Tag Archives: End-of-year review

Favourite 2017 Shot on iPhone Photographs

OK – I have tried to start this so many times in the recent weeks and each time I tell myself I will get it done tomorrow, knowing full well that I will wait until the last moment and then rush it through. But hey – once I get it done, ya?

Choosing my 12 favourite photos was so easy before. All I needed to do was head over to Flickr and see what photos I posted in each month of the year and from that choose a favourite shot. Not so anymore. This year I posted virtually nothing to Flickr until September, so for the first time ever this end-of-year-review is being done via Instagram. Here are my Instagram stats for the year: I posted 272 photos to my main account and 186 photos to my second account (the one I keep for shots without people in them). That is a lot of images, but then I travelled and shot a lot in 2017.

I could do the easy thing and allow an algorithm decide what my best 9 photos were, but you know, they weren’t. You can see them if you wish here and here. I prefer to spend some time with the images, recall where I was, what I was doing and how it felt. That is why we create images, no? To make memories. So here are my 12 favourite shot on iPhone photographs posted to my main Instagram account in 2017.

So, January took me to Iceland for the first time. Stumbled across this artist’s house on the seafront. The sun was setting and it was freezing.

Reykjavik (Shot on iPhone 7 Plus)

February and I was on my way to Cyprus to open the exhibition for the Mobile Photography Awards in Limassol. I guess it was here that I began to change my approach to street photography. Not sure why or how, but I began to engage more with people on the street as I shot their portraits. Much like candid photography, people’s first reaction when you ask can you take their photo is one of curiosity. What is it that I can see about them that makes me want to photograph them? Self-consciousness smothers that initial curiosity and the task then is to engage with them to get them to relax. I tend to tell people about myself, revealing myself a little, as I shoot. I ask them questions. I am polite and respectful. I shoot a lot in these moments.

This guy here had no English. I smiled a lot. He stared at me. He smiled when I showed him the photo.

February: Limassol (shot on iPhone)

March was a month at home and not a lot of shooting, bar the Holi Festival in my university, so I was posting shots from previous trips. This one of a bus driver in Seoul I love. I remember knowing that I would stop to shoot it when I was waiting for the green man to appear. I just love shooting into glass and the layered distortion the reflections create.

March: Seoul

April was a full on month for me. I was in Korea and Japan with work and then home for a few days before heading back out to Thailand for the most amazing experience of Monogram Asia’s first 8 x 8 Street Photography Conference. Another highlight of April was the being out on the streets of Cork for the 24-Hour Project with great people. Choosing an image I shot in the month of April is damn hard, but it is not so hard to choose one I posted in that month. Photography is all about memories and connections. My favourite for April is this one shot on the 24-hour Project in late night Cork. May not be my best photo in April, but it is the one which makes me think of the absolute craic I had with Tim, Dee, Judie and Jonathon. 

April: Cork. 24-hour project

And on to May and really there can only be one shot for May. I have written quite a bit about how I began to shoot more asked-for-portraits and how much I began to enjoy it. This one was shot in Bangkok on a very hot morning on a photo walk with Sheldon Serkin and Renzo Grande. Here’s the thing. Once I got the shot I knew it was a good one, but I did not know whether it was better in the original colour or to convert it to black and white. Shel and Renzo thought it was a no-brainer – black and white all the way. I still have a thing for it in colour. What do you think?

May: Bangkok

June: In April in Seoul I stayed in Myeondong. It is probably the busiest shopping district in Seoul and with that comes much activity; perfect for street shooting. My maxim about photography is: Trying to see what can be seen and how to see it. This shot is an example of this. The bright neon lights, the taxis, the taxi drivers. Bringing them all into one frame was not easy. Shooting it on an iPhone at night even more difficult, but I love the result.

June: Seoul

July brought me to back on my travels, back to Hong Kong and then on to Korea again. I shot a lot in this time, but did not post in July. I did share this photo on Instagram though – a photo from Yoyogi Park in Tokyo. A photo which is part of my Rehearsing for a date series of images of people alone in locations where you might commonly find dating couples.

