Tag Archives: people

Mira Mobile Prize Competition

Mira Mobile Prize Competition. What is that about?

What are the entry requirements? This competition is for black and white street photography shot on mobile devices.

How many shots can you enter? 3

When is the deadline? September 12th.

What’s the prize? A week in the beautiful city of Porto.

I am really excited to be on the jury for this competition.

Get your entries in. It is free!

Click here to enter. 

Mira Mobile Prize

 

Posted in Brendan Ó Sé. Brendan Ó Sé photography, iPhone Also tagged , , , , , , , |

Photography and mindfulness

Mindfulness.

Edinburgh: 2010 (Nikon D40)

Seems like we are missing out if we cannot tune out. We are always on.

I know my mind is a bit like a tumble dryer – always on – always spinning. Wish I could just switch it off – vacate the premises – leave no lights on. Just go!

The pip-pop life span of worries (Nikon D7000)

There is always something churning, something burning.  I do not neglect my worries. No, I tend to them carefully. One may slip off, but I can skilfully substitute. I might wake and feel all is right with the world and right with Brendan, but then I sense it. This hollow echo slowly vacuuming.  Then it returns. This slight uneasiness; a nagging knowingness that something is just not fully right.

Dublin. 2016 (Nikon D7000)

What utter nonsense it is to feel like this. I can rationalise it, intellectualise about it, but I cannot rid myself of it. I feel – on – all the time.

But do I?

Recent conversations I have had about photography with friends has gotten me thinking. First one was with Sheldon Serkin in Bangkok. He asked me what getting in the zone when shooting street meant to me. He was to give a talk the following morning about this at the 8 x 8 Street Photography Conference. About how when you are out shooting, that you get in the zone. Whatever that is. For different people it is different things.

I stopped and thought.

I think, I said, for me, it is switching off. I lose sense of my surroundings, of noises. Things become narrowed. I become super-focussed on my immediate environment, and the only distractions I have are visual ones.

Later, with more reflection, I told him – when I am out shooting and I zone out I am on an accelerated path, excited, exhilarated to be in the moment. Scenes, looks, people, flash and vanish. It is dreamlike. I am – off.

When I step out of this moment, I said, it is weird. Slowly, and then suddenly, noises, like traffic, people talking, rush in. I might find myself in the middle of the road, or down on my knees on the pavement, or pushed up against a wall and realise I need to move, to get back into the normal rhythm of things. I feel invigorated, exhilarated; alive! It is euphoric and addictive. Does it happen all the time. Hell, no! But when it does – wow!

He told me for him, when he gets in the zone,  he feels invincible, invisible. Instinct and intuition kick in and he feels on. Conversely I feel off. Freed. But I do agree with the instinct and intuition kicking in.

Delhi, 2016 (Nikon D7000)

Now, for me, I have tried mindfulness. I have laid on a bed in a dark room. Slowed my breathing, drew it into the depths of my tummy, held it there and then exhaled. Repeated and repeated. Tried this for days after days. Did I feel less stressed? Did my worries fall off my shoulders Did they fuck? I am too restless. I lie on the bed and try to free my mind; to just concentrate on my breathing. It works for a few minutes, but then slowly thoughts crowd in and I am not in the moment anymore. They tell you to embrace this, not to chase those thoughts away, that gradually a quietness will come. But I have never got beyond that, to be honest. When this happened, I just stopped.

But when I get in the zone on the streets, it is not a voluntary act or decision. Somehow I slip into this mode and all the noise just gets shut out. Nagging thoughts do not intrude. I am not even aware of this until I slip back out of the zone.

