Who am I?

A journalist student from Dublin, Ireland. I'm looking to show the world a view through my camera's lens and where I point it. You may even learn something about photography along the way! Weekly blog posts about my adventures.

Friday, 11 December 2015

Dublin Tourism Part 1

I was thinking about starting a little series on the sites of Dublin that the famous red tour bus, that you see driving around the city every day, stops at every 10 minutes. I see it nearly every day because I'm in the city centre most days. So I thought, before the crowds get busy in 2016 I would start with Glasnevin Cemetery.

The cemetery opened in 1832 and it is the final resting place of some 1.5 million people. There is a genealogy that can be found on the cemeteries website: http://www.glasnevintrust.ie/genealogy/
While records of all burials date back to February 22nd 1832 and they give all the information including the exact spot of the deceased, there was not always a headstone and so almost three-quarters of those buried in Glasnevin are in unmarked graves.

Glasnevin Cemetery, Finglas.

One of Dublin's most popular tourist attraction, I had actually never been there before today! However I have been past it outside it before, loads of times. The sheer size of it just from the outside always made me wonder just what was going on. The history behind the walls is astounding!

This short clip I got from the Glasnevin Cemetery YoutTube page goes into a little bit of the history of Patrick Pearse. The Cemetery has loads of tours you can do to find out more about who is buried there and why they're buried there. The YouTube page for the cemetery can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCo17SEQ0MxmNdSLscSANTDQ

One of the biggest attractions of the Cemetery is the grave of Michael Collins.

Michael Collins grave, Glasnevin Cemetery. 
The man who fought in the Easter Rising in 1916 is buried right here! This is his actual grave! thousands of people come to see the grave stone and pay their respects. The reason the cemetery will be so popular next year will be because it will be the 100th anniversary of the rising. This I'm sure, will bring even more tourists to come and see the grave and the rest of the cemetery too. 

I brought my camera today and had a look around before I did any shooting to get a feel for the place. The size of it was amazing. I tried walking to the other side of the cemetery which was great and I just kept thinking to myself about all the headstones and how beautiful they are the the detail that went into some of them was really unbelievable. 

Grave in Glasnevin Cemetery.
See what I mean! Some of the graves are just amazing. 

The first and last thing that caught my eye in the cemetery, and really it can be seen over the whole place is the O'Connell Tower which is situated just inside the entrance. 

O'Connell Tower, Glasnevin Cemetery
O'Connell Tower, Glasnevin Cemetery

The tower can be climbed on tours. The 168 foot climb can be made to a viewing spot by between six to eight people at a given time. Restored in 2013 from a bombing in 1971, it is now open to the public. Originally opened somewhere between 1855 and 1869, the tower was built to commemorate the death of Daniel O'Connell who established the cemetery in 1832. 

Watch-tower, Glasnevin Cemetery 
Watch-tower plaque, Glasnevin Cemetery 

In each of the four corners of the cemetery are a watch-tower made to watch over the cemetery for body-snatchers. In an era of grave robbers to take the bodies and use them in medical schools to show students and discover more about how the human body is made up, the watch-towers were erected to protect the graves in the cemetery.

Church Chapel, Glasnevin Cemetery

The chapel, also just inside the entrance of the cemetery is beautiful. I couldn't get inside it to have a look around as there was a funereal on. This got me thinking though, imagine how many funereal services that little chapel has had and who has been through its doors. 

The history of the Glasnevin Cemetery is amazing and I strongly recommend paying it a visit if you're on the tour buses! I want to go back and do some of the wide range of tours they have and visit the museum.


Monday, 23 November 2015

Surf's up!

This weekend just gone, I went away with my youth club from Greystones, to the beautiful Portrush in County Antrim for our annual surf trip! The end of November is actually not the worst time to go surfing in the cold Atlantic Ocean because it still has some warm water from the summer just gone believe it or not!

Situated near the top of our stunning country is Portrush. With the 5 millimetre wetsuit on we hit the waves with the surf project and we couldn't have chosen a better weekend for waves. If you have never surfed before, I recommend this small little surf town.

Portrush, Co Antrim. Photo: Andy Waller
The town has everything you could need after a long day in the water! I knew it was going to be a great weekend for taking snaps and for most of the weekend the weather was kind and the onshore wind was spectacular! The waves came in fast and strong!

