Visit to Northern Ireland Summer 2014

It has been a while since I have posted here so I thought I would update you on the past few months.
I have had quite a quite summer with the only thing happening being our visit to Northern Ireland. Unfortunately the only time we were free happened to be the same time that everyone was leaving the country so we maybe didn’t get to see as many people as we had wanted. Anyway it was nice to catch up with the people who we saw and we also explored a little more of Northern Ireland than we have in the past.

We started our trip upon the sea. The first few days we spent in the Downpatrick/Strangford area and we competed in the Bar Buoy Race, a sailing race that took us outside of Strangford Lough and out into the Irish Sea. I was hoping for a bit more wind to let María experience some exciting racing conditions but unfortunately all was still and quiet. I didn’t get my 10m high waves going over the Bar Mouth that I had wanted.

We stayed at my brother Ian’s house for a few night and I have to say that it is a relief that I no longer live close to him. The amount of buns and cakes that I would eat would probably end my life. After the first night staying there, I felt quite ill. However, I was unable to stop eating. I could eat the raspberry ruffles all day!

Another day was spent in the Mourns. We decided to climb Binnian which is a mountain close to the southern side of the Mourn Mountains. This was a great walk although it got a little cloudy at some points.

As well as this we saw some more of Belfast, met up with family and friends and generally did touristy things. Both of us really enjoyed our time there and looking forward to getting back soon.

I have posted some pictures of our trip at the start of the post.

A few landscapes from Granada

So tonight I had quite a bit of free time as María was away doing an exam. She passed by the way. Again I walked up behind the Alhambra to see what I could get from the landscapes up there. I have to admit I find it quite hard to find an interesting subject for the pictures. All that’s up there are trees and grass. There aren’t even any rocks. The soil really is this red.

For the sunset, I walked to the top of the hill overlooking the Alhambra and the city. I was playing about with choosing different exposures and I got this pic. This is edited with HDR and it is the first time playing about with this software. I suppose everyone has to do this picture once with HDR…

Finally on my way back down I noticed a BBC Symphony Orchestra lorry. I stopped to chat with one of the drivers for a bit and it turns out they were just in Granada for one night. I have to admit I was a little disappointed. I hadn’t realised they were in the city. The same guy also knew one of the organisers of Schull, a sailing competition I used to compete in in Ireland.

Dehesa del Generalife and today in Granada

I found this picture I took a while ago of the park I mentioned in the previous post. I think the trees give this a spooky kind of remoteness, which it is. This is quite far from any kind of built up area.
I hope to get up to this area again tomorrow night to take some landscape shoots so I will hopefully have something more interesting to put up tomorrow.

I was out and about this afternoon and got this picture. I think the shadow is cool!

Practicing Landscape Photography

Last weekend I had a free day so I decided to go for a walk in a place that I think is called, ‘Dehesa del Generalife’. This is a large forested area just up behind the Alhambra.

The day was roasting so I tried to get as much shade as possible behind trees. I spent a few hours just walking about here trying to get a nice landscape but I couldn’t really get anything good. However, I did see some quite interesting wildlife.
I’m pretty sure this is a red squirrel. It was sitting in a tree eating a pine cone when I heard it. I approached and the squirrel froze for a while, then continued to eat. It was quite happy to have me stand directly below the tree.
I had some real problems with focusing. My camera’s autofocus kept trying to focus on the closest branch. I eventually had to manual focus. Something I haven’t had very much practice at. I got a few good shots. This was one of the better. For this kind of thing I really need a longer lens.

When I get a nice landscape, I will post it.

Keith’s Visit

Last week I had a friend over visiting us from London. Of course we did all the normal touristy things, visit the Alhambra, Albayzín and lots of general relaxing. I never thought that I would eat so much tapas that I would become sick of it but so it happened. I am rather glad to be back to my normal diet. KeithandI

Due to the university exams I have less classes during the week. This has given me more free time in the evenings. I wouldn’t say I’m filling the time with particularly productive work. My mid year resolution is to learn Spanish and learn it quickly. I’ve spent 1 hour this morning with my books.

Apart from that, not a lot has been happening. María and I are both looking forward to a week in Northern Ireland from the 9th-18th July. Perfect timing for María to see the marching season.

Light Painting

Yesterday I was playing with long exposures and light painting. I plan to do a little more experimenting with this later this week so I will probably post the results. Taking this type of photograph is particularly fun because with every shot I was getting a different result with how the light reflected on the instrument. It’s hard to find interesting things to take pictures of in the house. I mostly resort to my horn…Horn

ISO – 100
Aperture – 6.3
Shutter Speed – 4 seconds

To take this I had a completely dark room and a 4 second long exposure. During the exposure I used an LED light to shine over the instrument. As the light source comes from different directions, shadows created by the instrument are less obvious on the ground.

In the future I hope to buy a manual flash for the camera but for the moment I am happy to be playing with this way of lighting.

Bored on a Tuesday Afternoon

Today I was playing around with fire. That’s one of those things your mother always tells you that you should definitely do. I started to experiment with a lighter. Initially I had quite a short shutter speed and I kept missing the ignition resulting in repeated attempts and a lack of skin on my thumb.  I decided to close all the windows, make the room completely dark and have a nice long shutter speed. This produced some interesting results. I think it almost looks like a mini firework.


I’m quite happy with the results. I think an afternoon well spent. Now I need to think of other boring stuff to take pictures of.


To add to my previous post, I’ve now found something else to interest me. I turned the shower upside down and took a few shots, again with a dark room and a flash and I got some interesting pics of the water. Again I used quite a slow shutter speed but the flash freeze the water(it freezes the movement, not the water). There are some nice shadows in the background as well. I’m quite happy with this. More experimenting needed.ShowerWater

The Month of May

This has been a busy month. Teaching as usual and a little bit of music as well.

Two weeks ago it was competition time. A wind quintet which I had been playing with for the past 3 months competed in a competition at the music college here in Granada. There were 2 rounds, the first round on Thursday to qualify for Friday’s final. We passed the qualifying round and played in the final. Although we didn’t play as well as we had expected, it was very nice to be playing in public again. We came joint 3…. out of 4. I hope to post a short video of one of the pieces we played.

I have been helping María’s music academy out with their end of year production. We will be playing an arrangement of
Beethoven’s 9th Symphony so last weekend we spent Saturday and Sunday in a hostel close to Sierra Nevada. I got to spend a bit of time out and about with my camera and shot a few nice pics. I found a Bee Hawk Moth flying about one of the bushes just outside the entrance. Moth.jpg

Apart from that, I have not been up to much. I have booked flights home from the 9th to the 18th July and I’m looking forward to relaxing at home for a week.

Las Cruces: Getting out of Granada City



There was a festival called “Las Cruces de mayo” in Andalucía last weekend and we decided to go for a walk in the countryside to get away from the busy city centre. I can honestly say that I have never been as warm in my life as I was on this walk. The weather is really starting to heat up over here and my shorts got their first outing. Can you see my/María’s white legs…?

This a park just behind the Alhambra that has fantastic views over Sierra Nevada mountain range. The whole area is planted with olive trees and has quite striking red soil. You can see in the background that the mountains are still topped with snow but where we were standing was about 30ºC. It’s too hot!!!