July: Tokyo

August and I am on the beach in Busan stopping people asking if I can take their photo (and they not getting upset that I did not ask if I could make their portrait). Honestly, this is something I felt I would never have been comfortable doing, but now I cannot imagine not doing it. There is something so wonderful about it. I made some really great connections this year shooting portraits. This guy was great fun. He took delight in telling me he knew Conor Mcgregor when I told him I was Irish. Honestly? Conor McGregor?

August: Busan

In Bali, I had Bali’s best motorcyclist as my guide, but I sadly proved to be Bali’s worst motorcycle passenger in this time. I loved Bali. Big thanks to my buddy Gathoe for showing me around Bali on his bike and for bringing me to the kite festival on that first day I was there. I skipped off the beaten bath a little to find these kids playing football.

September: Bali

I tend not to post photos of my kids. This is just a personal thing for me. Probably am too protective of their privacy. But this is one of my little boy that I love. No great timing here to get the decisive moment; no just finger kept on the shutter to shoot in burst mode and then to later select that decisive moment. My little HCB shot.

October: James

November is a bit hard for me. I am torn between this, this and this, but have decided to choose this one in the end. The edited image is a little distant from the original, but I knew that in taking it I would be able to go on many creative routes with the photo.

November: Seoul

And this brings us to the end of a year of shot on iPhone photographs. Life is difficult when there is choice and truly I could have gone in so many different directions with these selections. In the end I opted for all colour, could just have easily gone all black and white as I love many of the photos I shot in black and white this year, particularly when shooting with Provoke.

So, here is it – the final image to make up my 12 favourite shot on iPhone photographs from 2017. A photograph shot in Dublin, and one which is part of my This gap between us will be filled with love or loss series.

December: Dublin

Thanks to all for your kind support throughout 2017.

Here’s to 2018 and the unexpected, the unimagined it will bring.

 

Posted in A Flickr Year, Best of year, iPhone, iPhone photography, James, Summer 2017, Travel Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

My favourite iPhone photographs of 2016

2016 was another great year for my photography. I had some wonderful opportunities to travel and shoot in places like Singapore, Bangkok, Jakarta, Tokyo, Kyoto, Vienna, Hong Kong, Delhi, Ladakh, Varanasi, Mumbai, Seoul, Daegu, Shanghai, Dublin and of course, Cork. Thousands and thousands of photographs shot on iPhone 6s, 7 plus, Fuji X100T, Nikon D7000 and Sony Xperia Z5.

It has become customary for me to select my favourite photographs of the year over the past number of years. It is something I have really enjoyed, but it is time consuming. Christmas can be a good time for this, or as I have found this year it can be the worst. All I want to do is chill out, watch TV, play with kids and eat and sleep. Oh and drink a little too.

Each morning I wake up and say today will be the day I get it done and each night I find myself saying: Tomorrow, tomorrow, I’ll do it.

So, tomorrow has arrived, the year has almost ended and it is time to present my favourite iPhone photographs of 2016.

January

I rarely post photographs of family. Am protective of their privacy. This one, shot with the Olloclip macro lens is one that I particularly like. My wife is a patient woman. I know, if roles were reversed,  I would never wait while she tries to get the shot. Full series here.

January, 2016

February

This photograph, shot in the Glucksman gallery in Cork, is one I use in workshops to demonstrate the need to examine the borders of your images when composing your shots. I was focussing on the girl in foreground and her reflection when I saw this man appear in the top left. With a quick reconfiguring, I got him into the frame and adds a little more to the shot.

February, 2016

March

March was magical. Invited by Monogram Asia to come to Singapore, Bangkok and Jakarta to present my photography was an incredible opportunity. I met some truly wonderful people on the trip and made lasting friendships. This shot was taken on the docks in Jakarta. These workers were taking a short break. More here.

March, 2017

April

Blur will save the world, you know. But I still don’t know how. This shot is the result of frustration. Image stabilisation has improved so much on iPhones. I just can’t blur like I used to. But with the Olloclip Studio case and its lanyard holding the iPhone safely I violently swooped and shot in burst mode to get this shot. You can see the whole series here.

April, 2016

May

This is where I begin to cheat a little and choose images that were not taken in the actual month. This is another from Tokyo in April. I have a series of images of people in transport, shot through glass to create layers, distortion and reflection. This bus driver was stopped at the lights in Shibuya and standing in front of him I saw it appear. I knew at the moment of shooting that I would convert it to black and white.