Hong Kong, 2014 (Nikon D7000)

Move on to the next conversation, one I had with my friend, Paul Moore at the excellent MojoCon conference last week. He was talking about how he likes to stay up late at night and work on his photos. He said for him it was a form of mindfulness. Now, I had never ever imagined that editing images could be a form of mindfulness. But once he said it, I banked the idea, and have returned to it over the past week or so, and I have to say he is right. Very right. It is a form of mindfulness. One that suits me. One that does bring me a calm. OK, lots of times it can be frustrating when you learn that your photo is crap. But while editing, I am immersed in the process – with each Lightroom slide, I am willing the photos to life, willing them to be right. And for those moments, I am back in zone, back out on the street and the emotion, the excitement, the connection and all-consuming immediacy of that moment is there with me again, but now it is calming, rather than exhilarating.

Berlin, 2015 (Nikon D7000)

The older I get, the more I realise how dumb I am. How unaware of it is what I do, the things that can make me happy, the things that just add to my stress.

Simple things like surrounding myself with positive people. Those who love grey skies, let the clouds hide them from my life. Be kind. Be kind to myself. From that it is much easier to be kind to others.

Can photography be a form of mindfulness? Do we make the mistake in thinking that mindfulness is only with your eyes closed, your breathing slowed and all the while crippling yourself in a lotus pose? I think I have.

Cork, 2014 (Nikon D 7000)

So often in my photography I fear I will never get another good shot. I find it hard to motivate myself and I can become so self-critical. I feel I won’t rediscover that exhilarating feeling of being in the moment; in the zone. It’s like many things in life, you cannot force it. I cannot explain how it happens, how it comes. But it does come. Not often enough though. When it does, I just seem to slip into it. Feeling the freeing rush of the noise being blocked out in my head, I am in the moment. I don’t need to be in a darkened room. I don’t need to become conscious of my breathing and battle intruding thoughts. It is an intense awareness of what is happening around me and the opportunity to capture it in frames. It is my mindfulness.

Dublin, 2014 (D7000)

Posted in Brendan Ó Sé. Brendan Ó Sé photography, Inspiration, Street Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , |

Delhi

Objective for January is to create a gallery of photographs on my website for India. I have been so lazy in getting this done (apologies to those who have been asking me to put one up).

It seems so long ago that we were in India. When I see the photographs and see the light and sunshine in so many images, it looks so distant to me, viewing them now in winter.

These two photographs were both shot in Delhi within the first hour of being there. I don’t think I had ever travelled somewhere with so many imagined images of what I might see. But as soon as we stepped out of the air-conditioned airport into the heat of the Delhi night, I knew one thing was not exaggerated: How hot India is. I felt the legs of my trousers cling to me as I began to sweat. Pulling my suitcase along we crossed this little road. I stopped in the centre and with one hand on my suitcase and the other on the iPhone; I snapped.

Delhi Airport (iPhone 6s)

Into the Delhi night in our air-conditioned car we went with our driver Manpreet. I sat in the back of the car. My friend sat in the front. This was to become the norm as the trip went on. About twenty minutes on we were stopped in traffic and this rickshaw pulled up behind us.

Delhi, June, 2016 (Nikon D7000)

Posted in Brendan Ó Sé. Brendan Ó Sé photography, Daily posts to Flickr, iPhone, iPhone 6s, iPhone photography, Street Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

My favourite non-iPhone Photos of 2016

Moving on from yesterday’s favourite 2016 iPhone photographs, now is time to review and select my favourite Fuji x100t and Nikon D7000 photographs from the past 12 months. Usually, to do this I just go back over the photos I have posted to Flickr in the previous 12 months, but this year I really did not post a lot to Flickr, and the reality is that most of my best photographs are buried deep in my iMac.

So, to do this I actually need to go back through the images, select and edit them. All will be from the period of March to September. Reality is those two cameras lived in a dark drawer for most of the year. What is they say about the best camera you have?

This won’t be categorised chronologically either; just 12 of my faves – today – December, 31st, 2016! Reality is tomorrow I would choose a different twelve.

