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What can the new Huawei Mate 20 Pro do for your photography?

When Leica Cameras put their name to Huawei’s smartphones you know you that the years of tradition, heritage and prestige that are synonymous with their brand is going to result in something special in terms of photography. The new Huawei Mate 20 Pro has a powerful camera on board, packing three rear lenses and an excellent front-facing one for all those selfies you want to get. I was lucky to have been invited by Huawei to London for the recent launch of their latest phone and when speaking to the Leica engineers about their involvement in the camera it was exciting to see how seriously a market-leader like Leica are taking mobile photography and how much they are pushing boundaries in this field. Earlier this year the Huawei Pro 20 got everyone talking about what the camera could do. The Mate 20 Pro builds on that and with its many new features and improvements takes what you can do with a smartphone camera even further.

Shandon, Cork

What is like to shoot with?

While making the most of the screen real estate, the Mate 20 Pro, is still comparatively small and fits quite nicely in the hand. The edge-to-edge screen does have its drawbacks in relation to using the phone as a camera. For me it is important to have a firm hold of the phone when shooting and to my frustration I found that because the screen display goes from edge to edge, I was inadvertently switching between settings and also the tap-to-focus feature was being activated in places I did not want it to be. As a result, I feel you would have to have some sort of a case (not a wallet-type one) to prevent this. I liked being able to separate the exposure and focus particularly when trying to control light situations.

Colours

I like the straight-out-of-camera results shown in the photographs here in this review. The colours are bright and vivid and level of detail you can achieve is impressive. The ability to separate your focus point and exposure is cool. Touch and hold and you can drag them apart. An exposure slider (sun icon) also appears and sliding up and down adjusts the brightness of your shot. I would like if you could lock in these for subsequent shots. I found it a pain to have to reset for the next shots in a series.

What are the stand-out features?

The Mate 20 Pro is feature rich. It can identify up to 1500 different scenarios and scenes. The night mode is impressive, but it does need a steady hand or better still a tripod. With a f1.8 main camera lens it can shoot very well in low light conditions. This shot of Rearden’s pub in Cork shows how the night mode works. The shutter is open for a full 4 seconds allowing as much light in as possible. This works great if you do not have moving objects in your frame like the shot of Cork’s St. Finbarre’s Cathedral below, but as you can see with the bus in the shot of Rearden’s pub you are not going to get it tack sharp, but still this does allow you get some nice motion blur shots. 

Rearden’s Bar, Cork

Saint Finbarre’s Cathedral, Cork

Using the standard camera in normal mode gets great results in low light and if there is any movement in your frame, you will avoid the blurring of the subjects. I love the neon colours here in this shot of a lane in Cork city.

Cork

Having three lenses at your disposal is very cool. With the Huawei Mate 20 Pro you have a 40MP f/1.8 main camera lens, an 8mp telephoto f/2.4 which lets you shoot at a 3X optical zoom (with image stabilisation) and there is then, my favourite on this phone – the ultra-wide angle lens. This has a 16mm focal length and it is impressive in how much of a scene it can capture.

Ultra-wide

One thing I would like to be able to do is shoot on the highest resolution of 40mp without having to change it in settings. If you want to switch between the other lenses on the device you can only shoot at 10mp, otherwise at 4omp you are working with the main lens only and need to get into settings to switch back to having access to the other two lenses.

I loved the burst mode in and was truly blown away by how sharp each individual image was. I am a big fan of burst mode and have used it regularly in my street photography as I try to capture that fleeting moment. In review of the images I was delighted to see that I had not missed anything and that each shot was in focus.

burst

For portraits, it does a good job and will give you that blurred-out-bokeh look that so many photographers crave. I would like if it could be used for other things besides people. For now, it will only work when it detects a face.

Portrait

If you want to take full control of the settings of the camera, the Pro Mode is where you can really maximise the potential of the camera and its various lenses. For me, I feel too much is made of shooting fully manually. I like to set and forget. Technology nowadays has come on so much in recent years, that I find the camera can make the correct calculations most of the time. But if you are old school and want to be master of the machine, Pro Mode will not disappoint.

Unsurprisingly the video capabilities are top class on the Mate 20 Pro. Again it is packed with features. I loved the ability to blur out your background and the All Colour feature will detect a skeleton (yes, that is right – the skeletal structure of a human is detected) keep that in colour and convert everything else to black and white. This has the wow factor!

