Monday, 31 December 2012

Goodbye 2012

2012 has been a big year for me media-wise! I settled into my Communication Studies course at DCU and threw time and energy into my society life, working with the college's Media Production Society and Fotosoc. Oh, and I started this blog!

At the end of my first year at DCU I had a big choice to make. I was unsure of whether I should choose to specialise in video or photography. At the time I was torn, but now, with the semester and 2012 behind me, I can't believe that I even considered choosing anything but photography! I absolutely love my photography module and love practising it in my spare time. I feel like I've made a breakthrough with my photography over the past few months, and I can't wait to see my skills develop even more over 2013.

Happy New Year all! See you in 2013!

Thursday, 27 December 2012


I was so pleased with the selection of presents that I received on Christmas day, highlights include: money for camera stuff, photography books and a furry jacket to wear to Prague with the Fotosoc crew!

My New Photography Books:

  1. 52 Photographic Projects by Kevin Meredith
  2. Self Portrait Photography by Natalie Dybisz
When I get a chance to absorb the books I will write more about them on this blog!

I have already got through a lot of Natalie Dybisz's book, and I must say that it is inspiring. So inspiring that I cloned myself today, like she does in so many of her photos.

In other news, I reckon I may take up Project 365 on New Year's Day! That's the challenge where you take a photo every day. I'm sure there will be lots more photos of me and my clones when I start the challenge. A colony of Claire clones. It's a scary thought.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Rabbit Hearted Girl

I find a lot of inspiration from Florence and the Machine lyrics. For my film photography assignment I based my photo set on the song 'Heartlines' (more on that when I get my grade).

Yesterday I decided to create a photograph inspired by the song 'Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)'. So, here it is:

Here I am, a rabbit hearted girl // Frozen in the headlights // It seems I've made the final sacrifice

I felt a little ridiculous taking this shot, it's the first self portrait I've taken outside without someone else there to help out and make me feel less awkward. I was worried that a random dog walker would wander by and give me a strange look. I'd already passed one who seemed to internally question the reliably of her eyes as she saw me walk past with my eyeliner whiskers.

Once I got into the zone, though, I was much less self conscious. I'm happy enough with the result, maybe next I should take a photo of my self as a transformed person, the lion hearted girl.

I must become a lion hearted girl // Ready for a fight // Before I make the final sacrifice

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Drawn Into The Wild

This week I decided to try to create a conceptual photograph. It didn't work out as planned. It was fun to shoot though! The picture features my go-to model, Alan. I must take a photo of someone else at some point...

I wanted the image to look as if the ivy was dragging Alan into the darkness. However, it just ended up looking like it was sitting on top of him. Ah well, I can only hope that my Photoshop skills will improve with practice!

Monday, 17 December 2012

RAW Ramblings

I've known about the RAW file format for a while now, but I've been too afraid to try it out because I was unsure of how it worked. I decided to try it out today. I walked to the park to take a few random snaps; images that I wouldn't mind losing if I managed to wipe the card as I figured out how to shot in RAW.

Turns out that editing in RAW is pretty damn handy. My first impression is that I can completely correct the exposure and white balance. I will definitely be shooting more images in RAW in the future.

The only annoying thing is the amount of space it takes up on the memory card. Also, I shouldn't be so trigger happy when shooting solely in RAW, because it takes longer to sort out the RAW files than just JPEG ones.

In other news: I am officially on my Christmas break! Which means a month without lectures, and plenty of time to take more photographs... And fully indulge in the Christmas festivities too! I'm hoping to take more conceptual photos over the next few weeks, so check back here to see if it's a disaster or a sweet success! Maybe I'll do a festive themed photo set... 12 Photos of Christmas perhaps?

Friday, 7 December 2012

Untied, Unused

Here's two random photos that I took recently:

I was going to enter them into the photo exhibition part of Scene Not Herd's 'Untied' youth performance night. But I ended up using other photos, which I'll post some time soon.

