Category Archives: Belfast

Clematis -(Cee’s flower of the day)

At last, a flower growing in my own garden that I was able to photograph for Cee’s flower of the day challenge!

Don’t have many flowers in our garden sadly, lots of greenery but not a lot else. Anyway this time last year I planted a clematis to grow over a little pergola, so this year it has it’s first blooms – well, two so far. So when the word Clematis popped up on Cee’s flower of the day and even better the sun wash shining I popped outside with my macro lens and captured this…

clematis 1

Just so happens that we have another Clematis which grows over our garage roof from our neighbour’s garden. It has a proliferation of bloom and I just wish it was in a position for me to look out at rather than being at the ‘wrong side’ of the house. Anyway, about a month ago it was in bloom and I rather liked this one – again a blue sky is the backdrop but  don’t be fooled 😉 We are enjoying a rare settled spell of warmth and sunshine here in Northern Ireland (we call it “exam weather”), sadly we will be back to more normal NI weather tomorrow, normal service resumes! Thank you Cee, for making Clematis your flower of the day today whilst the sun is shining and I have one single flower in bloom!

clematis 2


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.

tree 2
needless to say the little boy and his pup make the photo for me
same tree, different angle
tree 1
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
the original
a different day, different light, like the sky


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.

distance (4)
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.


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!

H 2
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

H 1
Headland from the west looking over Benbane Head, Dunluce Castle, Runkerry Point and Giant’s Causeway Headland beyond.
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,


Cee’s Black and White Photo Challenge: Roads of any kind

Random Roads from home and abroad…

I am enjoying these challenges as I find myself perusing my archives and reminding myself of photos I kept simply because I liked them, but never had reason to show them to anyone. So, for this challenge I have a little selection – the first three from my archives and three that I took this morning specially for the challenge. I hope you enjoy.

B&W Roads (1)
‘The Road Below’ – through the glass floor about 6ooft up in the Calgary Tower, Downtown Calgary, Alberta, Canada. 
B&W Roads (6)
‘The Road to Rhonda’ province of Malaga, Spain
B&W Roads (4)
‘Old Access Road to Spelga Dam’, Mourne Mountains, County Down, Northern Ireland               Cold and exposed, as we say here in NI… “It would’ve blown the head of ye”
B&W Roads 2
‘From across the Road’ – looking straight down my favourite residential road from across the road and though the traffic. Taken 22/04/16
B&W Roads 1
‘Crossing the Road’ – Malone Road, one of the main arteries into Belfast city centre. My settings were set before crossing the road so I did not need to stop, therefore, no photographer was injured in the taking of this photo 😉                 Taken 22/04/16
B&W Roads Stormont
‘Road to Parliament’, Stormont Estate, Belfast, Northern Ireland                                                        Taken 22/04/16

Normally the Parliament Buildings (home of the Northern Ireland Assembly) at the top of the hill would be my focus for the photo, however, taking up this challenge to make the road the main subject of a photo I revisited these beautiful grounds this morning and returned with this image.


Home of the ‘House on the Hill’

A few days ago I  blogged about St Georges Market in Belfast that I always knew was there but did not realise it was a great place to visit  (Belfast ‘born and bred’ )

Well, Stormont Estate, on the outskirts of East Belfast is another such place. For me, when growing up, Stormont was seen on the news, that is where we see our politicians being interviewed and a place I remember my parents attended a huge demonstration way back during the most troubled times in the 1970s. As a student doing my dissertation I was inside once to interview a politician who had kindly given up his time to answer my pretty mundane questions about politics and the media. Those were my experiences of Stormont.

Now I know it to be so much more… another gem of Belfast and well worth visiting.

Parliament Buildings, commonly known as Stormont or ‘The House on the Hill’ because of its location in the Stormont Estate, is the seat of the Northern Ireland Assembly and previously of the Parliament of Northern Ireland. Until a few years ago, even though I had driven past it many hundreds of times, it had not dawned on me that the grounds are open for us all to enjoy, in fact 365 days a year!

The grounds are beautifully kept, 407 acres, a beautiful mixture of woodland, walking and fitness trails, children’s playgrounds, sculptures and even a dog park – a large enclosed area where dogs can be let off the lead to run and socialise with other dogs.

One of the most dramatic features of the estate is the long straight driveway leading  to the House on the Hill.  The Prince of Wales Avenue is flanked either side by double rows of red limes – 305 of them, planted in 1929, all of which survive until today. It never fails to impress me when I park at the gates and walk up that pristine driveway with the dogs on a sunny Sunday morning towards the House on the Hill. Yet it amazes me that this is yet another gem that passed me by as a child largely thanks to the many troubles that existed in our country at the time.

Stormont 1

Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge (COB): week 15

As always I have difficulty choosing only one image – which is why I have so many external hard drives for my laptop!

Anyhow, I hope you enjoy my entry to Week 15 of Cee’s Odd Ball Challenge. I love candid photography and couldn’t resist sneaking one of this gentleman taking a rest in a rare moment of sunshine in “our wee country” (Northern Ireland). People from far and beyond will not have seen too many men with hankies on their heads but in the UK it is not uncommon in men of a certain generation. Ah well better than a sunburnt scalp!

odd ball (1)

I enjoyed watching this New York Cop directing the traffic after a busy game at the near by stadium. It’s just the facial expression that makes me smile.odd ball (2)

This pigeon was showing off in my garden one day, he did actually attract a mate and I captured that activity on camera too – but again I just love the expression on his face.


And this moorhen looked so odd landing on one leg! Not sure whether or not he even had another leg but a skilled landing regardless 😉