May, 2016

June

Vienna! What a beautiful city. Enjoyed shooting there a lot, especially as I had beautiful summer sunshine for my stay there. This shot is one I waited for. Attracted by the zig-zag reflections of the sun slipping down the metro steps, I knew someone stepping into the scene would add to it. Patience meets luck.

June, 2016

July
There are so many iPhone images I could chose from my trip to India in July, but the one I am going for is this one from Delhi. Images have to have different entry points to work for me. I like this one because of this.

July, 2016

August
Shanghai! Again, many I could choose from but the one I have gone for is this one shot on the Shanghai subway. There is something beautiful about photography that allows for connections. Eye contact is something I try to get in images. It engages the viewer, I think, but what I like about it is the split second of contact created between the person in the frame and myself. There are times it is electrifying.

August, 2016

September

Another image from Tokyo. Sometimes things just appear in front of you and when you see them it is too late. Other times, things will wait. Then you get lucky. So much of photography is luck. Luck and patience.

September, 2016

October
I was so happy when my kids told me their happiest memory from the summer was going to the river with me in the evenings just before the sun set, when the day’s heat had cooled. They would play in the water and I would try to get photographs or I would just sit and watch them be little kids enjoying summer. This shot was after a torrential downpour. They loved jumping over the puddles and I loved it too.

October, 2016

November
iPhone 7 plus. Dublin. Sunshine on a graffitied wall. Wait for someone to enter the frame and snap.

November, 2016

December
And back to Cork for the last one. Comparatively, I don’t shoot a lot in Cork. I tend to store it all up and shoot intensively when away from home. There is something freer about being off home turf. In saying that, I have projects about Cork on the go and quite possibly these will become much more personal and precious to me as the years pass. This is another shot of reflections. Another instance of patience.

December, 2016

2016 has been incredible to me. So many people to thank. So many people who along the way who have in some way enabled me to express myself. In no particular order I would like to thank Ben, Elfie, Saad, Arik, Andy, Nikki, Glen, Dan R, Dan B, Simon, Jack H, Judie, Ankit, John, Mark, Brian, David P, Albion, Thomas, Serap, Jen, Teppo, Cielo, Laurence, Tadhg, Michael V, Darren, Joanne, Janine, Nora, Sir Cam, Paul M, Tim B, Johnathan, Lee, Ruby,  Kevin D, Randy, Dave, Brian, Kieran, Richard and Seiya. And then those loved ones who know who they are – thanks!

2016 – My favourite iPhone photographs

2017 – believe – achieve – kiss the future…

Posted in A Flickr Year, Brendan Ó Sé. Brendan Ó Sé photography, Inspiration, iPhone 6s, iPhone photography, My own favourite photographs, Street Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , |

My favourite image of 2014

12 months of photographs from Wicklow, Dublin, London, Copenhagen, Berlin, Hong Kong, Seoul, Busan, Geochang, Tokyo, Kyoto, Taipei and the People’s Republic of Cork. Having gone back over the images I posted in 2014, the DSLR image I keep coming back to is this:

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My favourite photograph of 2014 (DSLR)

I gave it the title Slow releasing melancholy. There is something so soothing about melancholy. In the distance, through the dribbling raindrops you can see Tokyo in the evening high up from Roppongi Hills Mori Tower. Tokyo does mood so well. The observation deck of this skyscraper had low lights and the gentlest of jazz music playing in the background. I could go on and write more about this image, but it is all yours. See what you want to see and feel whatever the image frees in you.

I posted an iPhone photograph of my son in the art gallery of the university I work in on the last day of 2014, not only because I love the image, but because I knew I wanted to have it posted in 2014 because it is my very favourite image I took with the iPhone in 2014. James is four now and a happy and healthy, little boy. He is curious, but quickly distracted and this image captures it all for me. The framed photographs got his attention for a few seconds. He scanned them and disregarded them and moved on.

 

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My favourite photograph of 2014 (iPhone)

So here you go, here are the 12 images for DSLR and iPhone which stood out for me. Thanks for all the visits and feedback. Here’s to 2015! Everything will happen. Believe – achieve.

