fine art

Tranquility at Oxford Island by admin

fine-art-landscape-northern-ireland-oxford-island-geoff-mcgrath-photography.jpg

  Tranquility over Oxford Island

 

 

 

One of the things that I love most about the sea and bodies of water is the sense of tranquility it gives me.  I don't know if it affects you the same way.  Its a deeply personal place to enter.  That place where one is completely at rest.

 

Some time has passed since I updated my blog.  If I'm honest, after completing my final assignment in my Year Two HND course, I felt totally deflated.  The subject matter I was covering was extremely disturbing and spending 3 months pouring over such images just left me feeling a bit numbed.  Due to the sensitivity of the subject matter, it may never appear on the internet, but despite that, it was a deeply moving subject and one that I sadly see, much too often.

 

Over all, the year creatively had been difficult as I covered subjects that didn't really hold a lot of personal interest for me, but as it was part of the course, it had to be tackled.  I don't class myself as a commercial photographer or a photo-journalist.  But entering the final phase, that of Fine Art I was really looking forward to the module.  There was a last minute change and the subject was changed from Fine Art Open to Fine Art Documentary.  All my plans went out the window!

 

So, at the end of it all, as I already said, I wasn't feeling exactly motivated.  I have some personal projects that I had hoped to accomplish this summer, which so far, have remained untouched.  I'm hoping that getting back into my blog might help with that.

 

Most of all, more recently, our family has experienced a personal bereavement and the past few months especially have been difficult.

 

It was in the midst of this, that we went out for a quite walk to clear our minds and I saw the scene that I have shared with you today.  I just loved the real sense of peace that Oxford Island gave us that day and more than anything, this image captures that.  Sometimes you need to calm your soul.

 

And so I leave you with this image in the hope that it moves you, much in the same way as it has me.

 

Geoff.

Dublin Trip - Monasterboice & Howth Lighthouse by admin

IMG_6565.jpg

Anyone who follows me on Facebook will know that I recently spent a few days in the Dublin area.  Not the best time to be trying to take colourful images, we got to see some pretty stormy weather.  Sadly, while the weather made for some pretty dramatic possibilities, it also hampered my ability to get to a few places I'd really wanted to photograph.  

On the way to Dublin, Rosemary, Bonnie (our wee cairn terrier) and myself stopped to stretch our legs and grab a sandwich at Monasterboice.  What a fascinating place.  In between the increasingly heavy rain, we managed a walk around the old graveyard and got to see the crosses and the high tower.  The tower was built around the 10th Century to watch out for the naughty Vikings who were pillaging, as one does when on holiday.  But no pillaging for us today I'm afraid, it was a little wet for that.  I had to settle for a few images on my iPhone.

 

Monasterboice - Cross of Muineadach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is one which I took of the cross of Muineadach, almost 5 metres high.  On it you can just see stories of the Bible depicted.

 

 

Boyne Suspension Bridge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we travelled on down the M1 towards Dublin, we crossed the Boyce River by way of the Boyne Suspension Bridge.  It was fascinating.  As you drive over it, its almost as if the cables are like tentacles reaching for you.  I managed to snap this shot with my iPhone.  Processing was by virtue of the Glaze App for iPhone.

 

One area which I had really hoped to visit was Baltry Bay.  We'd planned our day around being able to get there mid afternoon, but by the time that we arrived (so easily distracted we photographers are!) the weather was so bad that I couldnt get any close by car and the howling winds, dropping light and lashing rain meant walking out further was just out of the question.  :(

 

 

LightTrac

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was using a couple of apps for my iPhone which were a fantastic help, although the sun was not particularly directional as the light was quite flat throughout our trip.  I'd really recommend LightTrac as a great tool for showing you the position of the sun as well as times of sunrise/sunset, if you are wanting to plann a shoot.

 

 

Tides Near

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The other app which was really helpful, (especially as we managed to not get stranded by rising tides at Baltry,) was an app called Tides Near.

 

I will share a few more images from the trip as soon as I can get some time, but here's a little teaser from our first day out, which took us to Howth Lighthouse at Howth Head.   What a beautiful little harbour.  There was a lovely little chip shop on the corner of the harbour where we bought a chip and Bonnie got some sausages. (one spoilt little dog!)  I just loved watching the fishing boats in the open sea and then to see them swarmed by seagulls as they returned with their catch.  Even though it was very windy, it was a truly fabulous sight.

