photo blog

Illustrated Blogger Interview Challenge

Aquileana from La Audacia de Aquiles  nominated me for the Blogger Interview Challenge.  Thank you so much for considering me!


I am following Aquileana’s  blog for more than a year, and I always re-read her posts because we both share the love for Mythology, for the times when Gods mingled with people, and ” the World was younger than today”. Aquileana is doing a thorough research on her subject, and her posts are always adorned with beautiful art and poetry. I invite you  all to visit La Audacia de Aquiles blog – you will want to follow  🙂

Now the interview. To make it more fun, I illustrated it with my images. These are the questions:

How did you get into blogging?

Since the time the Internet was invented, I have always dreamed of having a space  where I could share my experiences, memories and, sometimes, opinions. When I visit a beautiful place or meet a beautiful person, I want to spread a word so that other people know of it.



I started with installing WordPress using WAMP so that I could play with it offline before I decided on the theme, pages, widgets and style.  A whole month I explored my options and web tools, and wrote, and deleted. My first idea was to combine my advertisements and my personal thoughts. I chose the simplest, mobile friendly and lightweight theme. Finally I mastered the courage and went live, shy and uncertain. It was after St Patrick’s day, March 2014.  The advertising part didn’t survive: I changed my mind about it. This post is one of the first five posts written offline. My first attempt on blogging 🙂

My blog is not a portfolio.

What advice would you give to a blogger just starting out?

Blog about anything you like, and post as often, as you wish –  once a month, every hour; but do your best.

do your Best

Make your blog posts accessible. Only your loving family members will be willing to struggle through the numerous links until they find your latest post ( I have done it too …).  Your SEO advisers might tell you that using internal links helps with traffic, but they usually mean the ‘deep’ links, not the ‘surface’ links, if it makes sense. Also, when they speak about the internal linking, they often use a phrase ‘killer content’. Something to think about.


For all bloggers – please, make sure that clicking on your Profile Picture and Name opens your blog page, or at least your Gravatar page with a link to your blog! You are working hard – you should be heard! 

Enjoy what you do. Slow down when you feel that this becomes a burden. Everybody will understand.

slow down

Be nice with your fellow bloggers, even if you had a lousy childhood. It will pay off, and make you happier in return in your real life.


 What would be your dream campaign?

Inspire, not impress. I love this statement.


Do you have a plan for your blog?

I have been blogging less than two years, a toddler’s age. I will grow. My plan is still the same – to show how good is the world, and how good are people.


What do you think about rankings?

To be honest, nothing.  It sounds like a part of some competition to me, and I am not competing with anyone for a very simple reason – I have neither the time nor the energy  for that. I am afraid  I don’t really understand what it is about. Traffic? Likes? These two not necessarily reflect the greatness of the content. I know fantastic blogs with very little followers and likes. ‘All is vanity’…

Give yourself  rewards, regardless of your “ranking” 🙂


I would love to nominate the following very different bloggers – please don’t feel that you have to accept the nomination. No pressure, no obligations, just your free will 🙂

Praying for Eyebrowz

Photobooth Journal

Traveling Rockhopper


Souldier Girl

Milford Street

There are the rules:

* Mention the person who nominated you
* Answer the questions in full
* Don’t forget to tag up to ten other bloggers at the end

Thank you again Aquileana for the opportunity to answer questions and promote other bloggers!

IneseMjPhotographyHave a wonderful weekend everyone!

September 2004-2014


A Calendar of Sonnets: September

By Helen Hunt Jackson

The golden-rod is yellow; 
The corn is turning brown; 
The trees in apple orchards 
With fruit are bending down. 
The gentian’s bluest fringes 
Are curling in the sun; 
In dusty pods the milkweed 
Its hidden silk has spun. 
The sedges flaunt their harvest, 
In every meadow nook; 
And asters by the brook-side 
Make asters in the brook. 
From dewy lanes at morning 
the grapes’ sweet odors rise; 
At noon the roads all flutter 
With yellow butterflies. 
By all these lovely tokens 
September days are here, 
With summer’s best of weather, 
And autumn’s best of cheer. 
But none of all this beauty 
Which floods the earth and air 
Is unto me the secret 
Which makes September fair. 
‘T is a thing which I remember; 
To name it thrills me yet: 
One day of one September 
I never can forget.

I think that this colourful poem and my picture go together quite nicely.

In May I posted a Photography: May 2003-2014 set of images. I am doing it again,  “one day of one September”. Isn’t photography all about memories? 🙂



This is the house I grew up in. It is the back yard, these windows face the lake; the front yard used to merge with a large ancient forest.  The building is about 200 years old.  In 2004 we traveled around visiting all the places that are dear to us, and I took this photograph. In 2010 the new owner cut the forest down.



I love trees. This Monkey Puzzle ( Araucaria) alley is almost gone due to the old age.  Last year I visited the place again, and it doesn’t look like in this picture anymore.



St Canice’s Cathedral grounds, Kilkenny.  I call this image Dwellings: Past, Present, Future.



