EUGENE LANGAN PHOTOGRAPHY

 

 

Flattery will get you everywhere...

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I had great fun working with Arderin Distillery recently. They have recently launched a lovely new Irish whiskey called 12 Point Whiskey. The label design is superb incorporating the wild outdoor provenance of the whiskey and its connections with Irish emigration to Michigan State in U.S.A. during the eighteen hundreds. We organised the studio set up with a moon and storm lantern light, giving the outdoor camp fireside scene an atmospheric feel.

What was doubly satisfying was the e-mail I received from Moldovan based fellow photographer:

I'm a big fan of your work for Conor ———, especially the Mór range of gins. These are absolutely amazing and I can't stop looking at them!

I've contacted Conor to learn more about the light setup for the 12 Point Whiskey set on his Behance page, and he suggested that I contact you personally.

I'm a studio photographer myself, working mostly with alcoholic drinks, and this set just blew me away, both by its overall aesthetics and the lighting setup, which I cannot quite crack to be honest.

Could you please elaborate on how you managed to capture such a natural looking setup with those nice caustics and light up the label at the same time? I imagine you've used a reflector for the front label but what was the actual light source in those shots?

Thank you in advance for quenching my curiosity!

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How lovely to receive such fine comments from a fellow professional. Thank you very much.

If you would like to flatter me more or even discuss any aspect of photography do feel free to contact me at

Eugene Langan PhotographyStudio Eight, 32 North Brunswick St., Dublin 7. D07 TWX3

e-mail: langan@indigo.ie - tel: 353(0)872597907 - web: www.eugenelangan.com


Yet another reason to visit Phibsborough. (One of the worlds coolest neighbourhoods according to Time Out Magazine.)

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I showed a selection of portraits at the inaugural Phizzfest, Phibsborough’s annual art festival ten years ago. Recently the organisers contacted me with a view to showing the portraits again to celebrate the opening of Phizzfest - The Space, a new arts centre for Phibsborough and beyond. I was delighted to show the original portraits and many more that I have photographed over the last ten years for the on going project.

Phizzfest is made up of a great group of people with great energy that has lasted a whopping ten years. The series of portraits are of my neighbours in Phibsborough - people living and or working there. The portraits capture diversity, individuality and creativity that exists in and around the old city suburb of Dublin.

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The project takes its title,’ I have lived in important places, times…’ from Patrick Kavanagh’s poem ‘Epic’ which has the celebration of the local at its heart. Whether that is Homers' local Greek lads, ...McCabe stripped to the waist...in Ballyrush or Gortin or Christy in his kilt in Phibsborough.

The exhibition will be on show until October 20th. In Fizzfest - The Space, Phibsborough Shopping Centre, Phibsborough Road, Dublin 7.

Opening hours: Wednesday to Friday 3.00 - 7.00pm Saturday 11.00 to 7.00 Sunday 12.00 - 4.00pm

Thank you to Phizzfest for encouragement and making this to happen. And especial thank you to all the sitters who participated in the project with such good cheer and positivity.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of photography do feel free to contact me.

Eugene Langan PhotographyStudio Eight, 32 North Brunswick St., Dublin 7. D07 TWX3

e-mail: langan@indigo.ie - tel: 353(0)872597907 - web: www.eugenelangan.com


Howth's Great Secret. Quick! Before it goes.

Sun dappled rhododendron of Howth Head, Howth, Dublin, Ireland.

Sun dappled rhododendron of Howth Head, Howth, Dublin, Ireland.

Maybe you have visited the lovely harbour town of Howth on the north side of the city of Dublin. If not you should oblige yourself to visit. It is a lovely harbour town. The West Pier is an active work place for fishermen, fish shops, cafés and restaurants - serving the freshest fish in Ireland. You can also pick up boat trips to Ireland’s Eye and Dublin Bay. If thats not enough for you then wander from the West Pier towards the East Pier for a gentle walk. Here you pass Howth Yacht Club and the marina, a kiddies playground and dramatic views of Ireland’s Eye, Lambay Island and Howth Head. If you would like a more challenging walk you can head for Howth Head cliff walk with tremendous panoramas, depending on the weather, of the Irish Sea from the Mountains of Mourne, Dublin Bay and all the way to Wicklow Head.

Candy floss like blooms.

Candy floss like blooms.

But, in late spring and early summer, one of the annual highlights of Howth, if not Dublin, must be the display of rhododendrons on Howth Head accessed via Howth Castle Demesne. And now, the beginning of June, the season is coming to an end. This is a spectacular sight and botanical wonder. Access is free. How wonderful.

Footpaths are made magical with a cover of petals from the spent flowers.

Footpaths are made magical with a cover of petals from the spent flowers.

Vibrant scarlet strewn like across the floor of the forest.

Vibrant scarlet strewn like across the floor of the forest.

When you walk or drive up the avenue you pass the castle, family home of the Gaisford St Lawrence family for 800 years, pass the public golf course and make your way towards the summit you are in for a visual treat. The rhododendron of many different shades from purple to pink to red to white cascade down the rocky slope. You can walk along the edge and enjoy the view of the different species up close. Their petals cover the paths like vibrant carpets in some places. If you clamber under the cover of the foliage you are transported back to some ancient epoc with giant ferns and tree roots like dinosaur tails dragging along the ground.