I don't have much more to share today. Just a quick update on my university assignments: I handed in my first Imaging project on Thursday. Scary stuff. And my Black and White film photo set is due on Wednesday. The one productive thing I did today was wander over to the park and take some shots of Eileen and Alan on the film camera. I developed the negatives too. Bring on Monday when I will be printing a few of the photos!

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Experimenting With Photoshop

I felt like having a mess around with Photoshop, so that's exactly what I did.

I know it's not the best photo of me, but I have no time for vanity these days. Taking photos of yourself as your granddad (I did this for my Imaging project) will do that to you...

Monday, 3 December 2012

Test Shoot: Eileen

Today I took the final photos for my first Imaging project. Eileen was helping me out, she stood in for a few test shots.

Uniquely Dublin: Multimedia Competition

Just a quick note to say that there is a brilliant competition for any Dublin-lovers! Uniquely Dublin is a competition which is calling for the beauty of Dublin to be captured by an image, video, animation or other forms of media. The top prize is €10,000!

I've sent in an entry for the photography part of the competition. It's a photo that I took a few weeks ago, and re-edited especially. A friend and I also have plans to film a short video to enter, so as always, watch this space!

The photo I've entered into the competition. It was taken at St. Stephen's Green

Although there is no major landmark in my photo of Dublin, I think it shows the cute side of the tourists that visit. I imagine Iván and Ágata to be tourists that, brace yourself for the cheesy, wanted to leave a little piece of their hearts in Dublin.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Light Painting

The other day Fotosoc hosted a 'Light Painting' workshop, which was one of the best society events I have been to all year!

It was utterly bizarre, a group of us standing in a pitch black studio with one person frantically waving a torch in front of a camera. The results were pretty unreal. Check out the Facebook album, there are some fantastic photos by some Fotosoc members!

This is the image that I came up with at the workshop.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Test Shoot

For one of my photography assignments I need to take a set of people portraits. This weekend, after having done all my preparation in advance, which includes sketching a detailed draft of the photo, I am finally taking the actual photos!

Alan stood in for a test shot. I'm taking a series of self portraits for the assignment, so I'm focusing the camera on Alan, clicking the self timer button and then shoving Alan out the way!

I can't wait to share my finished photographs! I'll wait for my results first, though!

Saturday, 24 November 2012


A multimedia night, titled Untied, is going to be held in Temple Bar this week. As part of the event Fotosoc chair and Scene Not Herd member, Breffni, is organising the photography element of the night, called Boundless. Alan gave me an idea for a series of photographs that work under the theme of 'Untited', so I've taken a few pictures and emailed them on. I'll find out if they are chosen to be used in Untied soon.

I'll share the series of Untied photos I took after the event. For now here's a few random shots from the day:

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Media Week: Bryan Dobson

Media Week kicked off yesterday with Bryan Dobson coming in to give a talk. He told us how he ended up presenting the 6 O'Clock News on RTÉ. And, we couldn't resist fangirling and getting a photo!

Botanic Garden Antics

With photography deadlines looming I know I have to start snapping. So today, I dragged my high maintenance supermodels Eileen and Alan down the road to the Botanic Gardens. The assignment that I was tackling was my Black and White film photography project. I need to take five photos, inspired by a passage from a song or poem. I won't give away my idea yet, but for now, I will say that there are a few images like this one:

I took a few photos with my DSLR, there are some 'Behind the Scenes' photos below!

I think I took photos that I'll be happy with, but I suppose I won't know for sure until I get the roll developed. Oh, and I have to do that myself too. Eek!

The mock-stuck up attitude of Eileen and Alan, combined with me lugging around all my camera bags, must have made us seem like a proper professional crew, seeing as the security guard came over to ask if we were taking photographs for a publication. They allowed us to continue to take photos seeing as it wasn't a commercial venture, just a university one!

