Sunday, March 27, 2011

Black Rock and around the court.

I've had a few positive photo excursions recently. The weather has been gorgeous and as a result enticing. I'm a little lazy, so even though I want to take pictures, I find it oddly difficult to drag myself out of the house to actually take the pictures. It's always very satisfying once I have though. Fortunately for me, I now have the added influence and encouragement of Andrew. He enjoys being indoors as much as I do (heh), but he also knows that photography is important to me and that I can use forceful nudges here and there.

This staircase is frequently engulfed in water from the tide.

So anywho, let's go to a few days ago. The sun was particularly blazing; I actually took off my coat for the first time in a long time. I was hot walking down the street back to the studio and that felt really nice. My boss took me out for food so we could discuss some organization restructure ideas of mine away from the bustle of the studio. He told me to take advantage of the beautiful weather and then dropped me off at Black Rock. I blogged about, and posted pictures of, Black Rock last summer too. It's a building/diving area on the coast along The Prom in Salthill. It's a fantastic place to be on a warm day, especially when armed with a camera.

Neat-o seaweed.

I sat on the edge of a cement partition for a while just soaking up the warmth of the sun. When I was in Ireland last summer I had only 3 legitimately warm days and I was honestly expecting misery and rain through this whole month. I've been very pleased. After mindless staring at the ocean I realized I only had a little bit of time before I had to walk back to work, so I set to work.

I wish I had had my 50mm with me. I had to crop this photo to get the perspective 
I wanted since my 24mm couldn't focus as close as I would have wished.

My first task set me to the staircase shown above. The few times I'd been to Black Rock before saw the tide up kind of high. I was fortunate this day because I was able to see a great amount of resilient sea life and rusted up old things on the shore.

My favorite from the day.

One wall was covered in mussels. So shiny, so abundant. Slightly luminescent. Speckled here and there were white swirling shells and I even saw some limpets. I almost leaned on a bed of closed up barnacles (that could have hurt) and I also found a shallow pool with a few glistening, closed up anemones. It was magical.

In this case the sun flares were perfect.

I'm not sure, but I think that's a small cluster of eggs.

Today I wrestled myself up and into a pair of shoes and out the front door. Everyday I walk past this odd cluster of tall, thin trees that's in a field adjacent to my house. It's kind of interesting, mostly at night, but I feel like it has potential. Today was the kind of day where Andrew's forceful nudging was greatly appreciated because I really wasn't feeling up to leaving the house >.>

Perfect opportunities for shallow DOF and manual focus practice.

Not too far down the street there was a semi-rowdy group of young adults sitting in lawn chairs on their driveway. They were loud and obnoxious and oddly distracting. I had a hard time focusing on my goals with them shrieking and honking with laughter in the background. Plus, I decided to wear my swishy/leafy skirt today and the tapered ends kept slapping against my ankles and making me jump thinking I had a bug or spider on me. Not to mention all of the thin dead twigs that were slapping up from my foot steps and poking me in the calves. It was an adventure.

Very spaced out.

I had an idea in my head of how I wanted to photograph this little copse of trees. I was seeing something sort of old, faded, maybe slightly out of focus. It's times like these that I wish I had an auto Holga filter, or a distorted lens. I need to save my money and get a lensbaby lens. Preferably the Composer. I loved the tilt/shift when I had my Techniques class, using a real tilt/shift camera no less, but the heft of the real camera was strenuous. 

I have a difficult time getting up tree shots that I like.

I'm calling today a successful outing. I wasn't feeling very hopeful about the shots while I was actually outside, but viewing them on the computer screen is always different. I was surprised by how many photos I was pleased with, and had to narrow them down to choose what would go up here. I didn't spend all that much time outside, but it was getting cold as the sun began to set and the hyenas in the lawn chairs were seriously bugging me.

Lots of brick over hurr.

Here's to another successful day sometime soon.


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Self portraits.

Sitting in my room, in the questionable armchair that I covered with a blanket. I just finished taking photos and sending them to Andrew. I asked him to help me keep up with my photo practice, seeing as it’s way too easy for me to let it slip by and be lazy! This morning I told him I didn’t feel like leaving the house and then I wondered aloud what I’d do while he was sleeping. He told me to take pictures and then he gave me assignment parameters: at least four images and no macro. I was like “No macro?! This is bullshit!” and he laughed and told me it’s an assignment. 

So, armed with that information, I looked around my room to see what kind of a scene I could attempt to setup. I decided that I hadn’t spent nearly enough time with the armchair and that the yellow wall behind it actually had potential. My biggest issue continues to be a lack of models. Someday I’ll fix this. For now I have been forced to use myself. I don’t like doing self portraits, they feel so self involved, plus they’re a lot more difficult and time consuming. Those last two points are bogus because they really only serve to continue to push me toward better technique and greater creative control over the camera.

