It's not unusual for me to shoot a wedding on short notice. Just a few weeks ago I shot a wedding with just two hours notice. Annah & Mathew's wedding came to me a month before their wedding day. A simple, yet beautiful wedding held against the the gorgeous landscape of the 1000 islands in Gananoque. Their wedding and reception took place at the Gananoque Inn and served an amazing dinner of fish, chips and the bride's favourite food - pizza.
I am lucky enough to have a beautiful farm right in my back yard that makes an excellent location for photos. I had been admiring the gorgeous flower garden that Charles, the farms owner, planted back in the spring. I kept thinking to myself it would be such a great place for a photo shoot. This weekend I got my wish when friends Sean & Dawn asked me to take their family photos. Dawn always dresses her little ones so beautifully for their family shoots.
The results were just beautiful.
Our 4th day in Ireland was a busy one. We hoped to visit Blarney Castle, Birr Castle, the Rock of Cashell and Carbury Castle. Of course we had to start our day off right with a hearty breakfast.
After an amazing breakfast we hit the road and headed for Blarney Castle.
Our next stop was the Rock of Cashel, formally known as St. Patrick’s Rock and also known as Cashel of the Kings. Located on a hill above town, it is immediately noticeable and very easy to get to.
With us being less then an hours drive from Dublin we set off. We managed to find an inn in the heart of downtown Dublin, putting everything we wanted to see over the next day within walking distance. However, after a long day of driving we decided the only thing we wanted to see was dinner and a couple pints.
Our third day started with a light breakfast and then a very short trip to the Cliffs of Moher. Our B&B was just a couple miles away.
The Cliffs where everything we hoped for. The view was spectacular.
Our next stop of the Ross Castle, however we were not permitted to take photos inside the castle.
From there we drove through the Ring of Kerry. The Ring of Kerry is a scenic drive around the Iveragh Peninsula in southwest Ireland’s County Kerry. Its 179km-long, circular route takes in rugged and verdant coastal landscapes and rural seaside villages.
We ended our journey in a beautiful town called Clonakilty. Clonakilty, sometimes shortened to Clon, is a town in County Cork, Ireland and looks just like what you would imagine a traditional Irish town to look like. Our sightseeing kept us out late again, which meant dinner would be hard to find. So we settled on homemade hamburgers and chips. After an evening walk around town, we called it a night.
We woke fairly early on our second day. Our room faced a very popular (and loud) nesting area for Rooks, a large crow like bird that is found almost everywhere in Ireland. In the photo below you can see 7 nests to the right of the chimmney.
Our first stop of the day was to be Donegal Castle, however we where completely sidetracked when we both spotted a huge mansion on a hill from the road.
Know as Downhill house, this we easily one of our favourite places. We realized later finding it was a complete accident as we had planned to go a completely different way. Downhill House was a mansion built in the late 18th century for Frederick, 4th Earl of Bristol and Lord Bishop of Derry. Most of the building was destroyed by fire in 1851 before being rebuilt in the 1870s. It fell into disrepair after the Second World War.
In addition to the mansion ruins, there was a temple at the sea cliffs with an incredible view.
After our surprise stop we headed on to Donegal Castle, County Donegal in Ulster.
Our next stop was Silgo Abbey, founded in the 13th century by Maurice Fitzgerald.
We also visited Boyle Abbey, founded in 1142.
Before heading towards the Cliffs of Moher we stopped at Roscommon Castle, a dramatic and imposing 13th Century Norman Castle. A massive, fortress like castle that looks as though it was about 6 stories high. The castle was captured and re-captured several times through-out history before be burned in 1690 and then left to decay. It now sits next to a park and children's playground and is free to visit.
Heading towards the Cliff of Moher (and our next B&B) we come across this impressive place. We could have easily stayed longer to take more photos but we didn't want to keep our B&B hosts waiting up for us. The sun was really started to set at this point and we still hadn't grabbed any dinner. We found through out our trip that many places stopped serving dinner after 8pm.
