Toggingout2015 – Bray Photowalk

So for the first time in years I attended a photowalk. The voting for Bray won out and on Sunday 9 of us photographers wandered the seafront snapping a little but more so having the craic and spending time catching up with each other again.

 

The day itself was hot, very hot! Bray was insanely busy and probably not the best for taking photos, but we plodded on down the promenade and took a few pictures. As I knew would be the case more time was spent talking then taking photos as it has been a while since there has been a photowalk.

 

Anyhow, unlike like me, I only took a handful of photos and I am glad to put them up in a little slide show below for you to enjoy.

 

Thank you everyone who turned up, and also to the people that could not but wished they could, the message is clear we need to be doing more photowalks, more often!

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Mourne Mountains

Everytime I go up north, I see these mountains appear out of nowhere and they look so impressive so I had to get a photo of them at some point.

 

The Mourne Mountains while maybe not as big a mountain range as the Dublin/Wicklow mountains are stunning with how the hills roll from one to the other. Someday I must do a hike up them and take some photos.

 

The clouds on the day I took this photo helped with the mood too.

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Howth Sunset

Im trying hard to avoid sea photos, but I cant do it, its just so beautiful.

 

This is a photo from years ago I found from Howth, while going though my archives of thousands of photographs. As soon as I saw it I had to work on it and get it up here. I may well add some more from the past over the next few days.

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Glendalough Graveyard

Glendalough never ceases to keep giving me photo opportunities. It really is a stunning place with so much to see. I think over the next day or so I shall  put up a few more of the photos I took from there that very windy wet Sunday. I took this photo at the graveyard that surrounds the monastery. While the clouds were as grim as the photo shows I have spookified (if that is even a word) the image a little bit. If you don’t have anything to do while the sun is out you should get to Glendalough and enjoy its magnificence.

 

Maybe I should have kept this as a Halloween post, ah well.

 

In other news I think the location for the Photowalk taking place on Sunday the 28th has been decided, it is looking like Bray! If you have not registered for the walk please do so by clicking this link.

 

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Bray to Wicklow and back again

This is a hard post for me to type as it keeps bringing back a lot of really amazing memories, but also makes me sad for many reasons.

 

As a child I was very fortunate enough to be able to go on holidays every year, not to the Canaries, Spain or even the UK but to a magical place called Silver Strand in Wicklow. I spent the whole of my summer holidays in a mobile home there, and I have to say they were some of the most incredible years of my life. As I grew older I still went down and a gang of us who grew up together experienced a load of first there. The first snog, the first smoke, the first drink down the side of the cliffs. We used to go fishing and swimming every day. It was bliss.

 

I began working in a pub in Dublin called “The Grange” in Deansgrange and in order for me to be there the few nights I worked, I used to cycle to Dublin, do my shift, sleep at home and cycle down the following day. I became quite good at it too doing the cycle in about an hour 15 minutes.

 

As time went on the Silver Strand gang used to go into Wicklow town a lot more and thats where my sadness stems from. We became very good friends with some people from Blainroe, a summer home place for the wealthy folk of Dublin, lol and also some guys from Wicklow town. I became very close to one person from Wicklow, a chap named Stephen Cornish, or as he was known “Chicken”.

 

Chicken was a very well respected and admired guy around Wicklow, why he became a close friend of mine is beyond me, I was a shy, insecure guy when we first met whereas he was Mr. Popular, but we did become close and were often seen stirring it up in Wicklow on one of the many outings to the Leitrim Pub, the Mariner, the forge or Healys. Chicken introduced me to the whole idea of pub-crawls, which in a town mainly made of pubs I think it was 14 at the time was quite an event.

 

As time went on and we all grew up, I lost contact with him, something I have often regretted. Chicken went out with one of my other friends from Blainroe, a girl called Jenny. I found Jenny a few years ago on Facebook and only recently found out that they were still going strong after 20 odd years. They had got married, they had kids, but Chicken did not seem to be on Facebook himself.

 

The weekend before last I found out that Chicken had died in March. Jenny messaged me to let me know, which I know could not have been easy for her. I was out at the time and was hit for six when I read the message. It kills me that I did not know he was suffering the last while with cancer, it killed me that I allowed us to drift apart, and that is why 22 years on from the last time I did it, I decided to get my bike and cycle down to Wicklow, to take in the spots himself and myself used to frequent, almost like a tribute to the person I learnt so much from.

 

Im fucking sore from it even now. 70km in one day was insane, but knowing why I was doing it made the pain all the more easier. So this post is in honour of one of the nicest, genuine guys I have ever had in my life, this is for you Stephen, you will always be missed, rest in peace mate.

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Setting The Table At Belfast Castle

So while in Belfast Castle a room was being prepared for an event, it was lovely being in the room alone and being able to take as many pictures of the table all set up. I know not much is happening here but I like the simplicity of it, dunno if anyone will feel the same, but hey, photography is all about being subjective.

