Category Archives: News and Commentary

Bob & BeRT’s 10k & 5K Run

BOB & BERT’S 10K & 5K Run at Portrush.

Some photos from Portrush’s big charity running event sponsored by Bob & Bert’s – the well known local coffee shop – (They do a fantastic Caesar salad…) on Friday 3rd September 2021.

The race was held around 7.30pm, so by the time the runners were getting back to the starting point the light was falling significantly, necessitating a high ISO. Most were shot at ISO3200 on the Fujifilm X-T4

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Saintfield Twelfth

In Northern Ireland, the 12th of July is a major event, the annual celebration of the victory of King William III, Prince of Orange, over the forces of King James II of England, at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, a victory over the oppressive Stuart dynasty, which granted freedom of religion for everyone in the British Isles. In 2020 the annual festival was cancelled because of Covid, and this year, 2021, only small local parades were held.

The closest parade to me was at Saintfield, Co.Down, and I went along with the Fujifilm X-T4, and two lenses, the 16-55mm f/2.8 and the new 70-300mm f/4. I’m looking for character shots, faces and figures and action and determination…

Here’s a small selection of some of the people mages captured on the day. instrumentalists, bandsmen, marchers…

The colour of the day is enhanced by the banners carried by the bands and lodges.

Stormont in Blue

On Tuesday 22nd June, 2021 our local seat of government, the classic Parliament Building of Stormont, Belfast, was illuminated in blue, to mark the centenary of the first sitting of the Northern Ireland Parliament in 1921. I was commissioned to photograph the building, for publicity purposes, by Traditional Unionist Voice, one of the local political parties, whose initiative had led to this special commemoration event.

Stormont in Blue 1 – F=44mm, f/8 @ 5 secs on ISO1600
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Guildhall Square, Londonderry

Where have all the tourists gone?

I sat for an hour or so in Derry’s Guildhall Square, watching the people coming and going, drunks, locals, buskers, children, parents, tour guides and even the odd tourist…  All manner of life passes through it.

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Covid-19 has changed this popular tourist destination – and not for the better.

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Harsh Life

This is part of life in any city.

I captured this scene in a reasonably affluent part of Belfast, an area full of life and vibrancy where students from across the world mix with young professionals in coffee shops and bars. Where the streets are teeming with people enjoying friendship and a casual happy lifestyle. Where the side streets are student flats, posh detached homes and family terraces. And where a man lives on a pavement in a grubby sleeping bag.

If any picture can speak a thousand words, surely this one does. What does it tell you about the man on the ground? Why has he positioned himself there? What conversation is taking place between the man and the woman at the bank machine? She doesn’t look threatened – in fact they seem to be having a pleasant enough conversation. He’s sitting beside a ‘meal deal’ sign – would anyone go into the shop and spend some money on a ‘meal deal’ for him? Is that why he’s there?

I love photographs like this, not only documenting real life on the streets as it happens, but exciting the mind – raising questions; seemingly incongruous juxtapositions of objects and subjects, apparent conflicts of themes and interpretations.

Fujifilm X-T30, F=55mm, f/5 @ 1/125th sec on ISO400, shot in ACROS film simulation mode.

World Politics – In Belfast

Political graffiti in the university quarter of Belfast – and why you don’t always need humans to document human interest.

An interesting aspect of documentary photography is that human influence and interaction can be implied, rather than overt.

Even if people are not actually in the photo, the human element is still present and the human story is still told.

This gable wall in Belfast points us to events on the other side of the world, and indicates the desire of locals here to show solidarity with their fellow students there.  There is a significant Chinese community in South Belfast, many of whom are students at the university, and many of them would have Hong Kong origins.

Fujifilm X-T30 shot in Acros film simulation.

F=22mm, f/11 at 1/60th sec on ISO400.

A Much Loved Dereliction?

There’s a derelict house on Sourhill Road, Ballymena, which presents the passer-by with some interesting contradictions.  The house is or rather was, a beautiful building, – almost an enigma, in its construction and decor, with beautiful colours, and fascinating roof patterns, and yet on even a casual inspection it is crumbling and decaying with broken slates and rotten timber.  It is unoccupied and abandoned, but sits in well kept extensive grounds, with mown grass and a well kept gravel path.  Its windows and doors have been removed and replaced with boards, but the boards have been painted to look like… windows and doors!

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This place is derelict, but someone still cares for it! Continue reading A Much Loved Dereliction?

Progressing and Sustaining Your Photography Practice – a Strategy for Personal Progress

Progressing and Sustaining Your Photography Practice – a Strategy for Personal Progress

I’m starting to panic! In another six months or so, I’ll be an OAP! A ’Senior Citizen!’ Now, I’m not in any way thinking that on my 65th birthday I’ll be locking the studio door and throwing away the key! That’s not going to happen – not in this day and age, – but I’m curious as to how I’m going to practice photography with the same drive and enthusiasm when it’s no longer my source of income! A recent read through a photography degree course curriculum confirmed my own thoughts. One of the modules was ‘Developing a Strategy for Personal Progress’ So what’s MY strategy – for when retirement finally kicks in?

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