We arrived at our B&B just in time to see the sun setting at the cliffs.
When we first talked about visiting Ireland we decided that the best way for us to experience Ireland would be by car. We liked the idea of being our own tour guides. We hoped to find some hidden gems (castles, ruins etc.) as we adventured along some of Irelands incredibly small, winding roads.
Our first day started at 5am (Ireland time) or about midnight our time. And after a quick pass through customs we picked up our rental car to begin our journey towards Northern Ireland. We knew that driving on the left side of the road, on the right side of the car would take a bit of getting used to. However, nothing prepared us for the challenge of trying to get the car into reverse! As it turns out you have to push the shifter down and then over to reverse. A local who was kind enough to provide us advice on on the matter, other wise i'm not sure we would made it out of the lot.
One of the first things we noticed as we started driving was how green everything was. Spring had not really hit Ontario yet, the trees were just starting to bud at home. Spring comes much earlier to Ireland then it does to Canada.
Our first stop was Carrickfergus Castle, a Norman Irish castle in Northern Ireland, situated in the town of Carrickfergus in County Antrim, on the northern shore of Belfast Lough.
After a walk around Carrickfergus, we headed over to the Dark Hedges, a tricky place to find if you don't have GPS. Using your phone as your sole source for directions is not recommended as many places in Ireland have no cell reception. It is considered a good idea to get GPS with the rental of your car. However, that being said there were a few places that could only be found with the help of our phones, the Dark Hedges being one of those places.
If you are a Game of Thrones fan then you may be familiar with the Dark Hedges, the stunning tree tunnel that appeared in season 2 and was referred to as the King's Road. The beech trees that line this this road were planted in the 18th century by the Stuart family in order to impress visitors on the approach to their home, Gracehill House. As the trees grew larger they created the amazing tree tunnel we see today. Over the years some of the trees have fallen, mostly due to storms, however new trees have been planted to replace those that have been lost.
From the Dark Hedges, we then made our way to the Giants Causeway, another incredibly popular destination in Northern Ireland. The walk from the Visitors centre is easy going down, however it is worth the 1 pound for the bus ride back up.
From the Giant's Causeway we headed over to Dunluce Castle, a now-ruined medieval castle in Northern Ireland. It is located on the edge of a basalt outcropping in County Antrim, and is a quick 20 min drive from the Giant's Causeway.
Our first day in Ireland was fun but we were pretty worn out by dinner time. Staying up for such a long time finally caught up with us. We tried sleeping during our flight but found it nearly impossible. So after a nice dinner we grabbed a room at a Tavern near Bushmills and called it a night.
Back in October I had the pleasure of spending the day taking photos on the streets of Toronto with the Kingston Photo Club. I've been a member of the club for a few years now and have always enjoyed our weekend adventures. This year we decide that we wanted to promote the theme of Street photography and of course there is no better place for that then Toronto, one of the busiest and most diverse cities in the province. I have to admit, I was excited. It would be the first time I had visited Toronto with the sole purpose of just taking photos.
I have been intrigued by street photography ever since I read about Vivian Mair, a reclusive nanny who shot street photos most of her life, none of which were discovered until after her death. I found her photos to be highly intriguing, noting that the type of camera she used certainly aided her in taking most of her photos without her subjects even knowing. Her twin-Roliflex camera was held at chest level as the viewfinder was on the top of the camera. People could see her face as she took their photo, making her actions barely noticeable to her subjects. Some of my subjects in Toronto were aware of my presence and confirmed their approval of me taking their photo by a simple nod. However, in an effort to grab more candid moments, I also took the opportunity to use the flip out LCD screen on the back of my Nikon D750 in live mode. Doing so gave the appearance that I was simply looking down at my camera adjusting my settings making me appear less noticeable to those passing by.
A fun, loving, easy going couple, Dustin & Danielle's wedding was anything but low key. Their wedding took place on the same day as the Urban Slide at Fort Henry and The Hip's last concert. However, despite having their wedding on such a big weekend in Kingston, Dustin & Danielle made the day their own.