A few years back I did the first photo shoot of a death metal band, Lock Horns – and they became the subject of this first blog post.
In June 2018, they released their first album Molon Labe – spotify link – and launched it at a home town gig in Bangor, Co Down. The band were sounding and looking magnificent with a great set showcasing much of the album.
I used the usual Canon full frame digital with various prime lenses – I brought the Olympus OM20 with Tri-X with an idea to shoot on film. But mingling with a metal audience doesn’t lend itself to manual focussing and careful metering, so digital it was.
Note to self – for future gigs, don’t forget the ear plugs.
A century on from the decade when Ireland began the final struggle to gain independance from Britsh rule, a visitor to Dublin will see memorials, museums, experiences and physical reminders of events that have shaped the Ireland of today. Whatever your take on this chapter of British and Irish history, it’s a rewarding experience to breathe in the history and come to your own conclusions. The events from 1916 through to independance are marked throughout the city – the civil war not so much, but we are still a few years from this centenary.
A good starting point is the Arbour Hill cemetery. A former British military cemetery, it’s also the burial place of 14 of the executed leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising, you can get the history on sites like Heritage Ireland.
While the likes of Kilmainham Gaol, the cemetery at Glasnevin and the GPO Museum are always busy with fully booked guided tours, Arbour Hill is usually deserted. There’s no entrance fee, no guides (except an occasional free talk at the weekend) and no shop. Once you pass the church you’re into a fairly staid and unremarkable military cemetery.
Then towards the back, there’s the reason Arbour Hill gets visitors. The executed leaders of the Rising were unceremoniously buried at a British military cemetery seemingly to avoid the martyrdom and pilgrimages that might stoke further unrest. History of course had other plans for Ireland, and naturally subsequent Irish governments have developed the grave as a remembrance site.
Surrounding the grave site are stones inscribed with the names of those buried – in English and Irish script. Thomas Clarke, the old man of the Rising, had a floral tribute marking his stone.
One of the more fascinating characters of the Rising was James Connolly, a Scot of Irish descent, a former Britsh soldier, trade unionist and leader of the Irish Citizen Army.
Arbour Hill is located a bit away from Dublin’s main tourist sites, on a quiet street at the rear of the Collins Barracks Museum. It is however worth a visit if you’re doing some revolution tourism – a site of great signifigance in Irish history and you’ve plenty of further options for the tourguides, multimedia displays and souvenir shops.
Photos were taken on a robust (heavy) Hanimex 35SL (a rebadged Chinon CS) a Pallas 35mm lens (never heard of them) using Lomography Earl Grey 100 film.
It may one of the lower budget sports competitions in Europe, but Northern Ireland’s domestic football league – the NIFL Danske Bank Premiership – is as exciting as any. I have the privilege of doing the matchday video camera for video analysis and YouTube channel highlights, as well as a bit of photography with Crusaders FC – a fan-owned club in north Belfast. 14 years after nearly going out of business, Crues are one of the top clubs in Ireland. On 28th April 2018, after a neck and neck chase to the title, Crusaders pipped Coleraine FC to become winners of the Irish Premiership by winning away at Ballymena and also gaining lucrative entry to the qualifying stages of the UEFA Champions League.
Most of the players in the league are part-time professional, training 2 or 3 times per week while holding down full time jobs. There is a strong sense of community within Irish football in midst of all the rivalries as the league competes with round the clock multi-platform coverage of the English Premier league and the other large European leagues.
These photos are of the post-match celebrations on winning the title – taken while also running around with the camcorder videoing the event..
The great thing about football is that as the season ends – on a high or in disappointment – we get to do it all over again after the summer.
Kit: Canon 6D, tweaked in Color Efex Pro pretending to be Portra 160
Ueno Park is a large green space in central Tokyo and a great place for a walk around the city with the camera. There’s temples, museum, a zoo, entertainment – including Taiko drumming blogged here, flea markets and plenty of people. It’s also beside a large shopping area, the Ameyoko Shopping Street so you can easily fill a day here. And like Tokyo there’s any number of JR and metro stations in the area to get here.
All shot on the Nikon F60 and Kentmere 400 or Kodak Tri-X
Osaka is a nice city to visit and works well as a base for trips elsewhere (Kyoto, Hiroshima etc) albeit without an overwhelming must-see identity of its own. It is however clean, safe, friendly – and has a Universal Studios park. I’d only a few days in the city armed with the Nikon F60 and Huawei P9 and got some shots.
A good place to start is downtown at the Shinsaibashi shopping street, 600 metres of covered shopping.
There’s also every conceivable eating place, including a bit of crab.
One of the main sites for a visit is the Osaka Castle in its large gardens. It focusses on local history and art as well as some viewpoints of the city.
Osaka is also the site for Japan’s Universal Studios theme park. Cue lots of Minions but I was particularly taken with Hogsmeade, Asian style.
Practicalities – we stayed in the suburbs at the wonderful Rainbow Hostel near Imazato train station about 20 minutes from downtown. The area was nice and quiet and you’ll not go hungry
And of course in Shinsaibashi there are plenty of camera stores. Nice that film is still widely used in Japan.
Most visits to Japan will include a trip to Hiroshima – to the Peace Park with the Atomic Dome and the various monuments, and to the museum. Like many war and memorial sites, they’ve been photographed countless times but it’s still the best way of recording your own visit, your thoughts and having an aide-memoire as one gets older.
All pictures taken on Kentmere 100 in the Nikon F60.
There are a number of peace activists and displays around the park. This is an in-utero survivor from the bombing meeting with tourists.
The Asakusa district in Tokyo is a real tourist trap, traditionally a ‘pleasure quarter’ – we don’t have many of those in NI.. – it’s a great day trip for the temple and the market.
Photographically I arrived with an Olympus Trip 35 / Fomapan 100 which had a broken meter so was shooting manually on 1/40th – and a Nikon F60 loaded with Tri-X. On probably the brightest sunniest day of the year. Probably a case for digital..
Anyway – the Sensoji temple
A Chōzuya, for pre-worship purification
Then for shopping, there is the Nakamise arcade area.
It’s a smallish area but you can still be sold the guided tours
The magic of travel is that at home two of the least likely things I would do would be worship and shop. With or without the camera.