Broken Tree Stump In The Peoples Gardens

The Peoples Garden

It’s a tree, I know that but it’s neither a full tree nor are there lots of them.
I know I said I was trying to challenge myself by moving away from trees, for a little while at least, but this is not my usual kind of view of life. I am not really one for getting up close and personal when it comes to photography, I do like to stand back from things a little bit. This shot, like many, came about completely accidentally. I am on a mission at the moment to try and photograph as many of the lodges in the park as I physically can, there are up to 35 in total so be patient with me on this one. Anyway, I was in the Peoples Garden one beautiful sunny day trying to get my hands on a decent shot of the lodge within the gardens. The lodge itself is completely surrounded by a five foot hedge so it was taking me a while trying to find a decent angle to allow the lodge rise above its surroundings. I found a rather large tree stump and after standing on it and setting up my camera discovered I could almost get the entire house into the shot from this elevated angle. By the time I had tripod set up, camera tested, light meter sorted, focus tested and retested, a crowd of about twenty teenage Italian students arrived on the scene. No problem there I thought, in fact they may just add something to the scene. Then they all started to practise some bizarre form of group dancing, you know the kind you see in really bad R’n’B videos. I’m not putting that in my photograph, sorry if I seem a bit snobbish about it but come on, group dancing in a black and white landscape photograph. So I waited……….and waited.

I sat down on the ground and held my head in my hands waiting on this to end.

Then I noticed this little fella looking straight at me with his “Please photograph me” stumpy branches. And so I did, and I ended up really liking the results.

By the way, I have absolutely nothing against Italian students, they just happened to be Italian students. In fact, I’m a part time Juve fan so you could say I have a love of all things Italian.

Arrivederci

(Comments and opinions are greatly appreciated, please feel free to let me know what you think)

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The Boot Monument

The Boot Monument

Ok, this is officially the last one in my series of photos about the Wellington Monument.

I am going to keep this one short and sweet, I’m breaking the mould here with a lovely sugary sweet story about the funny things that little kids say sometimes. I tend to keep these kind of things out of the blog, everybody’s kids say funny things so it’s really nothing new for mine to do it.

So, here’s how the story goes.

We are down in IMMA playing in the gardens one day, that’s the Royal Hospital Kilmainham in case you are wondering. From the gardens you can see the Wellington Monument rising up into the sky. I was simply testing my three year olds memory and asked him what was the name of that giant thing over there amongst the trees. He replies “It’s the Boot Monument Daddy”, I must admit I was a tad disappointed that he didn’t remember what it was called, trust me I tell him enough times the poor little fella. We tend to visit the park quite a lot, I always feel I could be missing something if I don’t visit the place at least once a week. Anyway, back to the main story. So I don’t tell him he is actually wrong I just tell him “Good guess but it’s actually the Wellington Monument” and we move on. A few minutes later I ask him again, he pauses looks over at the big stone structure and informs me yet again “It’s the Boot Monument”. I simply have an internal sigh and we just move on with no more comments. A few minutes later I finally realise what he is doing, pat him on the head with one of those “I’m so proud of you son” looks on my face and tell him “You are right son, it is called the Boot Monument”.

I hope it doesn’t take you as long as I took to realise the crazy [but superb] logic that was going on in his head.

Now, that’s the fluffy feel good post out of the way for the year.

(Comments and opinions are greatly appreciated, please feel free to let me know what you think)

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My Name Is Wellington

Wellington Monument

The Wellington Monument, eh ?

It’s beginning to seem like a little personal dual between the two of us at this stage.
Ok, I am well aware that this very large inanimate object doesn’t purposely try to elude me but sometimes it just feels that way. All I am asking of this massive stone structure is to simply situate itself in one of my photographs so that I can finally be happy with it and then move on to something else. Every time I pass by I spot another opportunity to catch it unawares, set up my camera and quickly snap. Actually it never really happens like that, I usually spend about twenty minutes looking through the lens trying to get everything just right, there is nothing quick about setting up a huge medium format camera on a tripod and then measuring all the different sources of light.

I have to admit I really like this one. I think it almost looks like I managed to slowly sneak up on the gigantic pillar and press the shutter button before it ran away. Ok, I will repeat myself here, I know it can’t move or run away but I am taking no risks at this stage.

For those of you who have never been in the Phoenix Park, this thing is really huge. For those of you who have been in the Phoenix Park, it’s huge isn’t it. Tell the rest of them how big it is.

I should warn you, this is the beginning of a series of three new shots I have of the monument, so if you don’t like this one then I advice you stay away for a week or two.