Portrush Beach, Co. Antrim. Photo: Andy Waller

After our Saturday morning surf, we went for a (freezing cold) walk along Portrush beach which gave me time to snap away. This was the time to chat to the youth and build relationships and friendships which was one of my favourite parts of the weekend. Also a film crew was following us around for the weekend to make a promo video for 'The Surf Project', who facilitated the whole weekend for us. Keep an eye our for this video as there's a scene of, yours truly and one of the lads walking along the beach chatting!

Portrush beach, Co. Antrim. Photo: Andy Waller

Portrush town, Co. Antrim. Photo: Andy Waller
This town though almost seems as if it was built for surfers to come along and check it out. There was even a reply to one of my tweets when I said where I was travelling up.

People are so friendly up there!

Caves, Portrush beach, Co. Antrim. Photo: Andy Waller
The pictures this week are all taken on my phone as I had no room in my bag to pack my camera! The scenery however had me in Awh for the whole weekend! Which just made the surfing more fun in that I got a view from the water, coming in on a wave! 

It was like Portrush was waving us off as we left on Sunday afternoon too with the sky like it was in the next picture! The whole weekend was stunning and great fun! I want to go back Portrush so i'll be seeing you soon! 

Portrush send off! Co. Antrim. Photo: Andy Waller



Monday, 9 November 2015

Can Ireland qualify?

With the big European Qualifications just around the corner for the Irish mens football team, I will be looking at some photos taken from Mr Martin O'Neill's first game in charge of the boys in green in the Aviva Stadium way back on the 15th of November 2013, 2 years ago! I was there as an official photographer for the game. This was my chance to really start showing my photography skills and on the day I was taking pictures for two of my reporter friends who wrote about the game.

I had my 18-55mm lens and my 55-300mm lens and a full battery to make sure I wouldn't miss a moment! alas I sat at the wrong end of the stadium and couldn't really see the goal action as it was all up the other end of the pitch but I got some good photos. including this pose from the man himself just before kick-off.

Martin O'Neill, Ireland vs Latvia 15/11/2013
Using my 55-300mm lens, I could zoom right up close to O'Neill and take this shot and I still wonder what was going through the new managers head. I use this lens mostly for close up shots of a small area. It can zoom in very close to a certain object or person and give detail through the focus. I use it a lot for sports matches or when I'm somewhere with an amazing view and I'd only want to get close to something that I can't see from such a far distance.

I still want to get a 55-500mm lens but they're expensive, so I may be saving for a while!

Using my wide angle lens, 18-55mm, I can get a lot more into frame when the object of the picture is a lot closer. In the picture below, I had swapped my lens around as the action kept coming down the right side of the Ireland attack and so it was right in front of my pitch side seat. The picture is of Ireland's Robbie Keane controlling the ball as referee Andreas Ekberg (Sweeden) awards the free-kick with this, look of disgust on his face.

Left to right: Wes Hoolahan (Ire), Ref, Andreas Ekberg and Robbie Keane (Ire)
Having the two lens handy means I can think more about pictures before I take them. I take everything into account before I press the shutter, lighting, aperture, focus and so on. Once the perfect picture is lined up, snap and it is forever saved. However on a night of football or sports action, you don't really have a lot of time to think about these scenarios. A lot of sports photographers put their cameras on rapid fire and they take 20 to 30 pictures in a few second to try and get the 'perfect picture'.

Well that night I got really lucky. I took one of my all time favourite photos. It was totally by chance. Robbie Keane was running into the box as a through ball was played to him. The Latvian goalkeeper, Andris Vanins, came out and grabbed the ball, just outside his box! I caught the moment he had it and realised where he was and at the same time, Robbie Keane screaming at the ref for a free-kick!

Left to right: Robbie Keane (Ire) Andris Vanins (Lat) 
The national team haven't had much luck in the past with big, two-legged qualifiers, as even this month we remember that famous French handball that kept us home from the FIFA World Cup.

As Ireland take on Bosnia-Herzegovina away on the 13th November and at home in the Aviva Stadium on the 16th November. Be there and support the boys and help them get the France next year, where we might meet the old enemy. @AndyIWaller Andy.