After I got out of the shower I started to brainstorm some more about what I’d do. I spent some of today looking at photo shoots of Katy Perry, so those were still fresh in my mind. I was stuck on her legs and her retro style and therefore decided to do something with my legs. This at least gave my face a break. The other day I took 250 pictures of just my face and it was exhausting. I moved the armchair a bit away from the bed and then scooted my smaller wooden chair into position in front of the armchair. Then I took a stack of books and measured them up as a platform for my camera to sit on. I had a unique issue for this shoot in that I needed vertical images. Fortunately I didn’t have any incidences where my camera toppled off of the stack of books. Also, this would have been a great time to have my remote working, but sadly the battery is dead -_- 

From my self portraits the other night.
Either way I eventually got some OKish photos of my legs sticking up in the air and over the arm of the chair. It was fun enough and good practice in careful framing and patience. 
The pictures felt a little odd to me and while brainstorming positions I was also thinking about what kind of editing I would do to them. The brown of the chair and the yellow of the wall had me thinking ‘old faded film polaroid’ style. Andrew and I were actually just discussing polaroid film and I was telling him that we could save money by just making a template and dropping pictures into it as opposed to buying the real film. The real thing is pretty much always better, but that stuff is way too expensive. Anyway, I set to work making a template and I think it turned out alright. I’d do well to study a real image and try to recreate the feel of it. I’ll add it to the list :)


Friday, March 11, 2011

I walk to and from work.

Solicitor doors just down the street from the studio.

This will be filled with photos of that.

Alright, it is serious blogging time; there is a lot to catch up on! I almost feel overwhelmed. Where shall I start? It'll be difficult to go about this in a linear fashion, so why don't I just start talking about things as I think of them?

A not in use church.

First of all, I'd like to give a shout-out to Herbal Essences, because their line of volumizing and shine-inducing shampoo and conditioners are amazing. My hair doesn't feel thick, per say, but it certainly feels less limp and pathetic. I felt that that was important to put here because I bought the shampoo and conditioner upon my arrival. I haven't used Herbal Essences in a while, but I don't remember them being this good. Is it special in Ireland, or have they changed their formula? I'll have to investigate once I'm back home.

The door of the not in use church.

The weather has taken a turn for the wet and dreary. Normally I'm not bothered, but walking to and from work has changed my tune. It is far too damp out there. Not to mention cold. No, let's mention cold. It is so cold here. I mean, March is a stupid month for weather anyway, but this is excessive. I didn't bring any shoes other than converse because I... hm. OK so I'm not sure why. Regardless, that was a mistake. I should have brought a pair of winter/snow boots. I own two pairs, so I'm feeling a tad foolish at the current. I'm interested in keeping all of my toes, so I stopped into Dunnes on the way home today to look for some inexpensive boots. Why is it that shoes are either dirt cheap and of shoddy construction, or off the charts expensive and practical? And by practical I mean they're not going to fall apart. There are plenty of impractical shoes that are well built. There are also plenty of impractical shoes that are pretty much made of paper and scotch tape. I've derailed myself a bit. I have a goal of obtaining my shoes that will keep my toes on my feet. Moving on.

Gate along the front of a church.

I started working at the studio on the 1st and I am happy to report that it's going very well. Peter is very nice and fun to work with, as are his two main employees. I shall call them... Aurora and Philip, haha! Philip is from England and Aurora is from Germany. There's quite the diverse environment in there! It's very fun. I've had a chance to work with everyone now and I'm liking it a lot. It's a bit laid back even though there's a lot of work to be done. I can definitely tell when someone is feeling a touch stressed, but things have (so far) remained calm.

Excellent vine skeleton along the wall of an apartment building.

Something particularly special about what I'm doing over in the studio is presenting new ideas for their existing systems. Workflow and digital asset management, to be specific. Peter really liked the few things that I said when we met last summer, and my first day in he took me to a late breakfast to discuss some of my ideas in more detail. So far I have had plenty of opportunities to share my thoughts and opinions, and we're all working together to implement them to see if I can have a positive impact on the studio. It's truly a unique experience and I am extremely fortunate to be here doing this.

This is about halfway to the city centre from the studio. I haven't gone in yet, but I plan on it.

Excellently blue building next to the comic store.

Just as an aside, I keep playing with my hair because it feels so nice. I've been keeping it completely pulled back with a clip the past few days because it has been so freaking windy, and since it's down before bed I'm having a hayday with it!

Just a bend in the road. I wonder why that Wired Gaming place closed down?


Back side of the Roisin Dubh and some of the Corrib River. 

The studio is in Salthill and fairly close to the Prom. It takes me about 20 minutes to walk to work, so I'm getting a nice little round of cardio erryday. Although, that get counteracted by how much tea I've been drinking at the studio. I'm not accustomed to it, and I don't really like the flavor unless I have 3 teaspoons of sugar. That's a lot. Most people do one or half of one or something. If I have more than one cup a day then damn, that's too much sugar. And that's not even touching on the fact that every surface is covered in chocolate biscuits! I know I don't have to eat them, but if they're there and I'm allowed then I am going to eat them! The candy here is horrible, but the chocolate is amazing. I've missed it and I have to be careful. So far I've only had hot chocolate from Butler's once, and that's saying something. I've managed to show restraint in that area. Also, I haven't had mashed potatoes for lunch everyday; another incredible feat of willpower. If I can stay away from the mountains of chocolate then I'll be golden. Oh, and if I contain Coke consumption to only when I'm having whiskey.