One of the things I do not like is the beautify feature. As a father of young kids I feel there is enough pressure on them without making them think they need to apply a feature like this to make themselves look presentable in photos. In saying that, at beautify 10 I am looking good! Another feature they are introducing is a calorie counter. Yes, a calorie counter. Point your camera at a food item and it will recognise it and tell you how many calories it has.

All in all, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro is a great phone. I am sure on other reviews of the device you have learnt of its reverse charging, its high speed charging and its long-life battery. All of these are very important factors for those who like to use their phones as their cameras. Photography continues to be in an exciting place in technology and with the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, Leica and Huawei are pushing boundaries.

More colours

Cork

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June 9 Kilkenny V Wexford

 

Kilkenny versus Wexford

Everything about Kilkenny tells you you are in a hurling town. Shop windows are given over to full displays of Kilkenny hurling paraphernalia. The famous black and amber jersey of the cats is seen everywhere. There are even houses painted in the team’s colours. There is an air of excitement before the big championship clash with neighbours Wexford; a confidence that only Kilkenny fans can have. Sure, their team is not the great team of 2006 to 2015, but this is Kilkenny. They know how to win hurling matches. Again they won. Again they won when the odds seemed stacked against them. Wexford were at one stage nine points to the good. Kilkenny looked like they were going to suffer consecutive championship losses to their great rivals. Aided by the home support in Nowlan Park they rallied and hit Wexford for 15 points in the second half to win by a single point. Wexford had led going in at half-time by 6 but the toll of 4 games in 21 days took its toll as they tired in the second half. Davy Fitz pointed to this and claimed his Wexford team did not deserve to lose. Maybe so, but you cannot discredit Kilkenny. They know how to navigate tight games. They know they have it in them to stay the course of the battle and more often than not they come out on top.

Kilkenny move on to meet Galway in Croke Park in the Leinster decider on July 1st. Wexford will meet the runners up in the Joe McDonagh cup a week later.

Wexford were the last team for me to see in this championship. I met  two Wexford fans, Nickey Cash and Mick Roche, two men married to two sisters, sitting in a playground having a bit of a picnic before they headed into the game. The two have been going to games together for years. Usually they are part of a larger group but the rest of family were at a wedding, but they couldn’t miss the clash with Kilkenny. Nickey told me a great story. In 1957, just a 1 year-old little baby, his parents brought him to Croke Park to see Wexford take on Tipperary. “Who won?” I asked. Tipp did. But my parents, God rest them, told me not all Tipp fans were happy. No, there was one man who left Croke Park covered in my vomit. Apparently, I threw up all over him. 

Nickey Cash and Mick Roche,

Being on the road with this project means that I am getting to see some familiar faces. I first bumped into Patsy Murtagh on the pitch at Parnell Park when Kilkenny stole it at the death from Dublin back in May. Patsy was beaming that day. It was lovely to show him the photo I got of him on that occasion and to get chatting with him. Kilkenny people are passionate about hurling and I always find them to be very fair and I don’t think I’ve ever come across one who, despite all their success, gloats. Patsy had ‘Henry is still King’ on the back of his Kilkenny jersey. “I’ve been going to matches since the 50s, he said. I have seen them all – Ring, Doyle, Kehir, DJ, Sheflin. Who was the best? I asked. You cannot compare eras, he said. It’s impossible to imagine the players from years back playing now with all the advances and advantages thru have. And you cannot imagine the players of today playing in the conditions of the past. I loved Patsy’s honesty and enthusiasm for a game he has been following his whole life.

Patsy Murtagh

A little up the road from Patsy I came across a Kilkenny fan who was just setting out on his journey following the cats. Patrick Jr. Noonan with his father Patrick Snr. “He sleeps with his hurl, Patrick told me. “Dreaming of playing for the black and amber, I said.

Patrick Jr and dad, Patrick Snr Noonan

What’s following your county about lads? What does Wexford mean to? Going to the games together; what is special about it for ye? Mark Wallace, Kevin Doyle and Darren Murphy were the strong silent types; none offering an answer. Eventually Kevin said: it’s an excuse for pints. And all that goes with that, I suppose, I said. Ya, ya, all that, Kevin said.

Mark Wallace, Kevin Doyle and Darren Murphy

Tony Tierney was standing opposite me on the Main Street in Kilkenny, proudly sporting his Kilkenny jersey. When I approached him and told him about my project he started to list off the years Kilkenny has won All-Irelands under Cody. He told me he had not missed a Kilkenny final since 1963. We lost a lot too, he said. Not enough to Cork, though, I said. Tony winked and. smiled at me. What’s hurling? I asked him. A game of men in action, he said.