Taken on a Bronica medium format camera filled with Kodak Tri-x 400 speed 120mm film. I printed the photo myself in a traditional darkroom [sorry, I like to boast from time to time]

(Comments and opinions are greatly appreciated, please feel free to let me know what you think)

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The Lonely Bench

The Lonely Bench

I always find something very sad and lonely about park benches during the winter months. I often wonder if these benches had feelings then how would they feel during the winter when literally nobody wants to sit and spend a bit of time with them. I started to think this myself as I sat on this exact bench only a couple of minutes before taking this shot. I had just bought a coffee in the nearby boat house restaurant and decided against sitting inside on such a beautiful winters morning. Don’t get me wrong here it was actually bloody freezing but still I always think if the sun is shining then get out and enjoy it. When you live in a county like Ireland you really do tend to appreciate these kind of sunny winters days. When I open the curtains in the morning during the winter and see just a sliver of sunshine I usually make up my mind to get out and about in it.

(Comments and opinions are greatly appreciated, please feel free to let me know what you think)

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Silver Birch In The Peoples Garden

You can't beat a silver birch

This shot was taken in The Peoples Garden located just on your right hand side as soon as you enter the park through the main gates at Parkgate Street. You probably pass it all the time as you go towards to middle of the park. To be honest it doesn’t really look like much from the road but if you have a bit of time to go and explore it then I highly recommend you do so. You can park up near the Zoo and just walk back down, if you are walking then just head straight in after the main gates, you will see lovely old cast iron gates into the gardens pretty much as soon as you walk in the main gates. It does however get very busy during the summer months but in Spring or Autumn you will have the place pretty much all to yourself. In the winter months you will be lucky to meet a lost dog even. The gardens have a wonderful small lake / pond, to be honest I have never really been sure what the difference is between a pond and a lake, is it something to do with size. Is a large pond a lake and a small lake a pond.

I was actually on a mission to take pictures of the Wellington Monument on this particular day but I think you will agree I just couldn’t walk away from this scene without at least taking one shot. This I literally did, I promise I only took one single shot and thankfully it worked out for me. The light was just amazing on the trees, it just didn’t seem to be hitting any other surface in the park. It was quite late on a beautiful sunny December afternoon and I was on my way back to the car at this stage. I thought I would unwind after a hard days shooting [don’t worry I’m not expecting any sympathy] and maybe just have a wee sit down on a bench in the Peoples Garden. Sometimes it’s hard to kick back and relax when you have a big camera strapped to your back.

(Comments and opinions are greatly appreciated, please feel free to let me know what you think)

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The Phoenix Park Tea Rooms

There is something about the sight of the Tea Rooms in the Phoenix Park that always brings me back to my early childhood. I think it always reminds me of those highly memorable days when we were all brought on an exciting day out to the zoo.

We are going way back to the late seventies here and it was long before my parents even contemplated buying a car. We grew up in a quiet little village called Dundrum at the time, it’s not such a quiet little village anymore as I’m sure most of you know now but trust me, when I was only a little kid Dundrum was no more than a few shops and one tiny little street. I remember we used to have to walk across to Clonskeagh and get the number 10 bus to the side of the Phoenix Park. It all seemed like such an exciting adventure at the time, we would leave the house as early in the morning as possible, no mean feat when you think about the hassle of trying to get five kids ready and make a massive picnic at the same time. Little did I know at the time how much military like skill was involved on my parents behalf, I’ve only got one kid and even that is difficult enough, never mind trying to do it with five. Then try and add in the amount of ham and cheese sandwiches to be made prior to leaving the house.

We would arrive at the side of the park and then make our way through the Peoples Gardens before all standing in a line to cross the main road. Once we got across the first road then it was one big race down the hill to the grassy hollow with the bandstand sitting proudly in the centre. We made sure to run as fast as possible down to the bandstand so we could have a bit of a play here before our parents slowly made their own way down to catch up with us. Once they arrived we then had to make our way back up the opposite hill towards the gates of the Zoo. The first thing that we would catch sight of at the top of the hill was the very beautiful Tudor like structure that used to be known as The Kiosk when we were kids. This was when we really became excited, you knew you were close to the Zoo as soon as you could see The Kiosk. It has now been beautifully transformed into the Tea Rooms but I still get a little tinge of excitement every time I see it when I am in the park.

Oh, the memories eh !