When you make it to the summit you get great views of Howth, above, and Dublin and its Bay.

When you make it to the summit you get great views of Howth, above, and Dublin and its Bay.

Keep on your walk to the top - follow your instinct - most of the paths will lead you up and then from one moment to the next your are taken from the primordial jungle like scene to a spectacular view of Howth itself, the north coast of Dublin and southwards the city of Dublin. Time to open your flask or just sit and contemplate for a while.

A pine tree appears to break through the canopy of rhododendrons near the top of the walk.

A pine tree appears to break through the canopy of rhododendrons near the top of the walk.

But beware the rhododendrons are coming to an end this season - so get there fast. And probably more scary, the Gaisford St Lawrences have put a statement on their web site announcing the sale of their castle and demesne to Tetrarch Capital who develop hotels( Mount Juliet and Powerscourt). So this might be the death knell for access to see this really beautiful rhododendron forest. But hopefully not.

So go there today. Bus 33, Dart, bike(new cycle path from Clontarf to Sutton), car, foot - so easy to get to.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of photography do feel free to contact me.

Eugene Langan PhotographyStudio Eight, 32 North Brunswick St., Dublin 7. D07 TWX3

e-mail: langan@indigo.ie - tel: 353(0)872597907 - web: www.eugenelangan.com


Sweet Potato Pizza

The newly launched packaging for The Sweet Potato Pizza Company.

The newly launched packaging for The Sweet Potato Pizza Company.

Food photography is always fun and rewarding and I was lucky enough to be photographing food for The Sweet Potato Pizza Company in my studio here in Dublin. Craig Grattan the owner of the business loves experimenting with food and came up with a novel recipe for using sweet potatoes in the pizza base. After much testing he came up with three variations; Parma Ham Mushroom and Rocket, Sundried Tomato Spinach and Red Onion, Chorizo, Feta Cheese and Spinach. Each one as tasty as the other. He then managed to win a spot in the Food Academy, a organisation set up by Local Enterprise Offices, Bord Bia and SuperValu, to assist artisan food producers at the early stage on their business. This assisted Craig with all the complexities of launching a food product from legal requirements to packaging design and photography. Craig’s enthusiasm is palpable - it lit up the studio when we were photographing his pizzas. He is blazing with ideas.

For the mood of the photography we used a natural daylight style with the pizza laid out on a dark slate surface. The selected props and garnishes were positioned to accommodate the design elements of the packaging. You can see the final packaging above. And next time you are in SuperValu, you can check it out for real.

A design template was used to compose and position the pizza, the garnishes and props.

A design template was used to compose and position the pizza, the garnishes and props.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of food photography do feel free to contact me.

Eugene Langan PhotographyStudio Eight, 32 North Brunswick St., Dublin 7. D07 TWX3

e-mail: langan@indigo.ie - tel: 353(0)872597907 - web: www.eugenelangan.com


Concrete and the Cliffs of Moher. A winning combination.

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After an early morning three hour drive from Dublin I spent a very windy day on the Cliffs of Moher photographing the Coach Park Reception Building for the award winning Denis Byrne Architects. The cliffs are really impressive and the visitor numbers are extraordinary. The building was designed to have a minimum visual impact on the stunning landscape. It is a wonderful example for the use of concrete using both its strength to hold back the mound, beneath which the offices dwell, and the finesse of the material giving shape and texture. Particularly clever and subtle are the lighting niches and skylights. The sharp angles of the entrances to the subterranean offices change depending on your point of view. Denis Byrne Architects won Best Building Category at the Irish Concrete Society Awards against really stiff competition. A big congratulations to them. I have photographed other award winning projects for Denis Byrne Architects over the years and they are always outstanding. A really creative team, it is always a joy to work with them.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of photography do feel free to contact me.

Eugene Langan PhotographyStudio Eight, 32 North Brunswick St., Dublin 7. D07 TWX3

e-mail: langan@indigo.ie - tel: 353(0)872597907 - web: www.eugenelangan.com


Beautiful Black & White Photography

Monochrome photography was where it all started back in the early to mid nineteenth century with Fox Talbot, Niépce, Daguerre and on up to Eastman founder of Kodak and his the Box Brownie and beyond. All using monochrome(single colour) - that could be black and white tones or sepia tones with red/brown hues or cyanotypes - with a blue hue. It caught the imagination of generations of people right across the world. The Box Brownie camera by Kodak was cheap and relatively easy to use and popularised photography to a huge degree. Black and white photography became a hugely popular medium right up to the 1970s when colour film began to take over. And still today the black and white image is still popular despite smartphones and digital imagery. There is something about going beyond colour in a portrait, for example, that allows us to examine a face more closely. We instantly see tones and textures. We can interpret character with seemingly more ease. Black and white photographs still carry great prestige. I would never argue that black & white photography is better than colour photography - it is simple different. (In fact you can see the same image on the left hand side in colour further back on my blog if you want to compare.) This is my way of introducing some black and white portraits I did recently. They were originally shot in colour and later the colour was removed to reveal these two black and white portraits.

