photography

Waterford Walls

murals 199res

Waterford Walls is a visual Street Art project in Waterford City, Ireland. Irish and International street artists and talented school students transformed old spaces into extended art gallery. The first image is the work of Joe Caslin, a street artist and art teacher from Roscommon who is known for his project “Our Nation’s Sons” – large scale portraits of young men from disadvantaged social backgrounds.

In the image below, a man stopped to touch the surface of the portrait. I will tell you why.  Joe Caslin paintings are done on biodegradable paper,  and will come down within a few weeks.  We are lucky with the weather, and I hope the paintings will last another month.

murals

Another work of the same artist in Olaf Street. It is sad they won’t stay here too long.

murals

murals

I went around the city center to look for the other murals. First of all, I visited one of my favorite places in O’Connell Street and was pleased to find an interesting work.

murals

murals

After that I walked to Stephen Street. This is unused De La Salle Hall built in 1915. I love the new look of it’s facade. As it often happens in life, the facade is the only attractive part…

murals

murals

More murals in Stephen Street.

murals

murals

murals

murals

I like this mural  because the girl is holding a camera in her hands.

murals

It is where the rain started, and I rushed under the roof of a garage. From there I took a picture of a mural and a family with the matching umbrella.

murals

The rain didn’t last long and I walked to New Street to see the gardens and more murals.

murals

It was my last destination. There are about twenty murals, very colorful.

murals

This one is dedicated to Waterford Hospice.

murals

I stood there waiting for someone to come over and do something amazing, or at least something worth a picture, but there was no one in the gardens, so I just took a snap of the girl and her bees.

murals

Thank you for walking the streets with me. I know, it is not a once-in-a-lifetime trip, but think about the murals that won’t last longer that a couple of weeks. You have seen them!

This is sort of a similar exposition in 2008.

IneseMjPhotographyHave a wonderful weekend!

Forever Cats

cat

“Of all God’s creatures, there is only one that cannot be made slave of the leash. That one is the cat. If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve the man, but it would deteriorate the cat.”
― Mark Twain

I cannot disagree with the wise man.  Cats cannot be made slaves. Look at this face if you had any doubts.

cat

Look at this royal gesture.

cat

A warrior fighting invisible evil…

cat

“A silent guardian, a watchful protector”…

cat

He used to live a life of emperor and didn’t know what was coming …

cat

cat

cat

cat

… but he took it with dignity.

Another remarkable cat I had a pleasure to meet.

cat

Leo, the most patient and meek creature ever, a good-hearted friend of his humans and their young.

There are many kitties who are less fortunate, but you can see the aristocracy of blood showing through. This kitty was living in the streets and took the food offerings with grace and dignity.

cat

I met this kitty in Dingle Peninsula, driving around the Slea Head. He was sitting at the empty cottage and wouldn’t make any eye contact with the strangers ( otherwise he didn’t mind us, and was actually purring).

cat

This is another stray cat. The only difference is that he was living in Coliseum, Rome.

cat

There are many stray cats in Rome. Old people feed them. The world is a better place because of the caring old people.

This young fella is KC, a member of a family of  four cats all rescued by their human in different circumstances.

cat

These three kittens were taken to the vets and put down by a man whom I knew as a kind and caring son, father and husband. I knew he didn’t want the kittens and I asked him if I could take them and find them home, but he lied that he would do it himself… Three years ago we were reconnected at the deathbed of our friend. After we left the room he was trying to make an apology, mumbling something about a reconciliation. I told him he was fine. The following year I got a word that he had an accident at work, and he isn’t himself anymore since. God knows, I didn’t wish him anything like that.

I still keep the simple toys I had made for them.

cat

“The only escape from the miseries of life are music and cats…” 

― Albert Schweitzer

 Cat’s in the Cradle” is a 1974 folk rock song by Harry Chapin from the album Verities & Balderdash. It has nothing to do with cats. The song is about a man who never had time for his son.

The Cat’s cradle is a string game. You can read about it and many more old and forgotten games here.

Well, we had enough of sad things, let’s have a chuckle 🙂

svetlana-petrova-cat

This image belongs to a Russian artist Svetlana Petrova. Click on the link to see  Zarathustra the cat improving some famous artworks with his presence. When Svetlana’s mother died she was deeply depressed, and creating these images was a part of the healing process.

This cutie is Jonne. He had a big happy family – another two cats and a dog. They are all gone. When Jonne joined the family he was sick and weak because of neglect, and he was beaten too. It was long ago,  he lives  with his significant human now and they are inseparable.

cat

cat

Speaking of friendship.

“You know a real friend?
Someone you know will look after your cat after you are gone.” 
― William S. Burroughs, Last Words: The Final Journals

Thank you for reading! These pictures were taken over the years, and some of the cats must have crossed the Rainbow bridge since.

Could you share a few words about your Pet ( not necessarily a cat)?

Photography tip of the day: Taking pictures of your pets use natural light and come closer. The best time for a portrait ( close up) is when the pet has just woke up and is still sleepy. Show their personality in your pictures: You know all these faces and looks, capture them 🙂

www.inesemjphotography.comHave a great weekend!

A trip up North : Carrick-A-Rede

rope bridge

I can tell with certainty that every Carrick-A-Rede Rope bridge visitor has this picture.  A one kilometre long  coastal walk from the car park over the high cliffs is a treat itself, but still everybody hopes to catch a distant view of the famous bridge, so they stop after each turn of the path and take a snap.

The truth is, you cannot see the bridge until you get there.

rope bridge

The Carrick-A-Rede Rope bridge is a famous tourist landmark of Northern Ireland.  It connects the mainland with a small rocky island  ( “carrick “goes for a “rock” in Gaelic ).

