Thursday, April 17, 2014

Ireland III: St. Fintan's

It's hard to swing a cat in Ireland without hitting something that's older than the US, so it's important to stay focused and only devote attention to things that are both old and interesting.

St. Fintan's in Mountrath only dates to 1861, nearly qualifying it as new construction, but it's a very cool church nonetheless. After driving by it every day, we finally made a little bit of time to stop in and wander about with a tripod.


Nave

I don't really consider myself a religious person (um, at all), but I dig architecture, and I also view architecture with a different eye when it was created without CAD and cranes and all those other modern conveniences.


Votive with photo-fodder backdrop

Further, when it's pissing rain in the wintertime in Ireland, which it was doing on this particular afternoon and evening, the available options for activities dwindle pretty swiftly.


Just add light

I went to the trouble to bring a big strobe with me (camera gear was easily >50% of my sparse luggage), and it was TOTALLY worth it. I found it to add a new dimension to my travel photography, and hey, new things are exciting!

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Ireland II: Lifespan

Our first stop in Ireland was Peafield, the family farm in County Laois (pronounced "leash," obviously).

The farmhouse and stables are roughly three hundred years old, which is longer than the US has been around but shorter than the shelf life of a Twinkie.

Most of the farmhouse has held up pretty well, but there's some inevitable decay, too.


Does not repel rain

Three hundred years is a damn long time for a house, but it's not even a blip on the cosmic time scale. Staring at the stars has a way of realigning one's thinking about lifespans.

Especially on a frigid Irish night.

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Ireland I: The Easy Way

So...first post in over a month. Been interesting 'round these parts, to say the least. I had originally scheduled something far more brooding for today, but decided to run with this instead. After all, I've got scads of photos in the backlog, and there's a metric pile from Ireland that needed to get kicked off in serial fashion. So here goes...Ireland I of XV or so :)

Over Christmas and New Years, we traipsed off to Ireland to visit Ethel's family and to contract pneumonia. Well, that was my joke prior to the trip, because Ireland is not known for its temperate winters, and it only ended up being partially true.

Maybe it's the crushing boredom that can dominate air travel that's been my motivation, but I've discovered that I hold flight and airport photography quite dear. Perhaps this next clause will be noticed by the kind folks at Expedia or something, but I'd have a hard time saying no to spending a bunch of time in the air with the sole purpose of making pretty pictures of the changing terrain and light silently sliding along miles below, plus cool airport architecture between flights.


RNO-DEN


DEN


DEN


DEN


EWR-DUB


DUB

I also haven't been sleeping well on flights lately, so I've gotta do something with my time...

As you can infer, we landed in Dublin and it was raining, but we followed that up with a full Irish breakfast, so no hard feelings there.

Little did we know that the 17 hours it took us to get to Dublin was going to be the easiest travel of the trip...oooooooh, foreshadowing!

Much more to come, and sorry for the radio silence.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Ranger and Nick

Why?


Um, yeah

Because every now and then, it's important to play, to do something whimsical and without purpose, and to do it like it's the most important thing in the world.



That's why. And because Ranger is a fucking massive Great Pyrenees, and because Nick is awesome.


In case you need some scale, Nick is really tall

Yes, we got some strange looks at the park. Begone, gypsies! We're making art!

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Monday, March 3, 2014

Aurora Fail

A few weeks back, the news lit up with reports of a massive solar flare that was racing towards Earth and was sure to generate some all-time aurora borealis. The logical reaction to this news was to head to the darkest spot in my Rolodex - the Black Rock Desert - and to hope for the best.

The Lights have been seen this far south before, but it takes strong plasma action and dark skies to have a chance. Unfortunately, we were greeted with cloudy skies, and unbeknownst to us, the storm of charged particles that makes the sky pretty had diminished in strength somewhere between the Sun and Earth. Turns out these are difficult things to predict.

Also, it was cold and windy, so we spent a lot of time relaxing in the car, waiting for the show that was never to happen.


Just another show from the moon in our barren paradise

Of course, there are far worse places to be, so while Ethel snoozed in the back, Stefan and I screwed around a little bit outside. Gotta make the most of it, and we sure didn't drive that far to sit in the car ALL night.


Gazing upward

Ever being the opportunist, I had brought a metric shit-ton of camera gear, including lights (#neverleavehomewithoutalight), figuring that I'd have a shot at making some creatively-lit portraits of Murphy underneath some wispy green aurorae. Instead, Stefan got out his guitar and we made the cover art for his next rock album.


Stefan croons

For the technically-inclined among the seven of you, that's a single exposure with no photoshop trickery, and you can guess the rest.

We got back to Reno at the ungodly hour of 4am. Still made it to work by about 9. It was a big coffee day...

I may have to travel further to see this dang sky-show. As such, I'm currently accepting sponsorship solicitations for said trip :)

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Friday, February 28, 2014

Itsy Bitsy II

While hopping over the fence that's our shortcut from the driveway to the back door, I noticed this fella cruising around. What really caught my attention were the green fangs.


Natural habitat

After hurriedly constructing an impromptu photo studio inside suitable for a small visitor, I convinced Murphy to wrangle him (her?) inside safely for a short session. Took him a minute to become cooperative, but after he gathered that he wasn't in any immediate danger, he was pretty chill.


Posed

After I was satisfied, I returned him to the spot I found him, and I think he was happy to be home. Probably saw spots for a few minutes, but that's the price of doing business :)

I sure hope he wasn't poisonous. Didn't really look it, and we didn't find out the hard way.

The last Itsy Bitsy post was 2.5 years ago. Probably won't be a frequent series...

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Seattle, Quickly

A couple weeks ago, I found myself in Seattle for about 24 hours for a work trip, and Murphy tagged along to be somewhere different for a day and catch up with a few friends. Trips like this are exhausting but super fun; it's always a good reason to find some good food and some interesting sights, but I feel like there's never time to delve too deeply into anything.

What with a four hour meeting and some mandatory (OK, not mandatory, but wise) sleep, our exploration was largely limited to the journeys between various purveyors of food, beverage, and transportation. There are worse ways to go through life.


Yay geometry and patterns!

If I recall correctly, our wandering path was something along the lines of Sea-Tac, Light Rail, lunch (Merchant's), beer (Ivar's), dinner (Le Pichet OMG yes yes yes), and the Bainbridge Ferry. That was about all we accomplished on the first day, but traipsing from food to drink to food feels decadent and should be experienced at least once every election cycle.


Regan sees the future


The Great Wheel (made without tripod, thankyouverymuch)

There are MUCH better photos of the Great Wheel with all sorts of interesting compositions to be had, but I a) had no tripod, and b) was chasing a hungry group of compatriots, so I took the low-hanging fruit. Actually, not really. To make this photo, I reached over a fence separating the pier from the harbor, balanced the edge of my camera on a thin strip of concrete, and propped it there with a finger for the length of the exposure, a sneeze away from watching more money than I'd care to admit plunge to its salty death far below. In other news, this is now my definition of living dangerously.


Harbor Steps

I had never been out to Bainbridge before, and I must say I was super impressed with the ferry, probably because we didn't ride it at rush hour. Less than eight bucks for a round trip, very frequent, and remarkably easy. Party on.


Abstract Ferry selfie

On the second day, our accomplishments were even more sparse. After my meeting (Ethel went to the city early), it was Bainbridge Ferry, lunch (Etta's), coffee (Moore Coffee Shop), and then back to Sea-Tac.

On one hand, I despise visiting places without the time to really explore, but on the other hand, it's fun to dip into a city's plane of existence for a few hours and then get whisked away from the fray.

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Past Detritus