28.4.12

Fledgeling























































Because everything I have done in photography so far has been totally instinctive I have recently found myself wanting to expand my horizons and learn a bit more about the technical side. Taking my courage in my hands I joined George Munday in a Photography Course at the Art Hand a new art school on the Copper Coast 


I was surprised at how vulnerable I felt as a learner again. For starters George is such a completely brilliant professional that delving into his work would make you want to throw your hat at the whole aspiration! For seconders I am usually the trainer in these type of situations and I think it is easy to forget how at sea you can feel as a student. Thirdly maths and numbers would not be my strong point so aperture settings and shutter speeds have always completely eluded me!


The three day intensive covered all the essential skills for Raw and Manual shooting, composition and editing. We went out on location to practice what we were learning, and were encouraged to challenge ourselves and expand our personal portfolios. Our hosts Sean and Miranda Corcoran looked after us in every possible way including hot baked muffins for elevenses and gorgeous home cooked evening meals which we shared in the stunning living space of their grass roofed home. Their vision for creating an experimental art school in this unique cliff-side setting was also truly inspiring.


Gradually the learning is all beginning to sink in. Yesterday I photographed the Great Tit fledgelings on the old birdbath. They were beginning to get a sense of their new wings, and looked a lot like like I feel........it just takes time and practice.......but brings such happiness!











14.4.12

Our wildflower gift to the next generation



























Living in a protected wetland area I am constantly concerned about unwelcome and so called progress. One bit of progress I am delighted with though is the influence of the EU on habitat and species preservation. Older people around here have huge respect for the meandering landscape and it's evolvement over generations. Now our generation have responsibility for implementing conservation policies and we need to be equally sensitive and aware.

Recently, as agriculture grows in economic significance again, there are threats which could destroy the beauty and integrity of the country including land clearance, drainage, and over-grazing. The survival of sensitive areas now depends on current legislative protection.  I for one will be doing all I can to secure the future of these bluebells and other wildlife as an integral part of our exceptional and beautiful rural environment by supporting wilderness preservation.

Bluebells are not yet protected in Ireland but it is believed that they have declined in numbers due to excessive picking and the erosion of woodlands. What an uplifting sight they are every year at this time reminding us all of of childhood magic and the coming of summer. It's up to us to make sure that we can pass them on to future children and grandchildren.


Here is more information on Irelands endangered wildflowers.
Botanic Gardens







12.4.12

Those deep dark blue days





















































There is a cold blue light that we sometimes experience in Ireland especially on an overcast day. The land becomes deeper and darker and occasionally a streak of sunlight will flash on a ditch or on a hill spotlighting a paler green or the gold of furze. This contrast between the dark sky and the bright hills creates layers of colour from the deepest blue greys to the paler mauves.

These layered and darker days draw me towards the bigger picture landscapes. On my creative path I still have a lot to learn but I now see the limitations in the longed for purely "blue sky days". I never thought I would be saying that!

The darker cloudier days have a soulful still quality. You can see further to the horizon, the mountains soak up the light and the hedgerow plants sparkle against the fierce grey backdrop. I still love the warm sunny days but the cold blue cloudy ones have won me over to their unfathomable mysteries.






6.4.12

Attentiveness





























Ten times a day something happens to me like this - some strengthening throb of amazement - some good sweet empathic ping and swell. This is the first, the wildest and the wisest thing I know: that the soul exists and is built entirely out of attentiveness.

― Mary Oliver







2.4.12

Nothing to fear


































Sometimes I go down to the lake shore at around dusk, the gloaming, the closing of the day. In that magical twilight time the light changes. As it becomes less intense it softens and warms the reeds, the land, the fresh water.

In that quiet space, there is nothing to fear.

I used to jump at sudden movements or rustling in the long grass. The smallest crawly thing would make me recoil and yelp. But just by being out there and observing on a daily basis, I have begun to feel safer in the world.

We still startle each other out there. Sometimes a heron will fly in to land near where I am sitting and vere off suddenly spotting me at the last moment. An ocasional fish will spookily rise to the surface and eyeball me. A flying beetle will land on my lap.

But startling is one thing and threatening is another. There is a peaceful living side by side underlying it all, it is mainly I who must be extra careful not to create too much of a disturbance.