If you expect an Indiana Jones-ish experience, you will be disappointed. The bridge is not too long; it won’t break up; it won’t swing and toss you in the waves. No one ever fell over the rope handrails, but there were plenty of tourists who just couldn’t make it back… No, they don’t get picked up by a helicopter as I hoped when I first crossed the bridge in 2005. The miserable are seated in a boat and ferried off to the mainland. No, I wasn’t in the boat. It was a windy day, but I made it back: a man with a little baby walking  behind me gave me the courage.

rope bridge 31.07.05

The rope bridge didn’t always look the way it looks now. Built  by salmon fishers in 1600s it was used from June to September as an access to the rocky islands. The fishers ran their nets between the islands to catch the salmons coming through the area to spawn in the nearby rivers. Below is an image taken in the 19th century. Up to the 1970s the bridge had only a single handrail.

19th century

When the salmon fishing came to the end The National Trust installed a new, tourist friendly cage bridge to span the 18m wide and 24m deep chasm. It was a unique and costly project. The bridge was taken down and re-installed annually. Another one was built in 2004, and the current one is built in 2008. Now the bridge is opened all the year round if the weather conditions are not dangerous.

In June 2012 the Olympic Flame was carried onto the Carrick A Rede  bridge by a P.E. teacher Clare Leahy from Coleraine.  After that the Flame was carried to the Giant’s Causeway ( my next blog).

When you get over the bridge Scotland is as close as never before 🙂

2014-08-01 Northern Ireland I 390

Walking around the island you can enjoy the glorious scenery and take pictures.

rope bridge

carrick a  rede

carrick a rede

rope bridge

Sooner or later you have to cross the bridge again…

rope bridge

The more you do it the less you fear. If I come again next year I might even look down…

rope bridge

So this is my story for to day. There is a link to the webpage where you can read more about the timetable and tickets. If you don’t want to cross the bridge don’t buy any tickets and just walk over and watch the others cross. The walk is beautiful and free.

To be continued.

Photography tip of the day: secure your shooting gear and memory cards. A gust of wind can ruin your trip.

inese_mj_photographyHave a great week!

FOX NEWS

Pat Gibbons foxes

It is my second blog post about Patsy Gibbons and his foxes. In early April, almost 4 months ago, I went live with a blog post KINDNESS, amazed with my own boldness, and having a very little knowledge about blogging rules and ethics. Still learning.

That time Pat invited us to come again in summer when the foxes look gorgeous on the green meadow. Two weeks ago a friend of mine arranged a visit, but when he rang to confirm it Pat told him that he is in the hospital waiting for admission. They kept him in from Monday to Thursday; Pat’s brother fed the foxes, but they had to stay in their den all this time, and they also missed their bath – a day when they all walk to the pond to get bathed. Needless to say, the foxes were upset, Pat wasn’t feeling well either, so this visit was short, and I left sad and worried .

Pat Gibbons foxes

Pat Gibbons foxes

Pat Gibbons foxes

This is Gráinne. She is an easy going, clever and curious lady, devoted to her master. Back in 2007 Pat’s brother-in-law Eugene was working in a storeroom and getting the cardboard boxes ready for shredding.  To his surprise he found a fox cub inside a box, malnourished, almost dead: it could be there some 10 days without food or water. Eugene brought the cub to Pat who had helped the troubled creatures before. It is how the story started. Pat consulted with a local vet, and the cub was estimated as a 5-7 weeks old, and weighed 1 pound. It was not easy to nurse the little miracle back to life and health, but they did it! The cub got a lovely name: Gráinne.

Pat Gibbons foxes

Pat Gibbons foxes

Pat Gibbons foxes

Average life span of a wild fox is 2-3 years although a fox can live 10 years. Gráinne is in her senior age, but you would never guess it. She looks very healthy and happy on her rescuer’s shoulders; she has had a long life of mutual love, adventures and little pleasures.  Gráinne run away twice, but was back for dinner the same day. How did she run away? She just snapped the leather leash when at walk. That easy, so if she wanted she could run away any time.

Pat Gibbons foxes

This is Minnie. Minnie is a bit of a drama queen. When we came into the den, she was whimpering and howling, and putting on these funny faces, so that she had to be petted and rubbed and hugged all the way. Minnie is 5 years old. A woman from next village brought her to Pat when she was a month-old cub.

Pat Gibbons foxes

This is Henry, he is named after Kilkenny hurler Henry Shefflin. A man  brought him to Pat a year ago after his dogs attacked and mauled him. Pat thought he would have to put him down, so bad he was. His ligaments were cut, his head was severe injured, especially his bottom jaw and left eye. Pat nursed him back to health, but it took a while. Henry is a gentle and affectionate creature. Pat calls his female foxes “girls”, but Henry he calls “son”.

Pat Gibbons foxes

The foxes have a clean den with three separate compartments for privacy. Every fox has their favorite place on the shelves. In the evening they are brought into the cottage ( they are house-trained) along with Pat’s two dogs, and enjoy the time together watching TV or listening to Pat playing his harmonica. The foxes and the dogs are cuddling together, and actually the foxes feel more at ease when they go for a walk together with the dogs. Sometimes they get a snack – a biscuit or a wine gum. They adore the wine gums.

Pat Gibbons foxes

“You all right, son?” Patsy would ask and hug his little boy.

Pat Gibbons foxes

Henry’s left eye is still sore and probably will never get better. He is enjoying a few minutes in the sun and then Pat takes him back to the den. Now it is the girls’ turn to go outside but Minnie has her drama moment 🙂

Pat Gibbons foxes

Minnie actually needs some extra exercises for her good, but she stalls and refuses to walk.

