Dingle Peninsula, Republic of Ireland

Nearing the end of the All Ireland Rocker trip with Busabout / Shamrocker Adventures. Today we explore the Dingle Peninsula, a stretch of land jutting out to the sea that like most of Ireland is breath taking and green. It should be noted that the ring road around the peninsula while 2-way is generally taken only in one direction by the locals and tourists in the know, that is because for most of the journey its a cliff-side road without a lot of room for modern traffic to allow for casual passing.

First stop on the ring road was a farmer’s estate where for a few euros you can pay to explore the Beehive huts (Clochán), the old farmhouse and pet baby sheep. Expecting a bit of a tourist trap I was pleasantly surprised that it was actually pretty straight forward process. Pay to enter and explore at one’s leisure. The baby sheep where in one section and as long as you were gentle you could pick up one for a photo.

They don’t mince words… exactly as advertised… also historic Beehive Huts

But for a bit of culture I did manage to drag myself away from the cute baby sheep and check out the Beehive Huts that are another staple of the area history.

Next stop on the Dingle Peninsula is Coumeenoole Beach, first we stopped for another photo opportunity then headed down to the beach itself.

Overlooking Coumeenoole Beach

Its quite a trek down to the beach from the parking lot, I opted to grab some more photos and a awesome time-lapse using my iPhone and the DJI Osmo Mobile 3 which makes up my micro travel kit for photographers.

Next we headed out to the point of the peninsula, it got very craggy out there and the wind did start to pick up but was not unmanageable, again weather seemed to be on our side (fun note, the north side of the island was getting pelted by heavy rain so weather is highly variable on the emerald isle – I just got really lucky and I’m sure that luck with eventually run out… cough spoiler cough cough). The Devils Horn as the region is known is quite something, and looking out to the ocean you can see some islands which were used in a recent Star Wars movie.

At the start and subsequent end of our trip around Dingle is the small town of Dingle. Known for its dolphin Fungie that lives out in the bay I had to take a look and see if I could spot the elusive critter.

They even have a statue by the marina honoring their unexpected town mascot
Dingle Harbour / Marina
(J/K – Photoshop is my friend – But I fooled a bunch of people on the bus!)

We did stop for lunch in town, so several of us found a nice place called John Benny’s Pub to have some lunch at the recommendation of our tour guide Gemma. I had the fish of the day and chips, which came with peas as the veggies.

And that was it for the Dingle Penisula, a great day exploring a unique region of Ireland. Along the way we did drive by the famous “Rose Hotel” and stop in town for a rest break. I managed to find a rose bush and an old car to take pictures of… but otherwise short break.

Connemara Countryside – Republic of Ireland

The quintessential Irish landscape, endless rolling hills of green. It feels like we drove through the region for hours but with every new bend in the road was another breathtaking view. In a way it was good I was on a bus I didn’t control or I would of stopped over a dozen times in the first hour alone. But words can’t describe how beautiful this area in western Ireland is… and the photos barely do it service as well!

Its just so majestic, the landscape… not me 😛

Mid-way through our travels in Connemara we came across a small village nestled beside a shallow wide river. Here was our afternoon stop where we could try Irish Coffee or Hot Chocolate (both being mixed with Irish cream). I went with the coco and it was amazing.

Gaynor’s is our afternoon stop for a hot beverage!

The Gaynor’s field bar itself was pleasant nook which had a faint smell of smoke from the fire place and was full of locals in addition to the odd tourist that had stopped like us to grab a nip and use the facilities.

A final group image as we leave the Connemara Countryside, definitely making the “return” list.

Stormy Weather – May 25th, 2012

Stormy Weather – May 25th, 2012

In my garden, the Azaleas were in full bloom as I headed out to the other end of the city to look at a Nikkor-Q pre-ai 135mm, f2.8 lens. Even though it was pre-ai lens, I was able to gently mount in on my D300 without doing any damage to the camera. A DIY ai-conversion is next step. Before leaving home, I knew that the weather was going to be nasty and that my son’s baseball game might be called on account of the weather but the Craig Henry baseball diamond was my next stop. As I was driving toward the diamond, a really bright bolt of lightning went straight from cloud to ground.  Later I learned that someone in that vicinity had been hit by lightning perhaps by this same bolt since the timing was about right.

When I got to the ball diamond, both teams were in the parking lot in their cars waiting for the storm to pass by. The game was eventually cancelled, leaving me to wander around with my camera while my son and a few others stuck around for a bit of batting practice before heading home.

