Recent pics

Just putting up a few recent pics – not much I know but I haven’t been able to get out much for some reason – also the weather hasn’t been up to much – am going to try to get out more – famous last words!!

Autumn Photo Workshop

My recent October landscape photography workshop in West Cork went brilliantly. We had four participants who all really enjoyed it.  The weather was mixed with windy but almost dry evening to start with followed by a wet morning on the Saturday. However the evening was fantastic with great evening light and sunset which we photographed near Garrylucas and got some brilliant shots. Sunday morning we were out early near Dunmore in Clonakilty bay and finished out at the Galley Head. Great weekend which sent them all home tired but happy with some lovely images in the bag.

Some of the comments afterwards:

“Thanks for a fab weekend”, Ian Brennan, Cork.

“Thanks for a great weekend!!  I haven’t had two minutes to rub together since the weekend but I am finally getting some time to process”. Matthew Roche, Dublin.

“The weekend was brilliant and I learned so much and had great fun” Helen Quinn, County Limerick.

On photography in general

We are now firmly in the era of digital photography and the cameras and technology we use have progressed in leaps and bounds over the last ten years or so. Hardly a month goes by without one of the main manufacturers announcing a new world beating digital camera. During this period of development, it seems that photography in general has also gone through a massive change. the number of people who now count photography as a main hobby or pastime has increased exponentially it seems. My feeling is that this has happened primarily because of this transition to digital. The idea that we can now see our pictures within seconds of making them has without doubt made it more accessible to everybody and many more people seem to be making images on a regular basis. The financial boom years of the mid 2000’s also meant that people seemed to have more disposable income. Couple this with the increase in quality and the decrease in prices of serious cameras and more people than ever purchased a “proper” SLR camera. World travel became cheap and everybody wanted to bring home top quality memories from their fantastic trip.

Is this all good? For the most part I think so. With a high volume of people buying digital cameras, the manufacturers should be continually encouraged to produce better cameras on a regular basis and invest more money in improving the technology. This is good for all photographers. The cost benefit is now much greater too. In the early days digital cameras were expensive and only those who shot thousands of images each year would reap the benefit of going digital. Nowadays the cameras are more affordable and the cost of film and processing is now easily recouped by shooting on a digital chip. many photographers now take full control of their images from the moment of capture to when the final print is made. We no longer need to rely on others to make prints of our great visions. No need to spend time finding an expert printer and give them detailed instructions on where to dodge and burn, what level of contrast to use and what our preferred paper is. No need to find an extra room in which to set up our own smelly darkroom, just a space for a small table on which to place our digital darkroom with printer included. No need to get our hands wet. Add this to our new found ability to assess images at the exact moment we make them, there is without dobut no good reason to use film for most people. Finally, we can now share our pictures with the entire world just minutes after making them. A few clicks of the mouse and they are uploaded to our own web sites, the social networks, or both. Relatives in other parts of the world can share our memories with ease. Without doubt this is fantastic progress and all in just a few short years.

So is there a downside? It’s hard to know and I don’t want to be a critic. However, I feel that perhaps there are two things happening that may be bad for photography. The first is that we are perhaps becoming over-saturated with photographic images. Many would argue that history can be told more effectively with images and that the more images we have, the more that history is recorded for future generations. I would not dispute this. It is also easy to convey ideas, display places or products and share memories with photographic images. The concern I have is that everyone now believes that most digital images have been manipulated after they are taken and there is often almost no trust in the reality of images anymore. This is probably more true in the realms of celebrity photography whether it is an airbrushed portrait or a paparazzi style image where people are seen doing things they shouldn’t! In many cases there may be foundation to this distrust but it is a pity that if you spend time in the environment making an image of a spectacular sunset that it will be assumed that it had been “photoshopped”. This brings me to the second small problem. We photographers may indeed be guilty of over-working our images. There is no doubt that there are many images now which seem unreal and I feel we must be careful in how we represent the world, particularly in the specturm of environmental photography. With early digital cameras the results were often disappointing and so had to be enhanced to become good representations of what the true scene looked like. Newer models often give almost too much saturation to images and therefore they can look manipulated from the start. The tools we now have at our disposal in terms of digital software make almost anything possible but without doubt the best images are the ones made when conditions are right and little or no work needs to be done. Because of the way digital images are captured it is almost always necessary to do some post-processing but it is easy to get sucked into overdoing them. If a sky is not interesting enough we can simply “drop one in” from a previous photo. For illustration purposes this may be fine but for me the greatest pleasure comes from being there when our planet does its own wonderful thing.