Rocking the Boat & Street Photography

So there are two new #GuruShots challenges in play.

At the current time, there are 9 days left in the challenge entitled ‘Rocking the Boat’. I’ve submitted the following images – from left to right:

  • Three Rowing Boats on the River Boyne
  • Fishing Boats on the River Boyne
  • The Irish Trader (shipwreck on Baltray Sands) – heavy filter use on this image!
  • The Irish Trader (shipwreck on Baltray Sands) – side profile without the filter!

Rocking the Boat

As you can tell from the votes, these images are hardly setting the world on fire. At present time of writing, I’ve reached Popular (along with 3606 others) but it’s great that people have voted for them at all. What is interesting is that the dark image of the Irish Trader has more votes (albeit a small amount) than the lighter image of the same wreck and I think the one with less votes is better.

I’ve also entered the GuruShots challenge entitled ‘Street Photography’. Like the ‘Rocking the Boat’ challenge, there 9 days to go before this challenge closes and voting starts in approx. 1 hour from time of publishing this post. Shown (in the update below) are the images I’ve submitted – from left to right:

  • Umbrellas in a Dublin Side Street (taken Monday 9 April)
  • A Quiet Sunday Morning in Madrid (taken in 2016)
  • Graffiti on a North Quay Dublin Building (since demolished) (taken 2016/7 through my car window when stuck at traffic lights)
  • Oil Spill on Leeson Street, D2 (taken earlier this year)

Each of the ‘Street Photography’ images were taken on an iPhone 6 and I’m happy enough with the results. These days, mobile/cell phones have great cameras and are perfect for taking quick hassle-free images.

I think my images in ‘Street Photography’ are a little better than those in my ‘Rocking the Boat’ challenge but I’m a lot more interested in the results of the latter challenge because all the images were taken in the last few weeks on my Nikon D3400 DSLR. By uploading these photographs – and trust me, I do know they can be improved upon – I just feel that I’m making (some) progress in my ultimate quest to take great photographs.

In an attempt to try to earn more GuruShots points however, in due course (possibly after the weekend), I’ll try to dig out some other (better?) images that I’ve taken in my pre-Nikon D3400 days and try out a few swaps. As I’ve noted before, GuruShots is at the end of the day a game but it is also an interesting way to share images and measure my own progress at the same time. As usual, updates will follow as relevant.

#Dublin #Baltray #RiverBoyne #Umbrellas #IrishTrader #Shipwreck

Update: The Rock the Boat Challenge has finished and I got a Skilled ranking. Happy with that! :-)

Update: Delighted and quite surprised to have achieved an Elite ranking. As I thought, these images were more popular than those in the Rock the Boat Challenge and the final votes were as follows:


[April 2018]

Cutting the City in Two

The River Liffey runs through the heart of Dublin city and splits the residents into Northsiders or Southsiders. There’s an amusing note about this ‘great divide’ on the Dublin Escape site and it is well worth a read.

Rising from peat bogs in the Wicklow Mountains, the river runs for 132 Km / 82 miles before running into the Irish Sea off Dublin Port. Although 60% of the flow is pulled for drinking water, it is not, as is commonly thought by tourists, used to make Guinness – IMHO, the most revolting beverage on the planet but amazingly many people actually like the stuff. The brewery actually pipes their water supply directly from the Wicklow Mountains, and given the peat content, I would image that it’s the colour of Guinness when it arrives in Dublin! Mind you, same could be said for the Liffey too.

The Liffey was the starting point for the cargo ships used to export Guinness form the St James’s Gate Brewery and for a while, my paternal grandfather (who was a sailor) worked on the crossing from Dublin to Liverpool and back again, a route which took him past his home on the North Wales coast.

I saw this work on the North Quay last year on a building since demolished to make way for new developments. An interesting article about the development of the North Quay in photographs can be read on the Irish Times website.

The street art below is a highly romantic view of the Liffey – on any day I’ve crossed it, I’ve never seen a hint of blue in the grey/brown Guinness-like murkiness.

The Liffey Cuts the City Like a Meandering Blue Vein

The Liffey cuts the City like a meandering blue vein

With typical dry and caustic humour, but based on truth, the river was known locally in earlier decades as the ‘Whiffy Liffey’ and it is this aspect of the river which is referenced in a number of works:

“Somebody once said that Joyce has made of this river the Ganges of the literary world, but sometimes the smell of the Ganges of the literary world is not all that literary”

(Brendan Behan, ‘Confessions of an Irish Rebel’)

And ….

“No man who has faced the Liffey can be appalled by the dirt of another river”

(Iris Murdoch, ‘Under the Net’)

To be fair, the river isn’t all that smelly these days – except when the wind carries from the Irish Sea over the treatment works at Poolbeg and Ringsend. People enjoy canoeing, fishing and swimming (not me) in the river and also taking walks and jogging along the banks. The number of diving birds and seals suggest that there is plenty of marine life living beneath the surface, out of sight, in the depths, in the darkness.

Incidentally, the English name Ringsend comes from the Irish Rinn-Abhann which translates as the end point of the tide.  The Liffey takes its name the plain through which the river ran – over time, the name was attached to the river. It was previously known as An Ruirthech and given that I’ve no idea how to pronounce this, I’m glad the name was changed. However, An Ruirthech means fast/strong runner which is descriptive and very apt.

Any trip to Dublin is not complete without at least one crossing of the (in)famous River Liffey. Personally, I’d skip the Guinness.

[April 2018]

Doubt is only Removed by Action

Traffic light boxes are being decorated around Dublin city centre, bringing a splash of colour and imagination – a great idea. There are dozens to look out for – check out this Lovin Dublin post for further information and examples.


The image above shows one example that I travel past every workday on my commute into Dublin. The quotation is inspired by the Dublin-born mixed martial artist, boxer philosopher and ‘modern man’, Conor McGregor. Although it’s not my favourite example, it’s certainly better than seeing a dreary metal gray box covered in graffiti.

[March 2018)

A Dangerous Game

I came across this on the North Wall in Dublin back in May 2017 – I don’t know if this is a real Banksy or a Banks-wannabe but it’s certainly of his style. I can’t find anything online about this work.

Boy Kicking Bomb

It’s not the first time a Bansky-esque painting has appeared in the city. In May 2016, the Irish Examiner reported on another work on Moore Street (click here to read more).

There’s quite a rich collection of street art in Dublin – not a fan of graffiti scribbles but this work is a completely different level. Check out this link to to view for yourself.

[March 2018 – Image taken in Dublin, May 2017]