Cork City Photowalk – 20/02/2016

UCC walk 20-02-16 NLowney-5

On a dull and overcast Saturday morning on 20th February 2016 last, ECCG returned to visit Cork City for a shoot of a different kind - a photo walk of the city.

After meeting up at Kent railway station, we made our way to the city towards the Grand Parade and across the river footbridge and continued along Bishop Street. We took a left turn and 'clambered up' the hill onto Barrack Street. This street is steeped in history with a rich cultural heritage and formed the southern approach to the medevil walled city.  The legacy of by-gone days is inherent and the old qualities of the street are still at the heart of many Cork people. The street is highly significant in relation to the military and  social history of Cork.

UCC walk 20-02-16 KJohnson-3Elizabeth Fort is one such site off Barrack Street a soldiers barracks which fulfilled necessary military and security functions in earlier centuries.  In subsequent centuries Barrack Street became the focal point from which further residential development spread from the over populated city centre. As we strolled along this street, we felt an historic feel to this street with its many derelict, abandoned and massive decay.

After Barrack street we continued towards St Finbarre's catherdral and down towards Washington street and headed towards the University of Cork (UCC).

UCC was founded in 1845 with 2 other Queen's Colleges Belfast and Galway. It became University College Cork under the Irish Universtities Act of 1908. On the site, the Tudor Gothic quadrangle and early campus were built by Deane abd Woodword. The 'Long Hall' and the Clock Tower of the UCC quadrangle provided plenty of interest for photographs as well as challenges with serious use of  wide angle lenses in some cases.

After UCC, we headed to the Mardyke area historically left as an open space. The Presentaion Brothers College, the Mardyke and Cork County Cricket Club and Fitzgerald Park are some of the well known landmarks of this part of the city.

UCC walk 20-02-16 JCurtin-8Daly's Bridge, the Pedestrian bridge known locally as the 'Shaky Bridge' was built in 1926  and spans the River Lee and is the habitat of much bird life. The pedestrian bridge is made from timber planks and wrought iron supports. While there, we took the opportunity to walk across the bridge and experience for ourselves the 'shakiness' of the bridge.

After a brief stop at the Shaky bridge we headed back towards the city via Fitzgerald Park. The park is named after Edward Fitzgerald the city's Lord Mayor who was instrumental in organising Cork's International Exhibition. The original pavillion and ornamental fountain from the exhibition era can still be seen today. The Park spans 18 acres with landscaped gardens rich with trees, shrubs as well as many sculptures and a wealth of history with the Cork Museum located on this site. While stopping for a break, the centre piece  of the Park the Sky garden UCC walk 20-02-16 EUpton-16Pod became a subject of interest to photograph. This unusual garden piece won a medal at the Chelsea Flower show and later was transformed from a flying Sky garden to a platform over the River Lee. The Pod is surrounded by a colourful display of plants, shrubs and reflective stainless steel spheres and domes.

In the early afternoon and blessed with no rain, we headed back to the city and Kent Station, stopping momentarily to take shots of various landmarks including a large wall mural at the intersection of North Main street and Paul Street.

An enjoyable day was had by all with a variety of places visited from old to modern day coupled with an education and appreciation of the historical elements to Cork city.

Click here to see a gallery of images from this shoot. Enjoy!

- Noelle Lowney

If you have an interest in photography and would like to find out more about East Cork Camera Group, click the 'Contact Us' link and leave us a message.



One-Light-Portraits with Michael O’Sullivan

MOSullivan Workshop JB-3

Why is it that of all the genres of photography, photographing a fellow human being in a formal setting can be one of the biggest challenges? It is a curious thing because while most of us feel a bit daunted at the prospect, those who do it well do it very well and with seemingly little effort. But there's the rub: we're around long enough to know that the easier someone can make a task look, the more accomplished they are at it. Therefore, with March themed for portraiture in the club, we needed some questions answered and hopefully some secrets shared on the topic.

So the hunt was on for a speaker/tutor who would demystify the techniques, share some knowledge and yet still keep it simple enough that we could go forth with basic equipment and achieve some decent results. A big ask. Yet, when we considered the question, agreement came quickly and we were delighted when Michael O'Sullivan FIPF FRPS, current IPF President and member of our neighbouring Cork Camera Group, agreed to do a mini workshop on the subject at one of our regular meetings.

