Month: December 2015

Look back. Smile back.

new year

Another Christmas slipped away.  The last week of the year is that nebulous time we are not sure about –  either we want it to last longer, or jump straight into the New Year.  Some people spend this time frantically trying to tie up loose ends; some are adding fresh illusions to their New Year’s resolution lists; some just enjoy these unstructured, lazy days.

It is not uncommon for people to look back at the year that was.

Did anything extraordinary happen to you in 2015? The most extraordinary thing I can think about is that I have seen the Blood Moon twice  – first in April in the USA, and then in September in Ireland.

moon usa

moon eire

My daughter and her family have been  a source of joy,  as always. My friends were always there for me too.  I cannot recall any major disappointment that would take me by surprise.  The older I get the less surprised I am about anything. Don’t get me wrong – I am in awe of the world around me – it is not a surprise that the world  is awesome.

Chicago

I have met amazing people…

…and have got new experiences.

I do appreciate friendship…

… but I can go solo if need be. This year was a great challenge.

Christmas is about family and home. New Year is about our global family. If you ever stood in the city square during the New Year’s Eve countdown, you know what I mean.

Look back, and smile back – you have had happy moments, you have overcome adversity, you have been appreciated. Look ahead and don’t be afraid.  Another 366 (!) days of photography, writing, painting,  studying, traveling, reading and pondering.  You will find exactly what you are looking for. Living is the best opportunity for being victorious.

Happy, prosperous, safe, healthy, amazing New Year to you all!

With much love

Inese

Merry Christmas and Happy New 2016!

christmas

Merry Christmas to you all, my dear blogger Friends! Joy to the World!

Joy to those who are celebrating with their families; joy to those who are with their friends; joy to the lonely. Blessings of peace and love to all.

I want to share some photographs I took in the last couple of days.

Waterford Winterval Festival is over,  and tonight the city center is unusually quiet. This Express Train had been riding around every night since the end of November.

christmas

christmas

Even the hurricane Eva couldn’t stop it.

christmas

Riding the carousel was another fun thing you could do in Waterford.

christmas

Spinning!

christmas

The full moon is hiding in the clouds – the last day of the festival.

christmas

Santa Sleigh – the last ride of the season.

christmas

I know that this festival wasn’t anything breathtaking – just a regular retail business with a bit of tinsel added for festiveness.  What I want to say is that Christmas time brings out the best in people, and this ‘best’ – sparkling eyes, smiles and happy laughter are a reflection of the joy within. It is what makes  Christmas festivals  special.

Let’s hope that this joy stays with us throughout the New Year and brightens ours days, softens our hearts and opens our minds for good things to enter.

IneseMjPhotographyHave a Happy Christmas!

Goats and monkeys!

goats

Flu hit me Monday. I almost have no memory of the first two days, just some strange dreams and random, chaotic thoughts. Thursday my head cleared up a bit so that I could think about my next blog post making notes on a piece of paper ( I was too weak to open my laptop). The misery of my condition couldn’t produce anything cheerful, and somehow I started thinking about all the innocent creatures of this world who’ve got to suffer for nothing.  Goats came to mind.

My first image was  taken on a bright summer morning during Waterford Hot Air Ballooning Championship . I got a few good shots at the take off in the grounds of Waterford Castle, and was on my road to Passage East where I expected to take a ferry and cross to Co Wexford.  I was almost there when the events took a rather surreal turn and the scene changed to somewhat apocalyptic in a matter of seconds. The goats. They started falling out of the thick bushes,  off the almost vertical cliff – all sizes, shapes, genders and breeds. The sun was blinding me, but true to myself I was pressing the shutter. Two cars in front of me navigated out of the scene when more goats jumped from above, not less than a hundred of them, and I was stuck. I missed the ferry, but took a great set of pictures.

Goat is one of the first domesticated animals. When and where he ruined his reputation, is not clear, but he is associated with the satyr Pan, notoriously mischievous god who had a long beard, goat legs and horns.  Read this article, it is very informative and amusing.

Pan was so ugly that even his mother run away from him horrified and disgusted.  It is where the word ‘panic’ came from. I don’t know what to say,  but look at these pictures and prove to me that this goat is not a saint among his people.

goat

goat

Some goats have a better fate. The picture below was taken ten years ago, in Killorglin, Co Kerry.  Every August people gather to celebrate Puck Fair in Killorglin, and a goat is crowned to become a king of the land for three days ( you can watch a video  on this link). The earliest known reference to Puck Fair is a charter by King  James I, dated 1613, granting a legal status to the existing fair.  The farm hands had a clause in their contract to be free of work for those three days.