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My favourite iPhone images of 2014

 

 

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My favourite DSLR images of 2014

 

 

Posted in A Flickr Year, iPhone, James, Street Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

2014: My favourite images – December

And on to the final month of the year: December. This will bring a total of 11 images chosen for both DSLR and iPhone. 11 months as I didn’t post anything to Flickr in the month of April. My friend, Michael Veltman, suggested I should choose my favourite image of 2014 to make up the 12 photos for the year. So, tomorrow I will try to choose one image that is my very favourite from 2014. This will not be easy. Maybe you could help me. What is your favourite image of mine in the past 12 months?

In December, I had a short visit to Berlin to attend a conference and in the evenings I got out shooting. One evening I took a walk along one of the main shopping streets – a street whose name I cannot recall. This wonderful building lit up in white stripes to contrast with the black of the building was eye catching and I knew I had to get a few shots of it. I got a few of passersby blurred out as they crossed the intersection in front of it and headed up the street. Passing a black van and seeing how the lights of the store lit up on the side of the van got me thinking and composing. I stood on the side of the street and waited for cars and passersby to come. The results are below. Click on them for the large version. 

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And in this little series the one I like most is this:

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December

 

December was probably the best month for images posted to the iPhone account. There are so many that I really like and choosing a favourite from this month is very difficult. I could easily choose any of the following images. Click on them for the large version. 

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Also, any of these could easily be my favourite:

 

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But the one which I like most is this taken in Copenhagen. Reflections are another way of seeing and so often they can transform the ordinary to the extraordinary. Any time I see glass or a shiny surface I am looking to see what it reflects. This old and dirty window in Copenhagen had not been cleaned in years and the grime gave such a beautiful texture. All I had to do was wait for someone to enter the scene and in what was a ready-made frame.

Reflections in a forgotten window frame

December

Posted in A Flickr Year, iPhone, photograph posts, Street Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

2014: My favourite images – November

November saw more photographs from Copenhagen. Choosing my favourite DSLR for November is very easy for me.

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November

I struggled with processing this image and wrote about it here in November. I posted other similar images in the month which I also like:

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November has been the easiest month for me to choose my favourites. This iPhone image stands out for me. It is a simple, straight-up street shot.

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November

Only one month left and then to choose my favourite image of 2014. Thanks for all the visits.

 

 

 

Posted in A Flickr Year, Inspiration, iPhone, photograph posts, Street Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

2014: My favourite images – October

October saw me visit Copenhagen for the first time and how I loved the visit. It is one the coolest cities I have ever been to. The people are calm, friendly and also very cool. In the week I was there I managed to get in as much shooting as possible and had some good fortune while doing so. Having cycled all my life, Copenhagen was a delight for me. The guy who I was renting an apartment from left me use of his bike for the week. This allowed me to get around the city with ease and to see as much as possible in a short time.

I really do not think I have ever visited anywhere and come back with so many images that I liked. With the DSLR, I loved these images taken on a sunny evening on the main shopping street in Copenhagen. You can click through to see the large images.

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But the image which I like more than any that I got in Copenhagen has no recognisable features that can link it to the city of Copenhagen. It is a classic bokeads image. I have been doing fewer and fewer of those in recent times, and I do think it is something I need to get back to. I gave this one the title of “The weight of other people”. There is a theme of loneliness in these images, a yearning to be able to hide; hide from others and hide mainly from ourselves.  Other people should keep us buoyant. If they don’t, cut them loose.

October

As I was saying, I was so pleased with the images I got in Copenhagen and those shot with the iPhone were also great. Here are some of my favourites – you can click through to see the large images.

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But the one I like most (even more than this one) again has no recognisable features of Copenhagen, but it is my favourite.

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October

Only two months to go! What will be my overall favourite from 2014?

 

 

Posted in A Flickr Year, iPhone, photograph posts, Street Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

2014: My favourite images – September

September saw 58 photographs posted to Flickr. A perfectly even split of 28 to each account. This is probably the hardest month yet to choose a single image. I had the great fortune of getting some good night shots around Shibuya, Tokyo. Is it OK for me to say that I love some of my own images? I think it is. And this short series of three, I just love.

