Thursday, 5 May 2016

A photography tour of Iceland

My camera set up at the first stop, Seljalandsfoss waterfall
Back in October, I nipped over to Iceland with TD Active and Dublin Photography School. The aim? To come back with pictures to be proud of, and to break away from the Auto function on my brand new DSLR. The other, slightly trickier aim, was to snap the Northern Lights. But these notoriously elusive little blighters never made an appearance, despite me nearly donating my extremities to frost bite in an attempt to hunt them down.

If you want an excellent but inappropriate anecdote about spending 4 hours in the freezing Icelandic countryside, ask me the next time you see me. But it isn't pretty, so just be warned.

Each day, we set off into the depths of the country to see, and snap, the best that Iceland has to offer. We ticked off all of the main sites - the geysers, the waterfalls, the black beach. But at each one, instead of merely traipsing around taking cursory smartphone pictures, we set up shop and were taught how to properly capture each.

Having Sinead and Stewart on hand was invaluable. I am far from a camera pro - despite being taught multiple times, I'm still pretty clueless when it comes to mastering the settings - so having expert tutors available meant I was always able to ask for help.

You can read my full piece on the trip on the Irish Independent, but I thought I'd share a few of what I believe to be my best pictures below.


Geysir

We visited the famous geysers towards the end of the trip, and I think it is where I first realised I needed to spend a little time away from the viewfinder. Each time the geyser exploded into the air, I was spending less time really looking, and more time snapping in something of a panic. I also made sure I took a little wander to the smaller pools and geysers, too.

Oh, and it's essential to say "Alright, geezer" at the moment of each eruption. Every eruption.



Gullfoss Waterfall

Iceland is filled to the brim with waterfalls. We played around with a few settings to get a silky, liquid appearance to the falling water, with some pretty cool results. But Gulfoss was my favourite, despite it being absolutely freezing. Properly, mind-numbingly chilly.

Pretty, though.




The Bloody Northern Lights 

You know, I'm fairly sure that the Northern Lights are a myth, created to lure tourists to Scandinavian countries. They could even be nuclear pollution, for all we know. And anyway, I can't tell you any more because they chose to hide away (if they even exist). While we waited in a little lay-by, we played with capturing star trails and the night sky. So we didn't leave empty handed.


Random Little House 

I think this was taken at Seljalandsfoss, our first stop. My pictures from this first location were fairly shoddy, if I'm honest... a lot of them were distorted by water on the lens, and the rest just looked a bit, well, crap. But onwards and upwards!


Skogafoss Waterfall

I got more into the swing of things at Skogafoss. I stayed further back (to avoid mist on the lens) and played around with different settings, distances and perspectives.




You can see more about these photography holidays at TD Active at tdactive.ie and more about Dublin Photography School at dublinphotographyschool.ie.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

What to do in the Seychelles when you've tired of your lover


When I went to the Seychelles, I expected to be surrounded by couples gazing adoringly into each other's eyes. I predicted that the only other people there would be part of a pair, and that I would spend the majority of my time rolling my eyes at their displays of affection.

In reality, I saw a lot of couples who had been in the company of only each other for a fortnight. And boy, could you tell.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Bologna in Pictures


Oh, Bologna. A town so pretty you just want to eat it all up. So you do - tagliatelle with rich Bolognese ragĂș, thin slices of pizza scattered with torn mozzarella, salty bread dipped into olive oil... and a chilled glass of sparkling wine. That'll do quite nicely.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Avoiding snakes in the St Vincent rainforest (with video)


I don't know why I bother asking. Whenever I'm in a tropical country (or any non-Irish country, really) and about to venture outside a city, I ask someone about the snake situation. 

Thursday, 13 August 2015

A Night Hike up Benbulben (in the rain)


A few weeks ago, I was driving into Sligo with a friend. The sun was inexplicably shining, and Benbulben, our very own table mountain, was standing over Sligo town, glowing in the dwindling light of day. We both admired it. 

"You can easily forget it's there, can't you?"

It's true. It dips in and out of view, depending on where you are and how clear the day is, but this imposing monster of a mountain is an incredibly cool landmark to call our own. 

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Video Room Review for The Delano hotel, Las Vegas


If you're a fan of tiny boutique hotels, you're going to be out of luck in Vegas. This is the land of mega-hotels - towering beasts filled with thousands of rooms, sprawling casinos and gigantic pools. Most of the world's biggest hotels are located in the city, with The Venetian and The Palazzo taking top place with 7,117 rooms and suites. In fact, out of the top 15 largest hotels on the planet, 10 are in Vegas.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Iced Ginger Green Tea



Golly, it's hot, isn't it? What a heatwave we're having! The sun is splitting the sky, we're all walking around looking lovely in our sundresses and...

I can't, I can't. It's FREEZING here. It's boiling in Dublin, sweltering in London and I'm sitting here jealous as sin. In a cardigan.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Street art in Downtown Las Vegas


Sometimes it's a little difficult to avoid cliches in travel writing. I don't mean the obvious ones, like "hidden gem" (which is just the worst) or "breathtaking views". I mean the other ones, like "There's so much more to Las Vegas than gambling and showgirls"

But guys - there's so much more to Las Vegas than gambling and showgirls. 

Pure Results: What to expect at bootcamp


I'm a tricky person to motivate. Scream in my face, and I'll likely giggle (or scream back, depending on my mood). Encourage me gently and nicely, and there's a high chance I'll take advantage of your lack of authority and overthrow whatever organisation you belong to. Leave me to my own devices, and I'll get distracted by a weirdly shaped cloud or do a google image search on Jeff Goldblum. 

So, when it comes to exercise, and bootcamps, I may be a difficult customer. There are a few things that will get me going, though - jealousy and a fear of embarrassment. 

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Hotel Room Video Review: The Scarlet, Cornwall


I really hate the phrase ‘Bucket List’. Almost as much as I hated the film, The Bucket List. And I actually switched that mess off after about half an hour, something I rarely do that with a movie. Trust me – I’ve stuck with some really terrible films right through to the end (Jurassic Park III, I’m looking at you)

But much as I hate the phrase, I have to borrow it briefly to talk about the hotels that I have on a long-standing wish list. I may have read a review of it somewhere, heard someone gushing about a place, or just happened upon a picture somewhere online. I’ll catch a glimpse and then pop it onto the list, in the hopes that one day I’ll get there.

The Scarlet is one that has been on the list for a while.

An adults-only, cliff top resort with wood fired hot tubs overlooking a Cornish bay, a swish spa and top restaurant. Surely the stuff that hotel dreams are made of.



I visited back in March, and it honestly exceeded all of my expectations. It really is steps away from the beach – a small, winding path leads you from the resort to either the cliffs or the sands. I’ll write more about it soon, but in the meantime, here’s a video review I shot of my room.



You can see more about The Scarlet here - www.scarlethotel.co.uk

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