Category Archives: my photography

That Tree, always in Black and White…

Part of Cee’s B&W photo challenge  – Open Topic

I have photographed this tree at the Giant’s Ring Belfast a number of times, of course at different times of year and in differing lights, however, I have always turned it into varying B&W effects. Perhaps my first attempt was “the original and best” but I am posting a selection of them as it seems to me that this tree naturally tells me that it needs to be in B&W to do it justice and create the atmosphere. For that reason it seems to me to be the obvious choice for Cee’s B&W Challenge Open Topic this week.

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needless to say the little boy and his pup make the photo for me
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same tree, different angle
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don’t know just decided to take this with the tree and the stones as background rather – was enjoying the meadow that they have allowed to grow up in recent years
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the original
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a different day, different light, like the sky

 

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YES!!!

This is my entry for the Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: Jubilant

I’m not the most exuberant person (and anyone who knows me will have no argument with that!) and indeed I lack self confidence in many ways that inhibits me from outwardly expressing myself fully and hiding behind my camera has become a godsend in some of these situations.  Other than ‘losing the rag’ at a bad umpiring decision whilst at the side of the hockey pitch or having tears running down my face when I witness first hand the suffering of some of the dogs arriving in at the shelter, I tend to feel more than I show. That being said, I do not feel nearly so much as I used to…

Since a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis about 10 years ago, I take various medications one of which helps to keep my stress levels down and depression (which I experienced in the first two years of my illness) at bay. The down side – although at times it is incredibly useful – is that I have become a rather unemotional person. Nevertheless, that is how I am now and because of the benefits, I have no desire to change. On an intellectual level I know that there are times when it would be helpful to others if I were more emotional and felt more, however, thanks to the meds – I don’t let it bother me too much! It seems to me that I have become a more selfish person, perhaps that is what is needed when living with a chronic illness and I think of it as a price worth paying. However, no matter how my behaviour is interpreted I also know that in many ways I am also a selfless person and I now, I live with the benefit of being able to chose whether to be selfish or selfless.

So, whilst it seems that I have digressed from the subject of this post is “Jubilant” what I am actually saying is that being jubilant or showing jubilation is not something that I often show outwardly. Nevertheless, as I said in my previous post, it really doesn’t take much to please me. They tend to be simple things such as finding a forever home for a dog, watching my boys have a good game (they play field hockey) or taking that photo that captures exactly what I want – whether it be a beautiful view or the character of a dog.

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For this photo challenge, however, I have selected this photo which not only pleased me but which also expresses jubilation.

Whilst most people would look at me and assume that there is nothing wrong with me, as anyone with a chronic illness knows, things are rarely as they seem. I used to really enjoy skiing, however, a couple of years after my diagnosis I hung up the ski boots for the last time and swapped them for a camera. Having 3 boys who were all keen skiers, I either joined them where I could on the slopes with my camera or stayed at home. This year, my middle boy Mark, has been studying at the University of Calgary so we joined him at half term break up in Whistler for a ski holiday. Have to say, compared to some of the European ski destinations access to many parts of the slopes are not easily accessible to non-skiers. In order to get to where I could take an action photo was a bit of a struggle. Trudging through snow especially up hill was a personal Everest for me to be honest and I had to think very carefully before going down hill as each step down equated to maybe ten steps up – and especially at high altitude this hurt. So, I had to compromise in my position. Yes I wanted to be below the action to have a clear sky background and increase the height perspective but thanks at least to having a decent lens I shuffled down into a safe place and sat in the cold snow, contented myself and did the best I could. I managed to photograph a number of boarders and skiers attempting and succeeding with various tricks and jumps which gave me that “yes!” feeling when I looked at them later. However, this boy who was simply wanting to “get air” celebrated mid air and was clearly happy with his efforts.

My own “yes” feeling from the few times I sat patiently trying to capture that moment came with these photos…

Ok so I would have preferred a blue sky background but for them but for me it was capturing them right at the top of their jump through thick heavy snow (for two of the shots at least) at a distance of maybe 50 yards, camera covered with a towel and me shaking with cold that pleased me. Usually I was putting my time in waiting to have lunch with the others between their ski runs. As I struggled back up to the meeting point zigzagging to reduce the incline and one step at a time I saw my husband looking over the balcony – he captured this of me, yes I’m smiling but oh boy my legs were complaining terribly!

