Social Exposure

This #GuruShots Challenge has less than 24 hours to go. According to the blurb, “This Challenge is all about getting some recognition and exposure on GuruShots Instagram and Facebook page! The winners of this challenge will get a special shout out and will be prominantly featured on GuruShots’ socail (sic) accounts.”

I’d had some great feedback (as you do) from my Facebook friends about some recent photographs I took so decided to upload one of these to start with. This is a speed challenge and as such you can only upload one image for voting at a time. This is the image I uploaded:

Gormanston Reflections

It’s not the best ever seascape but I’m actually quite proud of it as I think it’s a fairly decent first (OK, second) attempt. It received 240 votes in total and seemed to stagnant so I decided to try something a little different. This is it:

BVI

The resolution on this image isn’t great – however, this is a screen shot NOT the original (which is better – honestly). It was taken when I was working overseas and needed to go to the Tortola office in BVI (it’s actually the view from the company apartment – sounds like it would be very luxurious but it was anything but). This second image was taken on my ancient Fuji FinePix F480 – a great little snapper and is currently standing at 308 votes.

I’ve achieved a Premier level which is where I suspect I’ll be when the challenge ends. Good stuff – I’m happy with my progress all round and very happy that I seem to be averaging a higher rank in these challenges – although I do know they are not judged in the same way as “proper” photographic competitions. At the end of the day, it’s great encouragement to get up, out and snap. As ever, an update to confirm the end result.

Currently there is a glorious image of flamingos (it’s all pinks and light – it’s really lovely) at the top of the challenge. I hope it remains there too – wonderful.

Oh, and one more thing – I’m updating my Instagram page with photos – please click on the About | Contact page to link and view.

#GuruShots #Ireland #Meath #Gormanston #BritishVirginIslands #BVI #Tortola #Reflections #Seascape

Update: Reached the Premier ranking with a grand total of 322 votes.

[June 2018]

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My Favourite Shots

So, it’s pretty evident that the kind of shots that are my favourite photographs are quite different to other peoples. But, that’s what makes the world go around ….

I submitted the following images to the “My Favourite Shots” GuruShots Challenge:

  • River Boyne Estuary at Dusk
  • Beach Pool at Gormanston Beach, Meath
  • Gormanston Beach at Dusk
  • Summer Field at Colp

These photographs were taken in the last week or so and I’ve been practicing my long exposure work hence the dusky pinks and purples.

Gormanston is a tiny village in County Meath, Ireland just on the northern border of County Dublin (which is marked by the River Delvin). There are a number of access points onto the beach including along the northern edge of the River Delvin which runs beneath the Dublin-Belfast railway bridge. The further north you travel up the bridge, the less busy it gets. There is an army barracks at Mosney (between Gormanston and Laytown) with a target range: when the soldiers are undertaken target practice, the beach is closed. Although the gun shots should raise awareness of the ongoing practice, red flags are placed at the entrance points to the beach along with a soldier at most of the points to ensure that any off target shots don’t do any damage to the local population. I’m not sure if there is a timetable as to when the beach is closed – I wish I could find it if there is one as I’ve travelled over a few times only to find myself being stopped by a guy in camouflage gear holding a very large gun.

Anyways, back to the challenge … I was quite disappointed that the Summer Field at Colp has zero votes after 24 hours. I love this image but obviously see it through different eyes than everyone else who saw it. To me, this is a typical view of where I now live in Ireland but also reminds me of where I lived as a young’un back in North Wales. I don’t think the composition is terrible – hardly the most exciting image in the world but certainly not the worst. I can see that the sky has blown out a little – I suspect this image would look a lot better if I’d down a little PhotoShop magic on it. Unfortunately, my current laptop is close to retiring and so the images I post currently only have filters applied via Instragram! :-) Once I get a new computer and install PhotoShop, I think I’ll have a go at editing this image to see if I can improve it. If I do, I’ll blog it here for my reference if nothing else.

Anyways, back to the challenge … I swapped the field image for the Dark Hedges image. I do like this image but the Dark Hedges do look a little light …. I think I’ll have to go back later in the year when the days are shorter to have another go. Anyways, at least this image did get some votes … but not actually that many …. I decided to make another swap and uploaded a photo of Roche Castle which is near Dundalk, County Louth. Built in the 1230s, this Norman castle was built on a rocky outcrop and looks pretty spectacular from a distance. There’s not a massive amount left – it’s an old ruin – but it’s well worth a visit because the drive over there is fab. For more information on this castle, please check out this link .