A mother’s love (Varanasi, July 2016)

Our guide in Varanasi brought us to a shop to convert our 500 Rupee notes into 20 Rupee notes to give to the people we photographed. He said we needed to do this. I had not intended to shoot posed portraits. I don’t shoot like this, but with a wad of 20 Rupee notes I felt obliged. India has characters who turn your head and stop you in your tracks. The likes of people you have only seen in documentaries or magazines like National Geographic, and being a naiive photographer you want to satisfy your dreams of getting a Steve McCurry like image.

I parted with many 20 rupee notes and got some posed photographs. Unsatisfied with most – experienced as an artificial exchange. Then this guy approached me on a crowded and chaotic street and with gesture indicated he wanted me to photograph him. In the time it took to understand him we were locked in eye contact. When I hoisted the camera he shot his eyes to heaven and for the three or four frames I shot he did not look into the lens. You know, I don’t remember if he asked for money or if I offered it. 

A mother’s love

Bangkok: The slow rhythm of patience (April, 2016)

Had a discussion with a friend of mine about photography and how we use it to interpret what we experience. I told him that very often when I arrive in a city it overwhelms me and to begin with everywhere I point my camera seems to be the wrong place. I said it takes time to slip into the rhythm of a city, to feel its pulse beat in time with mine and then it just becomes instinctive. 

Bangkok was like that. An assault on the senses. The smell of petrol fumes fused with lemongrass. The hum of the constant traffic. The neon and fresh fruit stalls. The swell and sway of people always on the move. The welcoming smile and the 100-mile gaze. The searing heat. At every turn there was something which got my attention; something which I had to capture in a frame.  I had not visited the red light district on my last visit to Bangkok, but this time we were brought on a little tour by a Japanese friend. Impossible to compute it all. The luxury of photography allows time to reflect. Let the camera see.

Bangkok: The slow rhythm of patience

Jakarta (April, 2016)

Arrived in Jakarta from Bangkok in the evening and it felt darker. There was no neon. I remember finding this place and being struck by the colours of the woman passing. I huddled down between two cars and defocussed and began to shoot. I like the image as it seems, to me, to capture the colour, the light and the movement of that evening.

Jakarta

Blur will save the world (Tokyo, April, 2016)

Shooting on the street is frustrating. I recall listening to a podcast with Rinzi Ruiz (a fine photographer) and he said that if you see it, you have missed it. And you know it is true. That decisive moment is elusive, and so much relies on luck. Shooting in Tokyo is electrifying. I love it. The way I work is that I will shoot for a while with the iPhone, then the Fuji, but I usually leave the Nikon for those sweet moments when I push things out of focus and transform what I see into something more beautiful, something less real, something that soothes and arouses, something that is only mine. You do know that blur will save the world?

Tokyo: Blur will save the world

Jakarta (April, 2016)

In Jakarta we visited the animal market. We came across this scene below. The little boy was learning how to train pigeons. I imagine he is the same age as my little boy. The guys training him were patient, encouraging and kind. The pigeons were obliging. Myself and Elfie (seen here behind the little boy) stayed here for about 20 minutes, shooting the scene. Enthralled by the spectacle.

Jakarta (April, 2016)

Varanasi (July, 2016)

Photography is about memories. It is where yesterdays go, as my little girl told me from the back of the car when she was about three years old. Much of my photography is me trying to learn, to internalise and understand what I am experiencing. Then there are the real moments. The purposeful shots we create of loved ones; the photos we would run back into a burning house to retrieve.

Day was breaking and we were on a small boat on the River Ganges to see the sun rise. The sun rose but the clouds did not part. We finished a conversation about toast and took photos. We laughed a lot.

Varanasi (July, 2016)

On Duty (Delhi, June, 2016)

This was shot through the back window of our car moments after arriving in Delhi. The Indian adventure was ahead of us.

On Duty (Delhi, June, 2016)

Hello! (Delhi, June 2016)

I just love this guy. I was sitting in the back of the car as we made our way through the Delhi traffic. Camera in hand should a shot appear. We were stopped in traffic on this roundabout when this guy on a motorbike pulls up next to us. Instinctively I raise the camera and click, and then smile. Then the guy astonishes me as he takes off his helmet and his glasses and shoots me this beautiful big beaming smile. You got to love India!