(Comments and opinions are greatly appreciated, please feel free to let me know what you think)
11×11

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Farmleigh House

It has been coming a for a long time but I think I have finally taken a picture of Farmleigh House that I actually really like. I’m not really a great photographer when it comes to buildings, I think my big problem with buildings is they tend to get in the way of trees I am trying to photograph. So to solve this little problem I have incorporated lots of trees into my shot of the house, it’s a very beautiful old building and can be quite difficult to get far enough away to capture the entire structure in just one frame. There is a stunning old arboretum to the right of the house, you can just about see it in the photograph.

The area around Farmleigh is so well looked after by all the staff working there, it really is a credit to every body involved. They used to have free concerts on the beautiful grounds at the back of the house during the summer, a perfect place to enjoy an outdoor concert, but unfortunately this country is rather broke now so the funds are no longer available for these things. I know from speaking to some of the staff from time to time that they are personally very disappointed that the funding is not there but what can they do about it.

Anyway, this is not going to be a rant about the economic situation in this country, I would need an entirely new blog to even contemplate starting on that one.

This is all about celebrating something that is very very beautiful and also still available to the general public for free. We should still be thankful for the wonderful things we still have in this city, you simply have to make your own fun and I for one think that’s perfectly fine.

(Comments and opinions are greatly appreciated, please feel free to let me know what you think)

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Alternatively you can purchase unsigned prints or postcards of this photo from the Redbubble site from as little as €2.50 by clicking this link.

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Fallen Tree Near The Dog Pond

This is one of those occasions when I stood for a while pondering whether to take this photograph and decided it was worth it. I liked the scene but I just wasn’t sure if the tree would come out properly against the……….well let’s face tree lined background. I just wasn’t sure if a tree against a tree background would come out that well. This is one of the very few disadvantages of black and white photography, sometimes you get a scene with varying shades of green but obviously you can’t seen green in black and white. The problem then arises as to whether the entire shot will just blur into one big blob of the same colour. Thankfully the fallen tree in the foreground was almost completely without foliage and it’s almost brown like branches gave me just enough contrast in colour to the rather fluffy evergreens in the background.

I am so glad I took the time out to take this photo, I actually only took it two weeks ago but I went back there yesterday to show my three year old son and he was looking at me with a rather quizzical look on his face. Why?, well, it’s gone actually. I have no idea how long it had been there but lo and behold it’s all gone, not even an aul stump remains.

The tree was situated just at the back of the cricket pavilion and I have noticed a huge pile of earth and rubble in the car pack at the rear of the pavilion, if you don’t know where that is and you have ever been to the zoo then chances are you have parked there on many an occasion. Sometimes I write or tell people about places in the park that I just assume everybody knows about but alas many of you don’t. If you ever feel the need to explore the cricket pitches [yes there are two] then let me direct you there. When you enter the park through the main gates just keep going straight through the first roundabout. After that you need to look over to your left, don’t try this whilst driving though, you can drive up a little bit and you will see two very small little roads one after the other. Take either of these roads or even park on the main road and walk over. Once you have stopped you really can’t miss the cricket fields. You might also like a little trip into the beautifully secluded pond, for some reason named “The Dog Pond”. This is a great place to just sit for a while and basically think about a huge bunch of nothing.

Now, that’s the end of Dave’s mini tour of the cricket pitches and their environs.

(Comments and opinions are greatly appreciated, please feel free to let me know what you think)

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Tree Stump Or Medusa

It’s a dead tree, yeah I know but it has been pestering me for ages now.
I have gone back to this particular tree stump three times now [or is that tree times].
Each time I go back either the lighting is all wrong or the results that come out of the camera are just not what I could see in real life.
In reality this stump kind of looks like either one or two people, wrapped around each other or just having a good old fashioned solo hug. Come on, we’ve all had an aul solo hug from time to time. I think I have finally managed to capture that feeling of twisted limbs and spiralling arms. Some people I show this picture to can see two entwined bodies, others can only see the one.

How about me?………..well, I can see only one person, she has her arm outstretched in the air and has long Medusa like hair. Actually now that I think of it, she is actually Medusa.

I have just had a quick re-read over the post and I have noticed that I mention this tree has been pestering me for ages now. I’m now thinking, what the hell have I become, I am now convinced that the trees are beginning to pester me. Not just any aul tree either, this one is actually a dead stump. Dead psychiatrist, please help me, I think I am being pestered by trees, dead and alive [and one of them looks like Medusa]

(Comments and opinions are greatly appreciated, please feel free to let me know what you think)

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Guest Photographer on Photobotos

I am truly honoured to say I am officially the guest photographer of the day on the rather wonderful Photobotos blog today. A huge thanks to blog owners Charlie and Tom for considering me and also for their kind and encouraging words about my photography.

Why not nip over to their blog and have a good look around.
Photobotos Blog