Kilmacanogue Horse Show

I attended the Annual Kilmacanogue Horse Show in Enniskerry a couple of weeks ago. This is my local show and I have always enjoyed it. All the money raised went to a long list of about ten charities. I try to attend this show every year if possible, as it is such a lovely event. I was only able to stay for a couple of hours this year. It is a great event to enter or just visit.

The settings I used for these shots were: ISO 100, F8, at 1/200 Sec at 50mm on a Canon 5D Mkii.

Bray Air Show

The Bray Air Show took place a couple of weekends again, I went on Saturday to take some photos. The view from the top of Bray Head was perfect, as the more than forty planes flew straight past you and sometimes below you too. I had never been to this air show before and I was impressed by the agility of these planes. This airshow is becoming one of the largest airshows in Europe. It is worth going to, if you get the opportunity. I tried to pan when I was taking these photos in an attempt to keep up with the aircraft.

The settings I used for this event were: ISO 800,F6.3 at 1/5000 sec, with a 500mm lens, on a Canon 5D Mkii.

Instax Mini 8 Guide

This is a Guide to using both the Fuji Film Instax Mini 8 & 9 cameras. These two cameras are nearly identical, with only a couple of additions to the 9, which I will feature at the end of the blog, as well as letting you know how you can get the same features for the 8 without having to buy a new camera.

Both cameras share a minimum focusing distance of 60cm (24 inches). The shutter speed is fixed at 1/60 sec, the flash always fires and cannot be switched off, it has a range of 2.7 metres. Both cameras use Instax Mini film and two AA batteries. These cameras are very simple to use and have very few setting options, the options available are Indoors/Night (F12.7), Cloudy/Shade (F16), Sunny/Sunny Slightly Cloudy (F22), Sunny and Bright (F32) and High Key (which makes your image brighter, and should probably only be used indoors, as it can wash out outdoor photos). I will get back to these later in my post. The counter, on the back of the camera, that lets you know how many shots you have left, counts backwards from 10-1.

The light meter is two circles in a vertical configuration above the lens and to the right of the flash. Please do not cover the light meter, as it helps work out the best exposure for your photo. If it is covered up, the exposure reading for your images will be incorrect and your photo could not turn out the way you want it to.

To turn on the camera, you need to press the button to the bottom right of the lens. When you do this, the lens pops out, the camera will emit a whirring sound and then a red/orange light will appear in front of one of the five little icons above the lens. When the light appears the camera is ready to shoot.

When you want to load a pack of film, make sure that you line the yellow line on the pack of film up with the yellow line on the camera, and the pack will go in the correct way. Do not squish the pack of film, as you will disturb the chemicals in the sheets of film and you will ruin your pictures. Another tip is that you should not shake your photo, as you could damage it.

This is what the icons around the lens of your camera mean:

When you look through the viewfinder you will see a circle, this indicates the centre of your frame, and helps you line up your photo. If you are using a close up attachment, which brings the focusing distance to 35-50cm, you should line your image up in the bottom left quarter of your viewfinder, under the circle.

If you want to take a selfie, if you use the selfie mirror and the close up attachment that comes with the Mini 9, or the Close up attachment/ selfie mirror that you can buy for the Mini 8, you should get a good result. Outdoor natural light is better for portraits than flash, so if possible, shoot your portraits outside.  The shots take 90 seconds to develop.



