fog

Through the fog

fog

Recently I took some fog pictures and added a few more from my archives to put up a blog. The reason for this blog was a dream. I woke up after driving through the thick fog, struggling to recognize the familiar road. I knew that the road might be flooded and I could perish. From time to time I came across the cars with the blinking lights – the drivers gave up and pulled over to the side of the road, but I kept striving until I finally knew where I was. It felt like a victory.

This is  Dove Hill Castle,  or De La Poer Castle, a fortified tower house that was built in the 14th century. In my dream, I was driving this road 🙂

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Kilsheelan Woods in the foggy morning.  It is just a test picture taken when I was looking for a background for my film sandwich project two years ago. I am not taking solo trips in the woods anymore. People are getting robbed and beaten in the countryside lately, and their cars stolen. I don’t want to reduce my life expectancy.

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Kilsheelan bridge. This place was completely under the water during the last flood.

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When I think of water, my thoughts immediately shift to mosquitoes and Zika virus, the subject that has been all over the news these days. It is one of the cases when I feel somewhat unhappy  that I fell out with one of my relatives years ago – she is a microbiologist, and would be able to answer my questions, I believe. I was trying to find answers myself,  in the internet, and came across this wonderful blog – The Hartley Hooligans.  Please, have a look. You might find answers to the questions you have never asked yourself before.

I had a chat with my daughter,  we talked about Zika and the babies with microcephaly. Perfect people, she said, and I knew what she meant. Perfect people who are here on Earth only to bless and teach others. It is how we should think of them instead of trying to come up with a politically correct word.

Reading news is bad for you, some people say. I don’t think so. It is like driving through the fog – if you are careful and don’t get distracted, you will be all right.

Waterford in the end of January, with the Christmas lights still on 🙂

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The rising sun is rolling the mist from Johns Hill.

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I took a picture of two Mormon missionaries in the narrow street still filled with mist. The media let them be until Mr. Romney decided to run for president. Since then, I have seen many hateful articles, and even read one. Got distracted in the fog, so to speak 🙂 Never read any messages of hate!

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I think that I can end this post with a Mormon quote.  Google has a good assortment of them, and I loved this one for it’s optimism, good humor, and confidence in the future. I am a huge believer in the future.

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Have a wonderful weekend!

The Land of Magic

Workshop

This time I will share some of my pictures that I have taken during  Elena Shumilova’s workshop and edited for this blog. To those who haven’t read my previous posts about the workshop, there are two links:  https://inesemjphotography.com/2015/10/23/back-to-the-north-inishowen/ and  https://inesemjphotography.com/2015/10/30/elena-shumilovas-dream/

To start with, I want to make it clear that I have never had any intention to copy Elena’s style, but I did wonder how she makes all her images to look so warm and alive, and how she brings every single detail of her composition to perfection.  I wanted my photographs to be perfect too :). I did learn some of Elena’s techniques, I came home enriched and joyous,  but I know that it is just a beginning of a magic journey, where hard work and inspiration walk side by side.

Elena’s workshop encouraged me to use my painting skills in my photography – something that I do very seldom, and only when it is absolutely necessary.  Elena says that to know is not enough. It will take time and experience to learn what opacity and brush size to choose, and where to put a stroke.

I was playing with Photoshop, and want to share the pictures I have edited straight after the workshop. Some are heavily painted, some just retouched. There are no added textures or presets – I have only used Photoshop brushes and painted manually. If you don’t mind, could you please tell which of the images you like better.

This is Sean. I know, I know, it is impossible to take a bad picture with Sean as a model. I am so grateful that he agreed to model for us, and sure he deserves a better portrait than this one I took on the run. Sean is a musician, a local Father Christmas, and one of the nicest men I ever met, with a personality larger than life.

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I have always had a love for backlit scenes. Unfortunately we got that thick cloud sitting on the horizon –  there goes the golden and dreamy light… This one got a little bit of light though.

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In this image, I painted the background more deliberately, making it look like watercolor.

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In the opening image, I painted it a night. This is the real scene, with just a basic editing.

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In the end of the day we are all exhausted. Tried my best to squeeze a smile.

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Some more photographs to acknowledge our beautiful models.

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That’s it from the workshop. In my next blog I will share some pictures of Inishowen –  the land of magic and beautiful people.

I had been on the road many hours, and did a lot of thinking ( it is probably why I had missed my turn and got lost somewhere between County Cavan and Monaghan)…

As we are living our life, unpleasant things happen. We may meet some people or groups of people who act unethically and mean; who destroy others with lies and themselves with envy. We can get hurt. We can be targets or collateral damage victims. There is some ugliness always lurking in the shadows, but you know what? The rest of the life is magic! Most of our life is magic. I would be a fool if I let this perfect life to be overshadowed with bitterness and negativity. This precious, exciting, glorious life! Sadness, and even frustration takes over at times, but the magic has never failed me – after every unpleasant experience something wonderful happens.

I would love to share another few links as a Thank you to all of those who made that weekend unforgettable.

Strand Hotel, Ballyliffin – highly recommended!  http://www.ballyliffinstrandhotel.com/

Famine Village  – photo shoot location  http://www.doaghfaminevillage.com/

Malin Stables    https://www.facebook.com/malin.stables

Transportation   http://www.ghostsnake.com/bradleys/index.htm

Clothes    https://www.facebook.com/Mc-Os-Vintage-284538278256601/?fref=ts&__mref=message

Irish TV  http://www.irishtv.ie/

And again, thank you Elena Shumilova and Brendan Diver, and all our beautiful models! More workshops scheduled for 2016, including two in the USA ( Long Island and Orange County).

