Tag Archives: End-of-year review

2014: My favourite images – May

At the end of March we headed to Korea via Hong Kong. While in Asia I also got to visit Taiwan and Japan. Taiwan was a holiday, Japan was work, but I had the evenings and nights to get out and shoot. While away I didn’t post to either of my Flickr accounts and it was great. So, that leaves a free month and a little bit of a dilemma. In these end of year reviews that I do, I usually choose 12 images, but seeing as there is no posts for April, what am I to do? I’ll mull this one over. Any suggestions are very welcome.

So on to May we go. I came back from Asia with close on 80 gig of photos – a lot by any standards. Many are of family and I tend not to post those on my social platforms. But so many photos. I realise the way I work may not best serve my photography. I think I need to slow things down and see patterns and projects evolve instead of rushing to post. Series are categorised on my computer, and a little on Flickr, but a better way to present them online is needed. And that will happen.

Before heading to Asia I made a little promise to myself to be braver and to get those shots and not come back with regrets. Now, that is all fine and dandy, but when you have disobliging knees and a creaky back, getting that shot can also mean getting yourself back up off your knees after shooting. It is a comical sight, believe me. The image I like most from those I posted in May is this one taken in the Mong Kok district in Hong Kong on a rainy day. I saw this elderly lady approach and wanted to get her fully in frame so I bent down and snapped. As I was doing it, I heard her shouting at me and pointing to something that was behind me. Then I heard it. A car was coming and I had to get out of the way. Fast.

May

May

 

Committed to the future is a little project I have going on for some time now. A photograph can punctuate time and hopefully capture emotion. I am drawn to ones where commitment to what is to come is shown. This image taken in Seoul of two together holding hands as they wait for the signal to cross. Arrows point the way and opposite on the left a policeman is visible. I like the colours and the fact that they guy is carrying the bag.

There were many other images posted in May that I really liked, but this one resonates with me. Commit to the future now!

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May

May

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2014: My favourite images – February

You got to love yourself is the title I gave to this photograph which looking back at February is my preferred from that month. I took it on a cold Sunday morning. Reflections always catch me. I love that they present different ways of seeing. This man reflects in a cafe window; a cafe that caused much controversy when it opened. The reason being is that it was built right in front of the entrance to a city centre park and resulted in obscuring the view of the decorative and old entrance. It was a stupid place to locate it.

February

February

When I started this blog a couple of years back my objective was simple – I wanted to write. Nothing gives me more pleasure than writing but I tend to write in spurts. I have so much archived away – short stories, poems, essays. I needed to begin to write and felt a blog would be a good way to do it. Maybe, I don’t know. I still have not done it consistently or done the hard part – rewriting. Maybe 2015 will be the year.

My preferred iPhone image from February is one that I wrote a short accompanying text to. I will let it there and you can read it and take what you will from it.

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We sat in the car, neither of us driving, each sat at our own window. The rain and its drops ran on mine and through yours the wind it whistled until you yourself wound it closed. Try as we might we never would reconcile the rain and the wind, but that car, it brought us both to where we are now.

 

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December

Only a few weeks have passed in this new year and looking back at last month’s images makes me think years have passed. Time is a strange concept. Twenty six posted images in December and I can only choose one, and to be honest, there is only one I would choose. I saw this gentleman approaching on a cold December morning while I waited for my wife to arrive. A popular meeting point in Cork city is outside Cash’s, now known as Brown Thomas. I was there waiting, people watching and all my attention was drawn to this well-dressed, small gentleman. He may have been old, but his face had a look of cheeky mischief. For some reason, he got me imagining what he might have looked like as a little boy. He did not smile nor frown. He carried himself with grace. Yet, I could just picture him in short pants, long socks, battered brogues and a tattered shirt and tie, and ya, that cheeky, mishievous look. He was lovable.

Discreetly, I got the photo. My wife arrived. I showed her. She nodded and smiled and said when asked that, ya, he looked cute. He does, doesn’t he? A gentleman, but you just know that little boy is still there, still ready for mischief.

That’s the year done. Bring on 2014. Photography!

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December

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November

It might be 2015 by the time I get this end-of-year review finished. Work always seems to get in the way of the important things in life.

November was a fine month for mobile photography. What? It was a fine month for photography, full stop! I am not a fan of that term – mobile photography. Since when were cameras not mobile?