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So, that is my entry for ‘jubilant’. Yet again after intending to enter only one photo, I have included a few more besides and extended into a bit more of my bio so you all know me that little bit better 😉

Thank you for reading. As ever, I really appreciate feedback and comments jx

Cee’s oddball photo challenge: week 20

Saw this and thought of you….r photo challenge Cee!

oddball toilet
Went venturing out one day in the hope of finding vultures on the ground to photograph and had stopped in area where we had spotted them on passing. Unfortunately just as we stopped to turn the car around a motorbike revved passed and they all took to the air thus my opportunity had passed. Nevertheless we got out of the car and had a wee walk around hoping they might reappear. They did not. However, I did find this loo perched neatly under a bush, completely undisturbed by the motorbike and passing photographers (me). My husband never understood why I photographed this but for some reason I did, and now I know why… it has it’s place in Cee’s oddball photo challenge
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And whilst on the subject of facilities in odd places… I photographed this bathroom sink in the narrow streets of Castellar de la Frontera, Andalusia Spain

Hugh’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Distance

I do like these photo challenges! This one is part of Hugh’s Weekly Photo Challenge – Distance  and it has inspired me to post two very contrasting images on that theme.

The first is “Rhianna’s Tree”… This tree (now sadly deceased) made the headlines here in Northern Ireland when the farmer, having previously rented his field to Rhianna for her to film her latest music video, discovered that she was ” was in more of a state of undress than a bikini top” in his field. When she appeared to be topless (she may indeed have just been wearing a bikini top unlike any one he had ever witnessed) he drew a close to proceedings and sent them packing, after telling Rhianna that she and her film crew should become acquainted with God.  The filming later appeared in Rihanna’a We Found Love video which went on to win the best video of the year award at the MTV VMAs.

Rihanna's tree
Rihanna’s tree: This tree makes for a peaceful scene itself, however, when I stopped by the roadside to photograph it one day (with a long lens at it is quite some distance from the road) I was delighted to be able to pick up the little old tractor sneaking up into view, for me making the picture and wondering if it was “the farmer” who didn’t quite realise that his actions were about to give him his 15 minutes of fame. I love the simplicity of this photograph, there is no foreground distraction, nothing in the sky, just three simple attractions.

The second is a view of downtown Calgary, Alberta Canada taken from the Olympic Park Calgary, a distance of approx 15km.

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Even though, like the photo of Rhianna’s tree, there is no distraction in the foreground, the greenery somehow does create that sense of perspective. Yes you would never guess that the City Centre is 15km away but it is. 

Huge, I hope you like my first venture into your world of blogging. I’m just in the early stages of blogging and trying to learn and build.

 

Poppies…

Part of Cee’s fun foto challenge: single flowers or bud

The word ‘single’ in this challenge has helped me to focus, I have chosen single flowers but also varieties of a single type of flower – the Poppy. Being a less wordy blog, I have simply put a caption with each image.

(Photos copyright of Jenniferwillisphotography)

 

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The ‘original’ red poppy growing wild in a Flanders’ Field. Photographed in the evening sunlight hence it is closing up for the night
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True blue flowers are rare in the natural world, but the Himalayan Blue Poppy is an exception. Precise growing conditions must be present to produce the blue color of the Himalayan blue poppy. Obviously the gardeners at Mount Stewart Co. Down have achieved those conditions as the Blue Poppies are delicate, beautiful and very blue!
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Orange Poppy. Growing wild Andalusia, Spain 
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Incredibly delicate Purple Poppy – or is it Pink? Growing wild, Andalusia, Spain
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Morning dew drop on a White Poppy. Growing wild, Andalusia, Spain

Hanging, headlands, hockey and many more ;)

Lori’s Weekly Letter Challenge: Letter H

So, this is my first adventure into Lori’s weekly letter challenge and I see that I am joining rather late – perhaps I can fill in the letter ‘a’ to ‘g’ in due course, although with the letter ‘d for dog’ I just might get stuck in there for a while 😉 Nevertheless here I am. As usual I have difficulty focusing on and staying completely on one track on my blog and I, therefore, tend to diversify but I do offer variety I HOPE some decent photos for everyone to enjoy. I am consistent, however, in that I usually include something of my home land, Northern Ireland, trying to show it off in it’s better light, and also my love of animals, in particular dogs. I’m a keen photographer with a huge archive of photos and I admit to enjoying having the opportunity to share a few of them in these challenges.

OK so, the letter H… I came across a photo that inspired me to choose a few others on the same theme – Hanging!

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Yes, it’s a Hangman’s noose! Crumlin Road Gaol, Belfast. The Crumlin Road Gaol dates back to 1845 and closed it’s doors as a working prison in 1996. It is now a very popular tourist attraction and believe it or not well worth a visit. The Gaol played a significant part in the recent history of Northern Ireland. The last Hanging at the Gaol took place on 20th December 1961. 