Tony Tiernan

The first game we went to was the 1996 All-Ireland final (Wexford beat Limerick), that was not a bad one to start with. Who brought ye? I asked. Our father did. 

Brothers Cathal and Denis Whelan

Jimmy played inter-county hurling for Wexford from 1978 to 1992, his wife Kathleen told me. When he was playing; did you ever worry about him getting injured? I asked. No, Jimmy was tough, she said. Hurling is what we do. It’s our way of life.” Jimmy added.

Jimmy Holohan with his daughter Liza and wife Kathleen.

In 1982, I went to my third All-Ireland final to watch strong favourites Cork take on an unfancied Kilkenny side. I remember the game turning in the space of about two minutes when Kilkenny’s full forward Christy Heffernan scored two might goals for Kilkenny. I was heartbroken that day. Walking a long the main street in Kilkenny I saw this tall, slim, red-headed young fella come towards me with his friend. Eoin Heffernan. Yes, a nephew of former Kilkenny great – Christy – and his friend Michael Boyle. Two great guys. I could have stayed chatting hurling with them for hours. Who do you like to beat most? I asked. Tipp! They both said.

Eoin Heffernan and Michael Boyle

We’ve made a deal to follow Fermanagh in football for Emma. But you said she’s a Wicklow woman, I said. Ya, but my father’s from Fermanagh. So, I follow them in football. 

Aido Tobin and his girlfriend Emma Fitzpatrick from Wicklow and their friend Rob Carty.

At half-time in the game Sky Sports laid on the entertainment when the three guys from A League of Their Own, Freddie Flintoff, Jamie Rednapp and Rob Beckett took penalties on Wexford’s Damien Fitzhenry. The three guys were trained by DJ Carey, but to be honest DJ could have done a better job.

DJ Carey signing autographs

It was past 11 before I got home on Saturday night. I was up early the following morning to head to Limerick for their clash with Waterford. Read about that in my next blog post.

 

Also posted in Brendan Ó Sé. Brendan Ó Sé photography, GAA, To the heart of hurling Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Busan in colour

Hitting Haeundae Beach, Busan with the iPhone to shoot some frames. What could be better?

Here goes the first of two posts from Busan shot on iPhone. The first in colour, the second all black and white shooting using the Provoke camera app.

Busan (Shot on iPhone)

Korea’s second city – a city of almost 4 million people –  is located in the south east of the country. It’s a city I love. Every time I go there I try to stay in the Haeundae area. Why? Because I love the sea and Haeundae is probably Korea’s most famous beach. I am sure you’ve seen shots of it in summer crowded with Koreans. No? Check this so. I had wanted to see this for myself. Did it actually get that crowded? To be honest, when I was there it wasn’t that crowded. Sure there were lots of people, but it wasn’t so bad.

Busan (Shot on iPhone)

Busan (Shot on iPhone)

I got there at the start of August. I had booked an Air BnB for an overnight stay that promised the beach was only a few minutes from the beach and it was. August in Korea is hot, and I love it. Coming from a country where the sun is an unpredictable visitor I just love being in places where sunshine and heat are almost always guaranteed. Of course, one of the main reasons I love the sun is because of the light it brings. And what is photography if it is not about the light.

Busan (Shot on iPhone)

Busan (Shot on iPhone)

I was saying in my Daegu post about older people in Korea. I love them! They’ve got attitude. On the far end of the beach there is this walkway you can take which will bring you out along the coast. I take this walk every time I am in Busan, but this was the first time I was here in summer, only having been here before in early spring when it is not usual for people to be swimming in the sea. Just as I was heading out on the walk I got sight of these elderly gentlemen bathing in these little pools that formed among the rocks. There was this one guy siting with his arms outstretched as the waves splashed in and around him. I stood there for a while just taking it in. How cool I thought. To the left of him were three other guys sitting in a little pool, all chilling in the sea on this hot August summer’s day. I had intended to head out on coastal walk but this was too good a photo opportunity to pass up. Taking great care in my flip-flops I descended the rocks to get closer to them to get some photographs. They were curious at first as to what it was I found interesting, but then they just ignored me and let me shoot a few frames. I spent a good 15 minutes there shooting in colour and also using the Provoke app to get some black and white images.

Busan (Shot on iPhone)

Busan (Shot on iPhone)

Busan (Shot on iPhone)

Busan (Shot on iPhone)

How often do you see a cutout cop perched on top of a public toilet and changing area? Not very often. This was just too cool to pass by. I spent quite a bit of time there trying to get the shot I imagined in my head when I first saw it, and like so many times the mental picture is much more vivid that what you can capture.