Owen works at the Daybreak and his brother-in-law owns Health & Fitness next door!

So, a bit more about work. Peter does a wide variety of photography. He's one of the top wedding photographers in Ireland and just about everyone in Galway knows who he is or is at least familiar with his name. He does family photos, modeling/portrait photography, commercial, architecture and also small editorial type stuff. He covers a lot of the Debs photos for the schools too. He has a modest studio in the center of town with a cozy and open atmosphere. I really enjoy being in there. Thus far I've been doing all administrative and design work. On the 18th there are two shoots that he wants me to help with; one is an engagement shoot and another is a family portrait with five kids. Yeesh.

Harvest was where I went with my friends last summer every time we bought some drink. They're all closed now :(

My largest concern happened to come up on Monday, I think it was. Peter asked Philip to setup the lights in the studio for a shoot that was coming in later in the evening. Philip asked me if I'd ever setup a studio before and I was all, "Psh, yeah. Are you kidding me?". Actually I modestly replied, "Yes I have, but it never hurts to have a refresher. I don't know what brand of strobe you use; they're probably all similar but please show me." 8-B So I went into the studio space with him, he hands me a light meter.... and I just stared at it. My mind was an absolute blank. Talk about embarrassing! He goes, "What the hell are you doing?" and I laughed and shrugged and went, "I know this looks bad, it's just been a while and I'm having a lapse at the moment!"He directed me and once I was finished I handed him the light meter and walked back to my desk in shame.

Rickety and closed off bridge. It goes from a car and foot bridge to that weird stand-alone building.

You're not allowed to walk on it. Obviously.

Today he asked me again if I had any portrait photography experience. I hesitated for a second, knowing that everyone here is notorious for their jokery, before asking, "...are you being serious?" and he said yes, then went on to explain that he meant studio portrait photography. I waited another second before saying, "I know that what happened in the studio the other day showed to the contrary, but I promise you that I'm very well versed in studio photography. It has been almost a year since I've done it, so the knowledge isn't at the front of my mind. I promise that up until that point I spent two years in the studio! I just need a refresher!" he laughed and seemed to believe me >.> I'd love to get in there and prove to myself that I still know what I'm doing!

This place is near Massimo's and the Roisin Dubh. Shockingly good fries. The burgers aren't very good.

As for business away from work? I spend a lot of time at home. I like my house and my room except for the fact that it's cold. I was thrilled when I noticed a space heater in my room. There's no heat to speak of in the house. I believe it runs on gas and, well, the gas tank is empty! We just wear shoes and long sleeves and keep bundled up at night. I'm greatly looking forward to nicer weather.  Aside from the house being cold, it's very nice. Everything works as it should and I think I've finally figured out the washer and dryer. It's furnished but there are a few things to be desired in the kitchen. A wooden spoon, cookie sheet and spatula are just a few items I can think of. Sharp knives, there's another one. Good thing I can 'survive' off of peanut butter & jelly and Frosted Flakes! Just kidding, I've been eating pasta too.

It's nice inside there. I've been with Owen and Ger a few times.

My housemates are very nice. We'll call them... Allen and Titus. Allen is a law student and Titus is training to be a hotel manager. Allen's girlfriend... Tyra... is around a lot and she's just lovely. They seem like great company and it's a shame that I haven't made time to socialize with them yet. I will though! I definitely will. The house runs very smoothly, everyone is quite considerate. Somehow we haven't run into any issues with the bathroom, which is amazing. No one is ever in there when I need to get in, and as far as I know I haven't prevented anyone from being somewhere on time by hogging up the shower. Everyone does their dishes, every time, and we even put away one another's clean dishes that are drying.  I don't have the hang of the garbage schedule yet, but I have sorted the trash/recycle/compost and put them in their relevant bins, so that's good.

The upper portion of some shop fronts in the Latin Quarter.

Earlier this week I tried my hand at real cooking. Andrew gave me a few suggestions on what to buy and make, then he talked me through cooking over video chat. I ran into a few problems. Namely the fact that I don't know how to cook. There are basic aspects that elude me. Mistakes were made. Frustration was present. Cheese was melted. Chicken was ever so slightly burned. In the end I had some damn delicious homemade macaroni and cheese, pan seared chicken and some vegetables. In case you aren't paying attention, that means that I prepared raw meat all by myself. I had my hands all up ins that boneless skinless chicken fillet. It was gross, by the way.

This is a great little grocer. It looks so authentic and old-school from the outside. I'd like to make time to go in and look around.

This has become a bit excessive so I think I'm going to wrap it up. I've hardly touched on what has happened since I arrived and I'm hoping to get into a regular posting groove again. St. Patrick's Day is next week. This'll be interesting.

And finally the studio! I have to cross the street twice to get to it. It's confusing because the cars go all over the damn place at this intersection.

I'll end this with a few 'creative' photos. Good? Bad? I'm not sure yet. I like them though, and I certainly had fun creating them.


Popular Posts

Trying to find something?