Roche Castle

There are still 12 days left on this challenge so it remains to be seen how many more votes my images in this challenges get. I may make a swap depending if I can get an decent shots at the weekend (didn’t really get anything sadly this weekend worth trying a swap for). Anyways, as ever, updates will follow.

#Gormanston #GormanstonBeach #RiverBoyne #BoyneEstuary #Summerfield  #Colp #DarkHedges #RocheCastle #Meath #Louth #Ireland #GuruShots

[June2018]

Reflections – I’m a GuruShots Veteran

When the “Reflections” challenge ends later today, I’ll be a #GuruShots Veteran. Ha ha ha …. Anyways, this is the image I uploaded:

Gormanston Reflections

I’m chuffed to bits because I’m moving up the rankings but it’s also completely aware that this is in reality slightly meaningless as a measure of how I’m improving technically in my photography. That said, I’m going to take this as a pat on the back because I do think the quality of my images (in terms of clarity) have definitely improved – probably due to a better tripod so more stability – but also with a massive pinch of salt. I am certainly NOT a veteran so I think it’s the description more than anything that tickles me and makes me chuckle. Still, I think overall pleased with the move up the GuruShots rankings as I have been making an effort to get out and practice more so – as I’ve noted in previous posts – this is my primary incentive in taking part in challenges and on this basis, I’m winning!

I’ve had the DSLR (Nikon D3400 – a decent entry level camera) since around Sept/Oct 2017 and have been using a tripod since the workshop I attended in Jan 2018. Given the freezing cold weather, I didn’t really start practicing in earnest until the weather warmed up slightly towards the end of March (by which time I had to watch a lot of YouTube training as I’d forgotten a lot of the “finer details” of the workshop such as white balance).  The first tripod I bought was a CaseFlex – exactly like this one (https://www.caseflexaccessories.com/caseflex-premium-alloy-camera-tripod-pro-blue). It was and still is mostly a great little tripod but I took it to the beach one day and managed to get some sand or grit stuck in one of the twist locks and now cannot lock the lower part of one of the legs. I can still use it if I don’t need a lot of height but you do get what you pay for and this is a fairly lightweight tripod. I’d certainly recommend it for absolute beginners who only want to use it online and not in the sea or in rivers and when there is no wind. The legs are quite flimsy but if only the higher (thicker) parts of the legs are extended, and provided you’re happy to bend / sit down behind the camera, it’s fine.

The second tripod I bought is a Manfrotto Pixi Evo 2 which I bought for trip to Edinburgh when I didn’t want to take the CaseFlex. This tripod would be best described as a table topper – it’s fine for using with my Nikon D3400 and kit lens and fine with the Sigma zoom but I do notice that it slips a little with the latter. I have used it in the evenings, propping it onto of my camera bag, and it’s excellent for quick filter shots – I’ve enjoyed using it and it’s light enough not to even realise you’re carrying it but unless you’re happy to lie on the floor to take images, it’s no substitute for a regular tripod.

I’ve invested in a new tripod – it’s a Vanguard AltaPro 263 AB 100. This is a blindingly good beginner / amateur level tripod which is super stable and amazing good value for money. Unless the CaseFlex, which has twist lock legs in four sections, the Vanguard has flip locks and three sections which makes is a fair bit taller when collapsed than the CaseFlex – I’m not bothering measuring to get an accurate difference (it’s not that interesting a topic). The Vanguard is also quite a bit heavier: I think I could carry the CaseFlex attached to my camera bag (a LowePro Tahoe HP 150 in “Galaxy Blue” no less – https://store.lowepro.com/tahoe-bp-150) but pretty certain if I tried to attach the Vanguard, the mesh pocket would be destroyed. So, if I go on a hike (unlikely but who knows), I think I probably would take the CaseFlex – and/or possibly the Manfrotto as I imagine I’d be lying down anyways a fair bit.

Anyways, if anyone is interested in a sub-£150 tripod recommendation from a (GuruShots) veteran photographer (LOL), I don’t think you’d need to look much further than the Vanguard … hopefully it’ll be my tripod for a few years to come.

#GormanstonBeach # CountyLouth #Ireland #CaseFlex #Manfrotto #PixiEvo2 #Vanguard #AltaPro #Tripod #LoweProTahoe #GuruShotsVeteran #SpeedChallenge #Veteran

[June 2018]