The Ireland team celebrating a goal vs Latvia 15/11/13 Aviva Stadium

Monday, 19 October 2015

Deep in the Vale of Avoca

Ovoca Manor is a christian retreat centre in the middle of the Vale of Avoca, Co, Wicklow. This is where I spend most of my summer for the last four years. It is run and facilitated by Scripture Union Ireland and it is a modern retreat centre engrossed with beautiful views of nature in fields and being able to see every star in the sky at night from the bonfire spot.

below is a video of some of the activities that are run on a typical day in the manor and the 21 acres of space that they have for all the different obstacles, games and various other fun filled trips.

The video was shot on Jonny Somerville's drone and edited by Oppermann Productions. The YouTube link can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ki3xks4_bKE .

Every summer I help at a few camps run in Ovoca Manor and I help with the different tasks that needs to be done around the grounds and for the camp. Four years ago I did an internship with Scripture Union which also involved me taking trips out to the manor a lot and running retreat days for schools and young people from all over Ireland.

My personal favourite spot on the whole grounds is the bonfire spot. It's out the back of the manor and is used at most camps for s'mores and biscuits with camp fire songs and the odd 'scary' story. I love the spot because during the day it has this beautiful view of the Vale behind it and during the night, the sky is lit up with so many stars you can't count them. Once the fire is lit and the young people are being brought down to the fire, you can hear their voices and the screams of joy when they see the sparks flying up into the air and then this massive fire for them. I had to capture this picture from one of the camps I did over the summer when I was getting ready for the campers to come down.
Bonfire Spot, Ovoca Manor, Co. Wicklow. Taken on Canon 1000D.
 The grounds is covered with some of the most amazing scenery I have ever seen and the views just never get old. The manor has so much to offer as well with a sports hall, obstacle courses, a slide and a top of the range manor with can sleep up to 150 people.

Avoca Vale, Co. Wicklow. Canon 1000D
From some of the bedrooms, you can look down onto the grounds. The manor is based up on the side of the vale and you really get a good view. These two pictures on the left were both taken from my canon.

Densmore Lodge is another house on the same grounds as Ovoca Manor and is also owned by Scripture Union. It is used for smaller camps or even as an overflow space for people to have beds during the bigger camps. It also has another handful of bedrooms with more kitchen space too.
Densmore Lodge, Avoca, Co. Wicklow. Canon 1000D

Having my camera hand was great for these shots. I sometimes bring it with me to camps so that I can take shots for the brochure, for the website or even just for general shots that can be used in general by Scripture Union. I usually focus on the young people and the run they're having but this time my aim was to catch the surroundings.  

There's more around the grounds too. There are team challenges with all different levels to test the teams and different types of games. There's mental games and physical games. They all involved the team to work together and achieve a task. Then there are other activities like the zip-line which is always a huge hit, the climbing wall and high-ropes course for climbers and the basement of the maor has a pool table, table tennis table and a fuse-ball table. 

Pictured below is the balance beam from one of the team challenges. A very simple game of getting your team from one side of the up-right logs to the other with the three beams provided. Depending on the size of the group this usually works really well as a welcome game too and for groups to get to know each other. 

The balance beam, team challenge, Ovoca Manor. Canon 1000D

So Ovoca Manor is stunning. Well that's my own personal view any way. I love spending time up there. All the photos taken on my 18-55mm lens. Next week I will be talking more about choice of lens for shots. Why I choose certain lens for certain shots and what happens if I get a shot wrong. 

Andy Waller, 

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Just Outside Dublin's Fair City

Dear reader,
This is my spot with an amazing view of Dublin! In the picture above I was basically sitting in my usual spot and this is one of the single most incredible views of Dublin City I can find in a nice quiet place. That was until I was rudely interrupted by a tour guide and a group of American people learning all about the history of DeerPark and the National Transport Museum just below us. Which I'll be honest, was helpful and he was talking about how you can take boat travels out to Ireland's Eye and Lambay Island (Pictured below). 

Near the bottom left of this photo you can see the National Transport Museum in the form of what used to be DeerPark Castle (Add Historic Mumbo Jumbo of what the tour guide was saying). The first and closer Island is Ireland's Eye and a little further out is Lambay. Both easily accessible by boat from Howth Harbour which is pictured below. 

