Category Archives: Beautiful Ulster

Banbridge Outlet

A wee day off on Easter Tuesday and Janette and I took a wee trip down to Banbridge and a walk along the ‘Boulevard’ – the new name for the outlet centre.  After all  it was a wet day, with thunder storms and hailstones, and the Boulevard is covered, at least in part, and that meant there were quite a few people about to add human interest.  Needless to say I brought the Fujifil X-T2 camera, and made a couple of exposures as we walked around.

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Upper Ballinderry – Co.Antrim

Q. What does a photographer do on his day off?
A. Photography.

With no studio appointments on a Friday, and lured by the prospect of a decent spring day, and with another matter to be attended to in the area, I travelled to Ballinderry. It’s a rural area in Co Antrim, between Moira and Crumlin.

To be more precise, my real destination was Upper Ballinderry –
(There was a yarn – about a Ballinderry man who wanted to travel home from Japan, and who went to a travel agent in a small remote Japanese town, and asked for travel to Ballinderry. With oriental inscrutability and precision the clerk replied, Yes sir. Upper or Lower Ballinderry?)

He’d find it hard to travel to Ballinderry by train now as my first stop in the village proved. NIR has mothballed the line between Lisburn and Antrim and Ballinderry Station is now a shadow of its former self. The Antrim bound platform has been dismantled and the station building allowed to decay. The entrance to the station is now blocked.  The track is still in place, – it was always a single track line, – but the passing loop has gone and the line seems to be used now as a siding. Today it had goods wagons sitting on the track.

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Killinchy, Co. Down

Killinchy, Co. Down.

On a recent visit to Killinchy I travelled on down to the shores of Strangford Lough at Whiterock Bay.  The Lough is splattered with islands at this point, and closest to the shore,  joined by a causeway, is Sketrick Island, with its distictive castle.

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Castle Causeway

The castle is a 16th Century Tower House, a defensive position which saw battle in the 17th Century.  Originally four storeys high, part of the castle collapsed in 1896, and what remains is now curated by the NI Communities Historic Environment Dept.

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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.)

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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