 

 

 

Howth Lighthouse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is one last little shot from Howth Head.  Again with my iPhone and processed using Glaze, I spied this interesting shed and door walking towards the lighthouse.  I thought there were some great textures here so couldn't resist a shot!

Door at Howth

Revisiting Colour ... by admin

I am amazed at how dissatisfied our minds can be.  There is always that sense of "not quite yet..." when it comes to my photography.  I'm reminded of the song I heard on the radio this morning by U2, "I Still Haven't Found what I'm Looking For..."  Sometimes I wonder if we would KNOW "it" if it stood right in front of us!  

Well being dissatisfied is a 2 way street, isn't it?  A blessing... AND a curse, that's for sure!  As I continue to research and work more and more on my processes and for new ways to do things, this is what has happened.  I've ended up looking at things slightly differently.

 

While I love black & white, for me, still the best medium by far...  I still realise too that there is tremendous potential for the use of colour in my work, I just need to find a balance that I am happy with.  These next few images that I want to show you today, briefly, are just some of those outworkings.  I hope some day to be able to print some of these in larger formats for I would be intrigued just to see them big and bold!

 

I hope you enjoy these!  Please share them or like them, as "every little helps" (at least Tesco says it does!)

 

Take care

 

Geoff.

 

Sunrise Over Oxford Island

 

 

Sailing to the Lighthouse

 

 

Ship to Shore...

 

Lighthouse with a View

 

 

 

October SWPP Awards by admin

GeoffMcGrath_Pictorial-Fine-Art_Sept_UK_13.jpg

I was very pleased to find out last night that I've just received a Gold Award and a Highly Commended Award for my work at the SWPP Awards yet again. Its extremely humbling to receive this recognition. Its things like this that keep motivating me to continually work to improve my images every chance I get.

 

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

 

If you've been following my blogs, you'll maybe recognise this tree.  It was a feature of my very first post back in July 2013.   Certainly if you're local to Bangor, County Down and the surrounding area you will know it because you most probably drive past it a few times a week.  On a larger scale, the tree became quite famous or should I say infamous due to the carryings-on of a certain pop star in 2012. Check 0:25 for the first glimpse.

 

The image above was taken at the same time as my initial shot in April 2013.  However, this time, I decided that in moving closer to the tree, I wanted my focus (pardon the pun) to be on the tonal quality of the tree and sky, their textures and the contrasts between the roughness of the ground and tree bark and the smooth texture of the sky.  In essence, I wanted to "get to know" the tree better.  I really love this shot because unlike the earlier image, this is a personal shot.  Its a tree-portrait.  For me, the personality of the tree shows when you get a really good look at the textures of the bark, and I especially like the intricate twisted shapes of the branches as, when the light hits them you get a lovely range of varying light features and tones.

 

I really love this one because its intimate, and personal. The way it treats light, with its various twists and turns, tell me something about the character of this tree.  The years have not been kind to it, but still, inspite of everything, it still stands. It makes me reflect on myself, my life and how we need to just lean into the wind, for that is how character is born...

 

 

After the Dawn - Portstewart Strand - Geoff McGrath Photography

 

I was also really pleased to receive a Highly Commended award in the SWPP Awards for this image from Portstewart Strand on the North Antrim coast.  This is a shot from my last outing to Portstewart just a couple of weekends ago.  As you can see, again, there was a fantastic range of tones throughout this shot.  I'm hoping to return soon and take some more shots at the Strand using my new Hitech 10 Stop ND.

 

 

Pulse rates soaring at 500px! by admin

IMG_6341.jpg

Well, today's been an interesting day.  In a good way.  Well, if you don't count the bad back that is!  

As many of you may know, I have an account on 500px, a fantastic photosharing social media site.  It's one of my favourite things to do when I have some downtime.  Browsing 500px and Pinterest.

 

I recently realised that I hadn't uploaded my latest images to 500px and so I proceeded to upload them to my profile and that's when things got exciting.  I've only enjoyed average success on there and yes its only people "liking" your images but it all helps towards SEO ranking.

 

I wanted to share the images with you.  If you're already on 500px, you be able to find me there as simply "GeoffMcGrath."  You'll also see to the left of this blog post that there is a link under the menu for 500px (it looks like an '8' on its side) just as there is for other social media sites that I use, such as Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.  Please click there and connect with me if you haven't already.