The festival is a great event, and I hope to attend it some day. If you travel Ireland around 10 – 12 August, make a note.

king puck

These skinny goats were spotted in Bunratty Castle, Co Limerick.

Bunratty Folk Park

Co Kerry has a weakness for goats – in town of Dingle, Goat Street is an extension of the Main Street.

dingle

In the Shakespearean tragedy, Iago works Othello into such a state of jealousy, that the poor man imagines things that have never happened. He exits the scene with the exclamation ‘Goats and monkeys!’ using the name of innocent creatures to express his disgust.

Cassio shall have my place. And, sir, tonight
I do entreat that we may sup together.
You are welcome, sir, to Cyprus. Goats and monkeys!
 Using Desdemona’s words, I can tell that, concerning goats, “… I have spoken for you all my best “,  and now I should speak for monkeys too, which would be only fair. Look at the picture – this face speaks volumes. Don’t judge monkeys!

monkey

The Hot Air Balloon  Festival ended with amazing take off from Waterford Airport, but I will remember it because of the Passage East goats.

hot air

I do hope I have been a good advocate for the creatures not favored by some. What if we change the tradition and make “Goats and monkeys” a funny exclamation, not a symbol of immorality? It is the 21st century, after all.

Happy Christmas to you all, peace, love, inspiration and joy!

IneseMjPhotographyHave a wonderful weekend!

A letter to Mark and Priscilla they will never read

Dear Mark and Priscilla!

Many happy wishes and congratulations on the birth of your little daughter Max! There is nothing like the birth of a new child to restore hope to the world.

I have read about your pledge. I sincerely hope that this money will make a difference, not just change hands. There are many good causes where your money can do miracles, and if you profit from your good deeds, it is absolutely fine with me. Whatever the critics say.

I understand that this is a done deal, and you have planned everything for the rest of your lifetime, but in case you change your mind, or in case some of your wealthy friends are looking for a good cause, there is one I would suggest.

The Internet is a blessing. Uses of the Internet  are unlimited. Many people make a living off the internet and get wealthy, like you did.

shadow

Some people use the internet to find, abduct and sell children including babies and  toddlers. There are hundreds of millions children pornography images and videos  in the internet. Millions of children are used in commercial sex – they are abused and filmed for pornographic videos, trafficked into brothels. Millions of children are raped and killed. Many sex offenders had viewed pornography prior to committing sex offenses and murders. Dr. Michael Seto from International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children estimated that 3% of the male population is aroused by  pedophilic stimuli.

Most of sex offenders use social networking sites to gain home or school information about their victims.

You wrote to your daughter that you felt “a great responsibility to leave the world a better place for you and all children”. You want to use that money to “advance human potential and promote equality for all children in the next generation.” What you say is wonderful.

I know that cleaning up the bottomless Internet is almost impossible, but with the money like yours, there is a chance. Your money and new technologies can save lives, you just need the courage.

Research indicates that at least 200 million girls and 100 million boys will be sexually abused before they reach adulthood. My heart is bleeding.

I don’t see a better cause than creating a safe future for children.

PS Each of us can do something about it. Or stop doing something we should not be doing.

IneseMjPhotography Stay safe!

From South to North and back – The end

EElena Shumilova workshop

This is the last blog post of the series about my Inishowen adventures (starting from October 23). I miss my favorite models, and hope to work with them some time next year.

map of ireland

After leaving Abbeyleix, I drove to Port Laois where I stuck for almost an hour, changed my route, and headed to Tullamore Co Offaly, the motherland of Tullamore Dew, the triple distilled Irish whiskey.There I took this picture of the Visitor Center with the neighborhood of happy consumers in background.

tullamore

After that I crossed the  bridge over the Grand Canal and proceeded to Mullingar, Co Westmeath.

tullamore

The sun started to show up but the fog didn’t clear away. My plan was to stop at the Belvedere House and Gardens on the shores of Lough Ennell to take a break from driving and eat something.

belvedere

The house was built by Robert Rochfort in the 18 century. This man had big issues with his family. He had incarcerated his wife in their previous home at Gaulstown for an alleged affair with his brother Arthur, whom he later put in debtors’ prison in Dublin. He also built the Jealous Wall after falling out with his other brother George, to block off the view of his house on the adjacent estate.

belvedere

The wall is built at a distance from the Belvedere House, and it is very high to ensure that the offensive sight is blocked off.

