Thursday, December 31, 2009

Resolutions - 36.5 in 365

I'm pretty sure everyone, i.e lots of people who blog, do this for New Years, so I am definitely leaping on a musical wagon.

There is a frame of thought that says no plan is definite until you tell another human being or write it down. Here I intend to do both.

The next year could be a big one for me, I've been shuffling quietly along since leaving university but I aim to change all that in the new year.

So here are 36.5 things I will do next year.
  1. Move Back to Dublin
    •  Completed on the 10/02/10.
  2. Complete my 365 Challenge.
  3. Form a production company.
  4. Travel to at least 1 new country.
  5. Visit 2 countries.
  6. Finish writing a book.
  7. Write a short story.
  8. Put together a collection of poetry.
  9. Write a screenplay.
    •  Completed on the 06/02/10.
  10. Write a new play.
  11. Begin making a short film.
  12. Get 100,000 views on my flickr profile.
  13. Make 5 new friends.
  14. Get better acquainted with 5 old friends.
  15. Throw a major party.
  16. Brew enough beer for everyone at a party.
  17. Make an animation.
  18. Build a portfolio website.
  19. Grow my hair long.
  20. Lose weight (at least a stone).
    •  Completed on the 30/03/10 (I had lost 15 pounds by then).
  21. Throw a dinner party for at least 6 people.
  22. See at least one movie in the cinema every month.
  23. See one classic movie every month that I haven't seen before.
  24. Finish War and Peace.
  25. Finish Dante's Paradiso.
  26. Raise a 1000 for charity.
  27. Travel to every county in Ireland.
  28. Get my provisional licence.
    •  Completed on the 06/02/10.
  29. Get my driving licence.
  30. Hire a model for a photo shoot.
  31. Film an incredibly happy moment.
  32. Film an incredibly sad moment.
  33. Help at least one person every week who needs helping.
  34. Fall in love again.
  35. Learn something new every day.
  36. Write something every day.
    •  Failed on the 9/01/10. Forgot to write something.
and I will endeavour to be half as stressed over the next year as the past one.

It's not as ambitious as some lists but there are still some tricky ones in there. The writing every day for instance, and obviously the forming of a production company. I think they're all achievable though.

I plan to mark them off the list as they get done. You can check my progress here.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Crystaline towers arise from the frozen floor,
frozen white in a frozen world.
Once productive, reproductive -
now dead.
Ice forming on cold seed heads.

There is no wind.
No movement in the scene,
save blackbirds, thrushes and robins
squabbling over fallen seed,
cast by a caring hand.
They race fluttering by until-
at once, they land.

The trees are stalwart in the face of the coldest hours.
Only stars and stones could seem more lasting.

The whole garden is a crystal construct.
Ice refrozen over a half dozen days.
I feel one step onto the sheet,
and the whole land will shatter.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Thoughts on a Winter's night

The soft whisper of silence wraps itself around me.
A lonely calling from the cold trees.
The white snow, crisp through dark windows,
reminds me of happy mornings.

Frost has settled outside, and in my chest.
I shiver in it's embrace.
The last left to me.

My face is mirrored in the glass.
I have dealt with my woes -
only the broken pieces remain to fix
the bitter draught is drank.

I take a lasting drag of rum and mint,
mixed to keep the chill without and in.
It dulls the demon lurking -
somewhere behind a sardonic smile.

If you were to see me now - I am smiles,
small talk and polite chit chat.
A graceful nod or the tipping of a hat.
All an act.

We give our lovers, sisters, brothers -
other men, such power.
They unthinking change in us
what we change through thinking.

Thinking too much.

The sparrow has no such trouble.
Food and fight and flight
are all it needs.
Save a mate.

We are perhaps not so diferent.

Monday, December 21, 2009



It's a big number. The first of the big numbers. Banks ask for a lot of collateral on 10,000. There weren't 10,000 students in my university. It's the number of homeless families on the streets of New York this christmas and it's the size in kilometres that the earth's atmosphere stretches to.

So hitting 10,000 views on my flickr profile is pretty major. It's not unique visits, but i reckon that at least 1000 people have seen my photos and that's still impressive.

It hasn't taken me that long either. I started my flicker account on August 25th, so in just under 4 months I've done really well.

The whole point of this long self-congragulatory piece is to (eventually) thank anyone and everyone who took the time out to view my page, comment on a photo or drop me an email. I started my flickr account to improve my photography and it's your feedback that helps me do that.

So I hope you stick with me to 20,000 (and beyond). I still have a guaranteed 310 days of uploading photos so if you do like what I'm up to there will be plenty more.