Pat Gibbons foxes

In the middle of this drama a car stops and people start taking pictures of Pat. It happens on a regular basic but Pat doesn’t like it. He would rather they stop, get out of their car, have a small talk and then take the pictures.

Pat Gibbons foxes

Minnie gets her way.

Pat Gibbons foxes

Pat Gibbons foxes

Patsy is getting his girls ready for the portrait:)

Pat Gibbons foxes

Look at Minnie’s face:) Drama in progress.

Pat Gibbons foxes

Patsy has a kind heart and angelic patience. Minnie is getting all his attention:)

Pat Gibbons foxes

Pat Gibbons foxes

Pat Gibbons foxes

Pat Gibbons foxes

Pat Gibbons foxes

We had a good chat, but look at Minnie’s eyes 🙂 Her face expression speaks for itself. Pat says that he should better take the foxes back to their den.

I wish them many happy years together.

PS  I have found an article which says that a spokeswoman with Wildlife Rehabilitation Ireland has criticised the media for writing about Pat Gibbons and his foxes thus promoting a dangerous and irresponsible attitude towards the wild animals.  What do you think about it?

***

A blogger friend Aquileana, inspiring mythology expert and a lovely person has nominated me for a Versatile blogger award. I am very honored and grateful for the nomination, especially from Aquileana who is such a great example of knowledge and personal charisma.

versatile-blogger1

Here are the Award Rules:

1) The nominee shall display the Versatile blogger Award logo on her/his blog.

2) The nominee shall nominate ten (10)  bloggers she/he admires, by linking to their blogs and informing them about it.

Here are the bloggers I nominate for this award. Please visit their blogs!

http://indahs.com/

http://halfeatenmind.wordpress.com/

http://thebluepolarbear.wordpress.com/

http://kmihran.wordpress.com/

http://allizzwell.net/

http://anotherdaysomeday2013.wordpress.com/

http://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/

http://dorisbolliger.wordpress.com/

http://sarbjitsinghkhaira.wordpress.com/

http://happendonthisday.wordpress.com/

http://yadadarcyyada.com/

Keep great work going!

Photography tip of the day: Karl Taylor’s  10 minutes video.

inese_mj_photographyHave a great weekend!

Birds of River Suir

stonechat

Looking into the viewfinder I spotted a tiny bird flitting about in the waist-high vegetation before it landed on top of the cement pole.

stonechat

The bird looked like a young female, and later I learned it was a European stonechat. It was flipping from one pole to another, and finally settled so I could take these pictures. After about a minute of chirping there came a male stonechat.

stonechat

I don’t know if they were a couple; they rather looked like a dad and a teenage daughter.

stonechat stonechat

stonechat

Dad? Dad?????!!!!!

stonechat

Your pole looks nicer. Can I come over?

stonechat

No way. Stay where you are!

stonechat

Didn’t you hear me? Don’t even try!

But she already took off and landed almost on top of his head.

stonechat

Daddy! Wait!

I walked about a mile and sat on a bench to rest and enjoy the evening light. A Grey heron was standing in the middle of the river, quiet and patient skinny bird looking grave and funny at the same time. I thought I might stay and wait for him to catch a fish.

heron

No such luck. He changes position, striking at imaginary prey.

heron

heron

heron

heron

heron

heron

Maintaining his dignity he takes off and departs. So do I.

heron

heron

Another half an hour back to the parking lot. Stress management: accomplished 🙂

river suir

Photography tip of the day: There is a link to the page where professional photographers share their advice. I have noticed ( and not only in this article) that the younger photographers often use the word “confidence” . Their older colleagues don’t seem to care:)

inese_mj_photographyHave a great week!

Noble Knights and Spirit of Ancestors

mirko cuneoImage courtesy of  Mirko Cuneo

There is no doubt that people can live their dreams. It doesn’t usually happen overnight though. Every worthy dream comes true after hard work is involved, and also discipline, dedication and perseverance. If you want to become a knight, any of the above applies.

In the Middle ages knight training started at the age of 7, and those who made it through the difficult and expensive training program were knighted around the age of 21. The culture of honor, courage, battle and courtesy to Ladies associated with the medieval institution of knighthood continues to this day among the modern knights.

I am not a specialist on the knighthood. I only want to tell you about some aspects of their activities and share some photographs too.

There are some images courtesy of a modern Knight Mirko Cuneo, from Milan, Italy. He has a private Facebook page, so I can link only two images, but those of you who have Facebook account might be able to see more of his images and learn a thing or two about the knighthood in Italy. mirko cuneo

Mirko Cuneo

mirko cuneo

Mirko Cuneo

Mirko Cuneo

Viking training. Image courtesy of Mirko Cuneo Mirko Cuneo

Mirko Cuneo Two images ( above) courtesy of Mirko Cuneo . Film set Richard the Lion Heart: Rebellion, directed by Stefano Milla Mirko Cuneo Carnasciale Jousting:  Mirko Cuneo and His Lady Mirko CuneoCasei Medievale  –  Medieval festival Mirko organized

To those who are wondering about the outfits and accessories. There is an amazingly talented artist and photographer from the beautiful city of Arona, Marco Ferrari,  who has done splendid job for Celtica Festivals over the years. I think he makes a great William Wallace in these images. marco ferrari Image courtesy of Marco Ferrari marco ferrariImage courtesy of Marco Ferrari

Here is a link to the Facebook page of Lady Malina who is based in Poland.  All the information is in English. Her garments and accessories look quite authentic and charming.

