Church of Saint Sebastian, Ramsau, Germany / Sony A200, Tamron 17-50mm f2.8
Starnbergersee, Germany / Sony A200, Tamron 17-50mm f2.8
We went for a walk with some friends on Wednesday evening on Vitosha Mountain which lies just south of Sofia. On the way back down we were just in time to catch the last rays of the sun through a gap in the trees.
The Seven Rila Lakes are a two hour drive from Sofia in the Rila Mountains, and one of the most popular tourist spots in the country. I’m told that in the summer months there are hour long waits for a seat on the chair lift that takes you up to the starting point for the trails that lead to the lakes. So we decided to do it in February instead.Read more
Bryce Canyon, Utah
What’s the difference between a bad photo and a boring photo? I was wondering about this as I trawled through pictures from ten years ago and found some that I had kept despite repeated culling over the years. I concluded that ‘boring’ is a quality that a picture can have that makes it something more than merely bad. Bad pictures, on the other hand, don’t even rise to the height of being boring. Below is what I consider one of my best boring photos. This is an exit from an underground car park at the Allianz arena in the suburbs of Munich.Read more
I read today that the Taal volcano in the Philippines has started spewing ash. The authorities evacuated 8,000 people fearing an eruption. There are also fears of a tsunami because the volcano is in the middle of a lake. I visited Taal a few years ago when I lived in the Philippines. It’s not far from Manila – about a ninety minute drive – and the area is popular with visitors from the capital. Getting to the volcano requires a trip on a boat across the lake, then a walk or a horse ride to the rim, where there are views into the crater. A lake has formed in the crater since the last eruption which explains the huge cloud of steam hanging in the sky from this most recent activity. Here are a few of pictures I took at the time. The first is of our boat trip across the lake to get to the volcano. It was a small boat, the water was choppy, the wind was blowing and we got very, very wet, but we dried off quickly. In the second you can see Binintiang Malaki, formed after a previous eruption, and often mistaken for Taal. The third is taken from the rim looking in to the crater. Sadly, all of this is now gone following the eruption with the lake evaporated, the greenery blown away and the island coated in volcanic ash.
Despite my Irish origins I prefer Scotch whisky. I’ve sampled plenty of malts over the years and decided that my desert island whisky would be Highland Park. Islay malts are a close second though, both those that bear the traditional Islay characteristics of heavy peat and smoke, and those that are a little less intense.
In 2014 I visited Islay for a week on a pilgrimage of sorts, intending to visit and tour all the remaining working distilleries. There are eight in all, on an island of only 2,000 people and another one just across the sound on the island of Jura.Read more
I took a trip back home to Northern Ireland in May this year. Wanting to experiment a little with my film photography I left my largely manual 1970’s vintage SLR’s behind and ordered a early 2000’s Nikon F75 with 50 1.8 AF lens which was waiting for me when I arrived. The F75 is an entry level camera but when it was released it incorporated most of Nikon’s latest and greatest technologies. I also ordered a five pack of Kodak Pro 100 film to try out. In the end I decided that I prefer my film cameras a little more old school, a little more hands on. The F75 is fun to use – and these days an absolute bargain – but I found that I was taking shots more quickly than I would with my less automated cameras. This may be why I ended up with very few shots I thought were worthwhile, or it may just have been me. Who knows. Here are a few shots from those five rolls that I thought were not too bad. The first set is pictures taken around Belfast, while the second is from a small seaside town not far from Belfast called Donaghadee.Read more