Emo Court

I believe I need to brush up on the sunny f16 rule and, of course, get to know again my Hasselblad.

Film: Kodak Ektar 100

Camera: Hasselblad 500C/M

Location: Emo Court, Co Laois, Ireland

The edge of the sea

Early winter early afternoon light.

Film: Kodak Ektar 100

Camera: Hasselblad 500C/M

Location: Greystones, Co Wicklow, Ireland

Roman ruin at Schönbrunn Palace

This artificial ruin, built in the Gardens of Schönbrunn Palace in 1778, is an example of a sub-genre that is having a strong effect on my imagination of late, that of the anticipated ruin. Parisian painter, Hubert Robert, probably invented it as a way of reflecting on the rise and fall of civilizations and empires. Modelled on the ancient Roman temple of Vespasian and Titus, the Viennese ruin features in the pool two figures representing the gods of the Rivers Danube and Enns.

Film: Fuji Provia 100F

Camera: Canon EOS 300

Location: Schönbrunn Palace and Gardens, Vienna, Austria

Candid photos in art galleries

Although I do spend a lot of time in art galleries and museums looking at works of art and people looking at works of art, I am fundamentally uncomfortable with the idea of taking photos of people who are not aware of being photographed. Having said that, here is a couple of recent candid shots.

Positive Vienna

Positive because I used a slide film, which makes a positive instead of a negative. Glittering Vienna here.

On my last day in Vienna, while strolling around the district of Leopoldstadt which is a little off the tourist trail, this gentleman unexpectedly appeared from the left and ... I'm so glad I captured him and his extraordinary hat!

Film: Fuji Provia 100F

Camera: Canon EOS 300

Location: Vienna, Austria

Glittering Vienna

Oh, Vienna! One single late afternoon walk around the Innere Stadt had me smitten with the city! In no particular order these are the things I loved: the luminous red of the Austrian Airline's uniform; my very central hotel; getting around it on foot; coffee in all shapes and sizes; umpteen Italian gelato parlours; majestic caryatids and astonishing doorways; rococo interiors; Annatorte at Demel Chocolatiers; Sacher torte at the Café Sacher; the elliptical staircase with iron wrought rail I came across while looking for the restaurant's toilet (where is a camera when you need one?); the Imperial palaces and art galleries - it lashed down four out of five days so I got to spend a lot of time in the Hofburg Imperial Palace, Schönbrunn Palace, Albertina, The Kunsthistorisches Museum, Belvedere, The State Hall and St Charles Church.

I was amused by: waiters mixing tapping (my contact less card) up with tipping; an Italian gelato parlour translating chestnut into moron (the German word 'marone' for chestnut might have confused them) and cone (as in ice cream cone) into cornet; bird chirping played as background noise in restaurants' toilets.

I didn't like at all the widespread rudeness. Waiters were ill-mannered and unpleasant in too many occasions, with the Café Gloriette in the garden of Schönbrunn Palace really taking the biscuit! I also disliked the mushrooming of Starbucks - I am in no way a coffee snob, but I find that these and other chain outlets make no sense in the city which has elevated coffee culture to an art form!

Film: Fujicolor Natura 1600

Camera: Canon EOS 300

Location: Vienna, Austria

The State Hall in Vienna

The State Hall of the Austrian National Library is one of the most beautiful historic libraries in the world. It was commissioned during the 1720s by Emperor Charles VI - represented as 'Hercules Musarum' in the larger-than-life marble statue you can see in the photo below right - for his Court library. The walnut bookcases lined along this 77m-long and 14m-wide library hold around 200.000 books from 1501 to 1850.

Film: Fujicolor Natura 1600

Camera: Canon EOS 300

Location: The State Hall, Vienna, Austria

A unique view at close range

If you find yourself around Karlsplatz in Vienna and don't suffer from heights, it is well worth entering St Charles Church and taking the lift to reach the top of a 32-metres-high scaffolding tower that was erected in 2002 for the renovation of the church's interior but is still there and open to the public. You will be asked to pay a ticket  - revenue from tickets sold is used to finance other renovation projects - but the close-ups you will get of the dome paintings are certainly unique. If you then feel adventurous and climb up just an extra few flights of steps, you will be rewarded with a view of the city as well.