Busan (Shot on iPhone)

Part of my ongoing series of images – Photographic Punctuation Photo Booth – I have been stoping and engaging with people on the street and taking/making their portrait. Haeundae was a brilliant location for this and I had a lot of fun with the people I met. One of the funny things was to see the shift in things people immediately associate with Ireland when they learn I am Irish. Usually it is Guinness, U2, Roy Keane, maybe an Irish writer, and the odd person who might mention the IRA. I was a little taken aback when one guy started excitedly exclaiming Conor McGregor. I am not sure what to make of that guy, to be honest.

Busan (Shot on iPhone)

Busan (Shot on iPhone)

Busan (Shot on iPhone)

8 guys gathering for a late-evening picnic.

Busan (Shot on iPhone)

Not usually a sunset photographer – but could not resist this.

Busan (Shot on iPhone)

Busan in black and white coming up. Stay tuned…

Also posted in iPhone, iPhone photography, photograph posts, Street Photography, Summer 2017, Travel Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Sony Xperia Z5

Is monogamy a good thing in mobile photography? I have never used anything but an iPhone for mobile photography, and thus far it has been a great relationship. But when Sony sent me their latest Xperia Z5 phone I was excited to see how mobile photography was on Android and to see the results.

Sony Xperia

Sony Xperia Z5

I have had the phone for the past three weeks and once I got over the teething period of dealing with an new OS and getting comfortable with the phone, I can say I have come to enjoy the experience. The images I am posting with this review are straight out of the camera to give you an indication of how it performs before any editing is done.

Trees in the Dublin Sky

Trees in the Dublin Sky

Straight off the thing you notice is how different the phone feels in the hand. The Z5 has sharp edges. I like to shoot in landscape mode and I usually nest the phone between my index and baby finger, allowing easy access to the shutter with my thumb. This is still possible with the Sony Xperia. It has a button on the bottom right-hand side which allows you snap. I guess it is placed here as most people tend to use their two hands when shooting. I struggled a little with this. I guess being used to shooting on the street, and wanting to be discreet, I prefer shooting with one hand. To make this easier, I would like to see the button placed on left-hand side which would allow for easier one-handed shooting if you are holding the phone vertically.

Like the iPhone a swipe up on the camera icon from the lock screen allows quick access to the camera. I made the mistake of not checking the settings and discovered many images in that I was not shooting at the optimum settings. Clicking on the settings icon on the bottom left when in camera will open them up. The Xperia Z5 has a 23mb camera, but it somehow defaults to 8mb unless you change it. For the record, all the images in this post are 8mb and 16:9. I found these shots to do the job effectively and I did like the wide angle perspective. As is well known, more pixels does not equal better image quality; evident in some smart phone cameras having dropped their pixel count in their latest releases.

Mary's (A Dublin pub)

Mary’s (A Dublin pub)

While you are in settings, you will notice many other options: ISO, HDR, Focus Mode, and Metering. In fact, the Xperia gives you a lot of control over the camera settings. For my liking, too much. Like most things in life, too many choices can complicate things. If you look at the top of the screen, you will find the small icons, which you can swipe through, for manual mode (M) superior auto, video and camera apps. When on manual mode, you can find to the left of the shutter that you can control white balance; to the right you have a scene selection option (Soft skin, Landscape, High ISO, Fireworks, Anti-motion blur, etc.,). For the purpose of this review, I left the camera on superior auto (superior to what exactly?), as seen in the image below.

In camera

In camera

Low-light Conditions

The Xperia performs well in low-light conditions, and with an user taking manual control over the camera settings you can really push performance even further. The shot here, taken on the Killarney ship in Dublin, gives an indication of how the camera deals with ambient light at night. I find too often people overlook the fact that nowadays the built-in technology in cameras can really function excellently on automatic mode and this is true of the Xperia. While many photo hobbyists might like to use manual mode on the phone, I imagine most users are happy to let the camera do the work.

A view of the RIver Liffey, Dublin at night

A view of the River Liffey, Dublin at night

Focusing

This is one are I feel where Sony could target improvements. What do we use a camera for but to capture moments. Moments that can pass so quickly. For me, these moments are on the street or at home with my kids. I found the Z5 to lag a little in response on the street, from the swipe up to open the camera in lock mode to locking that focus and getting that shot. Now while the shot below does not bother me (blur being such a part of my own photography), I can imagine some people being disappointed to see a family moment being lost, or the capture not being sharply in focus.

