A 2013 Round-up & Happy New Year! / by admin


Well I hope that you've all had your Christmas turkey and are looking forward to an amazing 2014!  This past year certainly has been interesting!  

So, I thought it might be a good idea to do a little round-up of my year photographically.


Well, it began where 2012 had left off....working on producing a panel of 9 images for a study in "Finding Form."  I did get someowhat side-tracked by the question of just how important shadow was in bringing out the actual form of a subject.  I love the use of shadow and take every opportunity I have to make use of it.


Fine Art & Landscape Photography by Geoff McGrath, Donaghadee, Northern Ireland

Fine Art Panel Image by Geoff McGrath, Donaghadee Harbour


This image didn't actually make it into my final selection of 9 images because it did not work well within the remit of my brief, but its definately one of my favourites.  I love the sense of dimension which the strong shadows bring to the image and of course, the leading lines which draw our eyes across the photograph.  Not only that, there is lovely tonal contrast on the texture of the stonework.  The reason that it didn't work well with the rest of the panel was because the subject was more the actual shadow detail and in that respect, it was not augmenting or complementing the form of a subject, it was becoming the subject.  So, in another panel it would work great, just not for one documenting "form."


Fine Art & Landscape Photography by Geoff McGrath, Donaghadee, Northern Ireland


This one works much better for the panel I was studying and infact made it into that final set of 9 images. I love the detailing of the corrosion and the really pleasing textures and tonal range throughout the image.  It really helps to see the dimensions of the chain itself.  The direction in which the chain crosses the image, forms a natural leading line drawing the viewers eye up through the shot.   If you would like to see the full panel of images including those which didn't make it through the selection process, please click here.  I think you'll agree that it portrays Donaghadee Harbour as its never been seen before.


Life in a Hopeless Place - Gold Award Winner March 2013 SWPP


In March of 2013, I had my first success of the year in the SWPP / SINWP competitions, winning "Gold" for this image in the Landscape section of the competition. I love this image and this tree in particular.  I've already said elsewhere that I really identify with this tree as I'm sure many of us can...  because regardless of what comes against it, its still standing!  I gave the image this name in part because of its recent association with Rhianna's controversial video of the song "We Found Love in a Hopeless Place..."    Many of you will also notice though, that when I launched my website, I have incorporated the tree into my new logo.  So, the tree continues to inspire me.


Highly Commended (Silver) Award - Media Photography - May 2013 - Geoff McGrath


This next image of Marc Martel won me a Highly Commended Award in May of this year.  Marc is the lead singer with a Christian band, Downhere.  More recently, Marc has found acclaim as the new frontman of the Queen Extravaganza, a Queen tribute band which was actually formed by Brian May & Roger Taylor.  Marc was hand-picked by Brian & Roger after a web audition!  Click here to see them in action on American Idol.


Ballycopeland Windmill, Co. Down by Geoff McGrath


Sometimes you wonder why an image doesn't do better and this was the case with both this image of Ballycopeland Windmill (just outside Millisle) and the one below taken from my "Belfast at Night" set.  Regardless, it was great to continue through the year with futher awards and both of these took "Highly Commended" awards in August in the Landscape and Monochrome sections respectively.


I've really had to start to think more about my composition and it has really paid off this year.  Previously, I depended on my ability to "see" a good image, but there is so much more to it that just seeing it, you have to work hard to convey what you see into a finished image.  I love the lonely feel of this Belfast image, despite the fact that not 500 yrds away the Belsonic Festival was playing out to massive crowds.


Looking Out to Sea - Under the M3 by Geoff McGrath


Once again my inspiration was taken from the Tree for my October 2013 entry for SWPP / SINWP competition.  I decided to enter into the Fine Art section this time around.  This was because I had processed this image in a totally different way looking for a more graduated look and feel to the sky.  Also I felt the image was not so much a landscape, as it was a portrait shot, of the Tree.  I wanted people to see the Tree in detail and get to know it personally.... at least that was the feel that I got as I worked through the process.  There was beautiful light and shade in the tree and I mirrored this in the graduated sky.


This effort won me a "Gold Award" in Fine Art and again it was really pleasing to see my work recognised.

Tree taken at Ballyrobert, County Down by Geoff McGrath, Fine Art & Landscape Photographer, Northern Ireland



After the Dawn - Portstewart Strand - Geoff McGrath Photography


As well as the Gold in Fine Art, I also received a "Highly Commended" for my image of Portstewart Strand.  This shot was taken just after the sun had risen and some beautiful detail came to the fore in the rocks and sand surfaces.  I've enhanced the tonal contrast which has helped immensely to lift the shot and give it real drama.  This was one of my favourite shots of the year.


As I look forward into 2014, I'm excited!  I hope you are too.... another opporunity to take a fresh look around us and refocus our efforts, to find meaning to our lives and existance, bigger than ourselves.


I trust as we go through this next year, you'll be with me on my journey, not only here on my blog, but also on my Facebook Page, my Pinterest Page and my 500px page.  Connect with me too on Twitter if you like!  I hope to have some exciting news to share with you very soon about some upcoming workshops that I will be taking... But enough of that!  I can't spill the beans ... NOT JUST YET, anyway!


Have a great New year everyone, and thank you so much for your interest in my work, it means more to me that I can possibly say!


Geoff (McGrath)