Catching up

It’s hard to believe it’s been almost three years since I last posted anything here. I would try to apologise for it and promise that I will keep this blog updated more often, but let’s be real… I mean, I will try, but I am not going to commit to anything.

So… what’s new? Well not much… I mean, we had a few very uneventful years, haven’t we? It’s not like a global health crisis happened, or anything. And in the middle of all this, to make things more interesting, we had a few family events too: we decided to get married, we did get married, we had a child, we bought a house, and we moved… The pandemic was just there to make things more interesting for us. To make sure we wouldn’t get bored.

I will try to add a post or two about some of these stories, the wedding in particular was a modern day Odyssey.

Life has changed quite a bit, and not all of it was for the best; all of the family developments were the stuff dreams are made out of, but all the rest… social distancing, isolation, anxiety, not being able to meet family and friends… They have taken a toll on us, especially the part about family. We still have grandparents who have not met their grandchild yet. Thankfully things have slowly started going back to normal, and we are beginning to see signs of hope.

In all this, I have decided to start writing again. Not much: I am not making any promises, especially since our lives have changed so much, and I am not likely to be able to do the kind of photography I like the most, since it usually requires crowds and big events… As a consequence, my wife suggested that I could start a new type of post, something along the lines of “How did I get this shot”, in which I explain the whole process behind a finished image. The idea is to describe the choice of shutter speed, aperture, and ISO, describe the whole development process, and then explain the choices behind post processing and what I was trying to achieve. Apparently this has been more useful than “me rambling on for hours on photography techniques and theory of photography”… I’m sure she meant it as a compliment…

What else to say; let’s see if I can actually go on writing posts this time around, or if we’ll have to wait another three or four years for the next post.

May you have a good light!

Pride 2018 – late is better than never…

Oooh boy, it’s been a while! Almost 5 months!

I have some catching up to do, and I have decided to start from the Dublin Pride Parade, held last summer (I know it’s been a while, but I did get a few good pics from that one 😉 ).

The day was nice and bright (a bit too hot if you ask me), and the parade was as crowded as ever!

A great crowd of happy, proud people:

And of course, you can always spot the Italians! 😀

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You can always spot the Italians…

Early morning in the mist

“Go to the lighthouse for sunrise!”, they said; “It’ll be grand! You’ll get great pictures!”, they said. “Great idea…”, I thought…

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A grand day indeed…

That was how it began.

The previous day was nothing but a flurry of “Should we?”, “Shouldn’t we?”, “Let’s do this!”, “But sunrise is at 5AM! That’s too early!”, “It’ll be worth it.”, “Are you sure?”, “Yeah, we’ll get great photos!”.

Once we convinced ourselves that it was a great idea, we got our stuff ready: what do you need to photograph dawn? Most people would be fine with a camera and a lens, but me? No sir, let’s do it big. I should get at least four lenses, and possibly a spare camera, you never know… (don’t judge me, that place is jinxed: while there I have been in a storm once and swallowed by the sea a few months later).

Imagine leaving your home in the middle of the night, carrying a horribly heavy backpack, filled with things that you ABSOLUTELY need to have on you (not really though); imagine struggling to get a taxi while in a crowd of half crazed/half drunk teenagers (it was a Sunday before a bank holiday, and there had been a concert of some kind in the city); imagine getting at your target location after spending a good fifteen minutes trying to convince your cabby to drive you through isolated and dark roads; imagine then looking at the clear sky and at your hopes to get a great pic of the sun rising from the sea…

Now, imagine walking towards your target, and – as you’re walking – realizing that all around you a very thick mist is appearing as if out of nowhere [*sound of hopes being crushed*]. I was kinda like being on a set of a pirate movie…. Water all around, all sounds muffled by the mist, the smell of seaweeds and fish, the sea so eerily calm… it was almost like we were about to be hit by some kind of curse (‘The Curse of the Black Pearl’ came to mind).

No such thing happened (phew).

So we spent a couple of hours half complaining, half making fun of the situation. We also spent some time taking pictures as the day grew brighter:

And the, all of a sudden, out of the mist… a single cyclist (a pretty unexpected event, am I right?).

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The cyclist

We weren’t the only hopeless photographers lost in the mist! Yay…

And that’s when the day turned, when the disappointed photographers started to make their way back to land. That’s when the sun started showing over the horizon (I assume, we couldn’t really see it, but the day grew brighter).

The mist started to fade, we were suddenly able to actually see the sea (did I mention how we couldn’t even do that?).

And that’s also when we saw the sun. We had clearly missed sunrise, as the disc was WELL above the horizon.