Here is also a link to the page of Celtica Festival in Courmayeur Mont Blanc, Italy and a  link to the Frederick Celtic Festival in Maryland, USA. I would say that there are hundreds of such festivals and you can google for one closer to your hometown and book your tickets for 2015.

There is everything at these festivals to keep the Celtic Spirit alive: the bards telling legends of heroes and singing romantic ballads; Celtic dancing, sweet  harps, bodhráns, mandolins and bagpipes. It is much more than a musical event. Usually the festival’s program of activities includes lectures and talks, numerous workshops, ceremonies and rituals, falconry, acrobatic performances, re-enactments and many more fascinating activities. Your children can participate in almost everything and learn a lot about history.

Now I want to share with you my own photographs from Cahir Castle Medieval Festival, Ireland. Check out this page: these guys are amazing, and no wonder they are booked out for all the 2014. medieval festival Cahir Castle hosting the festival. medieval festival Black Knight arrived… medieval festival White Knight followed… medieval festival The mean and cunning Black Knight is trying to kill the White Knight’s pet rabbit with a poisoned carrot… medieval festival This is too much! The White Knight is getting ready for the battle… medieval festival The Black Knight is ready to fight too… medieval festival The Knights crossed lances… medieval festival The battle continues with the swords… medieval festival When all the weapons are broken, a watermelon does the job… medieval festival Everybody is laughing at the Black Knight… medieval festival He has to apologize for all his mischiefs… medieval festival The Narrator looks very focused… In fact he is as good a warrior as the others, but today he has to stay off the battle… medieval festival Yet he got a chance to talk with a lady… medieval festival

Wait, something isn’t right… Norman Invasion! Everyone get ready to defend the Castle!

medieval festival

medieval festival

medieval festival The Monk and his young warriors are getting ready for their first battle! medieval festival

medieval festival

medieval festival

medieval festival

medieval festival

 

medieval festival

medieval festival

medieval festival

medieval festival

medieval festival Oh! medieval festival Ah! medieval festival Hope my warrior comes home unharmed… medieval festival The Narrator’s name is Michael Moylan. He loves and knows  Irish History, and makes weapons and other stuff of any era and culture. medieval festival The battle is over! medieval festival

medieval festival

medieval festival Cahir Castle is safe! medieval festival

Thank you for reading,  and hope someone clicks on the links and falls in love with the Celtic Spirit and the Knighthood. You can enlarge the images, I made them low resolution for your convenience:)

Photography tip of the day: If you are attending an event, take pictures of different objects too: they will come in handy when making a collage.

inese_mj_photographyHave a great weekend!

Street Pride

pride 2013

If you want to live a happy and fulfilling life focus on the best in people and in yourself. Sometimes the same rule goes for street photography:)

There are a few images from Dublin Pride 2013 (unfortunately I didn’t make it to Dublin this year). The images were taken after the parade was over.

Gardai look tired. It was a busy day.

pride 2013

I liked that hat, it is why I asked them for a picture:)

pride 2013

pride 2013

This lovely dog came to Dublin from Brazil.

pride 2013

Coachman and his son are amused by the fluffy Brazilian:)

pride 2013

pride 2013

pride 2013

pride 2013

pride 2013

pride 2013 pride 2013

I have got many images of this lovely old lady. I like this one for a reason: follow her eyes, they are staring right at the bare chest of that hot Brazilian fella in the right corner:)

pride 2013

This sweet couple enjoyed themselves, especially the gentleman: He was chatting with everyone in his reach ( I put a picture of them in my previous  blog post)

pride 2013

pride 2013

Some people were rushing through the crowd as fast as they could. Locals want to get home, they are tired of the crowded streets.

pride 2013 pride 2013

Late evening. This texting street performer is too tired of real people. With no one around it is nice to share a quiet company, at last.

pride 2013

Hope you like this evening in Dublin. Click on the images to enlarge them a little: they are all reasonable size images. I didn’t  post pictures from the parade:  people’s faces tell more stories than their fancy dresses ( except that cute yellow hat :)…).  But my next post… It is about something very special, and plenty of elaborated garments too 😉 Talk to you Friday!

Photography tip of the day: Black&white images focus on the story with no distractions. Great for portraiture, architectural details, lines, shapes, textures, light/shadows, mismatched colors in your composition, and for improving bland uninteresting images you still want to keep.

inesemjphotographyHave a great week!

Very Inspiring Blogger award

A Mythology expert blogger Aquileana nominated my blog for a  Very Inspiring  Blogger award.  I am very honored, and so hope my humble blog deserves the award. I love Aquileana’s  interpretations of the Myths, thoughtfully illustrated blog and sparkling sense of humor. Being a big believer in education I invite you to check it  out and refresh your school memories:) Thank you Aquileana!

 

Now my favorite part. I am to nominate 15 bloggers for this reward. I like your blogs, I think they are amazing, and I want all the blogger community to know about you:) If you don’t accept it, well, it is up to you, but I think that promoting those who follow your blog is a nice thing to do:)

There are the fifteen, and I hope you click the links and have a look. You will like what you see and read.

1. http://availablelightonly.com/

2. http://thepoorphotog.wordpress.com/

3. http://todoelorodelmundo.wordpress.com/

4. http://chaosgirlandtherealworld.wordpress.com/

5. http://doctorly.wordpress.com/

6. http://sweetafternoons.wordpress.com/

7. http://moodphototeija.wordpress.com/

8. http://andrea-oconnellphotography.com/

9. http://strassenfotografien.wordpress.com/

10. http://harvestinghecate.wordpress.com/

11. http://jeteliot.wordpress.com/

12. http://sweetwillowman.wordpress.com/

13. http://mywordwall.wordpress.com/

14. http://aalifemoment.com/page/2/

15. http://mytrainofthoughtson.wordpress.com/

Guys, accepting the nomination there are two simple rules:

1) The nominee shall display the Very Inspiring Blogger Award logo on her/his blog, and link to the blog they got nominated from.