Hello! (Delhi, June 2016)

Hello! (Delhi, June 2016)

Leh, India. (July, 2016)

Every picture tells a story, but photographs can lie. And this one does. Looking at it, it is conceivable that you believe it to be a Buddhist monk sitting high up on the roof of his monastery meditating as he contemplates the beauty of the Himalayas. But, the reality probably was that this was the best place in the monastery to get online. As we approached him we saw him shuffling as he tried to conceal his phone under his robes.

Leh, India. (July, 2016)

Leh, India. (July, 2016)

Shibuya Scramble Crossing (April, 2016)

The first time I saw the Shibuya Scramble Crossing in 2012 I stopped and I just stared. Two thousand people crossing when the red man is replaced by the green man. I have been back to Tokyo many times since and this never gets stale for me. I can look at it for hours. It is something else.

Shibuya Scramble Crossing (April, 2016)

Things to do in Tokyo at night (April, 2016)

Most of the time I am in Tokyo it is only at night that I get out to shoot. This one was taken on a photo walk with the Laurence Bouchard.  It rains a lot in Tokyo. But it makes it all the more intriguing. I like the high contrasts, and little mystery in this shot.

Things to do in Tokyo at night (April, 2016)

Vienna (June, 2016)

Really should include a photograph from Vienna. Here it is.

Vienna (June, 2016)

I have rushed this and really should have spent more time in preparing this review, but there you have it.

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 non-iPhone photographs

2017 – believe – achieve – kiss the future…

Posted in A Flickr Year, My own favourite photographs, photograph posts Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

A mother’s love

We all want to be seen and still we all want to conceal, distort and control what we reveal. It happens on occasion that people will come up to me and want me to photograph them. It is not something I like. I prefer to see something that attracts me in a person and try to capture that in a candid, unguarded way. It works better for me. I understand more from this.

But this character in Varanasi, India intrigued me. He approached me on a crowded and chaotic street and with gesture indicated he wanted me to photograph him. In the time it took to understand him we were locked in eye contact. When I hoisted the camera he shot his eyes to heaven and for the three or four frames I shot he did not look into the lens.

A mother's love [2]

A mother’s love [1]

A mother's love

A mother’s love [2]

A mother's love [3]

A mother’s love [3]

(I have been asked about the title. I find titles can detract much from images and rarely add to them. Addition is dilution and all that, but in this case the title came to me and I ran with it. Apologies if it deflects)

Posted in Brendan Ó Sé. Brendan Ó Sé photography, Street Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Shibuya, Shibuya

I read once, that those you see in your dreams are those you have seen in real life. Those passersby whose faces may never have registered with you, but somehow make their way in and resurface in dreams. Makes some sense, doesn’t it? The shutter of the eye snapping relentlessly and searing them to memory and they seeping into dreams.

Tokyo

Tokyo

How many people have I passed in my life, I wonder? How many faces? Millions perhaps. Sufficient stock for endless dreams, no doubt.

Shibuya

Shibuya

Tokyo is a bit like that with the Shibuya Scramble Crossing. In any given time up to two thousand people cross. Two thousand faces. There is about a four to five minute interval between the red man and the green man at the crossing. With the green man, there are two minutes for those two thousand people to hurry across. The waiting crowd swells and surges as soon as the green man signals. It is an electrifying feeling to be amongst it.

Shibuya

Shibuya

It is endlessly engaging in Shibuya.

Shibuya

Shibuya

Shibuya

Shibuya

Shibuya

Shibuya

So many faces.

Shibuya

Shibuya

Shibuya

Shibuya

Shibuya

Shibuya

Shibuya

Shibuya

Shibuya

Shibuya

Shibuya

Shibuya

Shibuya

Shibuya

Posted in photograph posts, Street Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Workflow

How to work out a workflow for thousands images?

