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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.

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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

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Old Head of Kinsale, Cork, Ireland

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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.

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Kinsale

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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.

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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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Goodbye to the iPhone 6: Hello to the iPhone 6S

The Apple iPhone 6 has been such a special camera for me and until this week I was reluctant to trade up for a new iPhone 6s. But eventually I decided it was time and this week I went and bought myself a brand new camera – I mean iPhone. Well, you know what I mean.

I have shot thousands of photographs with the iPhone 6; easily my all-time favourite camera. Even if I say so myself, I believe I have got a lot of good photographs with it in the 14 months that I have had it. It has been with me every day and I have used it in Cork, Dublin, Kerry, Sligo, London, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Vilnius, Berlin, Porto, Milan and Tokyo. How fortunate I have been to get to travel to those locations.

In writing this blog post I have looked back at the images I shot with the iPhone 6 and there are so many good memories which spring from the shots. No surprise then that the first image is my most well-known image: that Apple shot from Copenhagen taken back in October, 2014. You know the funny thing about this photograph is that it was a shot I was never happy with. In the post-processing stage, I struggled a lot with the tones in the centre of the image. Photography can be a little like home decoration – you do up one area and what does it do? It shows up how in need of redecoration another area is. In the end, I left the image as it was in my camera roll and was not even going to post it to Flickr (I never posted it to Instagram at all until it was on billboards around the world). When I did post it with a conversion to black and white, it got a great response and caught the eye of Apple’s representatives. The rest is history as they say.

God will send a sign. When he does, be prepared.

God will send a sign. When he does, be prepared.

Berlin was next on my travels. It is a city I have been to three times; always in December. I really would love to see it summer time. When I was there I shot a lot with one of my favourite apps for iPhone photography – 1-hour photo. Using this app, you can only shoot in black and white and the novelty aspect of it is great fun. Like the old days with film, your shots are processed in an hour. The results I love. The black and white tones are really beautiful.

The shot I selected for this blog piece is one I shot on a cold night in Berlin, just off Alexandrs Platz station. Reflections are something I use a lot in my photography. I was struck by the melancholic look on this woman’s face as she waited for the bus to drive off. I stood back a little and did not focus the camera to achieve the layered effect.

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Berlin. 2014

In a recent interview I did with 121 clicks I was asked about what photographic experiences I would like to relive. I thought about it for a while; thought about the places I have been, the shots I’ve made and then I realised that the most precious times are the ones spent with family and friends. The shots of strangers mean little, but those of loved ones mean so much.

One of my all time favourite photographs is this one taken in the Glucksman Gallery in Cork of my little boy, James. I often bring the kids to this gallery and they love to run around and from time to time, the art does get their attention – but never for long. This one here shows the split second (and that is all it was) when James’ attention was taken by the photographs on the wall. The shot I got after it shows how quickly his attention moves to the next thing.

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Beautiful James

 

In March, everything changed. My fifteen minutes of fame arrived and I loved it – who wouldn’t? My photograph of that crazy park in Copenhagen went up on billboards and posters all around the world. This was simply magical. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined such a thing. The excitement I experienced in getting emails and tweets from people who found my image in the wild was just wonderful and this is the thing that will stay with me long after the campaign.

I was fortunate to get to see the shot on billboards in Milan, with my wife, and in Tokyo also. It is hard to put into words the sensation of seeing a photograph I took on a small, little camera up on a huge billboard where literally thousands of people can see it. One of the most beautiful moments of the Shot on iPhone 6 experience was sitting by the window with my wife in a cafe in Milan and looking out at my photo all lit up on a big billboard. It was a surreal and wonderful sensation.

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All lit up in Milan

 

In April, two great things happened: I won my first competition – Mira Mobile Prize and I was invited to London to be interviewed by the great Dan Rubin for Apple’s Meet the iPhone Photographer in their Regent Street Apple Store. Looking back at the year I have had, there have been many accolades and prizes, but this experience was the one I enjoyed most. I was nervous on the day, but Dan made it all so easy for me. I really enjoyed the day we spent together and the hour on stage talking about my photographic journey.