 

Images are ranked on there in terms of their "Pulse" that is how active they are.   I've had moderate success at times, getting 40's and 60's.  But tonight as we speak these 2 images are currently sitting in the 92-94 range!

 

Here they are....

 

Tree at Six Road Ends  and a  Fresco of Sunrise over Oxford Island

 

Check the links out, or if you're too lazy :P  ... here's the 2 images.

 

Fine Art - Geoff McGrath

 

Tree at Six Road Ends Bangor

 

I've been working on creating some more Fine Art images and having discovered a few new tricks in processing, hope to have some to share with you soon.

See you then!

Geoff (McGrath)

 

 

Unseen Donaghadee by admin

Unseen Donaghadee - You know how you live in a place for years and then one day, you just turn a corner and find yourself looking at something you've never seen before?  Well that's what happened to me a short time ago.   I was photographing a church in Donaghadee and I turned around to leave and there before my eyes was this little lane.  Right in the middle of town.  So I couldn't resist taking time to photography a little part of unseen Donaghadee. Who knows, I might have to explore that lane further and see where it takes me...  

 

Forgotten Donaghadee

 

 

Another part of forgotten Donaghadee is an area I find myself driving past often. The gorgeous coastline of the Warren Road. We take things of this beauty for granted. Long before anyone decided to build grand houses along this road, there was the sea and people have been walking down little paths along this coastline for hundreds of years. I actually took this photography back in 2011 as part of my initial studies into HDR photography, but as many photographers, the more I learn the more I want to experiment and I decided to revisit some old images and see if I could do them justice.

 

 

Donaghadee Coast

This tree was along the path around Orlock Point and this path winds all the way in to Groomsport and then into Bangor. I need to walk that one of these days. The tree just caught my eye against the skyline.  

Coastal Trees

This final image is another taken in 2011 and I much prefer the black and white version to the colourful HDR shot which in my opinion was overcooked.  

Warren Road, Donaghadee

Please click on the "Share" button on these images and share them on your Pinterest, Facebook or your favourite social media site.

 

 

Finally, I just took delivery of my new 11-16mm lens and will soon be posting some of my first images taken with it. I've really enjoyed shooting around Belfast again, but I am really looking foward to getting some time to go out and shoot some landscape. I can't wait to see the result.

  Til next time, thanks for taking time to read..

Geoff (McGrath)

Donaghadee Lighthouse weathering the Storm by admin

Storm over Donaghadee by Geoff McGrath  

 

In January 2013, Northern Ireland saw some of the worst storm weather we have seen for some years.  Like most people, I have been happy to just sit at home and catch it on TV but this year I was reminded that the weather would be dramatic.  I needed to get out in it and capture the drama and raw power of the wind and the sea.

 

I got all my equipment ready and off I headed down to Donaghadee Lighthouse.  This image was shot approx 5pm.  In the end, the only equipment I needed was my camera, 18-200mm lens and my tripod.  It was all to do to just get the tripod set up and the camera on it!  The wind was so strong that I was finding difficulty just standing!  Thankfully I found this spot directly in front of the sea wall and firmly grounded my tripod there.  This position gave me a great view not only of Donaghadee Lighthouse but also of the rough seas outside of the safety of harbour walls.

 

Low light at the best of times creates the issue of camera shake.  But surely, thats what the tripod is there for... so I don't have worry about things like that? Right?   That's only true when letting go of your tripod won't take it hurtling down the street into the local chip shop!  So, I had to grab it as firmly as I could, holding as still as I could....pushing all the weight down towards the ground.  Focusing was not too easy either.

 

For me though, the shot captures all the raw emotion and excitement of the moment perfectly.  I always look for new and different ways to photograph Donaghadee Lighthouse and capturing it while being battered by the elements is a first for me.

 

Every image we create should evoke an emotion and for the taker, a vivid memory.  If it does for you, please leave a comment below.   :)

 

Geoff McGrath

 

 

500px Page by admin

image.jpg

Today I thought I would share my 500px page with you. 500px is a fantastic site for photographers and those who love photography. I am constantly inspired by what I see there and always come away with a new idea or a better understanding of what it is that we as photographers do. Please take a look at my page and link to it if you have 500px already.

Thanks

Geoff.

Geoff McGrath - Landscape - Fine Art - Photography - Northern Ireland - County Down - County Antrim - Scapes