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A little blurred street shot

However, when you have the camera open, I found the phase detection Sony boasts about (predicting where to focus) does get some good results.

Candid street shot

Candid street shot

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Dublin Busker

I like shooting in harsh light. Interesting results with the Xperia here.

DSC_0031

Candid street shot

Landscapes

Like many smartphone cameras, the Sony Xperia Z5 comes into its own in on a bright sunny day. Last week, I headed to the Old Head of Kinsale with a friend of mine who was visiting for a few days. Again, I kept the settings to superior auto and the images below are straight out of the camera. I like the range of colours and the amount of sharp detail in the images. However, at times the colours do appear over-saturated somewhat. If I were to do some editing I would like to reduce the overly-sharp feel to the images. That and work on the highlights and shadows of the clouds.

Old Head of Kinsale, Cork, Ireland

Old Head of Kinsale, Cork, Ireland

DSC_0194

Old Head of Kinsale, Cork, Ireland

DSC_0244

Old Head of Kinsale, Cork, Ireland

Old Head of Kinsale, Cork, Ireland

Old Head of Kinsale, Cork, Ireland

Colours

If you like bold, bright colours the Xperia won’t let you down.

DSC_0258

Kinsale

DSC_0115

Dublin side street

Selfies

One of the first things you notice about the Xperia is the design of the back of the phone. It is a mirror. And why? Well, it must be for selfies. Camera manufacturers have been unprepared for the phenomenon of the selfie and you see a lot of investment into satisfying this demand. Not being someone who takes a lot of selfies, and definitely not being someone to share a lot of them, I can report that it does a good job. How do I know this? Because my little 8-year old girl loves selfies and with ease found how to shoot them with the Xperia and her results were beautiful. I might be biased, though. The Xperia has a 5mp front camera.

A selfie of sorts

A selfie of sorts

Battery life

I am not using the Xperia Z5 as a phone and as such when I am out shooting with it the battery is only being drained by camera use. In saying that, the battery has performed well and all reports indicate that you can go longer without charges than other camera phones.

Overview

All in all, it is a good camera. The colours are striking, if not a little too vivid at times, but nothing that a little post-processing could correct. For me, as a street camera – which camera phones are best for – it is a little cumbersome in the hand. I don’t like the sharp edges and nesting the camera in one hand does not make it easy to shoot with.

Moving forward with the camera I intend to push things on a little and push the boundaries of mobile photography monogamy. I will step from fully automatic mode on the Xperia to take a little control over the settings. Also, I will do a little work with Snapseed on images. It is interesting to work with Snapseed on Android, particularly as it is a Google product, to discover that the IOS version is better.

More on that to come in future posts.

DSC_0165

Aviva Stadium

 

Also posted in photograph posts, Street Photography Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Mobile Photography Awards 2015

And with that it is all over for another year. The Mobile Photography Awards (MPAs) are done. A very-deserving winner has been announced – Jian Wang – a photographer whose work I was not previously familiar with. Entering the competition I had high hopes. I believed I had put together a strong collection of images across a number of categories and felt that this year I was in with a shout. Previous years, I had not that feeling. This year was different.

Back in 2013 I entered the MPAs and got two honourable mentions. More importantly, it focussed my attention. Sure I was enjoying photography as a hobby, but this competition provided a benchmark to assess my progress and a target to aim for. Here is what I wrote about entering the MPAs in 2013:

And there is the thing. If you enter a competition, you want to win. You want all others to come after you. There is no other motivation. When you don’t win, you can feel despondent. You examine your work. You hold it up to that of the winners. You cast an overly-critical eye on it and wonder where the hell you are going in your photographic journey. But, this feeling passes. And it passes because the endeavour, the hobby, the passion you have for it cannot be diminished by the choices of a judge or judges. No, the passion, the desire to show what you see and to show how you see it surfaces and you get out and you shoot again. And you enjoy it. You get back to looking at others’ photos and they inspire you and the whole things kicks off again. You want to learn. You want to sharpen and sensitise that eye to see better. And you begin to dream that next time will be your time. You’ll win.

And dream I did. 2014 passed. It was a a year I was lucky to get to travel to Asia again and this meant I was shooting intensively for the weeks I was there. I was honing my skills and working towards submission. The entry date arrived for the 2014 competition and I selected my images for entry. My goal was to win a category. I didn’t. I managed to get 6 honourable mentions across 4 categories, but no hiding it, I was disappointed. At the same time, I was very pleased for the overall winner, Sheldon Serkin. That is one thing about competitions – if you don’t win, but someone whose work you admire a lot does, it eases the disappointment. Read my blog about the 2014 MPAs.

