Wicklow – Day One

10 06 2011

 

Ah, the countryside. The perfect place for some landscape shots given, y’know, all the land and scape and stuff. Unfortunately it pissed rain like something out of the bible. Big drops that covered half the dashboard of my car. So, most of the day was spent in the car eating strawberries and listening to Adam & Joe with Siobhan, which was great, but when you’d specifically planned to take pictures that day, it felt a tad disheartening.

I did get to use my extremely cheap new, no-brand ND 8 filters and new circular polariser though. Turns out you do get what you pay for… But they were usuable. Could’ve spent about 90 on the lot and instead paid only 21 quid on the cheapo ones. They did the job, but were not exactly 4-stop filters. And they just totally killed the contrast in every image too.

The above picture was taken on Military Road (or thereabouts, I’m a bit rubbish with directions/locations). It’s a 2.5 second exposure at f32 with two 8nd filters and a 4nd grad nd filter too. It was windy as feck and spitting rain too, so it’s been through photoshop to clean it up. If you click it you can see it larger over on Flickr.

Here’s another one – it’s Lough Tay:

That’s an ELEVEN image composite right there. Click to see it slightly larger. Flickr can’t really handle its awesomeness…

Pity it’s a tad dull. But I shall be returning sometime soon, hopefully at dusk (or if I’m feeling adventurous, dawn – which is like 4:20 or something ridiculous these days)





Croupier, Friend? and C!ties, Workman’s Club, Dublin, 10.02.2011

11 02 2011

Last night I attended the best gig I’ve been to in a long time. Croupier, Friend? and C!ties played the workman’s club to a fantastic crowd. It was the first time seeing all of these bands live, but it won’t be the last. Excellent performances all around, with a particularly strong set from Friend?.

C!ties

 

 

Friend?

 

 

 

Croupier

You can download two simply brilliant EPs for free from these bands too! Here is Croupier’s, and This C!ties





FAT – Fringe Festival Photoshoot

1 06 2010

You know the deal by now, click the image to see it larger

Having been contacted by the lovely people behind FAT, my first photoshoot was arranged. The bag was packed, two strobes in tow and my new umbrella set-up was taken along too. I was very excirreh.

Turned out the photoshoot was in a bathroom, so the umbrella was abandoned as it was far too big to fit into the room itself when open, without obstructing someone within the shot. So I was shooting with two bare flashes, hidden within the scenes. I took a reading of the room, getting a nice scene and as per David Hobby’s Strobist advice, I underexposed two stops (I actually brought it down a little more later) and adjusted the flashes to below 1/10 power each (because they were direct and not being dispersed by the umbrella). There was a little bit of flying by the pants going on here – tweaking on up and one down as need depended. Small spaces are a nightmare to shoot in – too much bouncing light and the cluttered room drew odd shadows all over the place. 90% of the time the flashes were pointed directly up, hoping to eliminate these shadows and give a nice, even spread of light.

Thankfully the girls and boy knew exactly what they wanted, and almost how they wanted it, so I was left with the simple task of shooting beautiful people, who were not camera shy. I needed to give minimal instructions – “watch your positioning” and “faces towards me” was about as difficult as it got – these guys knew how to work a camera. Took a load off my mind, I was worried about directing strangers, being bossy to them in their own home. But I got lucky first time out.

The show is an interesting concept; it looks at the fascination with image in today’s world and the importance placed upon glamour – even in things that are not necessarily that beautiful. Don’t take my word for it – especially given my ability to get the wrong end of the stick and appalling grasp of the English language. Check it out yourself (link will be added when available!)

I toyed with the images in Photoshop afterwards, but nothing too strenuous – high pass filters, gaussian blurs, fiddling with curves and colour balances. Here are some quick examples:

Here I selected the pants of Stephen, both bras on show and the lips’ of the ladies. Each got a selection of their own and an adjustment with the colour balance tool. The pants  became quite garish and needed the saturation to be pulled down and a small bit of dodging and burning to get them looking somewhat realistic. The yellow bra was changed  from a pale purple, and Im quite happy that it comes across believable enough. Think the yellow is needed too – the primary colours really make this image ‘pop’!

The lips are a little bit overdone, but I think that’s part of the point! Again, this was just a colour balance tweak.

The whites of everyone’s eyes (everyone except Oonagh’s – whose you can’t see anyway) have been boosted. I took this idea from a book of wartime photography I was given. I  didn’t realise this was an after effect, but in retrospect, who the hell has eyes naturally that white?! I first utilized this in the Faithless edits, but i think I’ve come to use it to  better effect here.

This one is a little bit more constrained. The main edit here was brightening up the foreground. The flashes (yes, I know, you can see one on the bath there…) were all aimed high, resulting in lovely tones up top, but a very shaded lower part of the image. A quick selection and curves adjustment got it up to something a little better, without taking the focus away from the main character in this scene. Think this one came out nicely exposed, the outside window is still clean and not burned-out and the faces are all well lit!

Lovely floor too, innit?

And finally there was the headshots.

This came out best:

It was desaturated using the colour balance method, her face was selected inverted and then the rest of the scene was subject to a gaussian blur of 3.7 pixels. Her eyes were  selected and given a smart sharpen and the lipstick was made darker with a small bit of burning.

Unsurprisingly, it’s already been a hit over on flickr (modest, me? yeah, I know). Less than 60 after being  uploaded it had been favourited. As had quite a few of this shoot. Beautiful people in revealing clothes will do wonders for your flickr stats. I’m up to 300 views in less than an  hour after this batch was put up.

As always there’s more over on my Flickr

Oh, and there’s still more editing to be done – 700 shots from yesterday and I’ve only gotten around to addressing about half so far, so stay tuned!





And So I Watch You From Afar…

26 03 2010

Okay, not my sharpest images, but I don’t really mind this time. It was more about the music this time.

And So I Watch You From Afar (ASIWYFA) played in MusicMaker  for State.ie’s inaugural ‘State Intervention’. This free gig is the first in what appears to be a big project for State – and if it is anything to go by, they could have a gem in their hands – nobody in Ireland is offering free gigs in Dublin for no other reason than they can. Could go down well in times like these!

The Belfast boys were jaw-dropping. The perfect way to kick off a venture like this. I have never seen them live before, but the 60 or so people who squeezed into the downstairs of the Exchequer Street shop obviously had.  They clapped and cheered in time to the four songs the boys treated us to. And make no mistake about it, ASIWYFA deserve the hype that has surrounded them.

They climbed on pricey amps that they did not own, leaping from here to the stage provided and all the while nailing intricate licks, solos and beats. They’re a tight, tight band – impromptu improvisations are worked into tracks effortlessly, but they never miss a beat. And they seem to enjoy it. Genuinely. It was a blistering set, one that was over too quickly for most people’s likings. Except maybe the oweners’.

Hopefully this is a sign of things to come from the State Intervention. It was nice to be at a ‘ninja gig’. Dublin doesn’t offer enough things like this.  There’s a fantastic music scene out there right now and a lot of people with more time on their hands than before, no better time to launch it. Here’s looking forward to #2!

Unfortunately I won’t be able to attend ASIWYFA’s show tonight in ALT, but next time they’re around, I’m there. And I’ll get better pictures, too…