My Favourite Things

So this #GuruShots challenge is all about my favourite things – the images I submitted are as follows:

  • Mornington Dunes – great area near where I live where I can talk the dogs walking.
  • Poppy Field – the poppies around the Co Meath coast have been unbelievable this year.
  • Trip – no reason required.
  • Coffee – see above.

I’ve another 7 days to go and have reach the Skilled level with a grand total of 274 votes. Let’s see what happens in a week! :-)

#Poppies #MyFavouriteThings #Coffee #Meath

[June 2018]

 

 

 

 

My Neighbourhood

This is a photograph I took one morning at 6:00 am of the River Boyne and I love the light. I submitted this image to the #GuruShots challenge entitled ‘My Neighbourhood’. I’ve 2 days left to go – this is a speed challenge and have reached the Skilled level with 2 days to go.

On the Riverbank

As ever, an update when the challenge ends.

#Mornington #RiverBoyne #GuruShots #SpeedChallenge

[June 2018]

Colourful Flowers

I don’t have many images of flowers but I took a couple recently of poppies growing wild and are absolutely stunning flowers.

There are four days left in this #GuruShots Challenge and I’ve reached the Premier level with 402 votes (still got another 198 to move up the ranking). These are the images – albeit badly cropped versions – that have been uploaded:

At the top is a passion flower which I planted about 7 years ago – it obviously loves the Irish weather as some years, there are over 30 flowers and it looks glorious.

Working from the left on the bottom row, the first image is a field full of poppies I drove past for nearly a week before I remember to bring my camera and take a snap. I took this with my long lens and the original is a much stronger image with the tiny red flowers in focus but the foreground and background blurred – depth of field (I’m learning slowly but surely!). The middle image shows a pair of massive poppy heads – they were about 20 cm across each – and growing against a stone wall on the track to the beach. I’m fortunate I took the photograph when I did as the next night I was walking the dogs on the beach, I noted that someone had taken these beautiful flowers home with them. The image on the right is my least favourite of the bunch and one I simply uploaded to make up the fourth image. It’s of a road in Madrid (not far from Plaza España – literally stopped walking, snapped without much thought and continued. Still, it may not be a great photograph (I know it’s not) but it brings back a good memory.

As ever and update once the challenge ends – I very much doubt I’ll have swaps for this one.

#Poppies #PassionFlowers

Update: I made a switch for a another poppy photo which I also “boosted” taking me to an Elite level – still ongoing at this time but once the challenge is finished, I’ll include the image and the final level.

Additional Update: The challenge recently ended and I didn’t make it past the Elite ranking but I’m still happy with that. The image I swapped and which I boosted is shown below:

Poppy Field

#Poppies #PassionFlowers

[June 2018}

All in Black & White

Five days left in this #GuruShots challenge and I’ve reached the Premier level with the following images:

  • Callao, Madrid
  • View of the River Boyne and the Maiden’s Tower, Mornington, Co Meath
  • Chuch at Sidari, Corfu
  • Point Cabrillo Lighthouse, Mendocino Co, California

I uploaded these images a few days back but this evening have swapped out the image I took earlier this week, that of the River Boyne and Mornington Tower for an oldie of Mount Rushmore, South Dakota. Let’s see if this is a successful swap. More when the challenge ends.

#Madrid #RiverBoyne #Mornington # Sidari #Corfu #PointCabrilloLighthouse #Mendocino

Update: Hurrah – finished with 878 which on this challenge resulted in an Elite ranking. This means I only need one more Elite finish to be a GuruShots Veteran. (Still chuckling to myself ’bout that). Given that I’ve another couple of challenges (not yet logged – bad Cath!) and one (“Relfections”) is a speed challenge in which I have also reached the Elite ranking, when this one ends, I WILL be a veteran. Putting the champagne on ice as I type! ;-)

[June 2018]

Silhouettes and Shadows

I’ve actually uploaded four images for this challenge before the voting has started! There are a massive 18 days before the challenge ends.

I’m not a massive fan of silhouette images in the main but have taken a few that I’m happy with. Shadows I think make for a more interesting topic but I’ve no images that I’m happy to upload for the challenge. The images are from left to right:

  • Mornington at Dusk
  • Mornington Beacon
  • Sunrise on my Commute
  • Sunrise in April 2018

Silhouette and Shadows

As this is a speed challenge, I probably won’t have time to work on new images for potential swaps but we’ll see how these get on. As ever, updates as I go along.

As a by the way – and straight from Wikipedia – the word silhouette is actually derived from the name of a French Finance Minister, Étienne de Silhouette, who imposed severe economic demands and try to find, as modern politicians would describe it, finding best value for money. As a response, his portraits were also created cheaply in the form of silhouettes.

[May 2018]

Amazing Skies

Another challenge and another one I’ve joined a little late! As you’d imagine, a challenge called ‘Amazing Skies’ will include some incredible images and the top photographs in this category are as ever outstanding.

I’ve contributed the following:

Amazing Skies

From left to right:

  • Sunrise – as seen on my commute
  • Evening in Mornington – I was walking the dogs and saw the sun breaking through the clouds
  • Sunset from Baltray
  • Sunset from Baltray 2 – a slightly closer view of the same area overlooking the River Boyne – also slightly different lights in the clouds.

The key difference between my photos and the top photos (aside from obvious things like quality and composition!) is colour.  There is a lot more purple in my images than the top photos which have a base of pastel blue and then are saturated with warm shades of gold and orange.

That said, my images have done very well – within an hour of uploading, I’d achieved a Premier ranking. I doubt very much I’ll move any higher up the rankings than that but I’ll take that for sure.

I’ve got about 2 days left for this challenge so I’ll vote for more images myself to push up my exposure and maybe this will push up my ranking. This is after all – as I’ve noted before – a game so tactics are required.

Actually, that’s one thing that does make me question that quality of the voting system on this platform. In order to gain views, you have to vote for other images. I suspect that many voters simply vote for the top x number of photos in the listing they are presented with in order to improve the visibility of their own work.

Also, the fact that I’m now at the Advanced ranking and not far off pushing through to Veteran doesn’t actually mean my photography is actually improving. It simply means that I’ve achieved more votes for my photographs which I thought possible and potentially because of the exposure I’ve created for myself through voting. Although some of my images aren’t terrible, some a quite average and I’ve been surprised how many votes they have achieved. I get more of a buzz when someone takes the time to like my photos than I do from the voting number. This is especially true if I visit the profile page of the person who has liked my photo and find that their photos are quality images.

I know that outside the GuruShots world, the rankings and grades achieved are essentially meaningless but I do find it interesting to see how each image submitted fares. Some of my favourites photographs don’t perform particularly well while some of the images I was in two minds to submit, perform very well indeed – I don’t know if that says more about me or the people who vote for the images! J

For me, the available GuruShots tips are useful, the articles are of interest and what I really get out of the app is the immediate access to so many exceptional, great, good and even not so good images. This helps me to identify what works and doesn’t in terms of composition etc. I know I could get similar data from the likes of Flickr and Instagram but rather than snapshots, GuruShots in the main at least has photographs where people have really worked to capture and image rather than just shoot a picture. I also appreciate the image data and camera settings that is usually uploaded with the images – as someone who still has a lot to learn about ISO, shutter speeds and focal length, I find this kind of information very useful.

I’ve no intention of buying “swaps”, “boosts” and “autofills” so at the moment, GuruShots is costing me nothing – if this changes the longer I’m on the site, then that’s something I’ll have to think about when the time comes.

However, I’m currently enjoying contributing and participating in the challenges and the app is doing exactly what I wanted it to – making me get out and practice my photography.

As ever, an update will be posted.

#GuruShots #AmazingSkies #GuruShotsReview #Mornington #Meath #Baltray #Louth #RiverBoyne #Ireland #Sunset #Dusk

Update: the challenge ended a few days back but my laptop wasn’t feeling up to cooperating. My final ranking was Premier – not complaining about that at all.

[May 2018]

B&W Architecture

Another day, another #GuruShots challenge!

There are 14 days left from the time of this post until the challenge has ended. IMHO, images of buildings are often shown at their best as B&W, and as usual, some of the images submitted to this challenge by other users are incredible. There’s a wide range of subjects – from the brutalist style through to abandoned farm buildings – well worth a browse.

The photographs that I have submitted as as follows (from left to right):

  • The Maiden’s Finger, Co Meath
  • Calle de la Princesa 3, Madrid
  • Catedral de Santa Maria le Real de la Alumdena, Madrid
  • Plaza del Callao, Madrid

B&W Architecture

They were all taken with an iPhone 6.

I’ve more images I could submit (unlike other challenges) – I need to go through some of the images taken on a very recent trip to Edinburgh this weekend – and will check to see if there are any decent swaps should I need.

As ever, any updates will be included at a later date.

#VivaEspaña #Madrid #B&WPhotography

Update: The photograph of the Maiden’s Finger is not doing quite as well as the other images, so, as I’ve a free swap from another challenge (Pathways & Roads), I’ve decided to swap it out with an image I took of Point Cabrillo Lighthouse, in Mendocino County, California in 2007 (wow – over a decade ago!). The perspective ideally should be fixed but I actually like the fact that the slant upwards creating a point inwards drawing the eye upwards to the top of the tower. There’s a kinda spookiness to the structure – it’s eerie and quite bleak in B&W but the building certainly has more of a presence than in the original colour version. BTW the photograph was taken on a FujuFilm FinePix 480 digital camera which I still have but no longer use.

I think this image should probably get a few more votes that the Maiden’s Finger (which achieved 19), and given there are still 9 days left before this challenge closes, it’ll be interesting to see if this swap is successful.