Galtee Mountains.  That green patch down there is a forest. We are half way to a beautiful mountain lake, icy cold and transparent like a crystal. I came there again two years ago, solo. Walked through the forest, took some pictures. I didn’t plan to walk to the lake, of course, but it was nice to know that it is there, just a couple of hours away.



This picture was taken in the park in Limerick.  I think it was my most uneventful, and overall miserable trip ever.  Never been to Limerick again.



There is a tiny road in Clonmel going up the mountain. People walk or drive it to climb to the Holy Cross and get a bird’s eye view. This old man is walking down  that road with his cows. He and his brother live ( lived?) right around the corner, so his flock doesn’t interrupt traffic too much. I stood in the street watching them and tears came up to my eyes. God bless old people.



This isn’t a result of photo editing: all the colors are natural.  Antelope Island State Park, Great Salt Lake. Abundant wildlife, beautiful scenery, solitude and tranquillity.



A friend invited me to take a trip to Connemara. We had two fun days in spite of the weather.



These clouds are something to remember.



A big sister.



This picture is here because I am  saying good bye to the river.

Thank you for reading about my Septembers.  What about yours?  I would love to hear 🙂

Photography tip of the day: More DIY  🙂 Take pictures through plastic bag, stained glass, plastic bottles, magnifying glass,  etc. Cover your “filters” with colored vaseline.  You will get interesting effects depending on your lenses.

www.inesemjphotography.comHave a great week!

Irish summer

A newcomer to Ireland arrives on a rainy day. He gets up the next day and it is raining. It also rains the day after that, and the day after that.

He goes out to lunch and sees a young kid and asks out of despair, “Hey kid, does it ever stop raining around here?”
The kid says: How do I know? I’m only six!

This year we have got a proper summer, no jokes! 🙂 County Tipperary has been bathing in sun since June.

Irish summer

It was one of the hottest days when I went to Kilsheelan,  and I thought I would walk a little bit by the river.  The cows on the opposite bank enjoyed the shade of a giant Oak tree and drank from the river till they were full.

Irish summer

Then they laid down for a nap, black islands in the sea of grass.

Irish summer

What a pleasure to walk along a path lined with lush grasses and delicate wild flowers. My summer favorite is poppy flower.

Irish summer

Irish summer

Irish summer

Another favorite is crop field. I love to take pictures of them in any weather, morning or night, and at any stage of their growth and harvest.  What a fascinating sight they make, waving in the wind!

Irish summer

Abundance of sunlight this summer makes the greenery richer and  foliage ticker.

Irish summer

Sometimes it is nice to hide from the burning sun in the woods…

Irish summer

…or under the thick canopy of linden trees in the churchyard.


What the summer looks like where you live?

Photography tip of the day: When the sun is high  shoot your portraits in the open shade.

www.inesemjphotography.comHave a great weekend!

A trip up North : Dark Hedges

I guess that the Giant’s Causeway will always be there even if the wind and water change the surface of the rocks in the next million years. The rope bridge is also unlikely to disappear. But there is a place that won’t last long, and it fills my heart with sadness… The Dark Hedges, one of the most photographed locations in Northern Ireland.

dark hedges

Both beautiful and somewhat eerie stretch of the road was known only to the locals until the 1990s! The ancient Beech trees were planted by Stuart family in 1750. Since that time they reached up and across to each other and their entwined branches created a natural arched tunnel. There are about 150 trees left. The people who planted the trees never got to see them in their glory: Beech trees reach maturity at 150 to 200 years. The beautiful Dark Hedges  trees are past maturity. They are dying.

Unfortunately I haven’t got to see all the lane, only its southern part. Even if I come another time, the place won’t be the same. There are some diseased trees that have to be felled, and also some dead branches have to be cut off for safety reasons.

dark hedges

There is a qualified tree surgeon appointed to preserve the archway and to meet the safety requirements, and the maintenance works will start in early September. The Bregagh road, home to the famous trees, will be closed for ten days, or for how long it takes. Also brown tourist signs are to be erected which is a great thing because at the moment there are no signs at all.

Their  branches are entwined, their roots are entangled. They cannot be separated. It is one body, and if one tree dies, or it is cut down, the others will know.

dark hedges

dark hedges

dark hedges

The Dark Hedges came under threat a few years ago when Roads Service proposed to fell many of the trees for safety reasons. The avenue was taken over by the Dark Hedges Preservation Trust and they are probably doing a good job since the trees are still standing, but that infamous green fence they put up in 2011 has raised many critics. There are hundreds of critical comments and articles about the fence all  over the internet, and the words “monstrosity” and “nuts” tell you lots about the Trust and their creation.

I have read these comments, but when I walked the road no ugly fences existed for me, only the serene beauty and the timeless magic of the place, and muted sounds and colors.

dark hedges

It was one hour before the sunset, my favorite time,  and all the photographers were getting ready. Look at them in the picture below: they will be busy removing me from their pictures in Photoshop 🙂

dark hedges

Looking through Google images of Dark Hedges I noticed that it is in fashion to take a picture of one’s car or bike with the Dark Hedges in background, and we too witnessed such a photo session. It is all right, but something else really annoyed me. We took the trouble to park in the parking lot and walk down the lane with our gear and the baby. The other visitors parked right in the middle, in the most picturesque place. There was even a van!