I walked through the gardens  down to the lake and back. I shared my sandwich with a friendly goat, took some photographs, and resumed my journey.

belvedere

I didn’t stop in Mullingar, but took a photograph of the Cathedral of Christ The King.

mullingar

I took R394 through Castlepollard because it is familiar to me and very beautiful. After the village of Finnea I entered Co Cavan. My luck was obviously pushed too far.

Driving around Cavan, I missed my turn to Cloverhill and wasted at least 30 minutes until I figured out where on earth I was. They say that the Celtic word for Cavan means both ‘hollow‘ and ‘small hill’… Do you remember hoodoos? There is another lovely word for you – drumlin, a clay hill of glacial origin. In between drumlins the valleys are poorly drained, with bogs and lakes.

bogs

(William) Percy French (1854 – 1920) once wrote:

The Garden of Eden has vanished, they say,
But I know the lie of it still.
Just turn to the left at the Bridge of Finnea,
And stop when halfway to Cootehill.

I read this poem with a map in my hands trying to figure out where was he coming from when he arrived to Finnea… I think I have to go to Cavan again to find out…

In Clones Co Monaghan I got lost again. I didn’t miss my turn or anything, I just didn’t know how to get to Omagh. Well, I knew the long way ( I used it on my way home), but there was a tiny road on the map  that I wanted to explore. I ate a 99 and walked around the square. Trust the 99, it is a cure for everything. I came across the guy who stood idling in the doorway, and he explained me how to find the road. He warned me of the dangers I might encounter, wild sheep etc. I was only happy to hear that 🙂 With his directions, off I went. My luck was back – not like in this video 🙂

A narrow country road took me to Fivemiletown Co Tyrone, and then up North to Fintona.

murley mountain

Halfway between Fintona and Fivemiletown lies Murley Mountain.

workshop 1 185ares

workshop 1 189ares

On the summit is the Lendrums Bridge wind farm, one of the largest in Ireland, with 20 turbines.  Another 8 turbines are located on Hunter’s Hill.

workshop 1 197aresiz

From Omagh I traveled through Strabane and Derry, which took me another 2-3 hours – 9 hours altogether with all the stops.

As you already know, I had a wonderful time in Inishowen.  The images below were taken from my hotel window early in the morning. There is no color processing, I only made a subtle change in the Levels  moving the black point slider to 4. It was exactly what  I saw with my own eyes.

inishowen

This image is zoomed and taken from a slightly different angle some 20 minutes later.

inishowen

Isn’t it a fairy tale?

My journey back home was quiet and filled with sadness. As it became a tradition, I got lost around Clones again ( I wasn’t supposed to be there at all; I took a different road…) , but a good old 99 cheered me up, and I got directions at the petrol station. I crossed Co Cavan without incidents, my little car wriggling between the drumlins; stopped for petrol in Mountmellick at the sunset; sneaked through Durrow and Ballyragget in the dark and took a motorway from Kilkenny to Waterford “when the stars went blue”.  Couldn’t fall asleep that night.

I am missing Inishowen, but it is the time to move on. Thank you again Elena Shumilova  and Brendan Diver, Sean Derry, children and their parents! Thank you fellow photographers Dirk Lecluse, Katrina Parry, Suzanne O’Connell, Steve Thomas-Jones, Renata Dapšytė, Gemma Burton, Karolina Zadwórna-Turczyńska and many others. Hope we meet again soon!

elena shumilova workshop

___________________________________________________________________________

I am very honored to be nominated for the Lovely  Blog award by Patrick Jones from The Linden Chronicles. Please visit his blog and read his books. I love them!

Thank you Patrick, I hope to maintain the loveliness 🙂

 

Now I have to reveal 7 things about myself

  1. I have seen all Bond movies
  2. I am a lousy swimmer
  3. I think that spiritual and physical self-reliance is a sign of maturity
  4. I want to learn how to swim before I die
  5. I want to climb Kilimanjaro before I die
  6. I adore cats
  7. I love all other creatures

And here are the blogs I am nominating – a tiny fraction of the bloggers I like.

https://knittingwithheart.wordpress.com/

https://waldfoto.wordpress.com/

http://graffitiluxandmurals.com/

https://halfeatenmind.wordpress.com/

https://zenocrat.wordpress.com/

http://sebdani.com/

https://poetrummager.wordpress.com/

Here is the list of rules to participate:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to her/his blog.
  2. List 7 interesting facts about yourself.
  3. Nominate up to 15 other bloggers 
  4. List the rules and display the award.

IneseMjPhotographyHave a great weekend!