With more character than you could shake a blackthorn stick at, Ramelton’s Betting Office, as seen here, takes us back to a time and culture that’s quickly fading from memory. And we’re all the worse for it.
Just 20 or more years ago I found Ramelton to be one of the most photographable villages in Ireland. It’s not surprising it was chosen as a key location in the four McGann brothers’ superb BBC Northern Ireland/RTE TV series The Hanging Gale. Well worth watching and currently available on BBC Store.
It’s a long time since I’ve been. I hope it’s kept most of its unique charm and not become too affected by the contrary trends of tourism.
1) From SLRs To A Mirrorless System
2) Capturing Seasonal Light
3) Nothing Worth Doing Is Easy (Photography’s Testing Learning Curve)
4) The Negative Advantage (Shooting Colour Negative Film)
5) Under the Christmas Day Moon (Extending DR While Handholding)
6) The Top of Ireland (Shooting The Highest Places In Ireland)
7) Lose the Dead Shots (Just Keep the Good Photos)
8) Take a Balanced Approach to White Balance
9) RAW and JPEG: What’s Your Preference?
10) Metering Modes
11) Grips for the Fujifilm X-E2 and X-E1
12) Control the Range of Focus (Understanding Depth-of-Field)
13) Winter Apples (Making An Arty Image)
14) Murlough Bay, County Antrim (A Scenic Location To Shoot)
15) Can Composition Be Taught?
16) Something Lasting (A Triptych From A Consumer Camera)
17) A Camera To Paint With (The Camera Obscura)
A few years ago I combined a short hike through my local mountains with an amateur video project. If you’re thinking of having a go you might find this post of interest. If you’ve any helpful tips, I’ll probably need them!
Besides the usual camera and trekking gear I carried a Canon PowerShot SX1 IS and a mini-tripod. This small camera (first sold as far back as 2008) records full HD quality video and has an impressive 20x optical zoom lens.
I already knew that shooting video in the mountains was more demanding than the typical photographic challenges and techniques I’m so used to—but it was worth it. It takes plenty of patience, especially when you’re being eaten alive by midges.
Key to a less amateurish result is using a tripod as often as possible. It’s a hassle but you’ll get a better viewing experience when your clips are all stitched together. We can also get strikingly smooth video if the camera is fitted to a gimbal. Gimbals are often used with smartphones and so-called action cameras, but they aren’t cheap.
I came back with dozens of clips—most of them useless—and whittled them down to several key segments. I dragged and dropped them into the software and used a variety of tools to edit and enhance each .mov file in turn. Sometimes I applied a single process across the entire timeline, such as colour saturation.
I used Serif’s MoviePlus video editing software (above). The latest version is X6. In fact, it’s the the last version because its parent company has no plans to update it. It’s not top of the range in any sense but does the job very well and the learning curve isn’t too daunting.
I hope you enjoy it.
If my efforts are just too amateurish for you, (which is very likely, fair enough), have a look at the remarkable 50-minute 60fps video presentation below. TimeScapes: The Movie, shot on Red Epic and Canon DLSR cameras at 4096 x 2304 pixels (4K), was the debut film from cinematographer Tom Lowe. If possible watch it on a quality monitor or a smart TV.
It features a variety of challenging time-lapse techniques that capture striking events we could never see in real time. There’s no doubt that YouTube won’t do it full justice, but it’s unmissable just the same. A fantastic achievement.
For more information see HERE.
One of my favourite photographs in Henry Morton’s book, In Search of Ireland (pub. 1930), is Fair Day, by Thomas Holmes Mason (see bottom of page). While looking at more of his work in the National Library of Ireland Catalogue I came across a photograph entitled “Salruck Graveyard” (ca. 1890-1903).
Two things struck me about this photograph taken in Connemara: the young lad who’s literally dressed in patched tatters and the clay pipes placed on the grave in the foreground. It turns out that clay pipes were made available to mourners at wakes. Later, in the graveyard, the pipes were typically broken and laid on the departed’s grave.
Further information can be found HERE.
In County Wicklow, Ireland, at the top of Lugnaquilla mountain you’ll find an etched disc that impressively “shows the direction of the principal mountains, etc, visible from the summit…”
Click or tap on the image below for a more detailed view.
Further information on Lugnaquilla can be found HERE.
It’s understandable why wide views of big open spaces are so popular. In fact to get us right into the scene all the way from the in-focus foreground detail at our feet to the distant view it’s essential to use a wide-angle lens. But as many landscape amateurs and pros will affirm, taking along a telephoto zoom significantly extends our creative options. Picking out distant details while experimenting with focal lengths can add interest and drama to a shot.
When I first got into landscape photography I found myself switching to longer lengths quite often. Although it adds to the weight I’ve to lug around over rough steep terrain on skinny legs, I always carry a zoom that takes me to 300mm (35mm equivalent). Farther might be even better. Some time after I’d moved over from Canon to Fujifilm (though I still hanker for a 6D) I bought the Fujinon XF 55-200mm F3.5-4.8 R LM OIS.
If you plod wearily around online you’ll discover that there are mixed views about this lens. Not that it matters much because let’s face it—there are mixed views on everything, often shot through with mind-numbing hair-splitting opinions. Recently I was on a forum where a Fujinon zoom lens got slated as being literally the worst Fujifilm produces, yet a few posts further down it was praised for its capabilities. So, pinch of salt!
The fact is that in my experience as a somewhat-hard-to-please amateur this stabilised Fujinon is very well constructed and has brought home really good handheld results, typically at ISO 400 or more. More than good enough for me then. And, zoomscaper that I am, I won’t head out into the landscape without it.
If you’re new to outdoor photography and you’ve been concentrating on wide-angle shots of open spaces, maybe you could try experimenting with longer focal lengths. Find out how it suits your shooting style. I’ve discovered it really helps if I can include someone in the shot. Unfortunately, I prefer the place to myself and an early low sun. So in the summer months especially that sometimes means shooting a deserted landscape through the lingering mist. You can’t have everything.
To see Slieve Donard in the Mourne Mountains from the air click or tap HERE.
We’ve got The Old Man of Hoy and The Old Man of Storr, and so on, and if you believe everything you read on the Internet, when you look at the Mourne Mountains from the north you might see a man lying down who has Slieve Binnian for a face. He has my sympathy—I’m heading that way myself.
Recently I was making my way off Binnian and glanced back—something photographers should be in the habit of doing. Back up the track a big boulder seemed to have a face of sorts. So I christened it, The Old Man of Binnian. It’ll do me. What do you think?
I increased the saturation in the sky to add useful detail for the black and white conversion.