Honourable Mention - Black and White category- MPAs 2014

Honourable Mention – Black and White category- MPAs 2014

Little did I know that a few short weeks later I would become part of something enormous on a global scale in the Apple Shot on iPhone 6 campaign. Definitely, it made up for missing out on winning a category, but you know, there is something about the acknowledgement of your peers, those who inspire you on a daily basis, that we need. 2015 would go to be magical for me. I won my first competition – the Mira Mobile Prize – and when I learnt of this, I cried tears of joy. It is true what they say about firsts. This was my first ever competition win and I have been fortunate to win a few more since, but none will ever compare to that feeling.

Mira Mobile Prize Winner 2015

Mira Mobile Prize Winner 2015

The year rolled on and the closing date for entries for the MPAs arrived. Selecting my images for entry was hard. I find the most difficult part of photography is not getting the shot, or editing. No, it is curation of images; trying to put together a series of images that allow for your vision, your interpretation, your style to strongly emerge is a challenge. In many ways, my wife is my best judge. Well, that is what she tells me. Leaning on her for advice, I finalised my selection and entered. The deliberation was over. Time to forget about it for a while.

I love and hate the way Dan Berman announces the results. He sure knows how to build excitement and tension. The first five categories were revealed. And I had won one! My Shibuya Night photograph won first place in the Street Photography category. I was thrilled. Street photography is my thing and to win in a category with so many other photographers whose work pushes me on was a real honour.

Winner of the Street Photography category (MPAs 2015)

Winner of the Street Photography category (MPAs 2015)

I saw in the first five categories to be revealed that I had got three other honourable mentions. I saw the winners of the other categories and said: “That’s it, David Ingraham will win this.” I am a huge fan of David’s work. He has his own unique signature. You see an image of his and you know instantly it is a David Ingraham. I saw Coco Liu win in the Water/Ice category and I felt the same thing. Here were two photographers whose work I adore. To win this outright, I felt, would be difficult.

HM in Street Photography category

HM in Street Photography category

Dan dragged things on. We had to wait another two days to get the results of all the other categories. While I went on to get another two honourable mentions in the People category (giving me a total of five honourable mentions), it was the images that did not make it that I focussed on. Funny, isn’t it how we seem to be drawn to dwell on the negatives. I began to believe this would not be my year after all. I began to hope it would be David Ingraham.

Finally, late evening yesterday the overall winner was revealed. Got to be honest here, Jian’s name was new to me, but his image  of the black and white umbrellas which got an honourable mention in the Street Photography category had stopped me in my tracks a few days back. What an image that is. I began to do ctrl+f on the category awards pages and search for Jian Wang. His images began to appear. Each one after another seemed to build on the previous one; connected in style and vision. Ya, I said, I can see why. This guy’s work is good. The more I looked at it, good jumped to great, and I began to feel less disappointed for David Ingraham and Coco Liu and feel that this is justified. Jian Wang is a great winner for the MPAs for 2015.

Jian Wang - Winner of MPAs 2015

Jian Wang – Winner of MPAs 2015

So, it is February 2016. The year stretches out in front of me. It will be a year of travel – a year filled with photographic opportunities. It excites me to think what images I might make between now and December when I come to enter the MPAs again.

A final shout out to Dan Berman for founding and growing the MPAs to what they are today – the best mobile photography competition on the planet. Also, a big congratulations to all those who won categories, honourable mentions and to those who didn’t or didn’t enter. So many people to mention, but this community we share is what pushes me to create and become a better photographer.

Kiss the future!

Sumi-Anna (Honourable mention - People category)

Sumi-Anna (Honourable mention – People category)

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IMPOSSIBLE HUMANS – THE UNEXPECTED HAPPENING

Impossible Humans – The Unexpected Happening.

What is it? This is it!

A visionary performance of contemporary art, music and new visual arts, where The Pollock Project’s jazz meets the visions of the mobile artists all around the world.

How can you apply? Here are the details and here is the Flickr group

I am so proud to be a jury member for this competition. The idea behind the competition and event is such a noble one. Andrea Bigiarini – the organiser says:

“At the heart of the show is the common man in its uniqueness and originality.”

Andrea is a big-hearted inspirational character who believes in the power of art to bring people together. And this is what the competition and the event will do! Don’t miss out.

Check out Dieter’s video!