Anyway, back to November and back to a month that saw the first of these type of images. I posted a blog before on the technique of creating these. In fact, it is quite easy. The corridors in my workplace are a little treasure trove for photography for me. I have taken so many images there of the students passing along the long corridors. The light can be so good there. The two tone floor of grey and white and the grey of the walls allow for a minimalist look that I love. To get the inky brushstroke images of people walking along these corridors is easy. The trick is to get them in motion on the white-coloured portion of the floor; have the iPhone pointed down and then turn it up quickly as the shutter is released. This gives the blurred-out form to the figures. I then import it to Snapseed; turn up the brightness and contrast and convert it to black and white. This gives a black figure on a white background. Then import it to Instagram; use the willow filter and hit the brightness button and it all turns grey. And you’re done. It is simple and fun.

The photo I am choosing for November is the first of these. In the corridor, I noticed this tall and skinnyish guy standing outside one of the classrooms. I knew instantly that he would make for an interesting form in a blurred-out image. I snapped and apped and was going to go with the background as white until I hit the brightness button on Instagram and the creamy grey background appeared. I was smitten. In the weeks ahead I managed to get more shots like this. The second image below has proven to be my most popular photograph ever. It got to Flickr’s Explore, hit number one for a short while and gained thousands of views and hundreds of faves. While it is a nice image and one that I have received a lot of positive feedback on, it is not my favourite. The one of guy is a better image, I feel. There is more left to the imagination about it. The woman is elegant and graceful, but there are so many images that look like that.

As I said, November was a fine month for photography. Looking at the archive I can see many images I am proud of. And this is invigorates me to get back out and shoot more. And that is just what I will do this morning.

Have a great Sunday. Thanks for passing by.

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November

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Always leaving

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October

Sometimes shots resonate with you. The photograph I like most that I shot with my iPhone in October of last year was on my phone for over a day before I posted it. I knew it was there. I felt it with me. As soon as I saw the guy approach me on the street, I knew it was going to be an image I would like, an image I would post to Flickr. I let it sit on my phone overnight, sneaking a look at it every now and then. The guy’s solemn gaze unchanged. The sky still gloomy over him.

The following day, I allowed myself the pleasure of processing it with Snapseed on the phone before I posted it to Instagram and then I cropped it on iPhoto before posting it to Flickr. I have to say I enjoyed everything about the process of this photo and was very pleased when it chosen on the we are juxt website. You can read more about the photo on there.

So that is October. Only two more months to go.

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October

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September

Heading into autumn now and the month of September. Looking at the archives for that month, I see a number of images that I really like, especially the candid street shots I took. Seeing them now gives me the itch to get out and take more photographs. It is all about the next photograph.

To pick a favourite from September’s iPhone images is not so easy. There is this photograph I took on the way to the All-Ireland hurling final replay in Dublin of a muslim woman having an intense phone call on one of the city’s main streets. Her two-tone head scarf and the theatrical poster in the background really got my attention, and in mid-conversation with my brother, I stopped to snap the shot. I remember him saying to me that one day I would get into trouble for doing that.

Another I really like is this one of a man lost in his own thoughts and looking so sad on the streets of Cork. I like to think that the streak of sunlight behind him gives him hope. Similarly, there is this elegant, graceful but melancholic looking older woman who is also lots in her own thoughts. Then there is one of two young girls walking down Dublin’s main street, O’ Connell Street. This one hit Flickr’s Explore and got thousands of views. Crazy how many views you can get now if your photo hits Explore.

But the one I like most is this one of a child being carried in her mother’s arms. I was collecting my own little girl from school when we caught up with this mother and child ahead of us. The child, so beautiful with such piercing eyes, captivated me. I had to get that shot. It is something I struggled a little with, to be honest, afterwards. I was thinking would I like someone to take a photo like that of my own child. Had I intruded, invaded her privacy? I do not know. But the result is beautiful, I think.

And that is my favourite image taken with my iPhone in September. Hope you are enjoying the series.

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September

 

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July

Ireland had a heatwave in July. Three weeks! Ya, three whole weeks of sunshine! Three weeks of heat. We went crazy! Ireland is the land the sun abandoned and clouds stepped in to comfort us. Grey, slow-moving, gloomy clouds. So, imagine three weeks of sunshine. Wow!

These three weeks coincided with our family holiday in beautiful west Cork and its wonderful beaches. As you can imagine, the kids loved the beaches. My little girl began to learn to swim and my little boy learned that waves will knock him over, time and time again and that laughing as it happens means the wave will jump down his throat.

