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.
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.
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.
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.)
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
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.
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:-
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.
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!
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…
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.’
Nunsquarter, Kircubbin and St Mary’s RC Church. I’ve often driven along the Portaferry Road and fancied stopping to take some photographs of this imposing building and to date never had the time! I’d photographed a wedding at the other church in the parish, St Joseph’s – and I was a bit disappointed that the bride didn’t opt for St Mary’s.
Nevertheless, driving back towards Newtownards a few days ago I made a point of pausing for a few minutes, just long enough to get some shots of the exterior. (The building was closed.)
I used the Nikon F100 camera with a prime 50mm lens, Ilford Delta 100ISO film, and shot with a shutter speed of 1/125th sec. It was a dull day so the aperture was around f/8 for most of the shots. I also did one shot of the house beside the chapel – presumably a former shop.
Today I made a momentous decision. – to take the car to the car-wash! It appears that it is a deep red colour. Waiting for the attention of the washers, I noticed this lovely sky, and couldn’t resist a shot. Here it is, captured with the Hueless App on the iPhone:
Today I had to take a drive down the Ards Penninsula. The wind was blowing a gale and the waves were spelling over the sea walls. I managed a couple of shots with the Hueless App to record the situation.
Excitement! Just in time for the Christmas Gift Season, Bob has introduced a series of Black and White Giclee Prints, high quality, Black and White Images featuring iconic but lesser known Irish Scenes and Landscapes – available as Mounted Prints – ideal for shipping abroad – or as Framed Prints.
Limited Editions – there are only 120 of each of these prints available for sale, each one signed, numbered and dated by the photographer. Check out the order page here: