The Photographer in the Balloon
What the photographer saw
Last September I got another chance to go up in a Hot Air Balloon thanks to Pauline and Malcolm of Irish Balloon Flights. It was a beautiful evening but with little or no wind so although we flew for well over an hour, we didn’t cover much distance.
I brought my GoPro along as well as my Canon 5DmkIII fitted with the 70-200 f2.8 Lens and I blogged a few photos from the trip back here. I’d completely forgotten about the video footage from the GoPro until now so I decided to have a bit of fun and make this little video of what the photographer saw.
I’m not a videographer, nor am I any good at editing so don’t take this too seriously. It’s just a bit of fun showing me as the photographer pointing my camera in various directions and then the resulting photograph. Enjoy!
You can see all of the photos here on my Flickr
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I was on the road earlier to the Inagh Valley a couple of weeks ago. I was in no rush, and not just because the roads were covered with ice and recently fallen hail. I was also on the lookout for places to pull in and take the odd picture or two, and there is no point in rushing to do that. In the end, it wouldn’t have mattered how much of a hurry I was in, because I found myself stuck behind a tractor and trailer, trundling at about 30kph towards Maam Cross. The vehicle was carrying hay for the market that takes place on Saturdays at the eponymous cross roads. Though the roads and countryside were otherwise deserted, I was surprised, when I passed through Maam Cross around 7am, to see several trailers of hay being unloaded and even a mobile chipper van being set up – all under the stars of pre-dawn Saturday morning. Last summer was good for farmers – some were able to harvest three crops of silage from their lands, and the task of ’saving’ hay was made easier by long stretches of dry, sunny days. Thus, the hay on sale this winter is of the best type – hay that was saved without rain.
The picture above was taken near Maam Cross – at the entrance of the Derroura mountain bike track, at around 6.45am. Apart from a little cloud over the city of Galway (illuminated by streetlights – hence the orange colour), the sky was otherwise clear. As is typical for early on Saturday morning, there was a constant stream of jets flying overhead heading towards European airports after overnight Atlantic flights (the white streak in the middle of the picture is that of jet lights taken during a long exposure photo). As for the potholes visible in the bottom the picture, the road isn’t really that bad – most of the puddles are on the gravel area on the side of the road.
Homebrew has certainly taken off in the last few years.
So Saturday morning saw me tip over to Brú Brewery in Trim which was the impromptu venue for a homebrew cub meeting and a chance for me to see some real homebrew in action. There’s a lot of standing around and waiting goes on while the water is boiling….
Lots of talk about brewing
Eventually things come to a boil and the grain is added.
Adding in the grain….
This whole brewing process is very precise with temperature and timing being of the utmost importance. All is worked out to a well documented plan.
Mad Cow Stout recipe
Once the grain is added there then follows more standing around chatting.
While it’s on the boil….
Once the mash is done, the grain is removed and all the precious wort is drained from the bag. Nothing goes to waste.
Draining the mash
Next up is the hops. No homebrew is worth it’s salt without the said hops.
Measuring the hops
Of course once the hops are in then it’s time for more chit chat while the homebrew does it’s thing.
Eventually it’s time to cool down the boiling brew in order to get it down to the correct temperature to add the yeast. It’s the yeast that does the business in converting the extracted sugar from the grain into the all important alcohol.
We didn’t get to finish off the beer that day but it was a most enjoyable few hours and it will probably tempt me away from beer kits and into some real brewing. It’s not that difficult but it’s certainly a lot more fun and interesting.
If you want to see a few more photos from the day, have a look here on my Flickr.
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Theobald Wolfe Tone, or Wolfe Tone as he is now known is immortalised in this statue in Bantry, Co Cork. (2008)
||Canon EOS 20D
Galway City Council have deployed an inflatable flood barrier to protect the area around the Spanish Arch against possible flooding. The barrier is filled with air and water and is probably most effective when high winds drive waves and high water into the city at high tide. Even though the tide was fairly high before sunrise this morning, the sea was calm and there was no wind, so the barrier wasn’t tested. It will be in place for the next few days until the tides subside. More details on the barrier from the Connacht Tribune here and from the Galway City Council website here.
A seagull on the pier in Santa Cruz, California.
This was taken early one morning on a sunrise photowalk with Marcus. It was so early I almost slept in and had to hurry to catch up with him!
A day on the water in the kayak
The weather forecast was looking good. At least it said there would be little or no wind which is ideal for us kayak fishermen, so myself and my namesake Dave O’Donovan (who is more than likely a not so distant relation) arranged to met up at 8am in Howth Harbour.
Now 8am in Dublin during the working week is basically “the commute” and I’ve done that commute for the past thirty odd years. However, since my “retirement” the commute has become a thing of the past (thankfully), so I was kind of dreading the slog.
The kayak was loaded onto the car from the night before and all the fishing gear was in the boot. Alarm went off at 6am, fell out of the bed, fell into some eggs, fell into multiple layers of clothing, fell into the car and fell into the line of commuters heading for Dublin.
