, harbor towns, the Irish Sea, and a massive dam... 

 ...that sink hole acts as a water level regulator.  That sky kept us from getting to hike that mountain in the background (it poured the whole day).

Today I grabbed my homemade Tilt-Shift lens, something I haven't used in a while, and headed out.  The Botanic Gardens, normally my first destination, provided the perfect structure for specifically choosing the plane on which my now extra-controllable focus fell...

...the tilt-shift lens seems to make the image's depth both expand and contract at the same time.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Whiskey To Water

Last night my wife and I checked out a very old Irish pub.  For the price of a Sweet Hot Whiskey, we got to listen to some great live traditional Irish music...fiddle, accordian, guitar, bodhran, and what sounded like a tin whistle...while being surrounded by a massive collection of items that the pub had accumulated in the last 300 years.  Also arches.  Beautiful arches...

...and this guy...

Today, knowing that it was supposed to rain, I tried to get out early for my daily photo.  Apparently it also rained overnight, giving me the perfect chance to use my macro extender.  This is what I ended up with...a raindrop slowly dripping off of a cedar's leaves/needles...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Getting Up-Close And Personal With Birds, Smoke and Coins

After shooting some nature-related subjects on Sunday, I decided I need to change things up a tad.  Far too frequently I just wander into the woods or someplace similar and just snap a quick shot.  While that is good for a backup, I need to try to do it less.  So after realizing that Sunday's shots added to the plethora of "outdoorsy" photos, I decided that Monday would be related to unnatural and complex lighting and Tuesday would deal with macro photography.  Macro photography without the flowers or plants, of course.

So here are the Sunday shots that made me realize I can't always shoot nature...

Here are Monday's shots...the ones dealing with complex lighting.  I used off-camera flash as well as some natural lighting through a window.  These shots are of smoke from a recently distinguished candle.  The shots had to be precisely timed to make sure they didn't consist of just a big billowing cloud of smoke or a tiny wisp of nothingness.  Though these are rather abstract, I can't help but seeing specific things in them...

 ...A slightly provocatively dancing woman

...and an orchestra conductor or magician, in the middle of conducting or casting a spell

Today's macro shots are of British currency.  Someone had suggested that I take some shots of coins awhile back, and felt like it was about time to give the people what they want.  So here is an extreme close-up of a lion wearing a crown on the ten pence coin and a not as close-up shot of a pound sterling...


Saturday, January 21, 2012

From The Prehistoric To The Current

I was studying some fossils yesterday.  Apparently I need to do more studying/learning because I found out that spiders and scorpions existed during the Cretaceous period.  I suppose if I think about it, it makes sense...other arthropods existed then...I just never thought about spiders doing so, and definitely not scorpions.  I also came across a beautiful trilobite.  (By "came across" I mean bumped into white visiting a museum). Here are the fossils of said creatures...

Today I was walking through Ormeau Park in Belfast.  I found a patch of mushrooms.  By no means am I an avid mushroom identifier, but after some research, I believe these to be panaeolus sphinctrinus.  Any awesome and capable mushroom identifiers out there?  Am I right in my assumption?  Or perhaps I found a new species? Eh eh?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Bird Thursday

Today, I give you...birds.  Swans and herons to be specific.  Grey herons to be even more specific.  The swan on the other hand is your standard swan.  If they have a more specific name, I am unaware of it.
Both of these birds were found on the Lagan River in Belfast.  The swan got very close and very vocal.  The heron stayed far away, barely moving...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Through The Viewfinder And Into The Greenhouse

Yesterday's greenhouse made it into today's photography as well.  This time with the addition of a Kodak Duaflex, allowing me to get a nice TTV shot.  The greenhouse can be found in Belfast's Botanic Garden.

I appear to not only be on a black and white kick, but also a greenhouse kick.  Worry not, I'm sure I'll beat at least one of those habits tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Jupiter, Bicycles and Greenhouses

Last night, my wife's university gave the surrounding community a chance to view Jupiter with some high-tech telescopes.  Though the three second individual viewing time may not have been worth the wait, it provided me with a decent enough photograph.  Here is a man checking out his telescope..making sure it is in working order and fine-focusing it.

While waiting for my turn at one of the telescopes, I noticed a bright light shining on a bicycle nearby...