Yes, that is right, I have thousands and thousands of images all shot over the past 5 months in Singapore, Bangkok, Jakarta, Toyko, Cork, Dublin, Vienna, Bratislava, Hong Kong, Delhi, Leh, Varanasi, Mumbai, Seoul, Daegu, Geochang, Shanghai and Jeju island.

Thousands of images shot on four different cameras: mainly iPhone, then Fuji X100t, Nikon D7000, and then some on a Sony Xperia Z5.

Where to begin?

Tokyo

I have series in mind, sure. Have begun on some of them already. But the main problem I have is storage. I back everything up numerous times: Google Photos, Flickr, MacBook, external harddrives. But the main devices I use are my iMac and iPhone for storage and, more importantly, editing. And I am constantly getting notifications of Storage Almost Full.

What to do? It took the best part of three days to get all the images (and videos) off the devices and on to the iMac. Before doing this, I had to delete over 100 gigs of photos just to free up space. And I am still nearing capacity on a 1.2tb on the iMac.

The way I like to organise things is like this: I import all photos onto iPhoto. I like the way it creates events and I can give them titles. It is easy to find images from certain locations then.

Then I go through the selection process of choosing (non iPhone – all of those are done on the iPhone) images to edit. The ones I like, I drag over to Lightroom and do the editing there. From that there is another selection process for images to post to my various social media platforms.

This is the way I have worked for years, and there probably are better ways to organise it all, but people do what they are used to doing.

One of my favourite quotes is this:

“Reduce Everything You Want to Do to an Action You Can Do Right Now.” Jason Randal

And for me it is this blog post. This articulation of what I am feeling. It clears a little space – just like deleting gigs on the computer – and allows me to take the next little step.

My father gave me the best advice in life: Don’t be afraid to ask for advice. Very often I feel I should have the answers myself; that I should be able to cope, and that perhaps asking for help or advice is an admission of failing. It is not.

My wife gives me the good advice.

I asked her. I said: I do not know where to start. I have too many images.

She said: What is your favourite place that you have been in the past five moths?

I said: Tokyo.

She said: Start there.

I am starting.

Imitation

Imitation

 

Posted in Brendan Ó Sé. Brendan Ó Sé photography, Daily posts to Flickr, iPhone 6s, iPhone photography, My own favourite photographs, Street Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Jakarta

We arrived at the Jakarta docks early on a Friday morning. The sun was not breaking through the clouds but the air was hot and humid. A guide was waiting for us to show us around. I don’t like being guided, especially when I am shooting. I need to react to what I am experiencing without distractions. I asked Eflie if the guide was going to be talking all the time on the tour. He said he would. Could he stop, I asked. Elfie obliged and the guide and I shared a nod and a smile and I went about photographing.

Jakarta - iPhone6s

Jakarta – iPhone6s

Jakarta: iPhone 6s

Jakarta: iPhone 6s

Jakarta: iPhone 6s

Jakarta: iPhone 6s

Jakarta: iPhone 6s

Jakarta: iPhone 6s

Jakarta: iPhone 6s

Jakarta: iPhone 6s

Jakarta: iPhone 6s

Jakarta: iPhone 6s

Jakarta: iPhone 6s

Jakarta: iPhone 6s

Jakarta: iPhone 6s

Jakarta: Fuji X100T

Jakarta: iPhone 6s

Jakarta: iPhone 6s

Jakarta: iPhone 6s

Jakarta: iPhone 6s

Jakarta: iPhone 6s

Jakarta: iPhone 6s

Posted in iPhone, photograph posts, Street Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Little India, Singapore

I really loved this experience of visiting Sri Veeramakaliamman Hindu Temple in Singapore with my friend Elfie (Monogram Asia). This was something new for me and I was fascinated by the rituals taking place and the music playing in the temple. The people were welcoming and it was a great opportunity to observe and learn. 