 

In other news the photowalk now has 20 people registered which I am thrilled with but I know there are others who have said they may come and not registered yet. It’s looking like the 28th of June which is a Sunday as this seems to facilitate a good majority of people who have spoken to me. I am also attempting to come up with ideas of where to go and would be keen if anyone has any suggestions, the important thing is that we are near a pub of some description for the end of the walk. I am also thinking of putting up a poll of the places recommended and putting it out there for people to pick, you know equality and all that!

 

So if you have any ideas at all of where you would like to go please either leave me a comment here, tweet me or send me a mail, I would love to hear from you.

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toggingout2015

So as I said on the front page of the site, photography over the last few years has moved away from cameras and now people use mobiles more as a way of taking pictures. Sure, phones now have cameras with as big a megapixel number as a lot of the cameras out there so why wouldn’t you! Also with the way social media streams have gone like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, everything now a days is needed immediately and so you don’t have time to process images or video or anything anymore or you will be too late posting and the moment will be missed.

 

While this has proved to be an incredible thing when it comes to disasters, wars, freak occurrences, and even our own equality referendum 2 weeks ago, something for me is missing now.

 

When I began my photoblog almost a decade ago, there were only a few people in Ireland doing it, these numbers grew and grew and we all became incredibly good friends. We attended awards, commented on each others images and the big thing for me was that we met up and went on random “photowalks”

 

Photowalks were a revelation to me, not only was I spending time with like minded individuals but I was also learning from photographers and other bloggers that I admired. I was able to ask questions about why they use a certain lens, what post processing package they may use, should I be using aperture mode or TV mode more? the list went on and on. Photo walking became a huge thing and the crowds kept growing and growing. This was not just an Irish thing either, walks were happening all over the world and friendships were been built across the globe. Social media was in its infancy too but it was the perfect tool to use to organise these events aswell, with discussions about where to go and what days suited people.

 

I was fortunate enough to organise a few walks myself, but the ones that really showed how much these walks worked were the worldwide photowalks which were organised in cities all across the world on a given day by Scott Kelby of NAPP. I was lucky enough to lead 2 of these walks, the first of which had over 150 people register and 70 turn up. I was overwhelmed, here were a load of people with point and shoot cameras, SLR cameras and even some in those days, wealthy enough to have a smart phone with a camera. The event always ended in a pub somewhere and the camaraderie and craic we had was amazing!

Windmill-Lane-Group

So where the hell is this post going. Well I fell into the mobile phone trap like so many of the people I had the pleasure of walking with, and also I noticed the walks became smaller and fewer. Mobile’s had started to change how people dealt with each other, not just with photography but in all aspects of life. This is not what we as humans should be doing. So I went onto Twitter last Friday and decided what the hell, I am going to ask the question “are there any photowalks happening these days”. I had a feeling I knew what the answer would be which was “no not really” and with that I decided to see if anyone would be interested in attending one and from that thanks to @eyeblinks #toggingout2015 was created.

 

So I am putting it out there to the public, would you be interested in attending one, location is at yet undecided but will probably either be in the Dublin or Wicklow area and will be held around the end of June. The walk itself will probably only last 2-3 hours max and I will organise a venue for afterwards where we can go have a drink and chat. If you want to talk to me more about this please send me a tweet @mcawilliams or leave me a comment here. Over the next week or 2 I will finalise everything once I feel enough time has been given to people to sign up. Click here to sign up.

 

So lets get socialising again and get out there and take some stunning photos!

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Belfast Castle Flower Number 2

I did say there would be some flower photos, well this may the last one for this week. The Bloom Festival kicked off today and for the first time in years I may not be able to attend it, but honestly if you are stuck for something to do this weekend I would highly recommend getting to it if you can.

 

So this flower I loved and I took way to many pictures of it to be honest. But here it is at Belfast Castle.

 

Over the long weekend I shall also be posting about photo walking as I am trying to get that side of photography back up and running. Keep an eye out for the post!

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Belfast Castle Flower

I said I was going to get away from water, and I have!

 

With the Bloom Garden festival happening this week I think I shall be putting up some nature shots over the next few days.

 

This photo was taken up in Belfast in the gardens surrounding Belfast Castle, not your typical castle really but a folly I imagine for the gentry that have lived there. Stunning place though with huge rooms and incredible views over Belfast.

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Sitting on the dock of the bay In Carrickfergus

Something I have learnt over the last few years of taking photos is how much I love high contrast, high highlight images. I also have a love of dark photography and black and white. This annoys the hell out of an american friend of mine who finds my images are like my hair all grey and stuff. This image though totally needed it. I was for starters shooting into the sun, so the guys were  silhouetted against the sky, and black and white further helped make what was a boring ole photo much more dramatic.

 

This was taken when I went to Carrickfergus Castle, in the town of Carrickfergus in Northern Ireland. It is known to the locals as Carrick Castle even though my research shows Carrick Castle being in Scotland. Anyhow It is a fantastic spot and I have some great snaps of the castle which I shall be putting up in due course.

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