Saturday, December 19, 2009

Tips from the first 53 days

So i've made it over a seventh of the way through my 365 challenge. I haven't kept to the spirit of the thing. I've uploaded a photo to flickr every day (bar day 9 where i missed by an hour) but i havn't taken a photo every day.

This bothers me but is something I aim to rectify in the new year.

However I have been taking photos practically every day and it's begining to teach me some important lessons which I hope to impart to you.

Bring a camera everywhere
Always, always, always carry some sort of camera with you (preferably better than your phone). Keep it in your pocket or your bag. Everyone tells you this but it's the cardinal rule. When you start seeing photographs everywhere you'll curse yourself if you can't capture them.

Never pass up a photo
When I started the challenge I tried to be single minded, if i was going to get pictures of a sunset on a hill I'd rush up the hill to get the shot. In one way this is a good thing, you don't want to lose the light, but in another it's a bad idea. If along the way you see a good photo take the shot immediatly even if you run the risk of missing your intended shot.

Why you might ask? A shot in the camera is worth two in the head. You might reach the hilltop to find the sky isn't interesting tonight but that shot you've taken is with you for good.

Always clear your camera
I've learnt the hard wy that you should take shots off your camera as soon as you get home. If you don't you might spot a shot and not have room and the time it takes to clear unwanted shots off your camera in a crucial moment might mean missing a great shot.

Make sure people see your photos
This is more important then you might think. Taking a shot a day willimprove your photography regardless but if theres an impetus to show off your photography you'll find yourself trying harder in the taking. You don't want people to see poor work and in a 365 challenge you have to upload a photo every day, wether the quality is high or not.

See and rate other people's photos
While you'll improve more from practice seeing and apraising other people's photography will improve yours. THe act of critiquing other's work will make you think more about your own. It's not enough to just look at shots though. Try to ask yourself why you like or dislike a shot and what you'd have done diferently. Then tell the person whose shot it is. At worst they won't pay heed but at best they might get back to you and tell you why they shot the pic that way. That means you'll learn something, even if you thought you could improve the shot.

And that's it for now. I may give another few tips when i hit the 70 or 80 day mark.

Sudden Snow

Soft and sudden snow flakes drift dreamily down dark dizzy circles to land lightly on my lapel.
Creaking and cracking the crushed ice eases into empty trembling tracks.
Fox feet fell here half an hour hence.
The wild wind whispers, lightly leaving little crystals on my chest.
I clasp the camera cord and all concentration, click the shutter.

Frozen now forever the cottage sits awaiting summer.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Winter Photography

Winter is a mixed time for photography. On one hand you have spectacular weather conditions (snow, crisp cold days, storms) to shoot and a different colour to the natural light, as well as interesting subjects. However there is one glaring drawback; there's less light to play with and those inclement weather conditions mean photo hikes can be troublesome.

In my own photography I've noticed a steep fall off in quality and quantity of my shooting since the start of December. Sadly this is because I either stay up late to work (which means you miss most of the day's light in the early morning the next day) or I get up early and work for the day. Work either way is getting in the way.

Another issue is claustrophobia. I don't have a car and in Winter it's much harder to convince friends or family to go on long walks, especially in odd weather. As I live in the countryside I have been relying on walks in the locality for much of my photography, but I'm beggining to feel that I've exhausted the photographic potential of my immediate surroundings.

Even with the problem identified it's hard to work a way out of this gutter. I can sacrifice sleep and work to get shots earlier in the day, but this will impact on me financially (and I'll be a cranky bastard). I could use public transport to go further a field, but irish transport networks are poor and this means I'd get mainly urban shots. Travelling by bus also means a loss of a whole day and will cost me money the further a field I go.

In the end I've turned to doing more Macro shots and will probably for the next while begin exploring sets and perhaps portraits under artificial light. This isn't ideal but for the time being it's all I can do.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Where to begin...

This isn't the first blog I've started. The last one, taken down today, was wonderfully verbose and I hadn't updated it since the week I started it back in 2007. So why start a blog. More importantly, why start a blog now?

The answer is that blogging is just a convenient excuse to keep writing, something that I haven’t been doing enough of for a long time. While I have a lot on the go at the minute I hope to get this updated once a week to begin with and all that busy-ness will give me stuff to talk about.

Let’s start with beer.

I am not a big beer drinker. My drink of choice is cider so the decision to brew my own beer might take you by surprise. I am however a romantic and an invariable thinkerer and the challenge of making something is one I can rarely pass up. Brewing isn't something most people try, which is the real appeal. We here in Ireland are obsessed with drink and the price thereof and it's great to be able to share great beer with my friends with the moniker that its cost me less than 50c a bottle to produce.

I start my second brew tommorow, a pilsner this time, which i'm going to add some spices to for a unique flavour.