Tag Archives: blur art

November 5 2014

Choices. Life is difficult when there are choices. And without choices life is not worth living.

Using Lightroom for post processing gives you millions of options. Literally. There are presets and so many sliders to drag. The combinations are endless. Very often when processing I rush to finish, getting to a point where I find myself saying – enough! Usually, the main choice is either to process the image in black and white or leave it in colour.

I have this series of images I took while in Copenhagen that I really like, but I just do not know what way to go with them. I have not posted on Flickr somedays in the recent past because I am frustrated as to how to present these shots. Sometimes, I am in black and white and content and then I click and the colours appear and I say to myself I cannot have these without the colours. I work through the images and after about three or four of them I have to leave it because I get vexed. No matter what I do, no matter how I process these images I am not satisfied. I keep thinking they could be done differently and because of that I just want to leave them; even delete them.

This has not happened before. Usually, post processing is swift and pleasing; the part of the photographic process I enjoy. The work has been done and you work with what you have. But this little series…

Here is a version. I may delete this later today. I may post the whole series in the coming days or they may never see the light of a Flickr day.



And then there is my favourite child: The iPhone. It never causes me such distress. It sings and dances for me. iPhunography! I was so delighted to find that when I wanted to change my Instagram handle @nadnerb (brendan in reverse) that the first name I wanted had not been taken. Over a 100 million Instagram users and nobody thought of the name iPhunography. To me it is so obvious. Fun +iPhone + Photography = iPhunography!



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November 1 2014

Three men today step into my Flickr stream. Three proud men. Saw these guys approach in Copenhagen and knew that I could blur them up. Their almost-uniform appearance caught my eye as I was wandering around Copenhagen’s shopping area.



Keeping with a theme of threes, here is an iPhone image of three subjects observing us.


Televised Revolutions

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October 1 2014

A new month. Three quarters of 2014 has passed. Time flies and all that. Back to work this week and all good so far.  As for the new iPhone – it is slippy! I need to get a case with a good grip. I would love to get a case with a strap, so that when I am out shooting the iPhone versus Gravity battle is negated. Being back at work allows me to get those images of students walking around the corridors. I wanted to see how I could blur things up with the new camera. There is such an obsession to stabilise images that blurring photographs gets harder and harder. Got this one with the new iPhone this morning and I like it. No straight lines in this and it unsettles me a little. Has a punctuation feel to it, hence the ! title.


¡ – !

Promises. This image below brings back memories of promises – promises made and promises kept. It is taken in the Park Hyatt Hotel in Shinjuku, Tokyo. This was the hotel made famous by Lost in Translation. The views from this hotel are breathtaking. The bills in this hotel are also breathtaking. But having a few drinks in the American Bar & Grill with good friends – priceless.



Posted in Daily posts to Flickr, iPhone, photograph posts Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

September 26 2014

Why take photographs?

I read a great quote yesterday – a quote I did not save and now regret as I cannot recall with exactitude its content or author. Shame on me! But kudos to Google to for its competence in dealing with the inadequacies of my memory. Google works! The quote is from Daido Moriyama (one of my favourite photographers) – he said:

“I think that the most important thing that photography can do is to relate both the photographer and the viewer’s memories.”

Recently, I read an interview with a photographer, whose name fails me and I am too lazy to find right now, but he was saying that his photography has to be personal. The images he takes must have a connection to his life and be of people or things which directly relate to his experience. He was tired of trying to create images which he felt others would like, but ones that he did not connect with personally. He wanted to take more photographs of friends and family and not of  random strangers on the street. I found this idea interesting. Writing each day on this blog is an exercise for me, mainly in discipline. But the thing I like about it is that when I sit down to write about the two images I am posting and I begin to recall when and where I took the images, so much comes to me about the time when I took the photograph. These images I post to Flickr are personal to me. They document moments of discovery and adventure. I rarely post photographs of family or friends (or myself), but the images are seen through windows and my own reflection and the reflection of those I was with when I took the shot can be seen too.