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And here are others which sing for me too. 

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These three are special for me also.

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But the image which gets my vote, the one which brings me in and keeps me there is this one. Taken on a rainy day in Tokyo, you can see Tokyo going about its business in the distance through the raindrops on the window.

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Of the 28 iPhone images posted to Flickr in September, the one I like most is this one, taken on a wet night in Shinjuku. This girl appeared from around the corner behind me and I had to quickly snap to get her in the frame. It is a lucky shot, not in focus, but who cares about that. This photograph hit Explore number 1, a nice little bonus.

Shinjuku

Shinjuku

 

 

Posted in A Flickr Year, iPhone, photograph posts, Street Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

2014: My favourite images – August

Writing about August on January 1st, 2015. Happy New Year! It is going to be a great year. Believe and achieve. That is my maxim for 2015. Everything will happen.

The first thing to happen is this continued review of last year’s photographs. In August, 54 photographs of mine went up on the two accounts. There was a mix of images from Cork, Dublin and Korea posted to the DSLR account. Photographs created on the iPhone followed the same pattern.

Looking back now, I see the short series of images I tend to present. There were these images taken in Korea of people with umbrellas.

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But the ones that I love from August are those in this series taken in Daegu. These images are me getting close to my vision of how beautiful photography can be. 

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And my favourite image of the month: A Daegu delight.

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August

With the iPhone, the one I love most is this taken of my brother in-law’s wife.

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August

 

Thanks again to all. Happy New Year!

Posted in A Flickr Year, iPhone, photograph posts, Street Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

2014: My favourite images – July

July was all Japan. I posted 56 photos to Flickr in 28 days. Choosing a favourite from the DSLR images is easy for a change. I’ll never forget the excitement I experienced when I first caught a glimpse of Shibuya Scramble Crossing. The black and white lines of the pedestrian crossing were vast open space as the traffic stopped for the red lights and then those lines were eaten up as hundreds of people hurriedly crossed. I watched it over and over again. Later I crossed it over and over again. I could never get enough of the place. Nothing makes me feel more alive than being in the swell of humanity surging across the Shibuya Scramble Crossing. I got so many photographs of it in the two times I have been to Tokyo, but this one is my favourite.

July

July

Finding a favourite from the iPhone images of that month is not so easy. There are so many I really like. I could have chosen any of these:

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Ununiforming the individual

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In life it is not what happens to you

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Shibuya

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Distances

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Street Portrait

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Faint heart

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This nagging knowingness

 

 

But the one I keep coming back to is one I wrote about when I posted in July. One that is part of a series of images I am working on related to the concept of distances. There is something which captivates me about this.

July

July

Here’s wishing you all a very Happy New Year! Thanks for all your support and kindness in 2015.

Kiss that future…

 

Posted in A Flickr Year, iPhone, photograph posts, Street Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

2014: My favourite images – June

In June, I posted a total of 56 photos to Flickr; perfectly divided into 28 DSLR and 28 iPhone images. So many to choose from.

 Beginning with the iPhone, I am torn between these images – to see them large click through

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The man I used to be

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Taipei

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Empowerment

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Not only trees need to cheer the fuck up

 

 

 

 

 

 

The image I find myself looking at most is Empowerment. I remember I was on my way back to my hotel in Taipei when I came upon this gentleman who was standing still as he read a notice on the closed shutters of a shop. I was struck by his pose and rigidity and the shadow he cast on the shutters. There is something about that image which quietens me and sets me daydreaming.

June

June

Of the 28 DSLR images, again it is hard to make a choice between these images – to see them large click through

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Taipei

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I sort of want you to stay

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Seoul

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What is left is only leaving

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because of the times when the last thing you say is the last thing I hear

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Nunca sea la ultima, sino la penultima

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the end, the image I am most drawn to is I sort of want you to stay. This was taken in Seoul. With camera ready I was walking around on a cold early spring evening when I walked past this entrance to a bar.  I had passed when I realised that the girl on the phone would make a nice shot. Without time to get the settings right I shot a few frames. As soon as I got the first one, she changed her pose and the scene changed. This photo has been my most popular on Flickr this past year.

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June

Posted in A Flickr Year, iPhone, photograph posts, Street Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |