Sunday, 24 March 2013

St Patrick's Day in Clifden

The Parade

Some images from this years Parade .......

 more Images From the Clifden St Patrick's Day Parade  here  and click on the gallery link

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Galway hookers at the Roundstone Regatta

   Last weekend being the fourth in our series of six Weekends Workshops we found ourselves at the Roundstone Regatta and on the theme of Hookers and Curraghs. As we rolled into Roundstone the Hookers were unrolling their sails in preparation for the racing. We parked up and found our boatman to bring us out into the bay.
As we move out of the harbor I notice there is a good number of boats this year and I recognise some of the boats from previous years the like the St Katherine and Mc Hugh to name but two. (you can't miss these two!), but this year there are new boats or rather boats I have not seen at the Roundstone Regatta before.
As we move swiftly along to catch up on the race start, there is a good wind to fill the sails but not enough to splash up onto the camera gear and us, Light was a bit low with light clouds but otherwise a pleasant enough warm day. Incidentally I was using the new Canon 5D Mark 3 with a 70-200 mm lens and a 5D mark 2 with a 24-70mm lens. Anything longer and the boats would need to be further away and camera shake would mess things up badly. Similarly any wider than 24mm and our boat would have to get very close to fill the frame. Remember these boats are not there to pose for us they are in a race so we must keep a respectful distance.
Galway hookers are traditional vessels of Connemara used both for fishing and transporting goods, livestock and people to and from the numerous islands offshore. Although some use nylon rope now the traditional craft is pretty much as was. Concrete blocks and drums of water act as ballast nowadays The Galway Hookers Association is a good place to start to learn more about some of these boats and their history.

Curraghs (or Currach) are a rowing boat. Traditionally they were made of light timbers or wicker  with a canvas or Ox hide stretched over the hull. They would have and still are extensively used by fishermen and were also used to transport livestock and goods to smaller islands closer to shore. Nowadays they are made from sturdy materials and are usually seen with a motor on the back. In the regatta there are races with one, two, three and four man crews for both male and female rowers. The majority of races I witnessed were three person crew races. Watching them from the boat as opposed to watching from land gives a better appreciation of the skill, rhythm and strength of these rowers.
As we are shooting away our boatman for the day Pat tells us about the different classes and sizes see Galway_Hookers on Wikipedia for more details. He also told how one boat in particular is being raced by the son of a Hooker owner who died tragically from his boat a few years ago.  The history and understanding of these boats bring a new meaning to our group and indeed to our own regular visits to the regatta. This is further enhanced when we arrive back onshore and return to my favourite place to shoot the boats as they return after the race. As is the case every year regular race watchers gather at this spot to watch the curragh races. One gentleman in particular who is well into his eighties is to be seen every year watching the action from the passenger seat of his son's car. We are at the top end of the racing area and his son is getting regular updates from the pier via mobile which is relayed in Irish. It is wonderful to see and hear the exchanges even though to my shame I cannot understand a word they are saying (except maybe catching a word or two). If we ask them they will translate for us and from this we find that a grandson in a three man curragh has come second in his heat and so will race in the final on Sunday.
When we arrive back on Sunday its disappointing to find that the wind is too strong for sailing which is in sharp contrast to last year when the Hooker races had to be abandoned of the lack of wind and the becalmed hookers had to be towed back to the harbour. So while the regulars are there to watch the curragh racing we leave them for another year and head on to Dogs Bay for some more instruction before breaking up and heading home.
   The next Weekend Workshop is planned for the 3rd - 6th August (Bank Holiday weekend) when the theme will be Connemara Ponies, the Omey Island Beach races.
  The final Weekend Workshop for this year will be held in September and focus on the Clifden Arts week and in particular the Street Parade so low light flash photography as well as long exposures and off camera flash will be the main points explored over this weekend.
If you would like to join us there are still some place left (but only one or two) so let me know and I'll try fit you in. 

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

 Connemara Weekend Workshops update 

 We have just updated the website with the remaining 3 dates for our Connamara Weekend Workshops. they are....

Our next workshop coincides with the Volvo Ocean race  6th - 8th July. There a still a small number of places available. If you would like to come join please hurry and book soon so we can finalize arrangements. 
  Our previous workshops have been a great success and full reports and images will be posted soon. 
These weekend Workshops are designed to get you out the shooting in real word situations and I guarantee that no matter what you skill level you have a great time and be challenged.

Mountain Bike shoot   

Had a great day over the weekend shooting Peter and Dara down in the woods on their mountain bikes. I mostly tried (despite distractions) to hone my off camera flash an reflectors techniques. Weather was fantastic water was wet but dispute that it was great crack lads thank you for your time and patience. We are already planning do this again soon.  The  images here are a small sample of what we got up to. 

Friday, 2 March 2012

Our First Clifden Workshop of 2012

      Just completed the 1st of 6 weekend workshops in Clifden 2012 celebrating the 200th anniversary of its foundation.
  Clifden 2012 selected this weekend to focus on the Clifden to Galway railway and transport, and so did we (sort of!).
  Some of our attendees were more interested in other subjects like birds, panorama stitched images and using flash so who am I to deny them !
  So Saturday morning as we set out it was just clearing off some overnight rain, then it turned very cold.

The black and white image above was taken from the Bog Rd and is a very reduced 9 image panorama that if printed would measure 60 X 150 inches (5 X 12 feet)

This one is my favorite from the day and indeed the weekend its a more modest pano at 17 X 39 inches and looks great printed out.

The birds were also feeling the cold and mostly kept out of our way. We did get to watch a kingfisher for a while (only the second time I have seen him in the area). He was staking out his perches and later  in the day we did come across a flock of Sanderlings that we could practice photographing. However the light was fading but it did prove to be a good exercise.
The image below (black headed gull) was made using a slow shutter speed and panned to give the blurred effect. Hand held shutter speed 1/15 apreture f16 iso 50 and it is the same bird!

After a long and exhausting day we dinned in the "Off the Square" Restaurant in Clifden and reviewed the days shoot.

Sunday Morning and the news from home was not good, we would had to shorten our planned day. A special thank you to the participants for their understanding. However, we did get to visit one my favorite place on this planet. This is a  place where there are no roads, overhead wires, poles and only a few houses in the distance to spoil the views.Since it was along the old railway line it brought us back to the theme for the weekend. We spent a few hours here hammering home the lessons from yesterday and learning a few new tricks. It was a beautiful day a little cool but we had a picnic out in the open, it was truly a wonderful day.
  All in for the first weekend the experience was terrific, hard work but good fun too and I'm looking forward to the next one on 14th /15th April it will be based around a traditional music festival been held in and around Clifden. Why not come and join us. See here for more details.

Hope to see you there

  Michael Harris
     and the team here at Dynamic Photography

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

A Beautiful Spring Day

Sunday was such a beautiful day in Connamara. Gorgeous Spring Light, moving clouds and the odd local shower producing rainbows etc. We spent a the day scouting for sites to visit for the first of our 6 Weekend Workshops kicking off this coming weekend. The theme for this weekend is the Galway to Clifden Railway and for a teaser the shot below was taken along the line close to Ballinahinch Station. The above short was taken in one of the many valleys in Connamara.  I'm really looking forward to meeting up with participants on Friday to share this and more of this beautiful part of the world.  

  If your interested in Joining us for any of the other Workshops please contact us as soon as possible while there are still some spaces available.

More details here  or pop us an E-mail

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Workshop dates for 2012

For 2012 we are planning 6 Workshop weekends that will coincide with events happening in and around Galway, Clifden and Connemara. 

   Clifden celebrates its 200th Anniversary this year so we will link into some of the events arranged for that.
   The Volvo round the World Yacht race finishes in Galway during July. The last time it visited the Red Arrows put on a display and although the Red Arrows have not published their schedule yet we live in hope they will also return but either way there will be some round the bay races and plenty of other action. If enough people are interested I will attempt to get us out onto Galway Bay so we photograph the yachts, however this may or may not be possible we'll see!
  Of course there are the usual Connemara events like the Omey island beach races, the Roundstone Regatta, Clifden Pony show and others that provide excellent photo opportunities as well as the wonderful landscapes, beaches and people that make Connemara a great place to hold these workshops. More details and itineraries will appear on the Workshop section of the website as they are finalized. But for now at least heres what will be happening briefly.

Feb 17th – 19th. This weekend coincides with a celebration of Clidens Railway and Transport Heritage. So our theme for the workshop will be the Galway to Clifden Railway Line. We will visit some of the remaining sites along the line and explore the landscape and views that were enjoyed from the train.

April 13th – 15th. A traditional music festival is being held this weekend in Clifden. In addition to our usual Landscape and other activities, we will visit a number of music venues and concentrate a little on indoor portraits, shooting performers and anyone else that gets in the way, I can promise that you will be challenged on this weekend.

July 6th – 8th. This is the weekend the Volvo Ocean Race arrives into Galway Bay. There is in-port racing scheduled for Saturday but little other information is available at this time. I hope to be able to hire a boat to take us out onto the bay to get some dramatic shots. 
The last time the race visited so to did the Red arrows, and although nothing officially has been announced we live in hope! 

Note: The festival runs for a week from the 6th so if the following weekend is more interesting we might change to that weekend.

   2 Workshops are planned for the end of July into August!  Over the last weekends of July and into the August holiday there is a lot of activity around Connemara. When the dates for the Roundstone Regatta and Omey Beach races are published, we can nail down these weekend Workshops.

   For the Sept / Oct Weekend Workshop so far were looking at 3 possible dates. Either end of the Arts week 22nd - 30th Sept depending on planned events or Oct 12th – 14th celebrating Marconi’s Wireless Telegraph Station near Clifden. You decide !  (Sat 29th during Arts Week Clifden will most lightly have a street parade at night giving us some great photographic opportunities and challenges)

   All dates listed are of course subject to weather and operational restrictions and can change when forces beyond my control conspire. I will of course have a plan B in such event.

  Most events are usually dependent on volunteers to arrange and run them and this takes time and commitment on their part so to-date not all have been fully listed and as such they may also change beyond my control some may even change for the better! More detail will appear on this Blog and/or website as I get them.  

  Also some events we will visit may incur a cover charge or other extra charges which will be borne by attendees on the day. I will let you know in advance of any charges and we will only proceed by agreement.

   To express an interest  or sign up for any of these workshops please let me know. I can be contacted through Facebook, Twitter, e-mail  info(at)dynamicphotography(dot)ie of by phone or text 085 7778939. 

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Beginners Group Field trip

  Took a beginner’s class out to the Botanic Gardens here in Dublin on Sunday. What a great bunch, good fun with everybody totally engaged and interested. Big star of the day was the daughter of one of the attendees, she was so good a real pro in the making! Topics covered included Travel photography, Flowers , Close up (Macro), Posing, Landscape and having fun!  The unusually good weather on the day made for some great shots and the gardens were looking beautiful as usual.