Category Archives: Beautiful Ulster

New Year – New Gear #2

I’m still playing with the new Fufifilm X-T2, so today I took it on a walk around Kiltonga Nature Reserve in Newtownards, to test out the film simulation feature.  One of the interesting features of this camera is the ability to set it to emulate various Fufi Films, like Fuji’s popular Velvia colour film for example.

ACROS spool and box

The camera has a black and white option to record images on virtual ‘Acros’ monochrome film, which should give outstanding contrast, and a rich tonal range.  Furthermore, Acros simulation will produce grain in the image exactly the same size as the film version, by ISO.  The claim made by Fuji is that Arcos film simlation is even better than shooting in RAW and later converting to monochrome in Photoshop.  Fufi even claim that Acros will outperform any other high end digital camera shooting in B&W mode.  So, today I set the X-T2 to shoot in Acros Monochrome on card two, and in RAW on card one.  (Shooting in RAW, of course means that should I want a colour image, I can use the RAW unprocessed files to produce it.)

Continue reading New Year – New Gear #2

Portballintrae

Last week we visited Portballintrae, a village right on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, and close to the world-famous Giant’s Causeway, and the eve more famous Bushmills Distillery.

Portballintrae is very much a ‘dormitory’ village, now built up with modern apartments used a holiday home by people from elsewhere, which gives the visitor the impression that it is a soulless, sad place.  There is a small harbour, and a boat-club with a small clubhouse, and a decent beach, topped by an archeological treasure, the Lissnahall Prehistoric Earthworks.  A short drive leads to Bushmills, and I was intrigued by the bunting in the town square. Continue reading Portballintrae

Photo-Essay: Dundrum, Co. Down

On a warm sunny winter day in December, Janette and I visited Dundrum Castle, and took a wee walk around the town.  I took with me my ‘twins’ – the two Nikon D610 dSLRs one with a 24-120mm f/4 lens, and the other with a 80-210 f/2.8 lens.  Before I started I metered the ambient light at f/14 @ 1/100 th sec on ISO100. Because the day was so bright and sunny, the 24-120 lens was fitted with a circular polarising filter which reduced light by around 2 stops

Here’s some of the images.

We started at the ‘Belfast Road’ side of the town, parked in the small car park and wandered along the street.   Continue reading Photo-Essay: Dundrum, Co. Down

Photo-Essay ‘Scrabo’

On Saturday 1st October, I went for a walk up to Scrabo Tower, on the outskirts of Newtownards.  This landmark has towered over much of my life, living and working around the Ards area.  The tower was built in 1857, 540 ft above sea-level, as a memorial to the 3rd Marquess of Londonderry, Viscount castlereagh, Charles Stewart.    The tower is situated in a country park, close to Scrabo Golf Club, and is approached by car only as far as the golf club entrance, then by foot up a steep path to the summit.  Thankfully, there are resting places on the ascent!

Being October, the road up to tower ran beside fields that had just been baled, – which provided my image of the day, and set the scene for my exploration of the towers surroundings.

scrabo_01

Continue reading Photo-Essay ‘Scrabo’

#Randalstown 12th Day Photos

Tuesday, 12th July 2016

Even if you’re not a big fan of marching bands, orange lodges, banners , big crowds and noise, the annual 12th July parades in Northern Ireland are a fertile hunting ground for a photographer with a love for photographing people in reportage style environmental portraits. I always advise avoiding the Belfast parade, – too much ‘in your face’ politics, – so seek out a nice wee country walk, find a quiet spot where there’s not too many people, and aim for the quirky hats, the puffed-out fluters, pipe majors, the big drummers, the colour and the spectacle – try to get the walk home from the demonstration field, – by that time the bandsmen will be letting their hair down a bit, the rules are not so rigid, and funny walks, painted faces and daft headwear make for a more carnival like atmosphere, rather than the stricter, more regimental atmosphere of the outward processions. Continue reading #Randalstown 12th Day Photos

Review time!

Sometimes it’s a good practice to look back at image one has made over the years, – with a critical eye!  Here’s a few I’ve been mulling over recently:-

IMG_3920

This image of the Playhouse Theatre, Derry/Londonderry was part of a commercial commission.  The brief was to show the effect of the lights on the wall opposite the Theatre.

Binnion

This simple image of Slieve Bunion, in Co Down, part of the ‘Mountains of Mourne’ range has been one of my very best sellers!  I’ve sold this image in framed prints, magnets, even mugs!

Landscape 1

This image of Ballycopeland Windmill in Co. Down is a real quirk, as anyone who knows it would realise!  It is of course, heavily photoshopped, to show the sun rising in the North!  Just for a wee change.

And finally, for this selection, an image that’s just a little more personal…

Dereliction 3

This image of Janette’s parent’s old kitchen, after they’d moved out of the farmhouse, was part of an exhibition at the Curve Gallery, Belfast.  I called it ‘Dereliction.’