Basswood, American Linden, Tilia americana



Heading for Cuba – Spring break – March 10 -17, 2012

Heading for Cuba – Spring break – March 10 -17, 2012

It was Spring break time and my wife was certainly looking forward to some R&R. Continue reading

Chasing Rainbows and Pots of Gold – Ridge Road, Ottawa

Chasing Rainbows and Pots of Gold – Ridge Road, Ottawa

After photographing Chickadees in Nepean, I headed east toward Mer Bleue Bog. It was one of those strange days weatherwise, a bit of sun, a lot of clouds, intermittent rain and a strong wind was blowing the flags around

Looking off to the east, I kept seeing rainbows coming and going, brightening for a while and then disappearing altogether until another cloud and rain shower lined up with the bit of sun peeping through to develop another prism effect. I was approaching Ridge Road when I got an open view of a new rainbow just forming. It disappeared almost as quickly as it formed but I was able to get my camera out for a quick shot.

Continue reading

Onward to Italy

The above image was taken by Graeme in St. Mark’s Square in Venice a couple of years ago. I was looking forward to seeing what the spot would look like when I got to Venice.

Onward to Italy
Well we managed to get what we wanted into one bag each plus, of course, a bag for the camera equipment that I was taking with me. For this trip this consists of my d300 with the primary lens being my 12 – 24. For the macro, if I get opportunity to try a bit of macro, I brought along my old MF 55mm f3.5 macro. It is small and light and for macro that I will likely be doing MF will be fine. As a short tele, I brought along my MF 105mm F2.5 mainly because it is both light and fast and also small enough to be relatively inconspicuous for a lens of that magnification. The big decision that I had to make was whether I would bring along a lens with a longer reach. Finally decided on my old 75 – 300mm. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to use it!

Knowing how early to get to the airport is part luck, part Science and part skill and experience. Our first route was blocked by a construction project, but Graeme was able to take an alternate route to get us to the airport with plenty of time to spare. An orange Jazz aircraft was waiting to take us to Montreal. Other lime-green Jazz aircraft were there, too, but ours was the orange one.

Time required to fly to Montreal is 30 minutes plus another two hours to get to the airport, check-in, get through security, wait to board the plane. Driving time to Montreal is about 2 1/2 hours :-).

It was the first time that I have been seated at a window right beside the wheels on one of these small planes. It was interesting to watch the hydraulic in action at the moment of touch down.

Our next aircraft was a Swiss Air Airbus A-330-300 which seats 236. We were in seats in row 34 which put us far enough behind the wing to have an unobstructed view of the clouds and land below. We were cruising at an altitude of 37,000 feet.

Since I was on the south side of the plane with a clear view of the ground, it was easy to identify were we. Were as we passed over New Brunswick, then over the quilted landscape of PEI, then over the rugged highlands of Cape Breton before crossing over Newfoundland as the colours of a nice sunset lit up the few clouds below the wingtip.

Distance 6004 km from Montreal to Zurich.

Startrail Photography

Startrail Photography

We will start with the Star Trail photos, all taken in Cobden Ontario as Ottawa, Arnprior and Renfrew were clouded over. We had gone out hoping for auras which didn’t materialize, but ended up with several star trail photos over a farmer’s field. Continue reading

Tarpon Springs, Florida – The Sponge Docks

We had begun the day with intentions of cycling the Pinellas Trail from Tarpons Springs to St. Petersburg but when it began to rain and remain cold, we decided to turn back at about the 30 km mark and take a rather leisurely return to our vehicle in Tarpon Springs.

Tarpon Springs was once a major source of natural sponges harvested from the ocean floor by trained divers. Although artificial sponges have long since replaced much of the demand for sponges, Tarpon Springs remains a busy port on the west coast of Florida with plenty for the tourist to see and buy.

Continue reading

African Safari – Out into the Serengeti in search of LIONS

African Safari – Out into the Serengeti

The Serengeti is a vast nature preserve and one of the natural wonders of the world. It wasn’t long before we had left all of the world behind as we traveled a road that seemed to go on forever. The weather stayed behind us and the animals cooperated. A great way to finish a travel day on the way to our accommodation for the evening.

Continue reading

The Moon over Mirror Lake, New York State

After spending two days in the rain or under heavily overcast skies, we were happy to see the skies clear and the moon come out. It would have been nice if the skies had cleared a few hours earlier when we were still up on the summit of Whiteface Mountain, but I wasn’t complaining about a chance to photograph a moon under such circumstances from the balcony of our room at the Mirror Lake Inn, in Lake Placid, New York.
Continue reading