2) The nominee shall nominate fifteen (15) bloggers she/he admires, by linking to their blogs and informing them about it.

Best of luck with your blogging!

Photography tip of the day: Smile to people and they won’t mind you taking pictures of them:)

inesemjphotographyHave a great weekend!

Golden faces, silver eyes and blue eyelids.

saltees

It started raining. Creeping from one rock to another I was finally done with photographing the puffins willing to pose.

I looked around and saw that my peeps took off and started to disappear one by one in the sea of ferns. So I hurried after them.

Saltee islands

Our next destination was Gannet Headland, a nesting ground for the Northern gannets. You cannot see the place before you climb up to the highest point of the island through the high ferns and then walk down to the rugged cliffs. Then you just stop there, speechless.

gannet colony

gannet colony

The gannet is Europe’s largest sea bird with a wingspan up to 2 metres. The adults are white and the young birds are very dark  brown. It takes 5 years for them to reach maturity and start breeding. They say there are two thousand couples nesting there on the island. The gannets make their nests from seaweeds, feathers and human made materials found in the water.

gannet

gannet

gannet

Gannet with a bunch of seaweed to furnish the nest.

gannet

Gannets hunt fish by plunge-diving from a remarkable height into the sea and then using their wings and feet to swim deeper. After returning from the sea they have this gentle ritual of affection with the other partner, preening and touching the bills.

gannet

The young chick reaches deep into its parent’s throat for its meal of partially digested fish.

gannet

The parent birds take turns warming the eggs and protecting the chicks.

gannet

The gannets are very vocal:)

gannet

As you can see, there are some couples with very young chicks, naked and helpless, and some with the older ones, covered with soft white down.

gannet

gannet

Gannets have very interesting features. For example, they have no external nostrils: they are located inside the mouth. Their eyes are positioned slightly up to the front which gives them a better view.

There is my reflection in the gannet’s eye:)

gannet

Clumsy on take-offs and landings the gannets are powerful fliers with an impressive wing span.

gannet

gannet

Now I want to share something sad. Please read this article…

Gold-faced, silver-eyed, gracious birds… Isn’t there anything else to eat in this century?

There are also other species of birds on the island. This is a Herring gull in its flight.

herring gull

This is a Fulmar.

Fulmar

These are the  Blackback gull chicks.

great blackback gull chick

great blackback gull chicks

This angry bird is a Shag. Shags breed colonially between the rocks and in sea caves.

shag

shag

This is the island owners’ house. We were heading to the shelter to hide from the rain and wait for our boat.

saltees

The ferrying boat could not come closer, so we had to  be carried over there by an inflatable boat.

saltees

Little and Great Saltee islands on the horizon.  It was one of the most memorable trips in my life.

saltees

saltees

I hope you enjoyed this trip with me. You can click on the pictures to make them bigger. They are all resized for the web with resolution 72, so you won’t have problems opening them. Same for the previous post about the Puffins.

Photography tip of the day: When you are going to take pictures of sea birds, not having a telephoto shouldn’t stop you – the birds let you come close enough.  These pictures were taken with a 70-200, but you can bring any lens you have.  The settings matter, as I wrote in the previous post, and your vision matters. I wanted to get dreamy, a little bit grainy pictures with blurred background. Also watch your white colors. It is important  to see the details on the white feathers,  otherwise they look like burnt-out spots.

inesemjphotographyHave a great week!

 

Saltee Islands, a place where birds rule

Saltees

Our Camera Club had an outing to Great Saltee island for bird photography. Before the trip I did a research as I always do, which helps me not miss anything important and regret it afterwards. There is a website with beautiful photographs where you can learn more about the owners of the Islands. I don’t know if anybody ever met them when visiting Great Saltee, but I am sure they are wonderful and hospitable people. They have a shelter behind their home: a kitchen packed with bottled water and basic utensils for those who might get stuck on the island because of the weather, and two beds upstairs. We used the shelter while waiting for the boat to pick us up: the rain shortened our visit by two hours…

If you plan this trip you might find useful the Trip Advisor comments and Captain Declan Bates’ telephone number to arrange the boat and ask your questions:  353-53 9129684, mobile: 353-87 529 736. The boat leaves from Kilmore Quay, Co Wexford. Late May – mid June would be the best time for the trip.

I found this 1837 report about the Saltees; was surprised to learn that the islands were populated in the past. There  even used to be a church on Great Saltee, but now the island is a home to thousands of sea birds. I have never been so close to any bird except may be some ducks, and this closeness to the beautiful, gracious creatures filled me with sense of awe and reverence.

Some of the  birds are nesting on the side of the path. Great Saltee is a busy place, sometimes about a hundred people are wandering around the island all the day, and having a nest on the side of the path sounds like a strange choice. But it is their island, their nesting ground, and they can do as they like. We are their guests and we are the ones who have to respect their rules.  Earlier this week I had two conversations and one argument about the same subject: tourists/ immigrants/ temporary residents and their behavior in a foreign country. Here is my opinion: 1. If people are rude, stupid, arrogant, selfish, irresponsible, annoying while abroad, you bet they are the same at home. 2. Before judging the locals and their ways remember that you can leave when you please but they will have to stay and keep that country going as did their ancestors. You are not the one to teach them how to, and you would only benefit if you learn something from them 3. They might don’t like you. You can sometimes complain if you are not happy, it is OK, but don’t be a fool, don’t do it on Facebook or any social media! And never over-generalize and call a whole nation names.