Having at last found a use for this photo I then found a few others along the same theme albeit much more fun than this kind of Hanging 😉

The first was taken through the railings of a skate park in New York, this little lad pictured Hanging from the the edge of the bowl, maybe 5 or 6 years old was there with his dad. Clearly neither of them had any sense of fear. The second is one of my boys at this point Hanging during pull ups whilst training at the gym.

Below, just some scarfs and safety gear hanging…

And back to promoting ‘our wee country’… the beautiful Headlands on the North Antrim Coast – photographed from the west and then the east

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Headland from the west looking over Benbane Head, Dunluce Castle, Runkerry Point and Giant’s Causeway Headland beyond.
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View from the east of Whitepark Bay, Portbradden and the reverse side of the Giant’s Causeway Headland beyond 

So now some animate ‘H’s from home and beyond…

Some of the connections to ‘H’ are obvious but for the sake of indulging my fastidious nature let me say in the above collection I have a pet Hamster I photographed many moons ago, a rider on Horseback, Banff Canada, a Hare, Calgary Alberta, swans in Hillsborough Lake Co. Down NI, Heron Strangford Lough Co Down NI, a Hairy chimp, a very Happy wren on my Hedge at my House, a Hawaiian Goose a lady Hunting in a bin for food Calgary Alberta and two beautiful Horses San Roque, Spain.  Fairly random selection.

So now a few inanimate ‘H’s…

The cranes you could not miss if you ever visited Belfast. They are Harland and Wolf gantry cranes, previously used in shipbuilding, now more for heavy lifting during the building of of wind turbines and refurbishment of oil rigs. Then there is a very sad Headstone for a baby, St Andrew’s Scotland, a collection of cowboy Hats on sale Downtown Calgary a Hand-knitted Hat on a Head in St George’s market, Belfast – (another place worth visiting) and finally Stormont Building known colloquially as “The House on the Hill” (where all our politicians work). I have blogged previously about Stormont if you would like to read more. Again, worth visiting.

And finally for my indulgence, no selection of ‘H’ photos would be complete without a of one of my boys playing Hockey, in this case for a team called Harlequins!

I hope you have enjoyed my first entry into Lori’s Letter Challenge. I would love to receive feedback,

Jennifer

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: the Colours Red and Yellow

My first entry for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge

The Colours Yellow and Red

I relished the chance to photograph a firework display last year in Calgary. Having travelled from Banff (about two hours drive) just for the event, we got caught up in a long traffic hold up so at the risk of being late for the display we tried to bypass the traffic only to realise we were trying to cut through a First Nation Reservation. It was reminiscent of the time in Northern Ireland where the Orange Order blockaded roads in protest against the rerouting of one of their parades. On meeting one of those road blocks it was prudent to turn the car around and not engage with those involved 😉 I have to stress that the the First Nation blockade was a rather more simple, civilised affair – no bonfires, balaclavas or lorries requisitioned for the purpose – just a couple of First Nation men leaning menacingly against the hood of their car with their arms folded ensuring that the world and his wife did not drive through their protected land. The effect, however, was the same. We promptly turned around rejoined the traffic jam and our two hour journey turned into a four hour endurance. We arrived at the park in Calgary (hungry and busting for the loo) with only minutes to spare before the start of the display. I had no time to make any preparations for my camera before the start so just had to guess shutter speeds, exposures and began shooting.

We all agreed that it was worth the effort. The display was put on by the team who did the Beijing Olympics, it was a feast of wonderful colour, choreography and of course themed to some beautiful music. The combination of sight and sound was a quite emotional jaw-dropping experience.

As most of my photos were taken using my rucksack as a makeshift tripod, I hadn’t realised that the couple in front were in shot. Lucky break and thankfully they sat pretty still on most of the long exposures!

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A bit of ‘life imitating art’ or some version of that saying! On trawling through my photos I saw this and it struck me how alike it was to a couple of my firework photos

I have lots of red flowers and yellow flowers, however, I decided to post these two instead. Yes, I do realise  that the daisy is well past it’s best, but there is still beauty there, something akin to photographing and old beat up car I suppose. The leaf stood out to me one day as the sun was shining through it.

And from the natural to mechanical…

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Medical aid snowmobile off to the rescue. Not something you ever want to have to call into service but these guys do great work on the mountains.

 

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Harland and Wolff cranes – Samson and Goliath dominate the skyline in Belfast. They are twin gantry ship building cranes, but since the cessation of ship building in Belfast they are in dry dock and are engaged for heavy lifting, in the repair and reconditioning of huge oil rigs and building of wind turbines. When you fly into George Best City Airport they are the most notable and impressive sight and whilst not ‘listed’, the Northern Ireland Environment Agency recognises them as “buildings of architectural or historic interest”