Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Back In The States

Forgive my lengthy absence.  It was due to a move from Northern Ireland back to the States.  Though depressing, I knew the day would come when I'd have to pack up the contents of a rather small flat in Belfast and move to a rather small apartment somewhere else.

Harrisburg, PA.

That's where my current small apartment is.  It's not as small (actually, it's a rather good size) and it even has a tillable backyard.  As soon as we feel thoroughly unpacked and ready, my wife and I will make our way to the backyard and start digging and planting.  But for now we shall worry about making this place livable.

Due to the hectic nature of moving and settling in, I am going to present a slightly less incredible location (read: not some amazing city in some far off country).  I don't want to jump right back in to this with some of my better material...I'll save the good stuff for when my mental faculties are ready and willing.

So yes, that being said, I give you Havre De Grace, Maryland and Susquehanna State Park (a state park about 6 miles from the town)...

This is the lighthouse in Havre De Grace.  It is one of the few things the town is known for.  

One of the many docks/piers that line the coast.  The evening lighting and clouds were being awfully generous.

The two above this photo are the only ones shot in Havre De Grace.  This one is taken in Susquehanna State Park.  It is tilt shifted from the banks of the Susquehanna River.

Also tilt shifted from the banks of the Susquehanna River.  I realized while going through these pictures that a 2 to 5 ratio works wonderfully on many of the photographs I took.  This was the one that helped me realize it.  The beautiful evening lighting sure doesn't hurt either.

And the last one tilt shifted from the banks of the Susquehanna River.  Again, beautiful evening lighting.   It definitely adds to the romantic feel of the shot.  How sweet...they are untangling each other's fishing lines.

Another 2 to 5 ratio crop.  I followed this great blue heron for awhile.  He rewarded my tracking efforts with a great display of his wingspan as he glided over the river.

  ...And then he landed and started fishing.  It didn't take him long to pluck this fish from the water.

...and then, after his meal, he stood there.  All majestic-like.

One of the trails that we hiked in Susquehanna State Park has follows old abandoned train tracks.   

At the mid-point of that railroad trail you will find Rock Run Grist Mill.  It's still in working condition and is open to the public.  Inside you will find...

...The necessary machinery to grind whatever you want.

The third floor was dark enough to allow me to mess around with some long-exposure shots.  Here is what I call "Ghosts In The Attic."

And that, my friends, is Havre De Grace, MD, and Susquehanna State Park... tilt-shifted.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Help Me Out

About a year ago...almost exactly a year ago...I entered a photo in a contest.  The first round was judged by the company that sponsored the contest.  I was voted by that company to move onto the second and final round.  The second and final round was judged by the rest of the world...you guys.  You guys voted for me and because of that, I was one of the eight winners. 

That same contest is going on right now.  And again, the piece I entered was judged by the company to move into the next and final round.  Help me out!

To vote, please "Like" this page (www.facebook.com/iPrintfromHome). Then go to my image (www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151043041531995&set=a.10151032584...) and click on the “Like” button below it. 

If the link takes you to the whole album, my piece is "African Grey Parrot" by Christopher Kulfan - that's me

many many thanks everyone! 

or, you can email your vote if you don't have facebook.  Go here and fill out the info, saying you would like to vote for "African Grey Parrot" by Christopher Kulfan   http://www.iprintfromhome.com/irf.asp

 ...This is the photo that made it in...

Friday, 8 June 2012

The Eye And The Clock

If my stay in London was a little longer than two hours, perhaps the title of this post would have been a more all-encompassing "London, England."  But alas, it was not.  I was there long enough to get some pictures of the London Eye, Big Ben, and a single one of Parliament...the title reflects this.

I would have loved the chance to see and do more, but our limited time and that well known London rain really got in the way.  So as soon as we were out of the airport, it was straight to Big Ben.  On our way to it we could see the London Eye in the distance...

These days it goes by the EDF Energy London Eye.

Clock Towers always make me think of owls.  Big Ben is no different.  I suppose I should say the clock tower that houses Big Ben is no different...Big Ben is the bell.

We passed Parliament.  My 90mm homemade tilt-shift lens doesn't do too well with large structures when they are fairly close.  You have to be selective with what you want in the frame.

And then we got up close and personal with the London Eye.  I love that single red car. 

Hopefully I'll return to London sooner or later.  I'd like to tilt-shift more than just the main attractions.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Paris, France

My wife and I recently spent a couple of weeks backpacking across much of Western Europe.  One of my recent posts, the one on Bardonecchia, was from that backpacking trip.  This post will also be from that trip.  In fact, many of my posts will be from that trip.  Many places were visited and many photos were taken.  This is just one city from that trek across much of Western Europe...Paris.

The main thing I was excited to see when we first set foot in that lively French city was the Eiffel Tower.  My wife, on the other hand, wasn't nearly as interested.  For myself, I felt that it was a good chunk of what I knew of Paris.  My wife, again, on the other hand, knew a decent amount about the city and knew that there were tons of other wonderful things to see.  When we finally made our way to it, we were both awestruck.  It really was an impressive piece of architecture, symbolism, and art.  I spent a good amount of time photographing it and with the exception of one other area right by the tower, the entirety of my Paris tilt-shifting took place on it.