Hellfire Club

The Hellfire Club is a place in the Dublin Mountains that I have kept meaning to go to, and up until today, had 100% failed to do. However, that has now changed. It is about a 2.5Km walk up Montpelier Hill to get to the ruins of what is known as the Hellfire Club. The building is a hunting lodge built which was built in 1725 by William Connolly, who was Speaker of the Irish Parliament. Originally there was a cairn with a prehistoric passage grave on the summit of the hill, which was destroyed, so that the stone could be used to help build the Lodge. In the past this is not something that some people would have been to happy about and when the roof blew off the building during a storm shortly after it was finished, some local people attributed the loss of the roof to the Devil as he was displeased with the interference with the cairn. Ever since then, the building has been associated with many paranormal events. The Irish Hell Fire Club was a Society that used this building as a club house from from 1735 to 1741. The building has developed a reputation for stories of wild behaviour, debauchery, occult practices, hauntings and general oddness over the years. When William Connolly died four years after the completion of the Lodge, Richard Parsons, First Earl of Rosse and Founder of Ireland’s Hellfire Club bought the building (1730s). The Hellfire Club was originally an exclusive club for high spirited upper-class young men with too much time on their hands. The Society started off innocently enough, the Members enjoyed practical jokes, women, drinking and gambling. However, there were stories that suggested that the members may have regularly drank scaltheen (whiskey and hot butter) and toasted the Devil, allegedly, they left a chair vacant for him in case he should ever decide to join in their fun and games, some people believe he did. The story goes that one stormy night when a stranger knocked on the door of the lodge. The members invited their guest in, where he joined in their drunken antics and card games. It was only when one of the members dropped a card on the floor and went to pick it up that he noticed their visitor’s cloven hooves. There are a lot of other stories too, involving priests exorcising demons and human sacrifice, these stories are clearly myths, however, there are some horrible true stories linked with the site too. One of these is that of Henry, the fourth Baron Barry of Santry, who was one of the younger members of the club and, apparently, an angry drunk. It is believed, that he once burned a servant to death in his bed after drenching the sick man with brandy and setting him on fire. Up until this incident, Henry had been successful in paying people to look the other way. However, eventually Henry was brought to trial and successfully convicted over the stabbing death of another servant., during another incident. Even though his powerful friends protected him, they were also fed up with him and wanted him gone, so he spent the rest of his days alone in exile in England. The fallout of this Trial was that everyone started to look into the activities of the Hellfire Club, and shortly after Henrys Trial, several other members died in the Battle of Fontenoy (1745). The Hellfire Club was only around for six years, but the legend lives on. Like everything else connected to this building, what happened to it next is slightly unclear. Some of the claims made are that the remaining members of the club, set fire to the lodge when the Connolly family refused to renew their lease. Another suggestion is that a careless footman spilled a drink on one of the members, who retaliated by soaking him in brandy and setting him on fire; the fire spread, burning and killing as it went. The final and most mundane possibility is that the damage was done when the lodge was stripped for building materials that were then used for the construction of another building nearby. The end of the Hellfire Club was not the end of the use of the Lodge by other Societies. The next group to use the building between 1771 and the turn of the century, was one called ‘The Holy Fathers’. This group seemed to follow in the dark footsteps of their predecessors. Apparently,  The Holy Fathers were responsible for the murder of a nearby farmer’s daughter, who they then ate! We will never know the entire truth about what happened at this location, but, it is safe to say that the legend of the Hellfire Club will live on for many more years to come. A lot of people like to go up to the Hellfire Club around Halloween to see if they can experience anything strange and there are stories of people having odd experiences when playing with ouija boards in the Lodge.

If you want more information on the Hellfire Club, I have included a link below:




Killiney Hill

On a glorious Summers evening, a friend of mine and myself went to Killiney Hill with the intention of chasing the evening light. We were rewarded with a gorgeous sunset and equally beautiful light earlier in the evening. I have always liked Killiney Hill as the views over the bay and city are spectacular. We were among a lot of relaxed people enjoying the atmosphere of the hill that evening as well as happy dogs snuffling round their owners and new friends.




National Bird of Prey Centre

A visit to Russborough House in Wicklow is always enjoyable, this time, we chose to go to the National Bord of Prey Centre located there, and saw some of the over forty birds housed in the Centre. We got to see the end of one of the regular flight displays that the Centres Falconers demonstrate in the grounds of the House. Then we attended the incredibly informative Tour of the Centre and got to meet and hold some of the characters who live in the Falconry. On this occassion we got to a three year old Tawny Owl named Albert (bottom left), and we stroked a Little Owl named Gizmo (bottom right). The chap in the middle is six weeks old and we were not told what his/her name was. The National Bird of Prey Centre has been opened for just over a year now, and is worth visiting. Russborough House has something for everyone including, a Playground, Maze, Fairy Walk, House Tours, Walled Garden, Artisan Workshops, Cafe and a Shop.

If you are looking for something to do in Wicklow, I highly recommend a trip to Russborough House.