When I was in London, I had the chance to get out and shoot with the iPhone and some of the images I got while there I love. This one has to be one of my all-time favourite photos. I was on Blackfriar’s bridge on a gloriously sunny spring morning. The sun cast a shadowed pattern of the bridge on to the footpath. I waited until someone passed to get a human element and I was lucky. This lady wearing black and white runners walked into my frame. Click!

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London. April 2015

Winning the Mira Mobile Prize was super special. I got the news late at night in Tokyo. It is true what they say about first times being special. Anyone who enters a competition dreams of winning it. Why else enter? When I learned I had won I cried tears of joy. The next day, Irish media picked up on the story and I made headlines news on RTE (Irish state broadcaster). It probably was a quiet news day, but still!

My prize for winning the Mira was an all-expenses trip to Porto. I travelled out there in June (read about it here) and had a wonderful 5 days there. What a great town it is. I spent my time wandering the streets shooting as I went. My favourite Shot on iPhone 6 image from there is this one of this guy sitting on the beach as the waves crashed on the rocks right in front of him. I stumbled upon this guy and was so surprised to see him there. What was he doing?

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Porto

 

In June, I also got news that this photograph (you can read more about the background to it here) won two competitions. The first was Mediteraneo Foto Festival and the second was the Florence International Photography Awards. The same image would later go on to win first place in the Stark Awards. I was particularly pleased with that one because it was not a mobile-only competition.

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Shibuya Nights

In July, we went on a family holiday to the north-west of Ireland, to Sligo. Now, Irish summers are usually disappointing. We crave sunshine but rarely get it. This summer was no different, but we did get to see some of the most beautiful scenery in Ireland, and for anyone that has not seen Belbulben, you have to! It is the most impressive mountain in Ireland. You can see it here smothered in the greyest of Irish summer clouds.

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Sligo. Summer 2015

 

My memories of my childhood are happy ones. I recall walking to mass with my mother, hand in hand, and I would be incessantly talking and asking questions. My favourite question to her was: “When will it be my birthday?” Funny how we as kids love our birthdays so much and want them to come sooner and sooner and then as we get older we want them to not to come so damn fast. Each year, I have a little tradition with my two kids. We get the bus in town and sit on the top deck at the very front. Then we have some treats in a cafe and head to the bookshop to get some books. I love it and so far they do too. Not sure how long it will last for, but I do hope it will be a happy memory for them.

Here are two photos of them on their birthdays. First, my little boy, James, and myself on his fifth birthday. 

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James (birthday number 5)

And then, my little girl – Sumi-Anna – on her eight birthday looking over the River Lee in Cork.

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Sumi-Anna (Birthday number 8)

In October, I travelled to Vilnius to shoot the gig of Tomas Sinicki. What a great experience that was. I used my three cameras for it, but the one I enjoyed most was the iPhone. It was particularly good fun to see the reaction of the photo journalists when I switched from the Nikon to the iPhone to get my shots. Tomas is a class act. His mix of punk, rock and folk music really brought me back to my younger days.

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Tomas Sinicki

 

In November, I had mobile workshops in the Lewis Glucksman Gallery , Cork and in the Gallery of Photography in Dublin. What a great experience it is to be able to share my passion for photography with like-minded people. I love the photo walks we go on when we are out and about. This shot here was taken on the doorstep of the Glucksman Gallery and forms part of an ongoing series of images I have titled – Trying to see the good in people.

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Trying to see the good in people

This year had its sad moments too. In February, I lost one of my best friends, Liam, to cancer. There has not been a day pass since that I have not thought of him. The one regret I have about this year is that he was not there with me to share it. He would have loved it. I took this photograph on a morning walk. The sun hitting the tree and casting its shadow struck me. Miss you, Liam!

Liam

Liam

And on it goes…

Am excited to think about the photographs I will get with this new iPhone. Have not had much time to get out shooting with it; possibly will do so over the Christmas break. Here is a shot I got yesterday.

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Kiss the future

 

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