Ok I'll be honest, this photo is a little edited! I put it in Lightroom and added the 'Old Style' filter just to see what would happen and wow! Any way, this week I used my Canon 1000D and had it on 4000/1 of a second shutter speed because the sun was shining and there was little clouds out to ruin the photos. These first three photos were also taken at about 50mm on my 17mm - 75mm lens which is a wide angle lens that I use for scenic pictures such as these. If I want to get a closer look at Dublin City or what ever may be a bit further away from me that I would like to focus on, I use my 75mm - 300mm lens. The picture below was taken on the 75-300mm lens with a lens cap on to keep away the sun rays and try get a closer view of what Dublin looks like from about 15km - 20km away. 

Again, this picture was LightRoom friendly and I had to bring the DPI (Dots Per Inch) up so that the picture could actually be seen and not a mess. Being at my spot a little later then I had hoped, the sun was beginning to set so this is Dublin at about 9 o'clock at night.

When I first got up the hill and had a drink of water from all the steps and rock scaling I had to do, I got to the top of the hill and this was the view I was greeted with. So I very quickly took out my camera and made sure I shot it. I was a little nervous on the way up too because it had started raining a little bit before I left Dublin on the bus but I was very glad to see it totally gone by the time I got to Howth.

Just take a minute and take this picture in and tell me what you think! @AndyIWaller on Twitter by the by!

Lastly, this Sunday just gone I got to run the game in one of the youth clubs I help at. With the help of these two amazing people, Nathan and Martha, we came up with our very own version of Quidditch which went down a treat and I am so glad to have their help! Thanks guys and here's your shout out! I didn't take these because I'm in them! Mr Mark Murray (my intern!) did. I'm not posting your sly selfie Mark!

Thanks for reading another one of my favourite places in the world. More pictures through my eyes and even some of what I get up to during the week. If you have any ideas or suggestions for future posts please contact me on Twitter as mentioned above.


Wednesday, 3 June 2015

A place to get away!

 Dear Reader,

My name is Andy Waller and this is my first ever blog! I study journalism in Rathmines and want to be a radio journalist some day when I'm a grown up.

For the moment though I want to talk about one of my other favorite hobbies, which in the last two years or so, I have over-looked quite a lot, photography.

It all started in secondary school when my dad gave me his old Asahi Pentax camera, which is a beautiful film camera which I didn't know how to use. I found out the hard way that you couldn't just point and shoot with this camera, it was all about light settings, shutter speeds, where the sun was at different parts of the day and even if I hadn't got steady hands and I needed a tripod.

After getting back a few ruined film roles from pharmacies, I decided that I would never ruin another role of film and I would actually learn to use the camera properly. I then went to college for the first time to study computer science and joined the Photo Soc (Photography Society) almost straight away to try and learn more about cameras and how to get the most out of them. At the end of my second year there I had bought a Canon 1000D for myself as a starter camera with a fixed 50mm lens (Wide Angle) and started learning about lenses and what they can do.

After a few trips out to places with the Photo Soc, I had started to get the hang of this new camera and started falling in love with the art of photography. I then won photographer of the year for the society and finished college.

After taking a year out of college to do an internship and think about what was next for myself in life, I decided to do a photography course in Sallynoggin (yes that is as far away as it sounds) to try and learn more about getting the right picture at the right time and how to do about that, rather then just pointing and clicking.

I got to go in and learn how to use a dark room and develop and print my own pictures from the Asahi. This meant getting the lighting right at the shot and not having Photoshop to fall back on if something went wrong. I started to learn all about the different chemicals used, the paper used and what not to do if you drop a scissors in the dark room when stuck in there with a lecturer and the film was out and any light would have destroyed everything on it.

After making mistakes with some shots, I started to get to grips with the art and started wanting to just go out and keep shooting.

So that is how the idea of this blog came about. This will be a space where I share my weekly adventures with my Canon and talk about the photographs, why they mean so much to me and how/or why I took them. You may even learn something.

The three shots I have this week come from my quiet place which is one of the piers at Dun Laghoire. It's the quiet pier and most of the time I get a nice place to just sit and think without distractions. Sometimes a jogger will run by or the pier police will take their dogs for a walk (I always get nervous when they pull up in their jeep for some reason and then two little dogs jump out!)

With these pictures however I may have cheated just a little. I didn't have my camera with me so I decided to just use my IPhone because I knew I  had a busy weekend ahead of me and I couldn't carry my camera around. Next week I'll be showing you another beautiful place I go to get away and think and trust me, this is a beautiful spot! None of my posts will be Photoshopped (mainly because I don't own Photoshop).

So come back next week and see the world through my eyes! (love clichés)