So, this is what I was thinking about as I watched a colony of Gannets as they go about their routine. 200 species of birds have been recorded on Saltees, most of them migratory. Many species are nesting there, and I took pictures of some.

I have got many nice shots, so I though I could make two posts instead of one. I leave the Gannets for my Tuesday post.

I will start with the Razorbills, the first birds I saw as we walked towards the cliffs. The smaller, brownish birds in the pictures are Common guillemots.

Saltees

Saltees

Saltees

Saltees

Puffins. My dreams fulfilled! I was dreaming to see a puffin since I was a child. When I saw my first puffin from the boat my heart skipped a beat. Neat little fellas with comical faces and clumsy manner of flying mate for life and dig a burrow where they return every year to raise a chick. They feel more comfortable in the water; flying isn’t their forte. Probably it is why they take as much fish as they can hold.

Saltees

Saltees

Saltees

Saltees

Saltees

A Fulmar photobombing:)

Saltees

Saltees

Saltees

Saltees

Puffin’s  home.

Saltees

Saltees

Saltees

Saltees

Saltees

Saltees

To be continued.

Photography tip of the day: Taking pictures of birds be patient, focus on the eye, use the fastest shutter speed you can ( you might want to increase ISO) or use “Sport” setting.

inesemjphotographyHave a great weekend!

 

The Cliffs of Moher, Ireland’s best

Cliffs of Moher

Towering 700 feet above the Atlantic the Cliffs of Moher is one of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring tourist attractions in Ireland. And a tourist friendly too. If you are fit and experienced you can take a two hour cliff walk from Doolin to the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Center. The trail is remote and exposed. In some places there is very little space  between the path and abyss: it could be a challenge in bad weather. You can learn more about the trail and guided tours on http://www.seaview-doolin.ie/news/. You can take a shorter and easier walk from the Visitor Center to Hags Head, two hours return, yet it is not suitable for little children, especially in bad weather. If you are not fit, traveling with a baby or simply have no time, do what I did: just walk up to O’Brien’s tower from the Visitor center and enjoy the view on your way. All your questions about the Cliffs are answered here:  http://www.cliffsofmoher.ie/

Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher

The view from O’Brien’s tower is magnificent, but you are getting a better sense of scale looking up rather than down. We took a boat trip from Doolin, one hour both ways, to get closer to the Cliffs and to see how high they really are.

Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher

One of the caves was featured in Harry Potter movie:)

Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher

Branaunmore sea stack, a nesting place to a variety of sea birds.

Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher

If you have more than one lens it makes sense to take another camera with you on a boat trip. The scenery and lighting are changing rapidly while on a boat,  and you can miss good shots,  as I did…

Doolin is a spectacular village worth to visit. All the travel guides mention Gus O’Connor’s Pub, and it is a great and very atmospheric place well known for its traditional Irish music sessions (they say that Doolin is a capital of traditional music). If you only want to get some today’s catch fish and some chips and a quiet place to enjoy your lunch, go to Fitz’s Bar: it is as good as O’Connors, and their food is excellent!

Cliffs of Moher

I have been visiting the Cliffs of Moher more than once. There are a few pictures taken in 2004 and 2005. Not always the weather was as welcoming as this time…

Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher

The Cliffs of Moher are 300 million years old, but they don’t look the same now as they did then. Coastal erosion undermines the base of the bluffs causing the upper parts of the cliff to collapse. In fact, people walking on the top of the Cliffs are risking their lives without realizing it. They can slip, they can get blown off by wind and they can go down with a collapsing piece of path, at any time. To stay safe, we have to be respectful to Nature, and never reckless or disruptive. This is the way that balances the world.

Photography tip of the day: To take pictures from a boat use a very fast shutter speed ( or “sport” setting), stand with your legs spread and your knees slightly bended.

inesemjphotographyHave a great day!

 

Narrow roads and pink mountains

Last week I visited a friend in Burncourt, Co Tipperary. I chose a narrow country road for fun and delightful drive. Didn’t know it would be that narrow… When I startled a pheasant sleeping in the middle of the road and he lazily walked away, I thought I got lost… I didn’t take any pictures, but this one ( shared on Facebook) gives you an idea:)

keep going

After the visit I thought I might better go up the mountains on my way home. My initial plan was to stop by the ruins of Shanbally castle barbarically demolished in 1960, but I changed this plan in favor of driving South towards my favorite Old Clonmel-Cork Road.

This area lies in the Galtee-Vee Valley (Golden Vale) with the Galtee Mountains to the north and the Knockmealdown Mountains to the south. I love the rolling hills and open pastures with the breathtaking hilltop views, and I love the gradual transition from the green sunlit Knockmealdowns to the dark and lonesome Comeraghs.

In Clogheen I turned to the Vee.

The Vee Pass in Knockmealdown mountains (refers to the V-shaped turn) is a beautiful place to visit all around the year because of its stunning panoramic views, but in June the wild rhododendrons bloom in the hills, and it is the view you will never forget.

the vee

In the picture above you can see the Galtees framing the valley from the North.

the vee

the vee

the vee

the vee

the vee

The blossoms are of the color of frothy foam on the top of boiling raspberry jam. I imagine a gigantic cauldron in the hills above the Bay Lough, and the jam overflowing the cauldron and making its way down through the woods, dripping from the rocks and making puddles in the hollows. A waterfall of pink. I am overwhelmed by this breathtaking beauty.