Point Cabrillo, Mendocino Co, CA

Point Cabrillo, Mendocino, CA

#California #Mendocino  #PointCabrillo #Lighthouse

Update: There is another week to go before the challenge ends but I’ll have no further free swaps before then. I swapped out the image of the Cathedral in Madrid for a snap I took of a church in Sidari, Corfu, Greece – not that you can see it too well under the text. If you’ve never been to Corfu, I’d strongly recommend it – I didn’t stay in Sidari (bit too lively for my liking tbh) but its a wonderful island for a relax holiday. #Corfu

SnipImage

Update: With a little under 48 hours to go, I’ve made another swap – full details when challenge ends but hoping that the vote will help push me up the rankings further.

Update: The Challenge has just finished and I’ve made the All Star level – which I’m both amazed and chuffed to bits about. I got a total of 1144 which broke down as follows:

B&W Final

The last swap I made was an image I took a year or so ago of a cinema in Collins Yard, North London. As it gained more votes than the image I swapped it out for, I got another swap which I’m going to put to good use in the ‘Simply Orange’ challenge.

[April 2018]

 

 

Newbie of the Month

I’m hoping that I will be moved from the #GuruShots Newbie level to Rookie when my next few challenges come to a close. So in order to qualify for a’Newbie of the Month’ challenge, I had to be quick.

I submitted the following images earlier today (5 April 2018) – from left to right:

  • Three Rowing Boats on the River Boyne
  • Fishing Boats on the River Boyne at Dusk
  • Mornington at Sunset
  • Stormy Clouds over the River Boyne

Newbie of the Month April 2018

This challenge ends in 12 days time – I suspect, I’d have been better submitted images from the very beginning to maximize potential votes but it’ll be interesting to see how these images (two to the left, brand new) get on. As ever, an update will be posted when the challenge ends.

Update: The challenge has just ended. In terms of voting numbers ,  I received the following number of votes (from left to right as above): 16, 14, 42 & 17 resulting in a grand total of 89 votes putting me firmly in the Premier category. I’m happy with this result: to anyone reading this you may have voted for any of my images, thank you! To put into context, Premier was the most populous category of this challenge with the following number of members in the categories below:

  • All Star = 57
  • Elite = 9366
  • Premier = 26814
  • Skilled = 11, 034
  • Popular = 5117

Some of the Newbies in the All Star category are clearly not new to photography. Their images are fantastic. It’s is actually a very clever tactic to wait and submit stonking images to finish near the top of the Challenge in order to increase changes of moving up to the higher levels at a later date. Good on them – playing the game tactically! :-)

[April 2018]

Bodies of Water

As a Speed Challenge, I can only display one image at a time but have submitted three views of the River Boyne which I can swap. From left to right, the images are:

  • View from the bank of the River Boyne at Baltray,  towards Drogheda at dusk
  • View of the River Boyne rowing boat from Mornington
  • View from of River Boyne fishing boats from Baltray
Bodies of Water

Bodies of Water Challenge

There are 91 hours for voting so let’s see how this challenge goes. Updates to follow soon.

Update: My swap (see image below) significantly boosted my votes and took me to Premier level which I’m really happy about. I’m getting the hang of the tactics for this game although I need to refine my tactics and obviously submit more decent / better photographs to improve my rankings further. Given that I’ve only had my DSLR, a Nikon D3400 (a beginner level digital camera but decent enough with its Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR kit lens) since September and haven’t really been able to use it thanks to the awful weather in Ireland, I’m looking forward to less rain so I can practice.  I want to get to grips with the technical elements of the camera and start taking some of those fancy long exposure seascapes in the very near future.

Importantly, I have moved levels up from Newbie to Rookie and I’m chuffed to bits about that. :-D

Clouds Over River Boyne

[April 2018]

Lens Flares & Sunspots

So, I’ve entered the ‘Lens Flares & Sunspots’ GuruShots Challenge today. Although four images can be submitted per challenge, I’ve only submitted the image below. I simply don’t have a decent bank of high res images to upload to #GuruShots as yet.

Lens flares and sunspots can add a lot of drama to an image and are essentially caused by pointing your camera towards the sun.

The image below was taken on an iPhone 6 which was tilted slightly towards the sun and the result is a little lens flare to lighten up the foreground (bottom left). The location is Mornington, County Meath Ireland in the summer of 2017.

Once the challenge is closed, I’ll update this post with the result. #GuruShots

Mornington-03-Sun

Mornington at Sunset

Update: happy with the results of this challenge especially given the subtly of the lens flare on the image. I ranked 134 with 116 with 243 views. Not bad – a ‘popular’ ranking.

The Drogheda Port is currently in the process of selling this land. I’m really hoping that if sold, it’s not to a developer but to an organisation that will preserve the natural beauty that so many local residents (human and animal) enjoy. I am looking forward to taking more photographs of this wonderful little stretch of the Meath coastline when the weekend weather improves.

[March 2018]