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iPhoneography & Smartphone Photography Workshops by admin

Well, the workshop at Holywood was a great success with lots of really helpful feedback and as I look towards the next one at Dungannon Library, I'm excited about what's in store for us there. Whether you call it iPhoneography, Smartphoneography, Smartphone Photography or even Mobiography, one things for sure, it's growing in influence every day...

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Fine Art Photography for 2014 by admin

Well with the New Year upon us, I've been thinking about how I want to process my work in 2014.  I will be looking to further develop my Landscape work, but as I move into the Year I look to definately work towards developing more towards a Fine Art perspective.  

With this in mind, I am working on developing a new page on this site, and will be creating a gallery of images with painterly-like effects.  I hope eventually to be able to offer prints to those interested.  Here are a few images for my collection, just to whet your appetite.

 

 

Albert Bridge at Night, Belfast - Geoff McGrath Photography - Northern Ireland

 

 

Titanic Christmas - Titanic Building - Christmas 2013

 

 

Park Bench - Fine Art Photography by Geoff McGrath, Northern Ireland

 

 

Street Scene - Rome - Fine Art Photography by Geoff McGrath, Northern Ireland

 

 

 

La Scuderia - Ferrari 308 GTS - Fine Art Photography by Geoff McGrath, Northern Ireland

 

 

 

 

 

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

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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)

 

 

iPhoneography / Smartphoneography by admin

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Great Victoria Street Station, Belfast  

Most of us these days carry our phones every where don't we?  Smartphones are an everyday part of life.  Gone are the days that we missed the opportunity to capture an image because we didn't have our SLR's with us.  Now everyone can be a photographer.

iPhoneography - Downhill

 

Not only that....within the past 5 years we have seen amazing advances in technology.    Wireless and Bluetooth technology as well as 3G and 4G give us the ability to quickly transfer, upload and even print out photographs.  I'm sure many of you subscribe to daily deal websites such as Groupon, Wowcher, TreatTicket & LivingSocial to name a few.

 

Great Victoria Street Station

 

Recently I decided to try one of these offers and was able to upload a photograph from my Instagram account to a site and buy a 16x24 canvas and it only cost me £14.99.  The quality was not what you'd expect from a professional lab, like Loxley or One Vision, but it was good enough considering the price and the fact that the images were not high resolution.

 

Now we have something to print and share with others.  We can download the likes of Snapseed, VSCOCam, Exposer GL, Instagram & Camera Awesome.  I have to say the quality is pretty darned impressive.

 

Over the next while, I'm going to be looking at more detail into exactly whats involved in creating great images with your iPhone or Smartphone, so make sure you subscribe to my blog.

 

We'll be looking at various apps and well as covering the basics of creating great images.   If you have a bad photograph, all the apps in the world won't make it great.  But, they can make all the difference in turning a good into a fabulous one.

 

iPhoneography - On the Edge of Town

 

If you'd like to take a look at more of my iPhone images, click here.

 

Until next time...

 

Geoff.

Titanic Christmas by admin

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It's hard to believe that it's been a month or so since I last updated my blog.   This past month has been hectic with work and also studies.  I'm studying on 3 fronts at the moment (mad, yes, I know!)  So its been hard to get the time to get out and take photographs, as I'd like to.  

But last night, on my way back through Belfast, as I was crossing the flyover on the M3, I spotted the Titanic building in all its glory, like a glistening like a crown on the banks of the Lagan and so I decided to go and investigate as I had my camera gear with me.

 

Titanic Christmas

 

There was an lamp post smack in the middle of my view, so this meant I would have to get in closer and use my wide angle lens.  So I've used the Tokina 11-16mm lens.  This really is a smashing lens.. and fantastic value at about half the price of the Nikon  version.

 

I actually love the distortion around the edge of the image.  I think it draws the focus very definately towards the subject.

 

The way that the "Titanic" was filled with Christmas lights really helped set the image off.

 

At one point a PSNI landrover cruised past me and sat at the nearby traffic lights watching me to make sure I was up to no good... or is that the other way around?!   I always find its best to be straight-forward about how and what you do.

 

Anyway, have a Titanic Christmas in case I don't to say it nearer the time!!

Geoff wins "SWPP Highly Commended Award" in 2 catagories by admin

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Ballycopeland Windmill, Co. Down by Geoff McGrath  

I'm pleased to announce that I have won the SWPP Highly Commended Award twice this month, in 2 different catagories.  A Highly Commended Award sits just below a Gold Award in the judging and so it is still a great achievement.

 

For the Landscape catagory, the Highly Commended Award was for the image above, taken at Ballycopeland Windmill about a month ago.  It really is an honour to be judged at this level by professional imagemakers who know the craft so well and while they are not Gold Awards, they represent a continued development in my work.

 

Donegal Quay, Overlooking the River Lagan by Geoff McGrath

 

This image won a Highly Commended Award in the Monochrome catagory, one of the busiest and most difficult catagories where there were some 89 entries.

It is very pleasing to see my work continue to improve and gain recognition.  Highly Commended Awards can sometimes be reassessed and moved up to a Gold Award so please cross your fingers for me!!  :)

Geoff McGrath

 

 

 

Belfast at Night by admin

Lagan Weir, Belfast by Geoff McGrath  

I decided to go into Belfast during the Belsonic Festival and found the city surprisingly peaceful.    Walking down the Quay, Lagan Weir, caught my eye.  I wanted to try and capture the peaceful vibe, despite the festival that was taking place just over the river behind Custom House in the Square.

 

As you can see the cloud cover was excellent and made for some very dramatic images

 

Across the Weir, Belfast - Cityscapes

 

 

Looking Out to Sea - Under the M3 by Geoff McGrath

 

 

Donegal Quay provided a beautiful view down the River Lagan out towards the Irish Sea.

 

 

 

Formerly St Malachy's Christians School located on Oxford Street, Belfast

 

A walk down Oxford Street reminded me that in among the modern buildings, like the Waterfront Hall and Laganside Magistrates Courtof there was a beautiful little reminder of the past in the form of the now unused St Malachy's Christian Brothers School.  The school opened in 1874 and served as a school until it closed in 1972, although intake to the school stopped in 1966. I'm sure that some former pupils will have interesting memories of their time there.   Until recently the old school was in use as offices for a solicitor's practice.

 

Waterfront Hall, Belfast, by Geoff McGrath Photography

 

My walk took me down past the Waterfront Hall.    Normally the Hall is bustling with activity, but tonight it was quite and uneventful.  I decided to leave the reflections from the streetlights in the image as, to me, it adds to the character of the shot.

 

Reflecting on Queens Bridge by Geoff McGrath

 

The final image taken from my last night tour of the Queen's Bridge area is of the Bridge itself.   Walking up the side of the Waterfront Hall, it brought me to the banks of the Lagan again, and as I walked up the Quay the beautiful reflection of the bridge in the water was something I could not ignore.

 

Check out the gallery to see more images at http://www.geoffmcgrathphotography.com/belfast-at-night/