The Bay Lough lake.

the vee

Biological function of a flower is reproduction. Mother Nature made it beautiful.

the vee

On my way down the mountain I took a few shots to make this crooked panorama:). Didn’t bother to set a tripod: I was afraid to shy away that young couple. Love is beautiful!

Untitled_Panorama1dres

Photography tip of the day: to make a panorama take as many pictures as you need to have a 40-50% overlap. Use portrait format. And a tripod:)

inesemjphotographyHave a wonderful weekend!

My Harry Potter trip : bold and beautiful Edinburgh

scotland

There are three categories of people : Mega fans of Harry Potter books and movies; people who enjoy or simply like them, and people who have heard about them. It is why I am writing this post without fear to be accused of catering to a small clique:)

There is a profound work done before me, and I especially like these two articles: Places in Harry Potter and Hogwarts.  An image of Glenfinnan viaduct is sadly missing in both  articles ( the idea for the book “came fully formed” into J.K. Rowling mind when she was on a train). It is why I started my post with this image of the famous viaduct taken by my daughter on their Scotland trip.

Visiting Edinburgh I had Harry Potter in mind most of the time. This is my brief report of possible sources of inspiration for the beloved books, and some remarkable features of the city. To be honest, I think that everything in this city contributed to Harry Potter books, as it did to many excellent examples of literature of all times.

edinburgh

edinburgh

Doesn’t it look familiar? This is George Heriot’s School, the private school for Edinburgh’s wealthy that was founded in 1628 and (officially) inspired the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry:)edinburgh

So, George Heriots’ or Hogwarts?:)

The Palace of Holyroodhouse, the official residence in Scotland of Her Majesty The Queen.

edinburgh

edinburgh

Their museum is amazing. They have a few things that belonged to Mary Stuart, and a lock of her hair.

edinburgh

The ruins of the ancient abbey in the Palace grounds.

Another remarkable structure is this magnificent gothic monument to Sir Walter Scott.

edinburgh

And this is Sir Walter himself.

edinburgh

Camera Obscura museum, collection of optical curiosities. May be I am making a mistake telling  you that I spent half a day in this museum… These two mirrors face the street and anybody can amuse themselves at any time. I think that wizardry and illusions have lots in common.

edinburgh

edinburgh

Optical illusions. The other hand is also mine:)

edinburgh

edinburgh

edinburgh

The vortex bridge pictures taken without (1) and with flash (2). All the construction is spinning and makes you quite dizzy.

edinburgh

edinburgh

So it is what I was doing there: having fun. This is their page.

edinburgh

The best view is from the top floor of Camera Obscura building.

edinburgh

edinburgh

In the 16th century here the world ended and the Edinburgh began:)

Ghost hazard places. I bet that Greyfriars Kirkyard cemetery also added to J. K. Rowling’s inspiration. I took a ghost tour to fill up on adrenaline.

edinburgh

Andy the Guide is telling us the story about Mackenzie ghost …

edinburgh

Body snatching was very popular those days… This is a security system.

There is a story about poor Bobby. People still bring him toys and pieces of wood to play with.

edinburgh

Here is a statue of Bobby and the pub where I ate my first haggis, neeps&tatties:)

edinburgh

Walking the streets. Grassmarket.

edinburgh

This pub is situated just across from the former execution place. The Last Drop wasn’t the name dedicated to the Alcoholics Anonymous club…

edinburgh

‘Half Hangit’ Maggie Dickson was hanged but survived:)

edinburgh

You might hate checked stuff, but it is impossible to walk away without buying one:) Hurry up, gentlemen, kilts on sale!

edinburgh

Kilts! Take a closer look at the guy’s compromise kilt. His seriously equipped boss wouldn’t let him walk in pants:)

edinburgh

That guy with the lollypop looks fun:)

edinburgh

No way this man would look so determined if he had just a simple pair of trousers on him. A true warrior!

edinburgh

Love this sweet gentleman and his doggies:)

edinburgh

Some foreign tourists are trying to blend in:)

edinburgh

Princess street Park. They have an orchestra playing there.

edinburgh

 

And finally, this is the place!:) As the legend tells, J. K. Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter novel here.

edinburgh

edinburgh

Inside the Elephant House; I didn’t eat anything there, had no time. Didn’t write anything either:)

edinburgh

I hope you enjoyed this virtual visit.

Photography tip of the day: When going for a photography trip, check the map for the locations in interest: you will want to know where  the sun is at a particular time of the day so you can plan your schedule.

inesemjphotographyHave a good week!

A Cry For The Last Child

In autumn 2008 I was feeling unwell and didn’t do any photography. That particular day I was limping across the bridge from the Plunkett train station in Waterford to catch a bus to the hospital, all soaked in drizzle and focused on my own misery. When I turned to The Quay I met the eyes of a giant girl looking at me from the Old Flour Mills over the river. I didn’t have any camera on me, neither was I planning to return to Waterford soon. I looked at the girl with regret and she looked at me with sorrow.

