The early bird…

One of the perks* of being a parent is getting up at oh-my-is-it-early o’clock every morning and go watch the sun rise. There is something that speaks to us as humans when we look at the night leaving space for the light of day. And there is something that speaks to us when we realise how freaking early sunrise is in Ireland in June…

We have been told that it’s not uncommon for babies to wake up very early during summer; insanely early, in fact. Sunrise around here is at about 4.30am these days, and being able to see it means that you had time to get up, get dressed, get the baby dressed, and then go out.

A little after sunrise in Portrane

Well, since I am up early in any case, I thought I might as well get something out of it; we might as well go for a walk and explore the area: we have only moved here recently anyway… In the past weeks we have been on many walks and hikes all over the coast, within a short drive. And since we are already out, I have started bringing a camera with me as a matter of course.

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Now, I always have a baby strapped to my chest, so a big camera with multiple lenses is out of the question; after all I am just trying to keep the little one calm (and perhaps make him sleep a little more). For these reasons, my default choice is my Fujifilm X100T.

It’s small, it’s light, it’s battered, and it’s scratched. Severely so. I have had it for years, and I have not been kind to it, but despite everything I have thrown at it, it just refused to break down.

I admit 35mm – in 35mm equivalent – is not my favourite focal length (I usually prefer either 28mm or 50mm), but when I am out and I don’t want to think about what gear I want or might need, then 35mm is fine. Also, the fact that I am picking a camera in a half asleep state at 4am helps me in making a decision: the x100T is the camera I keep by the door. That’s a huge component of why I pick it…

We are lucky to live in an area that has a lot to offer in terms of natural beauty, and so close to the sea and multiple parks! The sea is only a couple of kilometres away, so we can just go there and have a long walk on the beach, or on the cliff path to Portrane. Everything is so calm in the morning, and quiet.

There is something oddly satisfying and soothing in watching the sun rise over the horizon, waves crashing on the beach the only sound in your ear.

In many ways I am glad that the little one started waking up so early: I don’t think I would have ever pushed myself to wake up and go out so early. I would have missed all of this.

Going for a stroll

*I am trying to convince myself.

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!

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…

A day at the park: of horses and men

Okay, okay… I know: it’s been a while…

This summer has been quite uneventful (at least for me): no real holidays, all the time spent working and so on…

Today I finalyy got some photography done πŸ™‚

Photowalk in Phoenix Park! Ok, I know: been there, done that; but still…

Big bunch of guys, fighters, horses and games πŸ™‚

 

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Referee

Not many keepers, but lots of fun πŸ™‚

Easter rising centenary

This year marks the centenary of the Easter Rising, during which IrishΒ Republican took up arms against the British army.

The celebration included a parade featuring Irish soldiers from many different forces.

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We tried to catch a few glimpes of the parade (which wasn’t easy due to the crowd) and here’s part of the result…

It was a very nice (and cold) day…

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I lost count of the number of sesaons we had this weekend, but look at the (double) rainbow!!! If you can’t see the second, it’s on the right… ending on the smokestacks…

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Irish Army seal of approval

St. Patrick’s day!

First year in Ireland, first St. Patrick’s day in Dublin!

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‘Stay at home’, they said. ‘It’s going to be crazy’, they said. I didn’t listen πŸ™‚ .

We met at 10 to go see the parade, we were very close to the route it would take. We got even closer, we could have almost touched them… And still we couldn’t see anything…

I have rarely seen so many people just hanging around and having fun (and pints, but mostly fun…).

I even brought my camera, hoping to get some good shots… I shouldn’t have bothered πŸ˜€

Still, the best thing to see were the people…

 

And, of course, when everything was over…

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Cleaning up

Falconry workshop

It’s been a while since I had the chance to shoot birds, and this week a workshop on falconry provided the perfect occasion to do it again πŸ™‚ .

It was also the perfect occasion to remind how much I miss my long lenses 😦 .

Still, good day, great group, wonderful birds… and a couple of decent pictures…

Now I need to get a proper lens for this kind of things… πŸ˜›

 

Rainy Dublin

 

Went out yesterday (last week, as of now πŸ™‚ )… Rain… So much rain…

Even if I was actually out for a very short time I managed to get completely wet (and miserable).

I only managed to get a few snaps around the city centre and of the right2water thing…

You’re definitely never boring, Dublin… πŸ˜€

Taking a short break from the rain…

Last Saturday we had a short break from the norm (you know… sunny weekdays, rainy weekends… the usual…). The sun came out on Sunday for a few hours (including a brief hailstorm in the middle of the day 😦 ).

Great day to wander the streets and discover new things about the city:

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Who knew…

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Blue skies in Dublin

Also, good chance to go out on a photowalk with like-minded people and just shoot away…

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GPO and spire

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Our main subjects were supposed to be streets and buildings, but you know how these things go…

What else to say… Great people, sun (and hail), and photos… A wonderful day πŸ™‚ .