Today’s image is special to me. It was taken on a gloriously sunny Tokyo Saturday in early May. I was with some of my favourite people in the world in one of my favourite places in the world. Looking at this image now, I can feel the warmth of the sun, hear our conversations above the noise of the passing traffic and sense our excitement of being in Tokyo. I can recall the oncoming patterns of the passersby as I composed and framed them into this shot.

A Saturday in Tokyo

A Saturday in Tokyo

And for the iPhone it is a wet Monday night in Shinjuku and a girl in a white dress appearing before me.



Posted in Daily posts to Flickr, iPhone, photograph posts, Street Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

September 25 2014

Arrows! I am always drawn to them when I see them. Always looking for direction and what is better than a big arrow painted on the ground or wall giving me indication of how to proceed. To frame a shot, there is nothing better than arrows. They give a focal point and get the viewer questioning the elements of the photograph.

Today’s image has a wonderful red arrow painted on a wall. I found this in the Shinjuku area of Tokyo when I was having a wander around. Naturally, I had to get a few shots of it. The best way to get the arrow in frame as closely as I could was to get down low. So, in an effort to save my dodgy knees I lay down on the ground. I must have been some sight for the passing Japanese to see this foreigner stretched out on the ground with his camera pointing up. But I did not care. I love the anonymity you get being in foreign places. Stretching out on the ground to get a shot is not something I would do in Cork! So, there I was framing the shot, click clicking and looking up to see who was coming so as to frame them in the shot. I saw there was this long-legged woman approaching from the left and a guy in a suit from the right. Great, I thought, I can get the two intersecting under the arrow. I got ready. Looking through the viewfinder I saw what I thought first was a dog coming into view, then I realised it was a human, then I realised it was this beaming little girl running towards me. I instinctively snapped and then looked up. There was this beautiful little girl who had run towards me. She began to speak excitedly in Japanese. Now, I have very little Japanese, but I could not resist smiling back at her. How curious it must have appeared to her to see this guy sprawled out on the concrete with a camera. How natural for her to want to discover and how beautiful that she would run up to the camera and so expressively smile.

As I began to stand up and dust myself down, her mother came over, and with a respectful bow acknowledged me and with a puzzled look questioned what I was doing. She took her daughter by her hand to bring her away, but before she could I showed the screen of the camera with the photo of her little girl. The mother broke into a laugh, the little girl pointing at the screen laughing also. It was a beautiful moment. I imagine that the many passersby who saw this strange foreigner stretched out on the ground would have loved to have run over like the little girl did, but adults cannot behave like this. Can they?


Whatcha doing?


This is the photograph I am posting to Flickr today. It does not have a background story to it.



I could spend hours in underground train stations. There is such activity there. When I am in big cities and get tired of being on the streets, I know that a change of scene by going underground will always reinvigorate me and get my curiosity going again. Here is an iPhone shot I took in the underground near Shibuya. I am involved in a project with some of other photographers at the moment to do with facial expressions. Doctor Paul Ekman identified that these are universal across all cultures. What emotion do you feel is being expressed here?


Together in Tokyo


Posted in Daily posts to Flickr, iPhone, photograph posts, Street Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , |

September 24 2014

Bringing to a close this little colourful series of images taken in Shibuya Station underground as commuters were leaving the station. I have tried here to keep the images with similar processing as much as I could, but sometimes it was possible. In fact, on the past two images there was very little post-processing work done. The light and colours there was really great. The thing is that in this digital age with the multitude of options and combinations available to process images there are just too many possibilities. I converted these images to black and white and they looked good like that too. The chequered floor lends itself to a two-colour combination, but the colours are needed to give the images their fluidity. Thanks to all for their kind words on this series.

We can walk, we can run, we should dance

We can walk, we can run, we should dance

I could spend all my time in trains and train stations in Tokyo and still get all the shots I want; there is just so much activity; so many people. This iPhone shot was taken with the camera at my feet as I sat opposite this cool looking elderly gentleman. Of course I had to get his full frame into the shot and a straight on composition would not allow that, so I had to get the camera on the ground to give it a low-down POV. The result is a little noisy, but I still like it.