What a fooking nightmare! Thick fog! Gobshites driving with their parking lights on so they were basically invisible to everyone else and another idiot in a Mercedes overtaking a line of six cars on a bend. Eventually got to Clonee only to be stuck in a traffic jam all the way to Blanchardstown which took the guts of 20 minutes instead of 3. Of course when we got to Blanchardstown there was nothing holding the traffic up and thankfully it flowed freely all the way to Howth.
Dave was already there and there was no fog at the coast. The water was flat calm in the harbour so down the slipway we went, and kitted ourselves and the kayaks out in preparation for our spin over to Ireland’s Eye.
Kayaks on the slipway
Now at this point I must mention a little competition that is taking place amongst the good people of the Irish Kayak Angling Club of which both Dave and myself are members. Gist of it is there are teams of kayak anglers trying to catch the most number of species over the coming year. Now Dave is NOT on my team, so anything I can do to scupper his chances of catching a fish is good for my team and bad for his – take note Captain Pat! I pondered various tactics like drilling a hole in his kayak or standing on his fishing rod but the opportunity didn’t present itself.
So off we paddled out through the calm waters of the harbour and into the swell. Problem solved. Dave has no sea legs and he was sick as a dogfish :-)
In all fairness, he persevered and we paddled around to the back of Ireland’s Eye where we tried hard to catch some non existent fish. Apart from a few passing seals, the only bit of action was watching the local fishermen checking their lobster pots.
The Lobster Pot Men
With no fish showing, we got to watch the multitude of planes coming in to land at Dublin Airport.
Flight Path over Ireland’s Eye
Hunger beckoned so Dave called me on the radio to say he’d beached for some grub so I duly followed him in taking a shortcut into a little inlet which was guarded by vicious man eating seals. Dave had chickened out when he saw them and went round the long way, nearly getting ditched by a rogue wave in the process – Come on Team Pat!
My kayak in the inlet guarded by man eating seals
The cute little seal cubs eyed me nervously, especially when they saw the big club in my hand (only joking).
Seal cubs on Ireland’s Eye
Have to say that the weather turned out gorgeous for the time of year and when the sun came out it was just stunning. Forget the fish, it was a day to be out paddling and enjoying all that Mother Nature has to offer. And of course it’s all free!
One man and his kayak
Eventually we gave up as the fish apparently decided to stay indoors beside their warm fires instead of impaling themselves on our hooks. We set off back towards the harbour as the fog was beginning to gather in the distance. One last look at the island as it was lit by the evening sun and of course to show off my new Scotty Triple Rod Holder and Camera Rig which had just arrived yesterday from Bantry Bay Canoes.
Scotty Triple Rod Holder
One final note. You’ll have to excuse the poor quality of the photos. I got myself a new’ish camera specifically for the kayak. It’s a Pentax Waterproof Point & Shoot that has a mind of it’s own when it come to exposure and point of focus. It only shoots jpegs and has auto ISO, auto aperture and auto shutter speed. Everything is bloody auto so it should really be called a Point, Shoot and Hope!
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There aren’t many opportunities to hike in snow in Connemara every year, and I haven’t got tired of the novelty yet. Last weekend, wintery showers dusted the tops of all of the mountain ranges across Connacht and it provided an excellent opportunity for hiking. There was more frozen hail than actual snow, and the deepest drifts were no more than a foot deep, but on a cold January day with continuous sunshine for the entire day and nary a shower of anything, it was great day to be out and about. A group of the Galway Walking Club did a circuit around Letterbreckaun in the Maumturks mountains – starting with a 2km walk along the Western Way and then ascending the far side of Letterbreckaun and hiking east, descending alongside the series of waterfalls on the west side of Barrlugrevagh.
As much fun as day in the hills can be, some care is needed. On our way up to Letterbreckaun’s summit (it is 667 metres high), we stopped at a spot where there was plenty of snow. A few of us made ’snow angels’ (this was mine) and that degenerated into a snowball fight. While we were messing about, one of our number trudged up and announced that he had sunk waist deep. We assumed he meant snow, but it wasn’t. The Maumturks are full of water and boggy pools, and the cold weather had caused them to be covered in snow and frozen over. As the picture above shows, our man got halfway across a suspiciously flat area when he went through ice and sank. He’s tall (and the pool was relatively shallow) so he was able to extract himself and exit sideways and back from whence he came (as the footsteps in the picture show). The rest of us completely missed what would have been a good photo-op, though it wasn’t so much fun for him to spend the next 3 hours or so hiking in wet gear.
Note: the mountain in the background, on the other side of the Inagh Valley, is Benbaun (Binn Bhán) – the highest of the Twelve Bens at 729metres. This picture shows the view of Letterbreckaun (it is the leftmost mountain in the range across the valley) from the Bens, taken six and a half years ago
Now there are gleaming store fronts on Academy Street, Cork but back in 2008 the old offices of the Irish Examiner and Evening Echo had just been demolished and work was under way on the skeleton of the new buildings.
||Canon EOS 40D
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