Category Archives: Street

A Letter to Dublin Cyclists

rentabike

Dear Dublin cyclists,

I’ve been here a few months now, and I think I’ve gotten to grips with the niceties of inner urban cycling.

At first, your city scared the living bejesus out of me. Navigating the quays in the morning, trying to cross three lanes of traffic, hoping for a red light so that the goddamn cars would stop moving for sixty seconds: each day was what they politely call a ‘new adventure’.

Now, I’m blasé about the whole thing. I stick my hand out, check behind me, and pop gracefully between lanes before filtering through to the junction.

And when I get to that junction, I stop.

That’s right: the red light means stop. Means it for cars, means it for cyclists.

It bugs me when I see cyclists gleefully running reds because they don’t see a car coming at that particular moment.

It bugs me because they cheerfully reinforce the image of cyclists as gobshites. Gobshites who ignore any inconvenient rules of the road while simultaneously trumpeting their right to use that road.

It bugs me especially because I’ve been the other cyclist who, while crossing a junction with a green light, nearly gets creamed by some absolute spanner who’s run his red.

So please. If you’re a cyclist, or even a POB* (or whatever the proper cyclists call those of us who don’t wear spandex), stop running reds.

And while I’m at it, if you just like to amble peacefully along the road — no rush, like — stop pushing your way right to the front of the bike queue at the lights. You’re holding up everyone behind you who cycles at more than 4km/h.

</rant>

* ‘Person on bike’ apparently. That is, not a real cyclist.

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A Rainy Day in Dublin

Orla

So, it’s been quite a while. How are you? You’re looking well.

I should probably explain myself. This whole moving-to-Dublin, going-back-to-college thing has been an interesting experience. First among the things you learn in a Masters, I’ve discovered, is that there’s no such thing as free time — especially if you have a part-time job alongside your educational commitments.

Nonetheless, it’s been an enjoyable few months and I’m definitely enjoying the perks of living in Dublin (for instance).

There are downsides, and chief among these is lacking the time to get out with the camera. It’s a brand new city, nice and photogenic, and I haven’t been able to snap it as much as I’d like. Ach weil, I’ll be here for a while at any rate.

I did manage to get out for a mini photowalk on a Saturday afternoon a while back. Typical of anyone holding a camera, Orla was not happy to have the lens pointed at her instead.

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When the Kids Go Home

Swing

Hmm, where to start with this…

I’m not happy with this photo — it was taken with the theme of ‘urban’ in mind, for a challenge that’s going on in work. It’s one of the first I’ve taken with my new 7D, and while I’m pretty happy with the quality of the shot, the composition leaves a lot to be desired! There was minimal post-processing; just some desaturation, curves, and white balance adjustment.

I think I’ll go back and try to reframe it; I’m undecided as to how to do it though. I’m not sure if getting the swing centered vertically will work or not… I was mostly concerned with getting more of the graffiti and less of the bin in the background! Guess I really should have shot it on the night, just to check.

Another lesson learned (or more accurately, reinforced): shoot first, delete later.

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Pride

Gay Pride

Shot from the Galway Gay Pride parade this afternoon.

I’m hungover — still — from last night, and I think I need the cure.

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Filed under Portrait, Street

Eyes

I must confess that I have a somewhat sick and twisted appreciation for things sometimes. One of these is an interest in the ugly side of the urban sprawls most of us live in… the alleyways full of bins and the unpainted sides of buildings, the sides that don’t face the street.

In most other countries, you’ll often find sudden bursts of colour and art in these places: graffiti and the like. In Ireland? Well, I think Mr Dan Deacon summarised it brilliantly when I saw him a couple of years back, on his first circuit of Ireland:

“You guys are great, you Irish. I was playing a gig in Cork last night, and while I was in the city, I saw this construction site where they were building the first really tall building in Cork. And I saw this bit of graffiti on the, y’know, the hoardings around the site. It said, ‘Skyscrapers are gay.’ You wouldn’t get that in the US…”

This basically sums up the lofty heights of Irish graffiti. You don’t find the little bursts of originality in our hidden places. At the same time, I still find myself with a fascination for dereliction, rough grey concrete and rusted metal.

I went for a stroll this evening while the rain was away, and had a wander through some alleys and driveways. Swamped in a sea of shitty tags and penis diagrams, was this.

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Little Photographer

Little photographer

Yesterday evening, after a day of wandering around and checking out the Arts Fest vibe, I thought I needed a bit of relaxation. I took myself about two hundred yards down the road to soak in the sunshine accompanied by the chilled out dub, soul, funk, and other of the Mr Whippy Soundsystem.
It was a fantastic evening, and I can’t remember the last time I got so much enjoyment out of free entertainment. In fact, having picked up a few cans to go with it, you could say I enjoyed it a little too much. (For the record, I think the second six-pack was probably a bad idea.)

This wee beggar was running around taking photos and enjoying the music as much as the rest of us, so when he pointed his camera at me, I felt it only fair to return the favour.

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The Streets of Galway

Henna-Artist-and-Customer

Um, I kinda meant to post a few days ago but never really got around to it. I’d blame it on being busy, but it’s really just laziness. I need to make more of an effort to post halfway regularly.

This photo is particularly important to me as it was taken on my shiny new lens, which arrived today. It’s nothing swanky, probably the cheapest lens you can buy — the famous ‘nifty fifty’, 50mm f/1.8 — but I’m fairly excited about it as it’ll allow me to take much better portrait shots and fill the background with nice bokeh. Also, the wider aperture will come in handy in general situations, seeing as Ireland’s normal light level is somewhere between ‘dungeon’ and ‘wardrobe’.

I also just like the subject matter of this photo — I’ve been meaning to get more practise at street photography, and strolling up Shop St. today I noticed a pregnant girl having her bump henna-tattooed. It was a nice little scene, so I took a couple of shots of it. I didn’t trust myself to do much in the way of post-processing, so I tried to leave it as natural as possible. It’s a little overexposed, but I like it nonetheless.

I reckon I’ll be getting more street photography done over the next week or so, seeing as the Galway Arts Festival is on. I’m particularly looking forward to seeing Bon Iver in the Big Top on Thursday night.

Oh, also — thanks to White Rabbit for the shout-out. You need to show us some of your photos sometime 😛

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