Posted in Daily posts to Flickr, iPhone, photograph posts, Street Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

September 23 2014

Quick note on Flickr. You can disable comments but not disable faves. I would like to be able to disable faves. I think they are pointless anyway. I have always used them as a means to identify photographs I have already seen. I fave every photo I look at. Sorry, if that disappoints some, but I have over 60,000 faves. I rarely look through them. I have noticed in the past year that views have increased dramatically. Before the new and so awesome version of Flickr, I was averaging about 500 views per day. A daily post would be seen about a 100 times, get about 20 or so comments and about 30 – 40 faves. Now, a photo is seen about a 1,000 times, gets about 80 – 100 faves and about 15 – 20 comments.

Yesterday, I had reached over 300 views and over 30 faves but only had 1 comment. Flickr have made it so easy to consume photography that people spend as little time as they can on photos. On the Flickr app, double click and a star appears obscuring the image and scroll quickly to the next and repeat. Dozens of photos can be consumed in a matter of minutes. On the desktop version, the page with your contacts – sorry followers (how much do I hate that term!), you can just single click on the star and consume with even more convenience.

Time to contract, I think. I have, for the moment, abandoned Instagram because of this trend of scrolling and clicking. Perhaps if the fave button was disabled – if this was an option – then people might be more inclined to view the photograph and even write a comment in reaction to what they have seen. Good idea, bad idea?

Anyway, rant suspended, I don’t subscribe to the rant over idea. If I want to resume the rant later, then it is nice to know it is there waiting for me to pick up from where I left off.

Photographs for today. I am still in the Shibuya underground station. It is past midnight, edging close to the time of the last train. Commuters are streaming out of trains and I am there in wait, camera poised and ready to capture the moment. I have one or two more in this series to show. I love the fluid colours in them.

Commitment to the future

Commitment to the future

The iPhone image for today is another taken as people are waiting for the train to leave the station. I was pretty lucky with the commuters I got in shots like this. Usually they responded well to me, sometimes smiling or like the photo other day when they guy gave a wide-mouthed exclamation. Today’s image is a little out of focus (when did that ever bother me?)and grainy, but his expression is tender and warm.

This is about as happy as I can look for you

This is about as happy as I can look for you


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September 22 2014



It is Monday.

Commuting. Imagine the hours, the days, the weeks, the months, the years, the decades of an average life of a person living in a huge city spends commuting to and from work. The average is big cities like Tokyo is about 90 minutes. Do the maths on that and you will find that an average working life of 40 years, working 48 weeks in the year results in about 864,000 minutes commuting, or in days about 600. 600 days! 600 days spent commuting to and from work.


600 days

600 days can be valuable if spent in the right way. Commuting can be drudgery. The thing that strikes me about it is that the isolation. People are put in such close contact with others; most sharing the same experience, but so little exchange occurs. In Tokyo, in the mornings there is silence. Silence as the masses travel. In the stations, all you hear are the public announcements over the tannoy and the footsteps of the throngs on the move. Mobile phones are not used and no conversations are struck up among the passengers on the trains. People choose to shut their eyes to snooze or shut out the world. Others find a space to stare blankly into, while so many will pass the time engrossed in what their smart phones can offer. We crave isolation in the close proximity of others.

All Free

All Free

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September 21 2014

– Coincidence is a dance that needs music.

– Huh? What is that supposed to mean? I don’t get it.

– Look at this way, right. This world is chaotic, there’s no order to things. There’s no plan, there’s no preordained destiny. There is just constant chaotic disorder.

– And?

– Well, if we take it like that, we might as well give up, no?

– Take it like what?

– That it is chaos, uncontrolled and that we have no force over this, that even the dreams we have, that they’re pointless because in the end it all comes down to luck.

