A photo essay in eBook format

Lake book_57G8840.jpgEarlier this week, I was fortunate to photograph a special conservation event here in County Wexford – the annual ‘cutting’ of Our Lady’s Island Lake, near Carnsore point, the most south-easterly point in Ireland.

This brackish coastal lagoon is a significant wildlife site and a place of pilgrimage. As the lake has no natural outlet, to avoid flooding it must be partially Cdrained annually by cutting the 200m bank of shingle beach between it and the sea.

You can look at the book and read a brief account of the event here:

Cutting the Lake 2018 (opens in new tab)

If you would like to know more about our Lady’s Island, here are some excellent articles:

parks and wildlife service, Healy 1997 (extensive)

Conservation plan and history





An Embarrassment of Riches

Kilmore Quay, County Wexford.

This post was shot, edited and blogged entirely with an iPhone SE.

Needed a break this evening. So I cleaned the lens and screen of the iPhone SE, stuck it and the shoulderpod S1 grip in my pocket and along with Woody, the dawg, headed for Kilmore Quay, one of Ireland’s fishing ports, and a generally nice place to visit.

We got there just on dusk and I was surprised to see a flock of starlings on the pier. What a racket!!

As you can see, the light was pretty good with good cloud formations, calm water and a lowish tide and the images held up well in post processing.

It’s easy to fall into the ‘chocolate box’ trap on evenings like this :

I’ve more or less given up on the type of picture above, but it gives you a sense of the environment this evening, so worth including for context.

These more geometrical images are more interesting, i think

I took a lot more photos than usual. Quite interesting doing this with a 40kg German Shepherd tagging along on a leash, by the way!

Anyway. Instinct and composition was somewhat erratic as I’ve been on two big commercial jobs this week which had me in ‘machine gun’ mode. (Photographing mostly animals, but that’s for another day). So it took me a while to get into my photographing and editing for Instagram zone.

Kinda swopped what feels like 40kg of Canon and Elinchrom equipment for 40kg of dog:

As I continue to work with these minimalist consumer tools and cheap or free editing apps I’m becoming more and more disciplined and liberated from the need to plan a photo shoot in advance.

Hope you enjoy.


Raven Point

All of the pictures in this post were taken this year by iPhone, and many are included and can be yours as framed images (for a discounted consideration) from my Instagram Collection  – a selection of photos and images optimised for mobile devices and small prints


Raven Point, Curracloe, Co Wexford is Special Area of Conservation (SAC), and an absolute gem of a place to visit at any time of year.


Background information:

From Ireland’s National Parks and Wildlife Service

The general area forms the southern end of Curracloe beach, one of Ireland’s longest beaches, unspoiled and not developed apart from a few smallish caravan parks and chalets. It’s a twenty minute drive from Wexford Town.

Raven point itself is one of the best places I know to leave it all behind and get ‘grounded’, to use an electrical term  – meaning to send electricity to earth and render a circuit into a state of discharge. That’s a contradiction in terms as everyone I know comes home from here recharged!

To walk or run the full loop is approximately 9 Km, and there are countless paths ‘off trail’.  Details here. There are many shorter walks too.



Dawn and dusk are very special times to visit, with spectacular sun and moon rises to be seen, and wildlife and flora is abundant and generally undisturbed. Frequently the seals cast curious looks at us humans as we pass by. As usual in Ireland, you can see all four seasons more or less every day. Spectacular skies are frequent and Winter is just as good, or even better than summer.


Raven Woods are State forests and are an essential part of the coastal defences along the peninsula behind which is the famous Wexford North Slob, an area of reclaimed land, well below sea level. There has been some fairly heavy erosion these past few winters, which is a worry. Very high tides can now leave part of the beach inaccessible for a time.


Strolling in the woodland is best in the early or late part of the day, when the light comes in nicely.

We usually walk through the woods and cross to the beach by one of the many pathways. The experience of walking out of the woods or dunes onto the beach is magical and can be breath-taking.

Swimming is safe at the beach but not at the point itself, where there can be strong currents. There are no lifeguards in this area. Use your common sense and heed the notices. The beach is often deserted, usually outside of peak hours, at dawn or dusk, or on working days, when nude swimming  is sometimes discreetly practiced (although technically illegal). Despite some reports to the contrary, it isn’t a naturist beach, nor should it be.

Camping is outlawed, but sometimes happens anyway. Only a total idiot would light a fire anywhere in or near these woods. Horse riding on the beach looks and must surely feel spectacular. Yoga at the waters edge, right at the point on a fine summers morning is great. A great place for dog walking as well, but we take care to keep the dog under control, and of course to clean up any little accidents.

Family portrait with dog:

Erosion – these were uncovered last winter:

Although the place is a photographers paradise, and this short essay only captures a tiny taste of it, the real joy of the place is its unspoiled and natural beauty.

Rain over Rosslare:

On a few rare occasions this year, an occasional drone or dune buggy has shattered the peace and quiet, but nevertheless, it remains one of the gems of Co. Wexford and Ireland.