A little bit of France Romance

a towering wide-angle perspective

a tilt-shifted series of pieces of the tower

a tilt-shifted silhouette shot

the classic miniature effect one can get from the tilt-shift lenses (also the background on this site)

And last of the Eiffel Tower shots...a photo of the tower framed by the pillars of the Peace Memorial.

The Peace Memorial is the only other thing I shot with my tilt-shift lens.  Here it is.  The memorial is made up of 32 of these columns covered with the word for "peace" in 32 different languages.

We went to the Louvre on our first evening in Paris.  It itself is a beautiful thing, but of course the things that can be found within are just as beautiful, if not more so...

Can't go wrong with a sphinx...

Can't miss the "Venus de Milo" ...

...and best of all, a painting of Bill Murray as Steve Zissou from The Life Aquatic (middle, back).  I guess that's Wes Anderson in the front? 

No trip to The Louvre is complete without checking out the Mona Lisa.  We visited her and got to feel extremely privileged to see such a famous and incredible painting, but trying to get a decent photo of her with the insane crowds pushing in on all sides was impossible.  So I resolved myself to actually look at the thing in front of me for once...as opposed to just seeing it through a viewfinder.

Next on the list was Notre Dame.

...it's difficult to decide which is more impressive, the inside or the outside.

We then roamed around the city, stopping whenever we happened upon something interesting.  Shakespeare and Co. was on our list of things to see.  There was no way we were going to miss it.  Again, the crowds that can be found at any famous location tried to thwart our entry and attempts at browsing.  They did not succeed.

The Bouquinistes and their bookstalls along the Seine were much less crowded, making browsing much easier.  These have been functioning since the 16th century, giving the Seine the reputation as "the only river in the world that runs between two bookshelves."

Look closely.  This guy doesn't think one cigarette is enough.

Not too far from the homeless man and his extra cigarette is the "love bridge/lock bridge/love padlocks."  Here couples will inscribe their initials on a lock, fasten the lock to the bridge, and toss the key in the Seine.  Random people make a fortune by purchasing wholesale lots of locks for next to nothing and then standing next to the bridge with them...selling each for 5 euro.

Close to the bridge you can find some nice romantic graffiti.  A scene from "Pierrot Le Fou" has been immortalized in black paint on a wall...so long as no one goes at it with some white paint.

 I like the negative space on this one.

And last but not least...
We weren't the only ones coming to Paris for some good old fashioned sight-seeing.

...and that is the Eiffel Tower tilt-shifted.  Plus some regular photos of Paris.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Edinburgh, Scotland

Last weekend was my wife's birthday.  Living in Northern Ireland is great because you can decide at the drop of a hat to go to another country.  And it's actually fairly reasonably priced to get to many countries.  So, for my wife's birthday we took a ferry to Scotland.

The ferry took us to Cairnryan, at which point we hopped on a bus and took a three hour ride along the Scottish coastal road and then through the countryside.  We ended up in Edinburgh where we spent a day and a half.  All of my photos from the trip are from Edinburgh, and all of them are tilt-shifted with my homemade tilt-shift lens.  This is the first trip/country where the only lens I used for the entirety of the trip was one of my tilt-shifts. 

This castle, the Edinburgh Castle, is one of the first things you will see in Edinburgh.  It dominates the horizon from its location on top of Castle Rock.  

This building can be found facing the Princes Street Gardens.

Meandering around the gardens might result in sights similar to these.

This is Edinburgh's Free Church Of Scotland

This is the Scotsman Hotel...plus the hustle and bustle of Scottish life.

An overexposed Saint Giles' Cathedral

A nice place to have a bite to eat outside.

The Greyfriars Bobby's Bar.  An even nicer place to have a bite to eat (they have vegetarian haggis!).

This is where we went for dinner on our first night in Edinburgh.  We had heard of this place prior to our trip to Scotland and when we stumbled upon it, we just had to go.  Here's the story that made this place famous...straight from Wikipedia:

  "Bobby belonged to John Gray, who worked for the Edinburgh City Police as a night watchman, and the two were inseparable for approximately two years. On 8 February 1858, Gray died of tuberculosis. He was buried in Greyfriars Kirkyard, the graveyard surrounding Greyfriars Kirk in the Old Town of Edinburgh. Bobby, who survived Gray by fourteen years, is said to have spent the rest of his life sitting on his master's grave." 

 I want a loyal dog.

A quaint Scottish street (the yellow building is the Museum of Edinburgh).

This seemed like an appropriate scene to tilt-shift.  A window washer washing away.

The extremely overdone, yet still necessary, shot of the old red telephone booths.

And last but not least, on our way up a mountain we were stopped in our tracks by a freak hail storm.  I was able to capture some of it on video using my tilt-shift lens, but by that point it was starting to let up.

...and that is Edinburgh, Scotland...tilt-shifted.