More to follow…

IneseMjPhotographyHave a wonderful weekend!

Foggy Dew: Tribute to the people of Ukraine

The last time I was in Ukraine was in 1989. We took a flight to Simferopol and then a trolleybus to Yalta, a beautiful resort town on the North coast of the Black Sea.

Wikipedia says that Crimean Trolleybus Line  is the longest trolleybus line in the world. It is a 86 km (53 mi) long, pollution-free, low cost, 2 hours long dream ride. The road passes through the Crimean Mountains across the Angarskyi Pass reaching 752 metres (2,500 ft) at the highest point, descends down to the coastal town of Alushta, and turns south winding along the sea for another 41 km.

I cannot share any decent images of Yalta here: on that trip I was using a reversal film, and the slides didn’t survive well. The first one I took from the cable car, clinging to dear life, and the other one from the balcony of the room we rented.

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This beautiful place is almost desolated these days. The main source of income in Yalta is tourism. There are very little tourists visiting this summer…

I have never been to Donetsk, and it looks like I never will, but every week I am getting updates from a person who lives there. Russian Grad missiles bring death and destruction turning the area into a bloody nightmare. My heart goes out to you, my Ukrainian brothers and sisters. You only wanted to live your life by your own choice.

I went to University in Moscow, Russia. It was a happy and fun time, we did our best to visit all the museums and theatres; we listened to Vladimir Vysotsky and Mashina Vremeni and wrote satirical poems and songs about the Soviet reality. My dear Russian friends, what happened to you? Since when are you worshipping the Beast? It breaks my heart.

I want to share this video as a tribute to those who lost their lives in Ukraine. The song is The Foggy Dew ( by Sinead O’Connor), and the movie is The Wind That Shakes The Barley (2006). Seeing violence makes my heart bleed. I know that there are the times… but still, unnecessary violence doesn’t do any good to anybody. Nevertheless, I am for freedom for every country and their citizens. May God bless those who defend their freedom.

These foggy images were taken walking along the water edge, in the times of peace. If your life is safe, secure and comfortable, send a word of prayer for the innocent victims in Ukraine.

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Photography tip of the day: When taking pictures in the fog it is great to have at least some of your subjects close to the camera so that they come out darker and sharper. Also great if you subjects create layers.

www.inesemjphotography.comHave a peaceful weekend!

Gentle teachings

Taking advantage of the unusually sunny weather I got up early Monday morning and went to the river to catch some beautiful fog. A pair of swans floated by as i walked towards the river bend to get a nicer view.

I set up a composition, ready to press the shutter button. I completely forgot about the swans, but suddenly they just floated into my frame! Making it through the fog they looked so mysterious, almost ghostly. I got a few shots of them, and when they were gone I just knew it was the time to go back home because I wouldn’t get anything better today. swans_in_the_haze swans_in_the_haze1 swans_in_the_haze2

I was thinking about the days when I was very young. My Dad and I would go to the woods, and he would show and explain me everything he knew about the wild life and survival. And he knew a lot. My Dad spent  many weeks hiding in the woods and running for his life during the World War II. I remember mushroom and berry picking with him. Being very young I didn’t understand the limits of things, and I wanted more and more of those mushrooms because it was fun to find them. My Dad taught me to never be greedy. He taught me to know where to stop. If I need many, fair enough, but I have to decide how many, exactly, and stop when I am done. And this applies to everything. I cannot tell that I have been following his teachings all my life; definitely not. But still, it is nice to know that your Dad was right, and that he, actually, did exactly what he taught.

Photography tip of the day: Ask yourself these questions: What is my subject? How can I give emphasis to my subject? How can I simplify my photograph?

inesemj_photographyHave a great day!

Magic Hour

I woke up at about 6am and just on impulse went out to catch the sunrise. Not having any plans I just crossed the bridge and headed up the hill for a greater view. After taking a few shots I looked down and saw that beautiful fog over the river near my house. Should have walked there first! Hurrying down the hill I reflected with a slight annoyance on so human “the grass is always greener” concept. Now my magic hour was running out!

Nevertheless, I still have got a few minutes of magic.

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When I move around making compositions and keeping my eye on the settings, somehow I always manage to think about the matters that seem not to be related to the subject of photography. So, I cannot tell now how I ended up thinking about forgiveness. I was walking around the willow tree, shooting close-ups into the rising sun, and thinking about hate, broken relationships and general chronic unhappiness we humans sometimes experience. They say that there is a universal cure: we have to forgive to free ourselves and be happy. That is nothing new, and many of us practice forgiveness for the wrongdoings on a daily basis. Is there anything else we fail to forgive?

Perching on the rock I was looking through the viewfinder trying to make a composition of the willow catkins. And then I knew it. Humans are forever unhappy when they don’t forgive each others differences. It is nothing new either, but usually differences are “accepted” or “tolerated”, and this doesn’t make anybody happier.

Differences can be strange and annoying. Differences just don’t fit! This person is doing it wrong! I do it right! Differences can trigger arrogance or envy. This person is plain stupid! That person is just being lucky! Differences take our focus away from the things that truly matter. It won’t work if we only accept them.

So, I am making a statement here. I am forgiving your differences, people. Please, forgive me for being different and let’s move on and enjoy our life!

I had a wonderful morning. I found magic so close to where I live. A different kind of magic.

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Photography tip of the day: First hour after the sunrise is the best  time for landscape photography. Fog is a bonus. Fog softens objects in the background, mutes colors, and makes everything look mysterious.

inesemj_photographyHave a great day!