“I now see that sorrow, being a supreme emotion of which man is capable, is at once the type and test of all great art.”
De Profundis by Oscar WIlde
gottfried_helwein

Image courtesy of www.helnwein.com

Controversial, as some people say, artist Gottfried Helnwein was born in 1948 in war-torn Vienna, Austria. His biography you can read on his website ( all the links open in separate windows), and not only the biography. I have read his interviews and quotes, and also translated some from German, for good measure, and I advise you to do so to know all by yourself who he is, what he is telling and why.

gottfried_helnwein

Image courtesy of www.helnwein.com

Many people get confused when they encounter unfamiliar aspects of art; they tend to interpret the meaning based on their own culture, and get confused even more. They might even call this confusion “shock”. My daughter and I went to The Body World 3 exhibition in Salt Lake City a few years ago. The generosity of the donors’ last gift was humbling. Was this exhibition shocking? No. It was educational. Shock is something that locks, not opens. When one says that something is shocking, they stop thinking and learning right there.

gottfried_helwein

Image courtesy of www.helnwein.com

My Father was a POW from 1941 to 1945. I only know from my Mother that he escaped, jumped in the sea and swam, but was reported by a local farmer and imprisoned again in a different camp.  He would sit on the sofa with me to watch a cheesy war-related love story on TV, but start crying after a few minutes; he just wasn’t able to bear the mention of the war. What terror he had come through? You think it will never come back? You think that Fascism is a ghost of the past? Think again.

gottfried_helwein

Image courtesy of www.helnwein.com

“There are times when sorrow seems to me to be the only truth. Other things may be illusions of the eye or the appetite, made to blind the one and cloy the other, but out of sorrow have the worlds been built, and at the birth of a child or a star there is pain.”
 De Profundis by Oscar Wilde

Why children?

There are some blood-chilling statistics for you to think about.  In the wars during the 80s-90s more children were killed than soldiers.

School shootings. Did you hear about gun control in the 19th century? Yet from 1800 till 1900 there were only about 50 school shootings registered in the USA, mostly as revenge against the teachers, or accidental ; about 190 cases in 20th century and 145 cases  from 2000-2013. Statistics include also dormitory and drive-by shootings near the school buildings, and this information is only for the United States.  You can also check http://www.ijvs.org/ which goes for International Journal on Violence in Schools.

How about home violence, genocide, starvation, children sex tourism? How about the gruesome  discovery in  Tuam?  I can go on and on about all the children who came into this world to be betrayed.  Do you still consider the paintings of Gottfried Helnwein “shocking”?

“I feel there is a strong bond between artists and children and all other sacred fools”
Gottfried Helnwein in an interview with Yuchi Konno for Yaso, Japan

When I think about Gottfried Helnwein’s personality,  the only thing that truly matters to me is Family. He is a family man who raised his family well. Over fifteen years ago he bought a castle near where I live. He resides there with his family, his children and grandkids. I wanted to know what their safe haven looks like; to see what the artist sees when he is with his own, away from the media and curious eyes. I contacted his son Cyril and asked if I could take some photos around the castle grounds.

gottfried_helwein

gottfried_helwein

Isn’t it beautiful? They even have some ducks there, one named Donald. If you read the biography you will know that it is symbolic.

gottfried_helwein

gottfried_helwein

I felt a little bit like an intruder. I wanted to leave as fast as I can, and I wanted to stay as long as I may. Sweet children, two of whom are of my grandchildren age, melted my heart.

I was invited inside the castle which wasn’t arranged and which I never expected. It is so delightful and homely inside, with the afternoon sun beaming through the green vines covering the gothic windows. And you know what? It came out that I finally got to see all the images from that Waterford 2008 installation because Cyril kindly gave me a copy of the book The Last Child!

Having this peaceful home why would one bother crying warnings?

Any of us can make our home a castle: we can barricade ourselves from the world, protect our children from bad influences, home-teach, train in marital arts, life-coach them to be always on the safe side, you name it. And say you succeed when the rest of the world is falling apart. But let’s see it this way: do you want your child to be the last child?

Photography tip of the day: Focus on the eyes. As long as they are in focus all your image won’t look ruined.

inesemj_photographyHave a great weekend!

 

 

Clancy Brothers music festival in Carrick on Suir

clancy festival

What a great time to visit Ireland! This weekend Carrick on Suir, Tipperary, hosts the 7th annual Clancy Brothers Music and Arts Festival! The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem were an influential Irish folk group in the 60s; they are loved and honored in their hometown and recognized by folk song lovers throughout the world. There are a few pictures of the shop windows decorated for the occasion. clancy festival

clancy festival

clancy festival

clancy festival

A harvest time for street photography, but for me as a jet lag casualty it is impossible to see everything.  I just walked Main Street to listen to the street performing, or busking, competitions, and went to the Ormond castle for a Family Day fun. I find it very fascinating to watch the street performers. Closeness to the art happening in front of your eyes gives you a false feeling of belonging, but when you look in their inspired face you realise how far away they are now, unreachable, deep in their work, focused and beautiful.

257clan

clancy festival

clancy festival

clancy festival

clancy festival

clancy festival

clancy festival

clancy festival

clancy festival

Ormond Castle welcomes families to enjoy the medieval experience.

clancy festival

clancy festival

clancy festival

clancy festival

clancy festival

clancy festival

Some people enjoy it even more than the others:)

clancy festival

The Falconry exhibition was grand  but this 7-weeks old  baby owl girl stole the show.  It is exactly what we call a cuteness overflow. I wish you could hear the gentle sounds she made and see her cuddling in my lap.

clancy festival

clancy festival

clancy festival

There are so much more music and creative arts events, I wish I could be everywhere… Song writing workshop and competition, concerts of local and visiting performers and choirs, pub live music sessions all over the town, a river walk, children drama workshop and theatrical performances, visual art exhibitions…

clancy festival

clancy festival

clancy festival

Now you can go to the first picture and tell me what is your idea about the Guinness pints on the table. As you see some of them are full, some not:)

I didn’t make it to the River festival, so I just share with you my favorite song.

Photography tip of the day: Natural light is versatile and pure. You can bounce it from a Styrofoam board or white T-shirt, if necessary.

inesemj_photographyHave a great day!