Seeing red

It's not something we see around here in the dead of winter. Red, the colour of vibrance, heat, attention. So any little pop of red here on the lane is precious and impossible to ignore.

I've gone through most of life not wanting to stand out or be too brash. The (so called) worst thing a girl can be, is a bit of a show off. And yet when I meet a young girl with a twinkling sense of her own mischief I love it. Don't you?

Look here how a bit of showing off cheers up the day, sparkles in the greyness of January and brings such happiness? And anyway for a photographer, one of the ground rules is always photograph RED!



What if you followed every inkling, hunch or hint at a possible good idea? If you stretched your legs out beyond your comfort zone? If you trusted that these inklings would become their own story?

On the misty drive through South Kilkenny, nothing to see, hidden landscapes. Favourite fields and places blanketed in fog. In the distance the great house invisible today. But up close, the trees loom out of the background. Their huge branches hugging the dim light.

The silence of life on this road. The twists and bends of rural life. The car door slams and the soft shoe shuffle of this wayfaring photographer saves the day. The vaguest hint of shape and shadow. 

Following an inkling that it's not all about light and certainty......


A hint of frost

The sky changes by the minute. As I am writing this, the calm ice covered landscape I was loving this morning is being battered by a westerly gale and driving heavy rain. Unsettling and mind numbingly grey to boot.

I could complain, moan, slump. Every part of me wants to go horizontal, hide under the warm duvet, dream about Greece. The evening is setting in again and the heat will have to be cranked up another few notches.

Winter can sometimes be a matter of holding on for dear life until the light returns. A time of hibernation and low energy. So I write out the slump here and ride out the darkness in my head. A combination of gritting the teeth and letting go the effort. 

The news is bad here but worse in other places. The fragility of life and the lack of certainty seeps through every bit of the veneer. Uncontainable. 

The silvery foliage I snapped in the frosty early hours lights up the screen. I put on another pair of socks knowing that the only thing to do is get back to work.


Winter blues

Winter reveals what's underneath; a rusty gate usually overwhelmed by briars, the cattle shed at the ruined cottage. Tantalising glimpses into what is out of reach during the leafier seasons.

Strangely today it was all in shades of blue, or at least that's how I saw things under the cool January sky.....


An icy road trip

Our Celitc Tiger motorway from Waterford to Dublin, the M9, bypasses Thomastown, Kilkenny, Carlow and all the narrow villages we used to know so intimately. Unfortunately it's also now against the rules of the road to stop and photograph the landscape. 

This part of Ireland has it's own story; gentle rolling hills, the flat plains of the midlands, and lots of old trees. A journey through an inland maze of fields, all sky and agriculture.

So on this eerie early morning road trip, I shot these frosty trees and fog as the sun came up, just because I was a passenger and for once and I could..... 


Thank you so much to everyone who shopped here in the Foxglove Lane Studio over Christmas. While it was a very busy time it was also good to connect with so many of you who are becoming like old friends at this stage! Thank you from the bottom of my heart, it has been very encouraging.

I'm having a short SALE at the moment and while the hardback book is still available you can now get the download version of the book here  here reduced to 1.99 euros.  

In other news I have just begun to sell a new range of Limited Edition Fine Art Prints  Each one is a result of layering paintings, textures and photographs and is something I hope to explore much more in 2015. 

Here's to a fresh New Year! 


On having an inkling about 2015

The haze was low this morning, wafting across the fields like an amber blanket. The combination of dawn and lingering mist is one to savour for any photographer. So even though it's still a bit foggy, my word for 2015 is "inkling"

Inkling - a vague idea or notion, a slight understanding, hint, hunch, intimation....... 

Where to start? Not a clue. Maybe it means following hunches and hints? Listening to whispers, both intriguing and unsettling? 

So inkling it is. Add a T and you get tinkling, the sound of the distant bells that are starting to ring, the promise of miles and miles of dry land ahoy, a hint of celebration.

And this morning look! It was as misty and foggy as any New Year's Day could possibly be. The winds are picking up now, the rain is battering down but the two feet are dry.... 

So Happy New Year dear friends. Let's love life in 2015 and here's to the freedom to explore vague inklings, hunches, hints and intimations. There is another kind of opening to possibility in that....


The gloaming

In winter our planet moves around to the best possible angle for evening sun. Through my kitchen window, night after December night, the gloaming envelops everything with it's vibrance. And as 2014 is coming to an end, it's now time to hibernate, look back and look forward.

Every year around this time I choose a word to guide me through the following year. Last year it was Pilgrimage which allowed me to sail into my sixties with imagination. This year I am being drawn in another direction.

Here's how it works.

Around this time of the year I start to doodle in a journal. Spider mind maps, lists, words. I started one thread recently by thinking about the lake, then lake goddesses, then deep water, deep-end, out of my depth, deeper, and so on...... it's about exploring rather than planning, it's playing.

Later in the New Year of 2015  I will settle on a word which becomes like a loose web into which my life and work fall. Something like that anyway! In 2012 I chose EXPAND, in 2013 I chose LIGHT.

So maybe you would like to have a go this year? Susannah Conway has a Workbook which might help. Or you could design your own method? Just choose a word that will light you up and allow your mind to run amuck with delight! For some reason the vagueness and focus of choosing ONE word, works a kind of alchemy.... if you let it.

Have you ever experimented with choosing a word for your year? If so I'd love to hear about it. If not then I hope you will enjoy the hibernation of advent and these December skies


Photography as meditation

He is bursting with confidence.

I am probably standing too close to his territory so there is an air show going on from the top of a pile of rubble to the rose tree in the farm yard. At one point he lands on the post in front of my nose. His face says.....YIKES and he takes off instantly.

Robins are tiny but unstoppable.

Sometimes here in my neighbours farm yard I perch the camera on the white washed wall and wait. She has just emptied a bucket of orange and banana peels on top of the compost heap. This is one of the local birds' favourite lunch spots.

Standing there slows the ticking brain. Puts things in perspective. Opens the heart to priorities. It's a kind of meditation. Another voice takes over, calming, soothing, slowing.

It's coming to the end of the year. What are the important questions now? What are the next steps?

As the Robin comes closer and I stand beneath his soft breath, those old hat questions fade away into the cold morning air.....

See more winter morning images here in the gallery


Outside it's winter, but inside........

Outside it may be winter but if you are back here, reading this, you are helping to create an inner glow of warmth! From the wonderful book lovers who have been buying my book, to bloggers and on line friends who have shared, every positive word of encouragement has really been special. Thank you!

It is such a vulnerable thing to put a self published book out into the world. I had absolutely no idea until I did it myself and I still can't fathom the disturbance it created in my world. In many ways it has reminded me of when I first started to blog and share photography anonymously. But like everything else I've done in the last three years.....there are so many new lessons in it. 

Sure it's what the book is all about! Setting out again and again in spite of these feelings of wanting to hide, give up or literally fold up the tent. So today I want to mention where you can find some of these wonderful generous bloggers and broadcasters, and there's still time to have a copy delivered before the holidays. It's only available on line here or get the download here

First of all Nicky Cahill of Salt and Sparkle invited me to participate in her Q+A interview blogpost series, published today! Nicky is a Belfast based writer and broadcaster. We met on twitter where I suspect we were drawn to each other's sense of place and love of the soulful. 

Next up was Tony Riches from the The Writing Desk who invited me to guest post. Tony supports writers and creatives through his blog which has a huge following on line. He is also a published author and his latest novel The Secret Life of Eleanor Cobham is available on Amazon.

My friend and blogger Susan from Vibrant Ireland and Travel put together a selection of Irish gifts to buy on line and included the book! Susan is some one I have admired and followed since we first met up as newbie bloggers three or four years ago. She shares positive stories from Ireland and from her travels, and yes she is just as vibrant as her blog! She also offers blogging tours and other services through her partnership with Dee in Green and Vibrant.

Candi and the stories from her life on Looking for Blue Sky have always melted my heart. She is a single Mum of 3 who writes courageously about the fun and the challenges she finds in every day life and the joy in each of her kids. So thrilled that she included the book in her blog of 9 Christmas gifts available on line!

Then there's Pat Carroll from CRY FM in Youghal. Pat invited me to chat on his Drive Time radio show and asked me such intriguing questions about what I do and why. At one point he compared me to Leonard Cohen, which made me giggle, so he is right up there as a critic as far as I'm concerned!!

But especially to all of YOU for coming here every week, for your ongoing support, encouragement, emails and for buying the book.....THANK YOU!