Monthly Archives: January 2012

A Review with a difference.

I had great plans for last weekend. An early sunrise shoot and a review of my new f-stop  Tilopa BC backpack. But ………………..

Howth head form Sutton


The plan didn’t go as planned.

The sunrise didn’t happen ( well  it did but I couldn’t see it ) due to clouds and rain for 24 hours straight. The backpack review didn’t go to plan either. More on that later.

The image above was taken a while back along the cliff walk from Sutton around Howth Head. I was after a sunrise image. The sun will rise just of to the right of this image. I was also going for a portrait image to get more of the cliff face and the water on the rocks below. However the weather had other plans. Heavy constant rain and low lying clouds put a stop to this.


View from my car window


As you can see  from the image above and listen to the AudioBoo  not ideal condition for a landscape photograph.

Now onto the second part of this planned trip. Testing the f-stop Tilopa BC. I am a Staff Pro Rouge for fstop and part of this deal they sent me the Tilopa to use. To be honest, I had never heard of them before and it wasn’t until Henry Iddon from fstop in the Uk contacted me after viewing the Dynamic Range Video that I understood who fstop where.

They use the Staff Pro’s with the aid of feedback on the forum to improve and design the backpacks. The difference between these backpack and other manufactures is a very clever design in that the inside come out. They call it ICU ( Internat Camera Unit ). You can get different sizes to make a complete custom backpack. If you have more than one camera system you can have different ICU’s and swap around when needed.


The Large Pro ICU and the Tilopa BC

The Large Pro ICU and the Tilopa BC


I have the Large Pro ICU which can hold all my equipment needed for my Landscape Photography and still have room on top for all my extra clothing like rain gear, hats and gloves. I did manage to get out for a 30 walk to the location for the sunrise shoot but looking at the weather system over Ireland I knew it was a waste of time waiting around. What I can say from this walk along the cliff in the lashing rain is it’s waterproof and very comfortable on the back. My previous backpack sat high up on my back which put all the weight on my shoulders. With all the padding and the design of the Tilopa  no such problems and I could go all day with this on my back.

The ICU inside the backpack


Another reason and the most important reason why the weekend testing didn’t go to plan apart from the weather was the fact my father went rushed  hospital on Friday evening.  So I cut short the shooting and testing to go and help my mother get to and from the hospital during visiting times. Visiting is not allowed before 2:00. So what to do? I went shopping with my camera gear in the backpack on my back. The looks I was getting from the other shoppers was funny. There was no way I was going to leave my camera equipment in the car because Murphy’s Law, it would be stolen. The Tilopa BC backpack came with in to the hospital for the same reasons ( ok I wanted to show of to my father hehehe ).

So there you have it. A camera backpack review with a difference. If you are caught short and need to go shopping or visit someone in hospital then the fstop Tilopa BC is the backpack for you.

My Tilopa BC from fstop fully loaded.


The backpack will be put through it’s paces over the coming months with the filming of Episode 2 of Dynamic Range and a couple of week trip to Westport and Donegal.



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Video Production

Some of the Camera Equipment for the Production

By : Peter Cox

In March 2011, myself and two colleagues (professional photographers Roger Overall and Neil McShane) blocked off a day in our calendars. We met up at my house in the wilds of rural Co. Cork in the southwest of Ireland. Our goal was to produce a pilot episode for what we hoped would become a long running and profitable series of videos about the art and craft of landscape photography.

The equipment we brought to the table was pretty simple – a pair of Canon 5D Mk IIs (Neil’s & Roger’s), an assortment of lenses, some tripods (including one that had an actual video pan/tilt head), a field digital recording deck and a pair of wireless lavalier microphones to plug into it, along with a Rode Videomic to mount on one of the cameras as a poor man’s boom mike.

Read the rest of the article on The Luminous Landscape website here

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Poadcast No 16 is LIve

In episode 16 of the podcast, Roger is missing in action so it’s up to Peter & Neil to carry the can. Sorry about that. We promise to return him (mostly) unharmed next week.

In this episode we discuss the troubles at Kodak and make comparisons between the failing film giant and Apple. This sparks a lively debate between the two digital photographers about the merits of digital vs. film.



Sorry about the Darth Vader sound effects. I had a new microphone which was not set to correctly. It will be corrected for the next post.

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Ansel Adams, A Documentary FIlm

The reason Why I entered into the world of Photography and Black & White.

A Documentary film about ANsel Adams by PBS American Experience


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Annagassan Sunrise

This image was taken a couple of years ago but only last week did I process the RAW file into something I liked.


Annagassan Sunrise.


Why ?

The answer to that question can be found the the Circle of Confusion Podcast No 15.

New Raw programs are getting better at processing the files to bring out more detail in the shadows and highlight areas. This was one such image.

I was going back through my old files to load a few into a new library to test Lightroom 4 Beta. I never use a Beta program on my master files just in case. You never know.

Taken one morning on the east coast of Ireland in a place called Annagassan which is between Drogheda and Dundalk Co Louth. The problem with this image is shooting into the very bright sun. The camera sensor was not able to capture the large dynamic range in the scene ( Dynamic range explained here ). Even with the use of a couple of ND Grad filters I was still not happy with the final image.

That has changed a bit when I opened the image in Lightroom 4. I was able to bring out the detail in the shadow in the foreground and keep the highlight from blowing out. I am really starting to like this image. I like the way the light hits the water and the rocks in the foreground. It also has a nice calming mood to the image.





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Podcast No 15 is live

Here is The Circle of Confusion Podcast No:15


In episode 15 of the podcast, Neil admits he will get medieval on you if you steal his photography, Peter describes the logo for the 2012 Olympics with a reference to Lisa Simpson, and Roger admits to killing a bird.

We talk about SOPA and PIPA, and copyright legislation – but try to be helpful rather than boring. We also discuss gear and seminars.


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Boyne River

I wanted to get a images of the mist and fog on The River Boyne but ended up with this image instead.

The River Boyne, Navan, Co Meath.

If you listen to the AudioBoo you will understand that the low level clouds worked against me today and kept the ground temperature high enough not to create the conditions I wanted.

However I think I came away with a cracker of an image all the same. This is a personal project of mine started a couple of years ago to photograph The River Boyne from Navan to Slane in Co Meath. Running along side the river is a pathway which you can walk. It’s a frequent place to see people walking their dogs, running and even cycling. For me it’s photography and I think there is another couple of years left before I’m finished this project. What then ? A book, an Exhibition. Who knows ?

But I will post some of the images as I go along and have about 15 in the bag already with another 3 from today to be added.

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