Having had Michael speak and show his images several times previously, we were really looking forward to this workshop and we weren't disappointed. Starting with a single on-camera flash and a simple omnibounce, we were quickly acquainted with terms such as hard and soft light, shadows and highlights, broad lighting, short lighting, split lighting and rembrandt lighting while projected images of our wonderful model, Cassie, appeared courtesy of the magic of tethered capture into Lightroom, demonstrating each point, good and bad, in turn.

Modifiers, from reflectors and brollies, beauty dishes and softboxes, big and small were all covered and then it was on to a single off-camera flash controlled by a radio trigger enabling directional light to be placed practically anywhere on a set. While he demonstrated this with a studio light, Michael did remind us that the same effects were equally possible with hotshoe flashes mounted off-camera.

Technical issues, such as colour balance and exposure settings as well as the problems caused by poor ambient electrical lighting and light bouncing from some coloured walls or where a ceiling is too high to bounce light to/from were all discussed and strategies suggested for surmounting these problems. On set safety for everyone on such a shoot, especially where lights and modifiers are mounted on stands, was an equally important part of the workshop.

Michael OSullivan-029

All of this in so little time and all delivered in Michael's own inimitable style. Unreal!

While there are many photography 'experts' out there around the globe just a mouseclick away, we are fortunate indeed to have the calibre of Michael on our doorstep who can, in person and in a matter of a couple of hours or longer, deliver and demystify the nuances of the subject. Thanks a million Michael and, of course, Cassie, for a fantastic mini workshop.

All of Michael's images in this post  are straight RAW captures taken in our meeting room with only one light.

See more about Michael here:
Twitter: @MOSPhotoIreland , @OSMPhotography
Irish Photographic Federation:

If you have an interest in photography and would like to find out more about East Cork Camera Group, click the 'Contact Us' link and leave us a message.



Cork City Shoot – 13/02/2016

Cork City 13-02-16 NL-6

On a wet, dull and overcast Saturday afternoon that was the 13th February 2016, a visit to Cork City was the latest ECCG shoot. After meeting up at Kent Railway Station, the rainy weather did not deter us on our 'tour' of the City in a quest to capture a variety of images from Urban, cityscape and Black & White themes. We embarked on foot (not tempted to hire the Coka Cola bikes!) on a tour of Cork City taking in various landmarks around the city. We were fortunate that the weather started to clear up. No sunshine but at least it was dry so we were spared a drenching.

We made our way across to Parnell Square and onto one of the main streets in the city, St. Oliver Plunkett Street. This street is one of main commercial arteries with a variety of foods and clothes shops, cafes and restaurants. It is also the longest street in the city. We stopped momentarily to take photos of the many side streets located to the right and left of this long street as we went.

Cork City 13-02-16 EU-2We then made our way to the one of the 'jewels of Cork City' the Old English market. This market is one of the oldest markets in Cork with long history dating back to the 1788. It is the main shopping institution with Cork people with its unique character, cosmopolitan atmosphere, vibrancy and rich shopping experience. Various stalls selling a variety of farm produce and a more exotic fare with foodstuffs from all over the world as well as the traditional meat, tripe and 'drisheen and fish. The array of colour provided great photo opportunities in this interesting place.

From the market we made our way onto the Grand Parade, which runs from the South Mall to St. Patrick's Street. We stopped at the National Monument at the end of the Parade. This commemorates the rebellions of 1798, 1803, 1848 and 1867 and is described as displaying an early  Gothic style. From here we continued the shoot, crossing the River Lee via the Nano Nagle footbridge named after the famous Cork woman who founded the Presentation Sisters religious order in 1775.

Cork City 13-02-16 EU-7We then walked to St Fin Barre's Cathedral situated near the heart of City. Before going into the Cathedral grounds we took a detour to the left of the side entrance, up steps towards Barrack Street to view a very colourful urban street art, primarily recalling the Rolling Stones Irish tour in 1965. Once we finished here we returned to the St Fin Barre's cathedral. The building was built in 1863 by the Victorian architect, William Bruges and was dedicated to St Fin Barre, replacing a previous building which once stood on the same spot believed to be the site of a monastery founded by the St Fin Barre in the 7th century. The present cathedral building is from the neo gothic period and is made from Cork limestone, marble as well as Bath Stone. We spent some time in the grounds of the cathedral capturing the immense exterior of this  towering building with its spiky spires, gurning gargoyles and rich sculpture which all contribute to it's magnificent presence and stature.