“Be human. Be unexpected”

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iPhone 6S and Nikon D7000

That’s the way it goes most times I post to Flickr. One iPhone 6s shot and either a Fuji X100T or Nikon D7000 image. Sometimes I feel I should just have the one Flickr account and post whatever photograph I want to that account, rather than separating iPhone from non-iPhone. I set up my original Flickr account back in 2007 and then when I first got on to Instagram I set up a second one just to populate it with images taken on Instagram. And ever since I have kept the two accounts separate. In some ways it makes sense.

Today – two photographs. This first one was shot on iPhone 6s and is straight out of the camera. Another for the series of images: Trees need to cheer the fuck up

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Ya know the thing about trees

The Nikon image was taken at the Web Summit back in November. A little bit of fun.

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Vacuuming decimal points

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2015 – Everything will happen. Believe – achieve!

On January 1, 2015, I posted this to Facebook: Everything will happen. Believe – achieve! When writing that I could never have imagined the magical experience that was about to begin for me. Looking back at 2015 through the lens of the iPhone there are so many highlights and accolades: being part of Apple’s incredible Shot on iPhone 6 global campaign, speaking at the world’s first ever mobile journalism conference – MojoCon in Dublin last March, winning many awards for my iPhone photography, being invited to London to be interviewed by the great Dan Rubin as part of Apple’s Meet the iPhone Photographer, visiting Tokyo, Porto, Amsterdam, Vilnius, Milan and London, giving iPhone photography workshops in galleries in Cork and Dublin. But throughout it all, I knew the thing that would stay with me was the experience of sharing all this with my family and my friends and also the making of new friends on the way. I realised how fortunate I am, not just in receiving these accolades and experiences, but also to see the joy it brings those who love me. Seeing the wonder in my mother’s face as she saw photos of my Shot on iPhone 6 photo on billboards around the world, hearing my little girl scream with glee when she saw me interviewed on TV, and

I like this little activity I have each year when I look back and choose my favourite 12 images I posted to Flickr throughout the year. It is an interesting document to see my photographic journey over the previous 12 months and gives me an idea of where I am heading to.

OK, I am going to be honest, looking at the iPhone shots I posted to Flickr in January, none of them stand out for me. This allows me to choose 2 from another month later in the year.

February was a sad month for me. My good friend Liam passed away. A day has not passed that he has not entered my thoughts. This photograph of the sun shining through a leafless tree is for him.

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F E B R U A R Y

In March, everything changed. My photograph went up on huge billboards all around the world and I absolutely loved it. For about two weeks, I could not sleep. The excitement of it all was too much. I was doing newspaper and radio interviews and my stats on all social media spiked. I was lucky to be able to get to Milan with my wife to see the billboards for ourselves. This photograph tells the story of how exuberantly delighted I was to see my photo on a billboard.

M A R C H

M A R C H

April and I was in Tokyo. It rained non-stop for 3 of the 4 days I was there. Only having 4 days, I intended to make the most of it. This photograph, shot in Shibuya, was taken only a short few hours before my early morning departure flight. It would go on to win 3 competitions in 2015. You can read more about how I got this shot here.

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A P R I L

April was a great month. I also got to go to London for Apple’s Meet the iPhone Photographer. To be honest, this was my personal highlight of the year. Everything about this experience (read my blog post about it here) was wonderful. I got up early on the morning of the event and was blessed with the fine weather. I got out early to shoot and on that morning, I got so many good shots. This one here, that I posted to Flickr in May, is one of my favourites of the year. I stood on the road as I waited for a passerby to enter my frame. The graphic shadowed patterns of Blackfriar’s Bridge were so serendipitously complemented by the black and white runners of the woman who strode past. Click!

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M A Y

I am attracted to light and lines. This shot, posted in June, is from a wonderful photo walk at Mojocon in Dublin in March stopped me in my tracks. I love the simplicity of it.

J U N E

J U N E

July was spent in Ireland. We had a family holiday in Sligo. Mullaghmore is one of Ireland’s most beautiful beaches. I was walking on the sand dunes behind the beach when I saw my little girl running towards her mother and brother. I can still hear their laughter.

J U L Y

J U L Y

For August, I am cheating a little and choosing two photos. The first is one is of my little girl on her 8th birthday and the other is from the trip to London. I could not leave either of these photos out.

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A U G U S T

A U G U S T

A U G U S T (2)

In September, I posted another of my favourite shots of the year. This is one that I ran across traffic to get to in Amsterdam. I saw this guy sitting on a bus stuck in evening traffic. He had this most intense glare. This shot is part of an ongoing series.