Choosing an iPhone shot from July is not that hard. The standout image is this one of my flip-flops on the beach taken from a low-down perspective to make the sea and sky large. I remember having to ensure the iPhone did not touch the wet sand and trying to balance myself to prevent this. Luckily, I did.

I was very pleased when this shot was chosen for the Five Ways to Add Interest to your Mobile Photography feature on the excellent mobiography website.

And there is July. Hard to think of beautiful summer’s days now that we are in the depths of winter.

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July

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June

There can only be one photograph I can choose from June, 2013, and that is this one of my little boy James doubting what his daddy tells him and needing to check for himself. When the long nights of summer come in, it gets harder to get little children to go to bed at their normal time. Outside it is still daytime, there is still sunshine and there is still lots to do and lots of time left for a little boy for playing and mischief. So, when his dad brings him upstairs and gets him into his pyjamas and tells him it is nighttime and that little boys must go to bed now, that little boy has to doubt it.

– But it is not dark, daddy!

– It is, James, it’s bedtime now. Come on.

– No! It’s not. It’s still daytime. Look.

Then he wriggles free and runs across the bed, stands on his little tipitoes on the radiator, pulls the blinds up and over his head and peers out and of course he is right.

– It is not nighttime! It is not, Daddy.

– But it is bedtime, James!

– Oooh!

I was delighted for two reasons. One, because he being a little rebel and I love that. Why should he not doubt what I am telling him? I hope he doubts me more and more. I hope he corrects me and helps me to learn as  time goes by. And secondly, I love it because it made for a great photo opportunity.

So, my little rebel, continue to check things for yourself. And that’s June!

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June

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May

I am enjoying this little review of the year of my iPhone photographs. It makes me realise what a great camera the iPhone is and what a hobby photography is. Photography heightens my awareness of my surroundings. I am more alert to colour, more sensitive to composition and always looking to try to see what can be seen and how to see it.

May was another good month for me out and about with my iPhone. I continued to post photographs from my trip to Germany and Luxembourg with some of them making Flickr’s Explore, which is always a nice, little buzz. The photograph which means a lot to me for many different reasons was taken at a function we were at with the two kids in Dublin. I was hovering in the background, not really mixing with the gathered people, just observing how things were developing, hoping to get a few good photographs, when I was taken by two cracks in the wall beside me. Two little, squiggly cracks one on the window sill and the other running underneath it. They seem to be reaching out to each other, but then as if they remember the cause of their conflict, they pull away, but yet, they are together, perhaps stuck in their stubbornness, but together. I gave the shot the title Conflict and it is one of my all time favourite images.

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May

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April

There is no place I know of that engenders excitement in me* like airports. They are a true marvel of the modern world. In the space of a few short hours you can, almost magically, be transported from one side of the world to the other. How truly brilliant. And then there is wonder of seeing people from the four corners of the world all in transit if you are in a big airport like Amsterdam’s Schipol, for example.

In April of this year, I was in transit on my way to Nuremberg via Amsterdam. Inspired by a Flickr contact’s ( Mimo) recent images from an airport, I had the idea to get a low-down perspective shot of people on those travelators they have. You know the ones you step on to and you do not even have to take a step; you are just carried along. Standing on this travelator in Amsterdam’s Schipol airport, I was caught by the figure in front of me and how cool he looked travelling along this same travelator as I was on. I repositioned the bag I was carrying, so that it would not create an obstacle  and got down on my knees, turned the iPhone upside, placed my finger on the button and snapped. Later, I ran it through Instagram and rotated. The result is a very low-down perspective. You can see more of these I posted on my iPhone Flickr account.

Funny how things can change. In August of last year, my good Flickr friend, Mark T Simmons asked me to do a feature of the photo I am most proud of for the excellent mobiography website and I chose this image. I still love that shot, but now a few months later, I would choose the shot below as my favourite for April. I love the feeling of losing control, of inevitability that the shot creates. Do you agree?

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April

* To be honest, I must say that there is nothing to match the feeling of seeing the light appear through at the top of the steps from the tunnels of some of the very big GAA stadiums in Ireland. The wall of noise and sea of colour that meets you and the knowledge that in the next hour and half or so there will be a ferocious spectacle of skill and courage is unmatchable in terms of sheer excitement. Airports are a little more serene in comparison.

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