Today I was wandering around the outside of a locked-up greenhouse.  An old greenhouse.  Here are some shots from it...

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Giant's Ring

Northern Ireland has its own henge...you know, like Stonehenge.  Our's isn't as big nor as popular, but it is still pretty sweet.  It supposedly has been around since 2700 BCE and has been used for burials and tombs...as well as horse racing in the 18th century.  The megalithic tomb in the center of the henge seems to be the main event...

The henge itself isn't too visible in the pictures, but the rounded feeling that the grassy area seems to create in the second photo is indeed from the circular henge.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Went For A Walk

We went for a walk today.  We do so daily.  Today we went down to the river as well as some parts of the city that we were yet to check out.  We came across what seemed like a River Dance flash mob...
One second they were jumping around like fish out of water...the next second they were just standing there talking as if it never happened.

Then we came across the area that is being used for Occupy Belfast.  No one was there.

Then, on our way back to our flat, old Albert entered my field of vision.  Apparently Albert is the name of this clock tower...

Friday, January 13, 2012

Last Portion Of My Trip Back To The States (as well as some shots from when I finally returned to Northern Ireland)

The 4th had me shooting a potential new project.  Nothing impressive or special, just a shot that on its own looks like a standard but decent image.  When combined with other shots from the project, though, you might acknowledge the Fairy Tale roots of the images.  Also, I intend to use a painted style for this project.

My wife didn't really like the apple shot.  She is normally a good judge of my work, but this time I disagree.  I like the apple.  Perhaps it isn't that great.  In case it isn't anything special, the 4th gets a second photo...photo albums.  We spent some good time going through very old albums on our vacation.

I used my father's antique radio for my Thursday photo.  

I drove around Lancaster County for a little on Friday morning.  This is Lancaster County in a nutshell...Farm animals and old school houses.

There was a campfire on the 7th.  There was a face in the campfire.

My wife wanted to spend a lot of time with our cat. (he had to stay back in the states with her parents)  She got to do so on the 8th.  He somehow injured his right eye.  Now he is blind in that eye.  Poor thing.

The 9th.  My last full day in the States.
I am like a Snow Goose.  I leave my current location and head to Lancaster County when winter comes 'round.  I stick around for a little, then head on to my next destination.  Later, Lancaster County. 

Here is New York City from above.  The glowing golden lights of the Big Apple.  Taken on a plane on the 10th.

The 11th was a confusing day.  My shot from that day portrays that confusion perfectly.  Our plane landed at 5:30 am.  We then took a two hour bus ride from Dublin to Belfast.  We then slept late into the evening.  Apparently at some point in time I held my camera up to the window and focused on something. (a wall with strange windows, I later realized)  This is the only photograph I had from that day...hey, at least I didn't forget to get a shot!  What is most strange is that there is very little post processing/photoshopping on this shot.  Yes, there is some....but really, not as much as you would think an image like this would require.

This was taken yesterday in a greenhouse.  Going from the cold air outside to the warm greenhouse air caused my lens to fog up...making the shot softer and brighter.

And for today.  Some peculiar Belfast Graffiti.  Enjoy.

A Portion Of My Trip Back To The States

In that my free time in the States was limited, so too was the frequency of my posting.  Here is a portion of that trip.  I will do another post after this one goes live.

While back in the states, we didn't limit ourselves to Pennsylvania.  We made our way up to New York and did some spelunking on the 29th.  There was an awesome underwater stream that drained into a large body of water as well as huge empty areas and extremely tight passages.  

We stayed in a farm house for a few days.  The 30th found us waking up to goats and chickens.  We also had a chance to get some hiking in.  Kaaterskill Falls was one of our destinations.  Absolutely gorgeous!

I used one of my Christmas presents to help me make quick work of my daily photo on the 31st.  A beautiful Kodak Brownie.

Bald Eagles seem like a good subject for the first day of 2012.  Or at least as good as any.  These are juveniles. 

January 2nd's sky wasn't so cloudy that the sun couldn't peek though, but it was cloudy enough that a few snowflakes were able to fall.

I was only out of my bed for a few minutes on the third (I felt rather under the weather) luckily I was able to get a good enough shot in those few minutes.