One silly mistake that I made when using the DSLR, was that my ISO was all the way up at 1600! Thank god I didn't mess that up when using the film camera, with the ISO 400 roll of film, or I wouldn't have any usable photos. When things like this happens it becomes clear why they are teaching us to use the film cameras... When we use the film cameras we must double check every setting, because we have a limited about of shots. With digital, you can fire away, to pick and choose later. While that may sound great, you may end up doing a basic mistake, like forget to check the ISO, and end up with loads of photos that aren't quite right. Hopefully this film photography assignment will teach me to focus on my settings more on my DSLR, so that I won't make annoying mistakes like that in the future!

Here are some random photos that I took when I wasn't concentrating on my assignment:

Alan and Eileen practising the grumpy model look.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Bebo Stunnah

The title is appropriate because I took these photos in the bathroom mirror. I was quite surprised with how they turned out. Pleasantly surprised, that is.

I experimented with the flash. By placing a cape over the flash, the light diffused (I don't know if this is the right word) and gave the photos an interesting washed out look. Admittedly, I have no idea what I'm chatting about, all I know is messing around with the flash gave the photos an exciting twist... I'm looking forward to figuring out some other ways to spice up my images in the future.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Obsessed with Media Week

This Monday marks day one of MPS's Media Week 2012. Loads of guest speakers are coming to share wise words with DCU students. Gráinne and I were asked to create a promo video in anticipation of the occasion. Here's what we came up with:

We played with the theme of obsession to get everyone excited for the week-long event. I feature in the video, I'm the creep doodling 'Mrs Ian Dempsey', complete with love hearts!

As you can see from the video, one of the guests is Bryan Dobson. I will forever remember how to spell his name, with a 'y' not an 'i', because I had to drag myself back to the Mac labs to fix this faux pas, after falsely thinking I was finished!

I'm glad it's been corrected though. Now I can proudly share the video, without being annoyed by my silly mistake!

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Eirtakon & My New Lens

Since Friday I have had the pleasure of popping into Eirtakon, which is an anime and manga convention that is held on campus. I'm there as a photographer for DCU's cultural magazine, Flashback.

It's been so fun spotting the best cosplayers and taking their photos, with permission of course.

As soon as I walked into the traders hall I was faced with a cuteness overload in the form of a stall filled with cuddly toys!

The two photos in this blog post are taken with my new lens. I got up early to hit Bermingham Cameras' sale. I bought myself a 50mm, fixed lens, with minimum F-Stop of 1.8. I can't wait to get experimenting with it!

A wish tree was on display for all attendees to add to.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Strolling in St. Stephen's Green

Today I embraced the November sunshine and visited St. Stephen's Green to take some photos! I find it hard to compose shots like these, because there is not always an obvious subject to focus on.

Below are three photos that am happy with from today's outing. I especially like the photo of the lock, Iván & Ágata, so cute!

I'm having fun messing around with curves in Photoshop, that's why all the photos have a different tone and feel to them!

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Practicing with the Pentax

It's been a while since I've updated this blog about the craic in my course, so here goes... In the photography module we are currently using film cameras, Pentax ones to be precise. And not only that: We are also learning how to develop and print our film in the darkroom!

Image source:

I took out a Pentax from Loans at DCU to get to grips with it, before I tackle the actual assignment. My Mum and Grandma are in Dublin for the weekend, so I've taken a few snaps of them embracing the atmosphere of the city. It is a little unfortunate that we are given black and white film for this assignment, seeing as they were both wearing coats that were identical reds, it is quite cute!

And there is still a chance to take more photos, as we are taking a trip to the Botanic Gardens before they head back to Donegal. I plan to bring both my Canon and the film camera, so hopefully I'll have some photos to share tomorrow.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Bamboo Pen

So the other day I got a surprise birthday present from my friend Andy. I had no idea what it was when I first saw it, but it looked amazing, and a classic Andy-gift: a gadget! I soon discovered that it is called 'Bamboo' and it is a pen graphics tablet. It was such a thoughtful gift because he got it with the intention that I could use it with Photoshop and Illustrator, and it might be handy in my future career!

