Tag Archives: Photography

Wandering around The Burren

This last week I was lucky enough to go on a work trip to The Burren in County Clare, Ireland. It was a wonderful trip full of beauty and learning. I’m not going into any details  about my work, but do want to share some of the wonderful photos of the landscape I was able to explore. I also want to share a bit of the history of the place and recommend it as a place to visit.

Meadow
Meadow

The Burren means ‘great rock’ or ‘rocky place’ in Irish and it definitely suited the name. It is a beautiful historic landscape much changed by human habitation, especially through farming. It is a cultural landscape full of archaeological features, some of which are still used today.

Handmade Stone Wall
Handmade Stone Wall

The area is around 250 km squared and is enclosed within the circle made by the villages of Ballyvaughan (visited), Kinvara, Tubber, Corofin (visited), Kilfenora and Lisdoonvarna. There many fantastic finds within the villages such as the The Perfumery and The Larder Deli.

Working in the Field
Working in the Field

It is an area of Ireland I was unaware of until it became a subject of fascination at work. Once we arrived we stayed in Ennis and were pleasantly surprised by the amount of tourists, especially from America. It was a honeypot of activity in the evenings with every bar full and musical entertainment a plenty. We foudn Knox’s and The Old Ground Hotel.

Posing Dog
Posing Dog

I was lucky to spend two full days talking and exploring with local people who look after their land with great care and understanding. This hasn’t always been the case, but in the last 15 years there has been a drive to rediscover how the land is kept in it’s best condition and going back to farming practices that support that and make sense economically for the local farms.

Making Friends
Making Friends

There is a lovely sense of place here and this is supported by the pride of the people I was able to meet. They have an identity here and love the land and the history in the places they live. There is a desire to keep this sense of identity for the future and in recent times many gates have been upgraded to the The Burren Gate, which is made locally.

Burren Gate
Burren Gate

I was able to take some time to practice my photography skills and focus on landscapes and flowers. I’m really happy with how lots of them came out even though I had to take quite a few reference shots for work purposes.

White Irish Orchid
White Irish Orchid

I learnt a lot from my work colleagues on this trip. It was mainly about habitats and flora and fauna found in The Burren compared to home. However my memory is rubbish and so the only ones I can remember are the Irish Orchids. Please shout if you know any of the other flowers I found!

Purple Flower
Purple Flower

Many flowers I took because I found them colourful and stood out against the green and stone backdrops.

Colourful Irish Orchid
Colourful Irish Orchid

If I hadn’t known differently I would have thought many of the fields I was walking through were not farmed in any way, but I would have been wrong. All the fields we went through were used for pasture and some were hay meadows. The quality of the fields are gold star. There was so much variety and colour everywhere we looked it was astounding.

Pink Flower
Pink Flower

It was also a peaceful landscape. There are many roads through the landscape and even less tracks across the farms. Many things are kept very traditional with limited use of machinery across all aspects of the farms. This leaves these beautiful meadows to flourish and benefit from the winterage type farming practices found in the area.

In the long grasses
In the long grasses

The limestone pavement The Burren is located on is a specific landscape. being located on the edge of the Atlantic creates a very specific area and climate that supports it. It’s very mild all year, which means is also very wet all year. It is a mountain climate, without any mountains. We had pretty much all seasons in the two days we were there.

Blue flowers
Blue flowers

I definitely want to go back and explore further than I was able to this time. There is a beautiful coastal road we only got to glimpse as we headed back to the airport. I did not realise how much there was to explore until we arrived. Also the people were so friendly I would like to spend more time sat talking and listening to their stories and music. I totally underestimated this trip and would like to rectify that by visiting again in the future.

Photography Fun!

I’ve been learning how to take better photographs and this last weekend had my first chance to take event photos for my local running club.  It was fun, now I just need to get quicker at changing setting in between. Also I would like to get better at getting closer up to people rather than have lots of background, but it’s all part of the learning process.

Here are my favourites from the day:

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Photo Opportunity!

One of the main things I’ve been wanting to do to improve my blog is to take better photos. So for the last 6 months or so I have been swapping swimming lessons for photography lessons. My friend Edith is an amazing photographer, I think she is professional, but not sure if she would describe herself as one as she does not do it full time, and is taking me through the essentials of photography. In exchange I have been teaching her to swim and she just completed her first triathlon and she is looking for another one to do later in the year. It’s been great as although it requires commitment we are able to be flexible between ourselves.

I have first learnt that it doesn’t matter what camera you have, as it the camera you have on you when you want to take a photo that matters. I switch between three cameras – my trusty iPhone camera, an Olympus DSLR, and a Cannon point and shoot – and which one I use depends on what bag I am taking out to be absolutely honest. A shift I would like to make is to not only go out specifically to take photos, but always be carrying a camera, not just my phone.

SO far I’ve been learning to edit my photos on a basic level, such as looking at the colours and adjusting the image crop and straightening. Each time I learn to spot new things and make smaller adjustments as I set up my photos better when I take them. Developing the eye for spotting interesting opportunities is hard to learn, but I keep on trying.

I’ve also bee learning about using aperture for depth of field and f numbers. This has been a struggle for me and I keep having to talk myself through what I am after when I try to use it, but it makes me think and try things out. It also gets me out of the auto setting.

I’ve taken photos at night using slow shutter speeds. I’ve taken photos in the snow using shadows and features. I’ve taken photos from interesting aspects that I wouldn’t have considered before. I’ve been experimenting and really enjoying it.

I’ve still got a lot to learn, but all I am after is to be able to take great holiday photos I want to print off and hang up. I can’t remember the last time I printed a photo as wither everything being digital I just never do anymore. I want to change that and cover my home in photos I’ve actually taken.

Here are some of my favourite photographs of the last 6 months:

 

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Greens in St James Park
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Golden gates of Buckingham Palace
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Lion and Man outside Buckingham Palace
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Spotlight on the bluebell
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Bluebell in the late evening sun
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Rays on the bluebells
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Surrounded by bluebells
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Reflections on the river in Bath
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Turning right in the night
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Ghost bus
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Busy in the dark
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Lonely red lights
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On the catwalk
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Chocolate fountain
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Interesting shapes
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Snow angel
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Mountain resting place
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Drive by
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Moody woods
Routes through the snow

Camera Club Competition – Animals

This month is the 3rd competition of the season for my local camera club. I didn’t enter the previous one as I struggled with the theme, but this one was easier!

Animals!

I didn’t take any specifically for the competition but have used photos I have taken on my travels.

I’m Ready For My Close Up

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I See You

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Time For a Stretch

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Up In A Tree

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This year has been all about photos I’ve taken in the past. I’m hoping to go out and take photos this year for future competitions. Basically I want to take my camera to more places and take more photos 🙂

1st Camera Club Competition

I’ve entered 6 photographs for the first competition of the year! 3 printed and 3 digital.

I had to mount the prints on boards. I also put a card frame around the photos. I liked doing this as I rarely get photos printed. The hardest part was naming the photos. Names that show what they are without being obvious.

Here are the ones I’ve submitted:

Kili View

 

Celebration

Security

 

Vacant Ruins

Calm Reflection

 

Welcoming Host

I’ll do an update on this post after the competition to let you know how I got on!

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