Thursday, November 26, 2009

Archaeological Excavations at Ballinskelligs Castle

                                                          Ballinskelligs Castle on a Winter´s morning

Only now I came across a website which publishes archaeological findings in Ireland.
If you want to know what exatly was found during the excavation of Ballinskelligs Castle ( I suppose for the book about The Iveragh Peninsula, An Archaeological Survey of South Kerry, Cork University Press,1996 by Ann O´Sullivan and John Seehan) read about it in detail on

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sunrise over Ballinskelligs Castle in late November

                          Ballinskelligs Castle , Co. Kerry
To capture the sun rising at this time of the year at least means you don´t have to get up too early.
I went to Ballinskelligs Beach a bit earlier actually to find out the best positions and after taking a few shots of the sunrays illuminating the clouds from a low angle I realised the light would be shining through one of Ballinskelligs Castles windows soon- which they did...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Valentia Lighthouse in a Spray of Salty Waters

                                             Valentia Lighthouse at Cromwell Point

Well, today was not exactly the weather for any outdoor pursuits, with very high winds and the occasional wintery shower. Still, I was tempted to see and take photographs of the big waves at Valentia Islands´ north side around the lighthouse. I didn´t go down the last part of the road for fear of getting drenched and for my camera gear beeing destroyed in a freak wave. It was quite impressing however to see and feel the sheer power of the elements.
Afterwards I took care to clean tripod et all thoroughly from any salty spray which you need to do even in finer weather conditions when you take photos near the sea.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Christmas in the Heart

It does not feel like Christmas yet, it is warm, sunny and not windy today for a change. Will be out later hopefully to catch the sunset...
Every year before Christmas we sort of wait for Fairytale of New York to beeing played on the radio as a reliable harbinger of the holiday.
This year I think, Bob Dylan´s Polka rhythmed "Must be Santa" must be a sure runner up...

Photowalk Killarney- a one day photo workshop

A one day photo workshop and walk in Killarney´s National Park will take place on November 28, 2009. My photography classes´ participants from Waterville, Caherciveen and I will meet at Ross Castle car park at 10 a.m. to capture some pictures along the shores of Lough Leane and of Ross Castle.
After that we will visit Torc Waterfall and hopefully be able to take some blurred water images. Finally we will have some little time to spend near Muckross House.

Everybody, not only course members, welcome! There is no workshop fee!
If you have a tripod please bring it with you!!!

(Also sturdy shoes, raingear etc...)
I am looking forward to seeing you there!
(If you have any questions ring me on 087 6606586)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Horse Island in Ballinskelligs Bay

It is quite surprising how well the light conditions in November are for taking landscape photographs. The clear and crisp winter light has this blueish cold colour temperature which is quite dramatic and conveys a sense of lonelyness and longing mood. The high swell of the Atlantic Sea after our usual stormy weather and the occasional illuminating sun shine only add to the drama.

Horse Island is a small island in Ballinskelligs Bay, not far from the pier, where fishermen and holiday people have their boats moored during the Summer months. As well as that some boats will go to Skellig Michael in Summer if the weather is favourable.
The Irish name for Horse Island is Oileán na gCapall, and Michael Kirby, fisherman, painter and poet from Ballinskelligs (1906-2005) writes in one of his books, Skelligs Calling, about the Irish place names in and around  Ballinskelligs Bay, that it isn´t quite clear where the name comes from but that there are more than this Oileán na gCapall along the Irish coast.
Until the end of the 1950s there lived two families on Horse Island, the Barrys und the Fitzgeralds, when life became too hard and uncomfortable on the rather barren island, especially in Winter. Even if the distance from Ballinskelligs Pier to the island is not that far, a heavy swell from the Atlantic through the narrow sound made crossing by boat impossible a lot of the time and the families finally moved to the mainland.
In his book Skelligside Michael Kirby writes about the Lady of Horse Island, his aunt Julia Kirby, who in the 1860s married a David Fitzgerald from the island but was soon left a widow with six children.
Her relatives from Ballinskelligs helped as much as they could and often in Spring French fishing boats would come for mackerel and the Breton fishermen would keep her company and she would look after them when the weather was to rough for them to go out with their boats. Tobacco and "sour" red wine was exchanged in the village for milk and eggs and some French cooking of cockels and mussels and sea snails was introduced to the area.



Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sun France

For all of you who long for a bit of sunnier climes right now, maybe my new photobook about the South of France can cheer you up a little.
The pictures in this book were taken on a trip to the South of France in September 2009. The only camera I had with me was a Panasonic Lumix LX3, a camera that I really started to like after working with it for the last couple of month. The camera is very light compared with the DSLR that I usually use and the image quality is very good.
The great advantage of those small pocket-sized cameras is that you can carry them around with you all the time and use them as a kind of diary or sketchbook.
A particularly wonderful feature of the LX3 is the ability to set everything, including the focus, manually. I shot all images in aperture priority mode, for convenience.
After taking some hundred shots I changed the focus setting to manual focus and
took photos that are intentional blurred or seem to be out of focus. I like the blurred images actually more than the ones I had taken before, mainly because they remind me of some French Impressionist paintings and leave more space for imagination and phantasy . I am still experimenting with the manual focus and use different aperture settings to get some interesting shots with this great little camera.
A book with other images from the same trip will follow soon.

Click on the book to enlarge and to look at the photographs in your own time.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Sunset over St. Finian´s Bay

Whenever you get a bit of calm weather now get out your camera gear including the tripod and chase the rare but beautiful winter light. Sunset comes earlier now and with it the chance to capture flowing water at longer shutterspeed. Be patient waiting for that special light, even after sunset there can be magical streaks of pinks, purples and reds in the sky - combined with threatening dark clouds you will get these moody landscape images.
Be careful for yourself and your gear and don´t forget to wash off any salt water from tripod etc...

Monday, November 02, 2009

Bray Head on a November´s Sunday Afternoon

                                         The Skellig Islands

Taking photographs in Winter needn´t be dull, even if there is the odd rain shower. Once the sky is not totally overcast all the time, shafts of sunlight can make a scene look very dramatic indeed.
Bray Head is at the westernmost tip of Valentia Island, there is even a proper way to walk up to the old tower, from where the Skelligs can be seen to the South West and the Blasket Islands to the North.
The photograph above was cropped in Photoshop, to make it look a bit more interesting.