I've been having loads of fun with it, and I know I'm going to get a lot of use out of it. In the image below I used the pen to make all those swirls you see in the background. It's nothing amazing but hopefully I'll be a pro within a few weeks.

Here's the Facebook event for the the Photoshop Tutorial at DCU on Tuesday.

That's about all of my news. Now I'm going to sign off with my own handwriting... Because I can!

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Cloud Collecting

When it's too cold and dark to venture outside, I bring the clouds in to me... And then take photos.

The above image features cotton ball clouds. I have seen various photographers experiment with indoor clouds, and I think the result often looks amazing. Rosie Hardy's stuff is particularly inspiring (below). Also, have a browse through my Flickr favourites because there are other cute cloud photos there.

Image credit: Rosie Hardy.

Image credit: Rosie Hardy. Check out more of her stunning images on her website,

I'm a bit bored with taking photos in my room. Tomorrow I'm going to brace the chilly weather and take some outdoor photos. I may post them here tomorrow if they are share-worthy.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Lomography, Dee and Me

I went into town today with a mission in mind: To buy a Lomography camera. My Mum had topped up my account with birthday money, and I was ready to splurge. So I ignored my rational side (logic that screamed "DON'T YOU DARE GET RIPPED OFF AT HIPSTER CENTRAL") and entered Urban Outfitters, later leaving with a new toy camera in my life. The Diana F+.

My heart was thumping as I typed my pin number. I have longed for a Lomo camera for at least three years. It was definitely the most exciting purchase I've made recently! After the surprisingly inexpensive purchase (Urban Outfitters had a special 20% discount for students) I skipped across the road to a cute cafe to become acquainted with my new best friend Diana.

I just about managed to resist the urge to take a snap of my meal, I had been hipster enough for one day. Even if I had wanted to score an 8.9 on the Hipster Scale and photograph my food with my Lomo, it would have meant eating very chilly chips, as it took me half an hour to figure out how to load the film. I sorted it out eventually. As I wondered what my first photo should be a girl sitting close by began to chat to me about my camera. Her name was Laragh, and she told me about how she bought a Diana F+ in the summer, and will soon be developing her first roll of film. She also gave me advice on the best place to get film, as it's much cheaper if you know what shop to pop into.

Laragh was lovely, and I decided that she would be the perfect subject for my first ever film photograph. So I took her picture, whilst thinking "I have no idea what I'm doing". Later when I used the camera again I realised that I hadn't wound the film enough. I don't think I got a photo of Laragh after all. Such a shame. I'll have to wait till I develop my film to find out, hopefully I'll be pleasantly surprised.

This photo makes me laugh. It looks like I'm just like "OH HAI THERE, I didn't see you, just taking a pic", when the reality is I am crouching before my DSLR on a tripod with the self timer on.

I took some images in Dublin with my DSLR (see below). I decided to edit them so they boost a similar effect to ones from a Lomo camera. You may question why I'd bother with a Lomo camera, when I can use Photoshop to create the same effect. The answer can be shortened to a single word: Adventure. While I love taking photos with my Canon DSLR, and no film version could replace it, using it can be an entirely calculated experience. I adjust the aperture, shutter speed, I point, I shoot, I review. The experience of using Diana to document my life is undeniably different. The flexibility of the settings is limited. For example, in terms of shutter speed I have two options N or B (don't ask me what they mean, I haven't got my head around that yet). With a DSLR you can snap at a speed from anywhere between forever and a gazillionth of a second. Diana strips it down to a minimum. Often the results may be blurry or unflattering, but who cares? It's all part of the fun! And who knows... Maybe some where amongst all the horrible first photos I take, there'll be a gem.