And thus my SECOND attempt to shoot sunrise at Poolbeg lighthouse failed. It’s time to start planning for the next. And, you know, third time’s a charm…

Barren Burren

A group of photographers, a wonderful location, and good weather (for Ireland)… This is indeed a good mix 🙂

We spent the nights in the village of Doolin, which we used as base to visit the area around the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren.

Day 1: The Burren and the Cliffs of Moher.

After the 7 Km wal from the Cliffs back to Doolin we spent some interesting and lovely time in the local pubs, delighted by the a great local band.

The weekend didn’t last long though: the end came way too early 😦

Great weekend, some decent shots…

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Black Head Lighthouse

We even got to Father Ted’s house, even though we only manage to meet Father Jack :/

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Father Ted’s house

New beginnings in Italy

Ok… I haven’t written a new post in ages… I think it might have been 6 months already :/

I haven’t really taken many photos in november and December 2017, but I did go back to Italy for New Year’s and I did travel around for a few days 🙂 .

Verona

The city of romance: the city of Romeo and Juliet (apparently everybody remembers the love story and forgets about its extremely high death rate and its very short duration).

Beautiful city, if you manage to visit it when it’s not foggy out…

Bologna

“La dotta, la grassa, la rossa”. If you don’t know what that means, you have to find out now 😛

Bologna is a beautiful city (and since I am from Modena, the neighbouring city, it hurts me to say this 🙂 ), rich in history and architecture.

And the food… THE FOOD!!

Venezia

No introduction needed for this one.

Siena

Siena is a gem in the centre of Tuscany. While not as popular as Firenze it sure has a lot to offer…

 

 

Sometimes I wish I could go back more often and roam the country with my camera…

Wild West

A few weeks ago, I joined a group of photographers on a trip to Clare Island (for thos of you who don’t know where that is, I included a map below).

Clare Island

Clare Island

The place is a mixture of wild and civilised: very few people live there, and all basic human necessities can be satisfied (by that, I mean there is a pub on the island).

The trip was supposed to be mostly for landscape photography and to capture the essence of the island, and the island did deliver 🙂

It was nice to see how all the Italians in the groups simply had to take the most difficult path and climb the hill on the island: “It’s there: we have to!”… Crazy people… 8)

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In the bog

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In the bog 2

We were even blessed with clear skies and a beautiful sunrise on the beach:

The island is wonderful, everyone should at least visit it for a day. It can be a very zen-like experience:

Homeless demonstration

The housing crisis in Dublin is getting worse and worse… It even managed to unite a good chunk of the population, which rallied to protest against the insane situation that we’re living.

Th enumber of homeless people in the city is reaching astonishing levels…

Let’s pray the government finds a solution soon. For all people in the country…

Bray air display 2017

Mad day!

DART on the brink of collapse, thousands and thousands of people and air acrobatics! Last Sunday, Bray  was this and much more…

And not only the skies were interesting: th epeople there were an interesting subject too 🙂

It was a pity we missed the start, but getting there had not been easy…

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Give me something to remember

Saltee islands pt. II

Saltee islands again, after last year (see here).

And again, we were lucky with the weather: after a gloomy morning  we had a good day for picture taking.

Wind and water

Wind and water (from the cabin 🙂 )

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The landing

We were blessed with a sunny(ish) day, so we managed to dry up quiclky after the boat ride. I was a bit windy and I ended up soaked. At least for the first 10 minutes 🙂 .

After that we moved to the the first nesting placve we were going to visit:

Unfortunately we didn’t see as many puffins as last year 😦

After some time in the howling wind we moved to the gannets’ nesting place.

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The easy path to the nests

After the last rocky bit (which was a bit of a challenge for somebody) we got the the nests. You can smell it long before you see it…

And that was it for the day: unfortunately we couldn’t stay for very long and soon had to go back to the boats (which turned out to be an adventure itself).

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Time to leave

We’ll be back next year 🙂 !!

Due west

You know that feeling when you set on a trip with no particular expectations? Sure, you know you’ll have a great time, but you don’t know why or what is awaiting you…

I’ve just come back from a quick trip to the west of the country, sure that I’d find myself in heavy rain most of the time, that I’d be freezing in ice-cold wind every day, but that I’d eventually be very satisfied with the places I’d visit. I was somewhat disappointed when the weather turned for the better and we even had a few sunny days (NOT true, I was not disappointed at all 🙂 ).

We began with Connemara…

 Followed by a trip little ways up north, through Westport and all the way to Achill Island…

Beautiful places (and scary roads, especially the one leading to Keem Bay D: ).

But then it was time to head back down south, to visit the Cliffs of Moher and Aran Islands (well, one of them).

A brief stop in Galway to get soaked in rain and see a few oldie cars.

And five days had already gone by: already time to go back home. On the way we got to meet some fairies though…