After the cathedral, the city shoot continued down Crawford street and onto Washington street where we visited an unusual antiques shops with records, relics and other curiosities on display. We then made our way along Washington street stopping to admire and take shots of dynamic artistic wall art painted by local artists as well as some buildings of architectural interest.

Our next 'port of call' was the Mercy Hospital, which is the second largest hospital in the busy city centre. The oldest part of the hospital was built between 1764 and 1767 and was was originally built as the Mansion House for the city's Lord Mayor but was later used as an educational establishment before becoming the Mercy hospital in 1857.

Cork City 13-02-16 NL-32As we made our way back towards the city centre we stopped, en route, to take photos of the red and white wrought iron foot bridge located in the North Mall area and also the very colourful buildings on the other side of the river. As we approached the Corn Market and North Main streets there were more beautiful urban art images to be found. On reaching the top of North Main street we crossed into Paul Street walking to the end of Half Moon street to view the amazing wall art on the side wall of the Cork Opera House. The large mural which runs the length of the street features giant stylised portraits in three tones of electric blue of literary giants such as George Bernard Shaw, WB Yeats, Oscar Wilde, James Joyce, Samuel Becket and more.

We finally made our way to St. Patrick's Street where we went for a well deserved cuppa! Afterwards some of us returned to the railway station via Mac Curtain Street. An enjoyable day was had by all with some great images captured. It was an ideal opportunity to source some black & white, urban and city scape images. A very worthwhile shoot despite a wet start.

See a full gallery of images from the shoot here. Enjoy!

 - Noelle Lowney


Sunrise Shoot – Ballytrasna – 07/02/2016

SR Ballytrasna 07-02-16 JTait-6

With sunrise creeping ever closer to 8am, it was an early rise to make the 7am meeting time at Ballycotton. Traversing the cliff walk to Ballytrasna in practically pitch darkness was a new experience but all got there in one piece to find the tide, that was supposed to be well out, crashing around the rocks and leaving little or no dry land. The approaching storm Imogen was probably behind the raging surf which sent rogue waves towards us at regular intervals filling several pairs of boots in the process!

This spot is very rocky with no sand to speak of and so, was a very different scene to what we'd photographed so far this year. The forecast was again spot on giving reasonably clear skies at sunrise with some light cloud that lit up as the sun rose behind it.

The shoot was a success in many ways, not least in the exercise and fresh air we received as a bonus to the actual photographic content. By 9am the good light was well gone so we called time on our eight shoot of the year and headed home to examine the files.

Click here to see a gallery of images from the shoot. Enjoy!
More images here.

If you have an interest in photography and would like to find out more about East Cork Camera Group, click the 'Contact Us' link above and leave us a message.


A Black & White Night – 02/02/2016


Eric Dunne-Magner at ECCG

Continuing with our scheme of theming the calendar months on a particular photography genre, we designated February to be our Black and White month and to get it off to a flying start, we invited two experts in the genre, Eric Dunne-Magner AIPF and Mark McGranaghan AIPF, of Cork Camera Group, to our Tuesday night meeting on 2/2/16 at The Midleton Park Hotel


Mark McGranaghan at ECCG

Showing a wide variety of shots from portraiture, travel, architecture and purely creative studio work, both men explained their workflows in detail while displaying their skills with Lightroom, Photoshop, Photomatix, HDR and associated plugins such as Nik Silver Effects Pro.

The talk certainly set the tempo for the month ahead which will be a challenge to those of us who find the genre daunting  and will certainly get most of us out of our comfort zone. No more a matter of simply hitting the 'B&W' button in Lightroom or its equivalent in other programs, we will now have to delve a little deeper and see what other tools and plugins can do for us to bring out the best in the images. A few intense processing sessions ahead, methinks!

Thanks to Eric and Mark for coming to our club and sharing their knowledge with us.

Download Mark's Black & White Conversion workflow here.