As the church is dedicated to Saint Carlo Borromeo the huge frescos represent the glories of the Italian saint. They were painted by Johann Michael Rottmayr during the second half of the 1720s.

The church's interior, with its use of all the different lighting conditions, is a most spectacular example of the Baroque style. In one of the two large chapels on the sides of the central aisle it is possible to admire 'The Assumption of Mary' by Sebastiano Ricci. It is a pity I didn't manage to capture the brilliance of its blues and reds!

Film: Fujicolor Natura 1600

Camera: Canon EOS 300

Location: St Charles Church, Vienna, Austria

Winter sun streaming in

Winter sun streaming in like a notable guest and lighting up the Shaw Room's elegant staircase.

Film: Fuji Provia 100F

Camera: Canon EOS 300

Location: National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, Ireland

Kindlestown Wood

Leave only footprints. Take only memories.

Film: Fuji Provia 100F

Camera: Canon EOS 300

Location: Kindlestown Wood, Delgany, Co Wicklow, Ireland

The 'twin' lights

Two lighthouses were first built on Wicklow Head in 1781 to prevent mariners from confusing it with Howth Head and Hook Head, both of which had only a single light. Both were then rebuilt in 1816 at a lower level.

The upper lighthouse is in the care of the Irish Landmark Trust, which rent it as a self-catering holiday accommodation. I visited it at the end of August, on a special open day during National Heritage Week. There are 6 octagonal rooms, 109 winding steps, and 27 deep windows from where to enjoy plenty of views.

To reach this collection of lighthouses you need to leave your car in the public car park and walk a two kilometers quiet farm road.

Film: Ilford Pan F+ 50

Camera: Canon EOS 300

Location: Dunbur Head, Co. Wicklow, Ireland

A truly one of a kind lighthouse

Hook Lighthouse is situated at the tip of the Hook Peninsula in County Wexford, only a couple of hours drive from Dublin. It is one of the oldest lighthouses in the world, as it was built eight hundred years ago, and is accessible only by guided tour.

Film: Ilford Pan F+ 50

Camera: Canon EOS 300

Location: Hook Peninsula, Co. Wexford, Ireland

A roll of film a month | June [...]

Let's not beat around the bush and admit from the beginning that my photography project for 2017, the one of shooting at least one roll of film a month, hit bottom this summer so, yes, a more correct title for this post would be 'A roll of film a month | June, July, and August'. It started to go wrong when, only a few days before the end of June, I ruined my last T-Max 400 while loading it in my too long neglected Zero 2000 pinhole camera. Fast-forwarding to the first Sunday in July, just before going out to see the Dun Laoghaire Regatta, I reached for an ISO 50 film because the day was luminous enough for it. It tuned out I should have given less thought to the weather and more to the fact that the film was a 35mm as it took me all summer to shoot all its 36 poses!

Film: Ilford Pan F+ 50

Camera: Canon EOS 300

Location: Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin, Ireland

When the shutter counter says nine

The confusion of discovering my Voigtländer Vitoret DR camera had already a film loaded in it; the thrill of noticing the shutter counter said nine but I had no recollection of when and where I took those photos; the constant questioning myself while shooting the remaining frames; the anticipation while waiting for the roll to be processed and, finally, the sheer delight of realizing I came back from last-year visit to Garnish Island in southwest Ireland with a couple of more pics. These are the things I wouldn't have experienced if I hadn't gone back to shooting film.

Film: Kodak T-Max 400 B&W

Camera: Voigtländer Vitoret DR

Location: Garnish Island, Glengarriff, West Cork, Ireland

A roll of film a month | May

Film: Kodak T-Max 400 B&W

Camera: Voigtländer Vitoret DR

Location: Kilmacurragh Botanic Gardens, Co. Wicklow, Ireland

Had I known a black and white film was loaded in the camera, I'd have picked another camera. But more on this later.