The #GuruShots challenge states “it happens sometimes the best composition while shooting is to center your subject”. I’m not sure mine do actually but I’ve submitted images and am currently at the Premier level with 5 days left. A little about the images I’ve submitted below.


This image was taken on an iPhone around September 2015 (or possibly 2014) just after sunset in in Zadar, on Croatia’s Dalmatian coast. It is known for the Roman and Venetian ruins of its peninsular Old Town and it’s a fantastic and compact city to explore. The Italian influence is evident in everything – from the architecture to the number of pizzerias (and I tried to taste test as many as I could!). I snapped this along the coast road while walking into the old town for supper one evening. Can’t remember exactly what I had but quite possibly a pizza.

Smart Card 5 1003

This is sandstone butte located somewhere around the Utah / Colorado border – cannot remember exactly where but I do know it was a little before we drove down Monument Valley.

The last two images submitted have been in previous challenges:

The image on the left is one I took a week ago today at Old Mellifont Abbey, Co Meath and the image on the right is one I took over a decade ago at Point Cabrillo, Mendocino County, California.

As ever, I’ll update this post when the challenge ends – not sure I’ll be swapping any images.

Update: I got a Premier ranking at the end of the challenge. I’m very happy with that so off I go and search from more challenges!

[May 2018]

Old Mellifont Abbey | ND & Grad Filters

I took myself over to Old Mellifont Abbey in blue hour yesterday evening to practice with my ND and grad filters. The Old Abbey was as noted on the Heritage Ireland website, “first Cistercian monastery in Ireland founded in 1142 by St Malachy of Armagh, its most unusual feature is the octagonal Lavabo c. 1200. The Visitor Centre houses an interesting exhibition on the work of masons in the Middle Ages with fine examples of their craft on display.”

The old abbey is located in a secluded area of County Louth, about 10 minutes from the town of Drogheda. Having done little research before my visit, the site was a complete surprise to me and it was fantastic to have the place to myself, allowing me time and space to practice in the peace and quiet. Not everyone’s idea of a top Saturday night, but I enjoyed it! :-)

For the shots shown below, I used a Cokin ND 8 filter together with a graduated ND 4 filter and set the speed of the shutter to 2 seconds. Given that one of my tripod legs is a dodgy (and I’ll have to invest in a new and better tripod soon), I was limited to how I could set up the shot on it to some extent.

As anyone with a smidge of DSLR interest is aware, filters are used to balance the sky with the ground. By focusing on the abbey, the colours – I think anyways – blend in well together and give the sky (in the image on the left) a delicate dusting of pink. Without the filters, the ground and ruins would be silhouettes against a grey sky. Below is a comparison of two images – one taken without a filter (left) and the other with the same set up as before:

The photographs of the field aren’t of particular interest: I just took them to compare the end results. I actually prefer the non-filtered version but it would have been impossible to get a decent image (including the detail of the ruin’s walls) without the filters.

Oh, and I’ve been updating (finally) my Instagram page – you can check it out here (or as the About page of this blog. Comments & constructive criticism welcomed – obviously positive comments preferred! ;-)

#Ireland #CountyLouth #OldMellifontAbbey #Cokin #NDFilters #GradFilters

[May 2018]