P.S.  Here’s how the photos look framed from my Instagram Collection.

Sand Sea and Sky


Making a Living

Kelly Cafe_57G9633

My three main areas of interest are photography (since around 2001) and music (since forever). Then there’s cooking, which is a hobby.

Photography and Music make up my income stream.

This week I heard the old joke about “Whats the difference between a 12″ Pizza and a Photographer” (or a Musician), and it got me thinking – hence the post.

Answer – the difference is that a 12″ pizza can feed a family of four!!

Asking a professional musician to come to your house and then expecting them to play or sing socially is the same as asking a plumber to dinner, and afterwards hoping he’ll have a look at that dripping tap. (In my case, being a church organist is a distinct advantage – my repertoire isn’t exactly the stuff of after dinner soirées!)

If he’s a buddy he’ll probably get you out of a hole, but how many times would he keep doing it? and how often would you keep doing it before you started to feel guilty?

And as for wanting photos for nothing – don’t even get me started.

So how do you politely get out of this without offending or embarrasing your friends, or indeed prospective (or current) customers. I’d say you don’t, unless you are very polite and very charming about how you answer.

I do free work for two charities that are close to my heart, and thats it. Anyone else asks me, I tell them ‘sorry, I gave already’ –  and that as my bank manager requires me to bring in at least a small amount of money every week, I can’t really oblige! In fairness, most people offer to pay, so the trick is to graciously thank them when they offer to pay you, to make a fair deal, and then to take the payment.

Commercial clients are a bit different. Just make a deal before you start shooting and STICK TO IT! And include payment terms.

We self employed have the best and the worse of both worlds – only we can decide which side of that fence we sit on!!

Instagram for personal expression

New Image.jpg

We photographers undertake personal work as a means of self expression, to satify our need to take pictures, and to give our viewers a personal sense of what we like, as opposed to commissioned work, where we take pictures to fulfil  our clients particular requirements. Admittedly we are often hired because our personal style is attractive to our clients, but that isn’t the same as the total freedom of personal work.

In 2011 Annie Leibowitz suggested that the iPhone was the new snapshot camera. Since then it has continued to evolve, to the point where many  professional photographers are using one as a business tool. Read this article. Compared to carrying a camera around, the iPhone is always with me, sometimes in flight mode if I’m ‘off duty’. I may or may not be deliberately looking for something to photograph. With Instagram (or without!), photographers of every skill level can make work that pleases them, and of course, if the picture are good, they please others as well.

My personal style is evolving to fit the various possibilities of the iPhone and apps. I automatically set the iPhone to square format when taking photos. I’m at the point where I’m ‘seeing’ the finished image in my mind when pressing the ‘shutter’ button, and most of the time, I’m expecting to apply filters, rather than delivering ‘straight’ photos. As I said in a previous post, my carry everywhere Sony camera is virtually obsolete, even if I did use it for the picture in this post! And although I keep saying that I will, I haven’t put a roll of film in my most favourite camera of all, my Leica M6 for almost a year. That’s a as much because of my current workload as anything else though.

Most traditional photographers had or have a film/developer/paper combination which gave them their particular style. Latterly, this translates to the way images are processed and put on line. Many of the great photographers have a personal style which earns their livelihood, a satisfying, but I’d imagine a difficult area for most of us mere mortals to make a living! Contrast Martin Parr with Steve McCurry – each distinctive, and consistent.

With Instagram, many of the best collections display a personal style and vision which shows the personality of the photographer.  Using the built in Instagram filters, but also other image processing software in-phone, such as Fotor and Prisma, (but carefully), photographers can develop a personal style of presenting the world that they see around them. Like playing a musical instrument, practice makes perfect, and like playing the pipe organ, remember, you don’t have to pull all of the stops out all of the time! Mix them around for the desired effect.





Two days in Wexford 

Yesterday morning I set out to take some photos of Wexford, while this evening, I stumbled on a combination of light and sky that was irresistible. The process is completely different. I’m much more ‘in the zone’ when I set out to take photos. And a lot more relaxed when it’s something I come across. 

The interesting thing is that this daily challeng of producing images is sharpening me up for my commercial work. I’m ‘seeing’ more as I walk around, I’ve a corporate gig over the weekend, so the Canon gear is gonna feel  really heavy after this.

Rather than post individually, here’s the lot in one go. Further tweaks will be mad to any that make the final cut for sale.

Do comment!

iPhone SE. Processed with Fotor and/or Prisma. 

Ferrybank in Wexford. 

Two photos taken opposite Wexford quays this evening – while walking our dog, Woodie. The working quayside over here is where the mussel boats and small fishing boats unload their daily catch. On the harbour side, over a stretch of ground partially reclaimed, there’s a sea wall with these gates to the now defunct compound dating from when the reclamation work was done in the late 1990’s, with spoil from a new main drainage scheme for the town used for the infill. Lots for the dog to enjoy here too!