Irish Round Towers

The topic of this blog is Irish round towers, the finest example is to be found on Devenish Island, Co Fermanagh.  Every time I have visited it has either been raining or dull and overcast, so for these reasons the image has been rendered as a monochrome.

Devenish is an L-shaped island of 70 acres at the southern end of  Lower Lough Erne, 1.5 miles downstream from Enniskillen.  The ruins of a monastery, two churches, an oratory,  a high cross and one of the finest round towers in Ireland occupy a sloping hillside on the southeast tip of island.  The upper church, St. Mary’s Abbey, is a 12th-15th century Augustinian monastery. The lower church is an earlier establishment dedicated to St. Molaise. There is an unusual high cross next to St. Mary’s from where this photograph was taken.  Ancient legends state that the prophet Jeremiah is buried on the island!

Devenish Island, Co Fermanagh

The portrait format of this image is dictated by the vertical uprights of both the cross and the tower, so obviously landscape format would not work as well.  As for composition the ‘rule of thirds’ is irresistible given the arrangement of the cross and the tower.  Sometimes breaking this rule can be worth a try, but not in this case!  One objective in this shot was to bring out the texture and detail in the high cross.

All images contained on this website remain the property of Roger Bradley.  Images may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, projected, or used in any way without express written permission.

 

Editing Photographs

This past few days I have been very busy covering the Ulster Covenant centenary events in Northern Ireland.  Last Wednesday with a colleague I covered a concert in the Ulster Hall, which was the subject of my previous blog, on Friday I covered a lecture given by Lord Professor Bew in Bangor Abbey and on Saturday I attended the huge procession, which made its way to the Stormont Estate in east Belfast.

I ended up with a huge number of images, on Saturday alone over 1300 raw image files, presenting me with a large editing task.  So how do you cope with editing hundreds and hundreds of images down to a manageable number?

Fortunately programs like Lightroom make the task so much easier.  The first task was to add the metadata information to the images and luckily this just takes a few minutes.  Once this is done the real editing can begin.  On a first sweep any images that are clearly out of focus are immediately deleted.  Then back to the beginning for the second sweep.  Any images that strike me in any way as possible keepers are flagged.

Flagged images are those images which strike me, for example, as having a particular colour saturation that I like, a certain coming together of lines in the composition of the image, a recognisable landmark or feature, a known personality, an amusing depiction or anything else that strikes me.  These images are given a higher rating and its back to the beginning again.

On each sweep the numbers of images reduce and so on this next sweep any images that appear similar are removed and hopefully at this stage a manageable number of images are left.  Here are some of the images that were selected.

William Crawley, Dr John Bew and Lord Professor Paul Bew at Bangor Abbey

At Bangor Abbey I just took around eight or nine images and this was the one I picked so this is straight forward.  However at Stormont Estate on the following Saturday I took 1310 photographs.  By following the steps I described above I reduce this number under 50 which were submitted to the parade organisers.  

Before the parade arrived there were shots to be had, spectators arriving and programme sellers.

Arriving early!

 

The Programme Sellors

There was entertainment for the waiting spectators, here Scottish country dancers perform.

Scottish Country Dancing

At one o’clock the head of the parade arrived and soon reached the top of the processional avenue just below Sir Edward’s Carson’s statue.

The Grand Master is in the centre between the two flags.

It is difficult to imagine the scale of the crowd present.  At the end of the proceedings as the parade left at 4.30pm the end of the parade was still arriving from Belfast.  The following image taken from the platform gives you some idea.  In the distance you will see the parade still entering the gates at the bottom of the processional avenue.

Police were estimating that between 60,000 to 65,000 attended.

This image was taken with a 70-200mm lens set at 70mm, a wider angle lens would have given a wider view, you will notice that the left hand side of the view is excluded.  However I wanted to use a longer lens that would close up the distance so that you could see clearly to the bottom of the avenue.

Two members of the Northern Ireland Assembly carry the banner!

All images were taken on a full frame DSLR camera and are un-cropped, they appear as they were taken in the camera.  

All images contained on this website remain the property of Roger Bradley.  Images may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, projected, or used in any way without express written permission.

Our medieval past!

We live in a wonderful age in which technology and knowledge has reached a level our grandparents could scarcely have imagined.  Yet sometimes we are abruptly confronted by our primitive past.  My particular interest lies in photographing heritage sites and on my recent visit to Dungiven Priory I came across a Wart Well, aparently still in use from the evidence lying around.

Dungiven priory Wart Well

The sight intrigued me and the hanging cloths rags reminded me of Tibetan prayer flags.  The well itself was hidden in the undergrowth but on entering the small opening I discovered the well in the centre of a rock.

Concealed wart well

 

The Well Source!

The moss and ivy covered stone in the centre of the above image did contain water but I resisted the temptation to investigate further.  Upon later investigation I learned that local tradition has it that the water from the well contains a cure for warts and other ailments. The belief is that the afflicted should wash their skin using a rag soaked in water from the wart well. The piece of cloth is then tied and hung on the trees surrounding the well and, as the rag rots and disintegrates, so too does the wart, verruca or other affliction of the skin.

Well now there you have it; if you have any warts you know where to go!

All images contained on this website remain the property of Roger Bradley.  Images may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, projected, or used in any way without express written permission.

Arthur Blessitt in Belfast

Some will remember that Arthur Blessitt visited Belfast many years ago, he is the man who carried the cross around the world in every nation and is listed in the Guinness World Records for the world’s longest walk over 39,227 miles, through 318 countries & major island groups for 42 years.


On Saturday 18 June I came across him in Cornmarket Belfast where a Christian street drama was in progress after which Arthur Blessitt then addressed the passing shoppers.  As an onlooker I found the drama a powerful means of conveying the Christian message and it certainly attracted quite a crowd.  The following are some of the photographs that I captured.

The following images were taken in late afternoon in Northhumberland Street, Belfast.

All images contained on this website remain the property of Roger Bradley. Images may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, projected, or used in any way without express written permission.