Nevertheless  I got some beautiful evening light and took pictures I am happy with. The only thing I did in Photoshop was removing cars and excess of joggers 🙂

dark hedges

dark hedges

We had  been there about 40 minutes, and you can see the change in the light.

dark hedges

The iconic trees have been featured in a popular HBO’s Game Of Thrones series, Season 2, Episode 1, representing the King’s Road.

game of thrones

I so hope that new saplings will be planted and Dark Hedges will live. Otherwise where would the ghost of the Grey Lady go? I didn’t see the ghost. Too many photographers are hanging around at the dusk and dawn. It could be that the Grey Lady rescheduled her appearances to the worst time for photography – the midday.

This was the first picture I took when I turned around the bend…

dark hedges

…and these were taken when we were leaving.

dark hedges

dark hedges

To get to the Dark Hedges: From Belfast take the M2 north, toward the town of Antrim. Driving around Antrim, take A26 toward Ballymena. About 7 miles past Ballymena look for the A44 toward The Drones/ Armoy/ Ballycastle. After about another 7 miles you pass The Drones village  ( just a couple of miles before Armoy) and turn left onto the Bregagh Road. Keep going until you see a lay-by parking lot where you can park. Walk around the bend and there it is! 🙂

Hope you enjoyed this virtual trip to Northern Ireland with me: crossed the bridge, climbed the basalt rocks and walked the avenue of beautiful ancient trees. Thank you for your company! 🙂

Click on the images to enlarge them : it will take a second, they are all resized.

yglenariff 31

Photography tip of the day: Manual settings for beginners  – something to start with.

Aperture: Midday, sun – f16; Any other time, sun – f11; Overcast -f8;  Shade – 5.6; Dark shade – 4.5;

The lowest ISO for your camera;

Shutter speed: set it 125 and then regulate up or down.

Move on with your settings after you are comfortable with this simple advice.

inese_mj_photographyHave a great day!

A trip up North : Giant’s causeway

giant's causeway

My friends have never been to the Northern Ireland before, so our trip was very touristy and brief. After leaving Carrick A Rede Rope bridge we took a 20 minutes drive to our second destination – the Giant’s Causeway Visitor center.

The Giant’s causeway is a magnificent natural rock formation declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986. It was formed 50-60 million years ago as a result of seven consequent flows of lava. Tectonic plates were moving and magma from deep inside Earth spewed through cracks in the surface. Lava flowed and cooled in contact with air and water, hardening into basalt. Then it was covered with another layer of lava an so on. This process created deep horizontal cracks all along the surface that extended vertically forming honey-comb shaped columns.

giant's causeway

The formation consists of about 40,000 interlocking, mostly hexagonal basalt columns, but some columns have four, five, seven or eight sides. They say there is only one column with three sides.

giant's causeway

giant's causeway

This is what the geologists think. Yet, there is another story. A giant named Finn Mac Cumhaill lived with his wife Oonagh on the Antrim coast. He had a very annoying Scottish neighbor giant Benandonner. On one occasion Finn scooped a chunk of earth and hurled it across the sea at his enemy, missed, and thus created the Isle of Man.

One day Finn tore pieces of rocks from the cliff and made a causeway to walk across the sea and fight  Benandonne. When coming closer he realized that his giant neighbor was bigger that he expected! Frightened Finn turned back and ran home with Benandonne hot on his heals. To hide him loyal Oonagh disguised Finn as a baby. When Benandonne saw the size of the “sleeping baby” he fled in terror breaking up the causeway in case he might be followed. Funny giants.

I climbed the columns to get a better view. This is a bus stop down there, and the road to the Visitor center ( 1 km?)

giant's causeway

This is a part of the giant-made causeway.  The tide is coming in, so the end of the rocky road disappears in the water but you can see that it is quite long.

giant's causeway

This is the view on the other side from where I was perched. Another half an hour walk to the Organ pipes (across the little bay) , but I have never been there, always because of the lack of time.

giant's causeway

In the image  below, on the right side you can see a high and almost vertical column formation. It is where I was taking my causeway picture from. The other side is easy to climb – 5 year old can do it. This side is only for experienced climbers. In summer 2012 more than one  thousand people gathered here to cheer The Olympic Torch bearer, 10 times Iron Man Peter Jack from Coleraine.

giant's causeway

This  image was taken in December 2005. We had the place all for ourselves.

giant's causeway

These two images are taken in  August 2005. A little bit more people but still very quiet.

giant's causeway

giant's causeway

This time the place was very  busy.

giant's causeway

This is a curious rock formation you pass on the way to the Visitor center.  August 2005, bright sunny afternoon. Harsh shadows make the rocks look like petrified giants.

giant's causeway

The road to the Visitor center. We took a bus.

giant's causeway

Off we go to our last destination – Dark Hedges.

To be continued.

Photography tip of the day: If you often take pictures of the sky and around water get yourself a polarising filter. To know what size of the filter you need check your lens: it is the diameter.

inese_mj_photography Have a great weekend!