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S E P T E M B E R

It seemed to start to rain in October  and has not stopped yet. I was sitting in the car waiting for my wife to get back from the supermarket when I saw this guy leave and battle to hoist his umbrella. I had to snap!

O C T O B E R

O C T O B E R

In JuneI got to travel to Porto – my prize for winning the Mira Mobile Prize. I was met by Manuela and Joao, the organisers of the competition. Their kindness and hospitality will stay with me for a long time. Porto is a wonderful city. It has it all. This photograph, posted to Flickr in November,  was taken just outside Porto’s iconic Majestic Cafe. I got as close as I could get to get this portrait of this wonderful Porto gentleman. You can read my travel article published by Ireland’s state broadcaster – RTE – here.

N O V E M B E R

N O V E M B E R

In December, I upgraded from my beloved iPhone 6 to the new iPhone 6s. Late to the party, but still hoping to get to dance, I have been battling the elements and getting out shooting. This photograph shot last Monday (29.12.15) was taken in a hurry. We stopped at Ladies View in Kerry to look down on the Gap of Dunloe. It was wild. Storm Frank had landed and the wind and the rain were ferocious. My friend Richard stood taking in the vista. I stopped behind, framed the shot and snapped. We spent another a minute or so there before rushing back to the car.

D E C E M B E R

D E C E M B E R

And that is it! Bringing to close what was the most wonderful year ever in my photographic journey. Thanks to all whose inspiration, love and kindness drives me on.

Here’s to 2016! Everything will happen. Believe – achieve!

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Best of 2015

It has become tradition at this time of year to look back at the shots I posted to Flickr and choose my favourite 12 – one from each month, for both my Flickr accounts. I have been doing this for the past number of years. You can see the past five years in this Flickr album for DSLR photographs.

This year has been a little different. I have posted far fewer images to Flickr than previous years. In 2014, I posted over 600 photographs to Flickr between my two accounts. This year, just under 200 to both. Why the change? Not sure. Maybe time. It is a time-consuming endeavour to post each day two photographs.

Anyway, it is something I enjoy to look back at the images posted each month and see my photographic journey of the past year. Some shots just jump out at me and have no competition in being selected and then for others I chop and change my mind a lot before settling on an image. Am sure the ones I choose may not be the ones you would. Why not let me know in the comments below.

January, saw me continue with an ongoing series of images: The pip-pop life span of worries.

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J A N U A R Y

In February, I lost a close friend – Liam. This is not a photograph of him, but the pose reminds me of him when he danced – the sexy motherfucker. Miss ya; every day…

F E B R U A R Y

F E B R U A R Y

March: Shot in Cork with the Fuji X100T.

M A R C H

M A R C H

April: I spent 4 days in Tokyo and when I was not sleeping or working, I was on the streets shooting. Another shot with the Fuji X100T.

A P R I L

A P R I L

Another from Tokyo for May. Another blurred image.

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M A Y

June saw me go to Porto as part of my winning the Mira Mobile Prize. This image is titled: Rehearsing for a date.

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J U N E

Back to Tokyo for July and another image I titled: Rehearsing for a date

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J U L Y

To Tokyo again for August. What a location Shibuya is! How magical it is in the night rain.

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A U G U S T

Becoming clear how much I love Tokyo. September:

S E P T E M B E R

S E P T E M B E R

In October, I had a very quick visit to the Tate Modern. This appeared in front of me.

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O C T O B E R

Some things you can’t go. I still love these bokeh heads and still believe I will create the image the series deserves.

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N O V E M B E R

Bringing the series to an end and I will cheat a little. This is a photo I shot in Kenmare on December 29th. It is my wife. Without her the lights go out. With her by my side, everything is possible. Kiss the future…

D E C E M B E R

D E C E M B E R

A review of iPhone photography for 2015 tomorrow. Stay tuned!

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Photographs

We are making our way through the alphabet for storms this winter. F for Storm Frank has arrived and the rain and the wind is truly wild. This type of weather is so miserable, but then again with all the flooding it does make for some beautiful reflections. Out for a walk, braving the elements, with my brother yesterday we passed the flooded Lee fields and I had to stop to get a photograph of these beautiful reflections of the trees in the water. These images are straight out of the camera with only a flip applied in Snapseed.

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Trees need to cheer the fuck up

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Trees need to cheer the fuck up

This photograph was made on an autumn afternoon in Vilnius. I set out with the sole intention of creating blurred photography. The old town in Vilnius is a great location for this.

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Unpopulating

 

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