Wednesday 15 October 2014

Snapshots from Castletownshend

It is only a matter of days before my first guests / photography students arrive here in West Cork to absorb the whole feel of this special corner of Ireland, whilst enjoying the opportunity to widen their knowledge and practise the art of photography. It was with this coming weekend in mind that himself and I took a walk around the nearby village of Castletownshend on a lovely October Sunday evening, and although I have visited many times before, I used this visit to pay close attention to details. This is just one such exercise I will be encouraging my students to carry out in their quest to understand and put into practise the some of principles of exposure and composition, light and colour.

For those who will be arriving this weekend, here is a taster of what you might find. For those who couldn't make any of the weekends this Autumn, here is a taster of what you could do if you book onto one of the workshops or weekends which are planned for the Spring! Watch out for more details soon.

Saturday 4 October 2014

Surf's Up!

Since we arrived back in West Cork, the weather has been pretty amazing, except for yesterday, when the wind had picked up and we had rain for pretty much the whole of the day. This morning though, we woke to clear skies and a fresh breeze, which, added to yesterday's wind, meant that surf was up!

We set off for an early morning stroll along the mile-long Long Strand, with mutt squeaking in anticipation as we turned onto the coast road (she knows exactly where she is). Not safe as a bathing beach, Long Stand is popular with surfers, so it wasn't surprising to find a number of hardy souls taking to the water, under the watch of the Galley Head Lighthouse.

Even with the relatively calm surf, there were some impressive twists and turns attempted.  I have to take my hat off to these guys but rather them than me. I was quite content with keeping dry, warm and just photographing their activities.

If the opportunity of having a go at some action photography in West Cork appeals to you, then you are in luck! There are still two places available in a twin/double room for the weekend of the 25th October on a West Cork Photography Weekend I am hosting in this stunning corner of Ireland.

However, have no fear if following the action is not completely your idea of spending a weekend with your camera, this is just a small part of the whole scheme of this taster weekend. Landscapes or people and place more your scene? They all will have their turn!

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Beach bits and bobs

It's the 1st October and this afternoon I spent a very pleasant couple of hours down on our little strand out here in West Cork. It was just like summer, what with temperatures being in the 20s (I really hope this settled spell will still be with us in the middle of the month when the guests arrive for my West Cork Photography Weekends!) I sat in the sunshine and listened to the gentle swoosh of the calm sea as it lapped onto the sandy low-tide strand. I watched as the stonechats and the little wren hopped along the scrubby back cliff and the assorted corvids flew back and forth to their spot on the old watch tower on the Head.

I just love the time to escape and soak up the beauty of this world at the furthest south west corner of Ireland, and it is just this which I want to share with those who will be coming along to these exclusive photography weekends in a couple of weeks time. As well as the special opportunity to go looking for the big guys on a whale watching trip (and I'm pleased to announce that the fin whales arrived back in the West Cork waters this morning!) there will also be the chance to take an extra special close look at the little things that can often be overlooked.

As well as the more recognisable beach bits and bobs, I will be actively encouraging the keen photographers to search out the unusual. Finding things they have never seen before, photographing them then coming back to look up what they have discovered. Even I never stop discovering new things. Today I came across these squishy amber balls - some full of liquid, others deflated and dessicated. All I had to do was photograph it, leave it undisturbed on the shore and then do the ID when I returned to my special little reference library. In this library collection I have a superb little book The RSPB Handbook of the Seashore by my great tweep friend, the marine and coastal ecologist, Maya Plass. In no time at all I had found the answer to my puzzle Colpomenia peregrina or the Oyster Thief (also known as the sea potato)

So not only will there be much learning of photography techniques, there will be widening of knowledge of the natural world too. Oh, and spotting slightly more common things such as these crystal-clear common jellyfish Aurelia aurita.

If this appeals to you, then you are in luck as there are still two places available in a twin/double room on the weekend of the 25th October
However, have no fear if getting down and sandy is not completely your idea of spending a weekend with your camera, this is just a small part of the whole scheme of this taster weekend. Landscapes or people and place more your scene? They all will have their turn!