I have put together this little photo essay of images shot on iPhone 6s below. The final black and white image was shot with the Nikon.

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Shoes at the entrance to the temple

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Bells on the entrance door to the temple

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Sri Veeramakaliamman Hindu Temple

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Sri Veeramakaliamman Hindu Temple

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Sri Veeramakaliamman Hindu Temple

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Sri Veeramakaliamman Hindu Temple

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Sri Veeramakaliamman Hindu Temple

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Sri Veeramakaliamman Hindu Temple

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Sri Veeramakaliamman Hindu Temple (Nikon D7000)

Posted in iPhone, photograph posts, Street Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Can I take your photo?

“Can I take your photo?”

It’s not something I find easy to ask. Take this situation I found myself in last Tuesday morning while waiting for a bus in Cork’s city centre. It was about 10 a.m. Town was quiet. There were a few people heading to work, some early-morning shoppers, delivery people doing their jobs, and then this striking character sitting on an electric fuse box outside a shoe shop. Wow!

Cork: August 2015

Cork: August 2015

Looking at it now, I am annoyed with myself. How did I miss the reflection? Usually, I am more aware than this. Another great opportunity lost. Anyway, this striking looking man was sitting; killing time. I was struggling. Should I ask him straight to take his portrait or be discreet and get a candid image? Hesitating, I furtively shot a few frames of him. I pretended to be looking in the shop window. I got a little braver and got another one or two of him, but all the while I just wanted to turn and tell the man that I found him fascinating and wanted to create a portrait of him. Street photography is difficult and, for me, even more difficult in my hometown. Put me outside Cork and I am much braver. Ya, I will rarely stop and ask someone for their portrait, but I will get down on my knees in front of them and shoot a frame or two. Nothing bad ever happens. But in Cork… I don’t know.

Cork: August 2015

Cork: August 2015

Cork: August 2015

Cork: August 2015

It was this shot, with him looking at his gold watch which got me. There he was, this man with a beard, grown over years, clothes aged and worn to their last and a gold watch that would not lie to him. I had the shot I wanted, but still I felt a need to connect with him; to thank him maybe, but in the short time I was there with him, we never once made eye contact; I never felt him aware of me. And then my bus came and the moment was gone.

On the bus, I began to kill time with my favourite pastime – processing images. I began to work on the shot above using Darkroom. I am growing more and more fond of that app. I have the alpha version of the yet-to-be-released version and it is great. What I love about it is that you do not need to import anything; when you open it all your photographs are there. The alpha version has some beautiful preset filters. If you have not tried it -rush to the app store. Your photos will love you for it. I ran the shot through it and this is conversion.

Cork: August 2015 (Processed with Darkroom)

Cork: August 2015 (Processed with Darkroom)

I cropped it to square to get rid of the distracting surrounds, did a little work on the contrasts, a little on curves (ya, it has curves) and this is the result. But I was not happy with the left side of the image – thinking it detracted from the main focus of the man. iPhone photography is great. Solutions are easily found. Snapseed has a great tool – brushes. I knew that I could isolate my character with the exposure brush – that and the vignette tool. Working on it on a moving bus is not the best idea, though. I worked a little on it, but finished it when I arrived at my mother’s house. While it is OK, I still want to do more on it. Things are never perfect.

Cork: August 2015 (Processed with Snapseed and Darkroom)

Cork: August 2015 (Processed with Snapseed and Darkroom)

I will revisit this image. The crop needs to be readjusted. There is too much negative space at the bottom of the image and the execution around the edges should be finessed more. A little project to work on. I rarely spend a long time on post processing. Usually my edits are rapid. Two to five minutes max. But this one, I will persevere with. Let me know what you think in the comments below.

I really would have loved to have asked him if I could take his portrait. I would love to find him again. Learn a little about him. Thank him.

 

 

 

Posted in iPhone, photograph posts, Street Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |