On the glorious Sunday afternoon that was on 22/3/15, ECCG members headed for Kinsale, mainly in the hope of a good sunset at the Old Head lighthouse. We spent some time around the town initially which, with it's narrow streets, interesting shopfronts and harbour area, always provides a variety of shots to the photographer.
For inspiration alone, a visit to the Giles Norman gallery was a must on the itinerary before we headed out to the Old Head to continue our lighthouse project. While the sunset let us down to an extent, there was some nice colour in the sky and some great images were created nevertheless.
Some facts about the Old Head of Kinsale Lighthouse Light first established: 16/05/1814 Present light established: 01/10/1853 Fog signal established: 01/02/1893 New light and fog signal established: 17/12/1907 Converted to unwatched automatic: 01/04/1972 Converted to electric: 25/04/1972 Nominal range of the light: 20 Nautical Miles Character of the light: two white flashes every 10 seconds Height of the light: 72m above mean high water springs
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The ECCG shoot on March 14th 2015 took a step back in time with a visit to the Cork City Gaol and Heritage Centre. The construction of the magnificent castle-like building, with the main section and two impressive wings on either side with circular towers, commenced in 1816. Mrs Deane and her son won the contract to build the gaol and John Hogan developed the sketch drawings for the prison from architect William Robertson.
The new city gaol opened in 1824 divided in two parts housing both male and female prisoners. It was for poverty related petty minor crimes, stealing being the most common offence that a vast majority of the gaol inmates were detained and sentenced to hard labour for. The prison saw its first execution in 1828 with the public hanging of Owen Ryan over the main entrance convicted of an assault on a woman. The detailed account of this execution was published in the Cork Freeholder newspaper.
Over the years the gaol was expanded and altered several times and in 1878 became an all-female prison known locally as the ‘Women’s Gaol’. It remained so until anti treaty supporters, both male and female, were incarcerated there in the 1920’s. Evidence of their time spent in the building is depicted by writings on the cell walls by some of those prisoners. The prison closed in 1923 and was later used as a radio broad casting station by the Radio Éireann now RTÉ from 1927 to the 1950’s. In 1983 the gaol was converted to a museum and heritage centre and is now open most days of the year with guided tours for its many thousands of visitors.
The ECCG group were given a 40 minute tour of the gaol by our guide Orla imparted some fascinating information about the gaol itself, the prisoners that were kept there - notably Thomas Raile and nine year old Edward O Brien and the rules and punishments of the gaol. There were quite a few life sized wax figures of suffering gaol prisoners and sadistic guards throughout the gaol. The exhibition sound effects of the shuffling feet of inmates and audio visual presentation of judges sentencing the guilty gave a sense of the hardship and difficulty for the poverty stricken who resorted to crime in order to survive. All gave a fascinating insight into the day-to-day prison life and brought home the harshness of the 19th century penal system in Ireland.
A memorable and educational day for the ECCG group as we ended our shoot outside the gaol building capturing on camera the sheer immensity of this imposing building and considered by all who were there a worthwhile visit.
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With the wonderful model Nadege on hand, Rowan conducted a comprehensive workshop beginning with a short classroom theory module followed by hands on shooting, inside and out and finishing with some post processing of some of the images taken.
Some of the topics covered during the workshop were communication with the model, posing, looking for the light, determining the direction of the light and observing what slight adjustments in the position of the model and/or photographer does to the light and shadow on the features. The use of diffusers, reflectors and flags to manipulate light was also covered.
This was a really first class and worthwhile workshop with tips to be picked up at every turn. Thanks to Rowan and Nadege for all their help and patience.
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I was a bit torn on ideas for the Curves theme competition as to what to shoot for it including squiggling car trails or cocktail glasses. I had bought some props last year including coloured and silver slinky springs so I spent an afternoon taking some shots of them in different configurations to try to meet the curves theme.
I have a small portable studio box with different coloured backgrounds so for this shoot I used a black background. I lit the spring with natural window light and a desk lamp as I didn’t want to use flash. I used a wide aperture to ensure the image was fully focused. I liked this final image as from each of the individual springs there are curves!
Lens used: 60mm macro lens on tripod
Settings: F/32; 4 sec; ISO 100
Lighting used: natural window light and desk lamp