My daughter the violist

Kaytlin

My daughter Kaytlin has been playing the viola for a few years now and since today was the first time it’s been out this year, I thought I’d stick up a little post. It’s a pleasure to hear her play, although I think she finds it uncomfortable playing for me. But we’ll both get over that. I really enjoy what she’s doing. Her technique has come on in leaps and bounds, and the sound she produces out of an admittedly inferior instrument is really warm and mellow. The music (as distinct from technique and tone) is really beginning to happen too. I’m not sure if she’ll come across this post anytime soon, but hopefully if and when she does she’ll realise that I appreciate her (and her music).

Continue Reading →

photo: literary ref

It hadn’t always been the plan to go out and shoot a horse. Not the gun kind of shooting you understand, with a camera. I’d taken a detour from Brittas after the Wednesday night and headed circuitously to Carlow, down through parts of Wexford, through places where drenched crops stand in the field waiting for the merest glimmer of sun to dry out and be harvested. My heart goes out to farmers who have been hammered by the increasing rain. Apparently we should all be rearing kangaroos, because they don’t have the same emission problems as sheep and cattle, which belch and fart their way into CO² nirvana. Something to do with the construction of their upper stomachs.

My job was to find a perch above Carlow, a vantage point to make a timelapse film of that town for an upcoming project at work. So, mapless and clueless I headed for Carlow and saw a hill in the distance. And I navigated my way there via a flooded Barrow and through a series of lanes and boreens to the spot you’re seeing below.

The way I do timelapse is to use the dSLR with a tripod Shona gave me last year, frame up a shot and then exercise a lot of patience, click off an exposure (everything switched to manual) once every while and whistle. Or think, or whatever you do when you’ve a lot of time on your hands. Except I’m not very good at keeping time in my head, and since this exercise was only a test and I wasn’t taking it as seriously as I should, the interval between my clicks wasn’t even, with the effect that the clouds stumble across the sky like so many drunken ghosts instead of a nice orderly procession. Ah well.

So after an hour in the sun, I decided to pack up, head for the car and find some lunch. On the way though I heard a whinny and lo there was a horse standing by a gate, looking melancholy. Naturally I went over and looked at it up close. What you don’t realise (if you’re like me and unhorsed) is that horses heads are huge, I mean massive. Which immediately got me thinking about The Godfather and that scene. Anyway, out came the camera again, stuck on the stubby 50 and squeezed me off some shots. One of which you see above. This brought me by a commodius vicus to Cormac McCarthy and one of his trilogy: All the Pretty Horses. A book I read but didn’t enjoy too much because of its Spanish content and my lack of understanding of it. In contrast The Road brought a lump to my throat and No Country … left me breathless. I could go on but probably shouldn’t.

Below: some timelapse from the plains.