– Luck? Not sure if I get what you are saying; or even if I do, not sure I even agree.

– You don’t have to.

– Don’t have to what?

– Agree!

– Get back to what you were saying. Coincidence being a dance.

– That coincidence is a dance that needs music.

– Ok. That. That coincidence needs music. I still don’t get it.

– It’s simple. Give you an example. Our conversation here, our little exchange.

– Ya.

– Well, it can go in a million directions. You can ignore me, leave me ramble on and eventually I will run dry and the conversation will have ended. Or you could jump in with a new topic and I’d never get to explain.

– Ok. And?

– It’s that. There are endless possibilities, but ultimately we can, if we wish, direct them, steer things in the direction we want. You asking and is an example of you steering things.

– Right? But music? Coincidence? Dance? What about that?

– If more than one thing happens at the same time, then that is a coincidence. Coincidences are constantly happening, it’s a dance, but for us to take these and make things ours, to steer them in the direction we want, we need music. We need to act. Look at her? 

– Who?

– This girl approaching. Here is a coincidence. All the possibilities that ever existed have brought us and her to this moment to pass each other in a few seconds. That is the coincidence. The dance. But we play the music, we…

– She’s passed. She’s gone.


Coincidence is a dance that needs music

And some fun with the iPhone. A happy commuter on a full train.



Posted in Daily posts to Flickr, iPhone, photograph posts, Street Photography, Words Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

September 20 2014

When you find a location with an interesting background you just have to stay there and work it. In the underground of Shibuya Station in Tokyo, I found this stretch with a wonderful black and white tiled floor and a wall with a single colour which people would pass by. The theme I am on is to have single individuals walking past. I want to capture in motion. I have an idea of the type of person I want; tall and skinny and ideally with poor posture. The poor posture will give lines when blurred that someone with good posture won’t. And it matches the narrative better.

In Tokyo, no matter what time of day it is difficult to get one individual into a frame, as there are usually so many people passing. At times, I see a figure approach and ready myself to frame them. Then others converge and I put the camera down in frustration. I like to get the full figure from head to toe in frame; if I don’t, I usually delete. Now, here’s the thing, I am changing. I am becoming more flexible and allowing those whose shoes are not in frame to go undeleted. In this little series, I have a few images like these. Today’s is one. The main guy is neither thin nor tall and the weight he is carrying, he carries well. Yet, I love the image.


Slowly shedding

Each day, when I set out to write the blog, I do so one only one intention- to discipline myself. Somedays, it is quite easy to write; ideas come without too much struggle. Other days, it is a chore. And the frustrating thing is that my discipline wanes after I have written about the DSLR image. I get to the iPhone image and all I want to do is draw a close to the blog and give in to distraction and curiosity. Maybe I should reverse the order – write about the iPhone image first.

Getting taxis in Japan is different to anywhere else I have been. The first thing you learn is that the rear passenger door opens automatically for you. The second thing you learn is that it closes automatically also. This means you should not try to close it yourself as you exit. This will annoy your driver. Your driver who wears the cleanest of white gloves. Taxis are expensive, but probably no more expensive than in Ireland, but astronomical in comparison to Hong Kong and Korea. You do not tip the driver, which is a great thing, in my opinion. I do not get tipping. I do not see why you have to give that little bit extra for the service you are being charged for. The U.S is the worst for this. The most capitalistic country in the world, yet employers won’t pay their staff adequately and oblige staff to rely on the community to tip workers so they can make a living. Not having to tip is great. I remember one time in a bar in San Francisco, I got a coffee. It cost a dollar. I gave the barman five dollars. He gave me back four dollar bills. Now, what I supposed to do? I had to tip, but a dollar? A 100% tip? I did not enjoy my coffee. I left a dollar tip. Pay people properly, don’t make them rely on the generosity of others.

How did I get from Japan to the U.S in one paragraph?

Here is today’s image – a taxi driver working the night shift in Tokyo.


The night is an unpatched quilt


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