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The photographs are the start of a series of portraits of sailors. Sailors are an interesting group for me. They wrestle with the elements constantly. Handling themselves and their boats in conditions ranging from flat calm to storm force winds. A cool head is always needed. Then you get breakages or equipment failure which need to be dealt with even if the replacement parts are not available - some sort of jury rig will have to suffice until you get safely to port. Self reliance and resilience are the traits of the best sailors. And a zen type calmness to cope with the many different events that occur on a sailing trip.

I was encouraged to convert to black and white when I saw LensCulture opening a competition for black and white photography. So here they are. Do take a moment to see the work on the LensCulture web site. I recommend it, it is a great site. And do share if you get a chance.

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If you would like to discuss any aspect of photography - black & white and colour - do feel free to contact me

Eugene Langan PhotographyStudio Eight, 32 North Brunswick St., Dublin 7. D07 TWX3

e-mail: langan@indigo.ie - tel: 353(0)872597907 - web: www.eugenelangan.com

Autumn Equinox & Bounty

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We just passed the autumnal equinox, the moment when the sun passes south over the equator. The harbinger of longer nights. It is the official start of autumn. And this autumn, all around us, the bounty is everywhere. Whether it is blackberries and elderberries, apples and pears and seeds and nuts of all types. While walking the area near the studio there was lots to collect and forage. Just look at what was collected.

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Spanish Chestnuts (above right) in Trinity College, unfortunately just too small to be bothered opening and eating. But how beautiful and prickly they are. Hazelnuts from along the Royal Canal - lots and lots of them. These ones growing on hazelnut trees rather than bushes. They must have been planted after that section of the canal was filled in between the Royal Canal and Broadstone Train Station sometime after the early nineteen thirties. There are two type of nut husks - hairy spike ones and smooth skin - both giving slightly different type of nut

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The most gathered nut in Ireland, ironically, is inedible; the horse chestnut. Children and their parents still make the seasonal walk gathering these beautiful russet shiny conkers. The thrill of opening one, freshly fallen, from its husk - the colour and shine will only last moments but is a joy to behold. Apart from whacking them off each other in a conker battle other uses I learnt from Native Americans in California. In times past they would crush the chestnuts and wet them regularly until a mould would develop on them. They would use the mould to help cure open wounds. The mould turned out to be related to penicillin.

Above right are sycamore seed balls. Each seed ball contains more than a thousand seeds - and a mature tree has lots of seed balls. I wonder how many get to grow to maturity.

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Pears from Grangegorman, two types. one slightly bigger than a golf ball and the other about the size of a large cherry. But lots. And behind Mountjoy Prison, don’t you love the romanticism, crab apples galore. Lovely little yellow ones. Here’s to crab-apple jelly. And the diminuitive cherries (2nd Left), found beneath a cherry tree near the studio.

With thanks to foraging consultant Barbara Ebert.

If you want to forage - just go and look.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of photography feel free to contact me at any stage

Eugene Langan PhotographyStudio Eight, 32 North Brunswick St., Dublin 7. D07 TWX3

e-mail: langan@indigo.ie - tel: 353(0)872597907 - web: www.eugenelangan.com

Irish Seed Savers

The bounty of the heritage apple collection.

The bounty of the heritage apple collection.

Last week I spent some time with Irish Seed Savers just outside Scarriff, Co Clare. It was a wonderful visit - highly informative and very beautiful. Thank you so much Eoin Keane for your time and welcome and insight into Irish Seed Savers. We walked around their Native Irish Apple Collection which has more than one hundred and seventy varieties and covers acres. Anyone can visit and it is really worth while. I will be photographing a selection of these apples in the studio as the fruit ripens. What a lovely project.

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Irish Seed Savers collect and store rare and endangered species of Irish plants and have a collection of more than six hundred vegetable varieties, forty eight native Irish grain varieties and a native Brassica(cabbages, broccoli, sprouts etc.. to you and me) collection to name a few. They also collect native flowers and soft fruits. They visit schools and communities and run workshops to raise awareness on the importance of biodiversity.

Seed collecting and preparation.

Seed collecting and preparation.

You can support Irish Seed Savers by joining the group and by buying any of their seed and plants including bare root and potted heritage apple trees either from their orchards in Scarriff or on line at www.irishseedsavers.ie.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of photography feel free to contact me at any stage

Eugene Langan PhotographyStudio Eight, 32 North Brunswick St., Dublin 7. D07 TWX3

e-mail: langan@indigo.ie - tel: 353(0)872597907 - web: www.eugenelangan.com

Now that's a Specialist Shop!

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One thing I love when in a foreign city is a specialist shop. Whether buttons, knickers (oversized ones, Madrid), cheese or artists materials or whatever the specialisation, they are always intriguing shops. Often tiny premises with owner occupier. I was wandering about the streets of Oslo, Norway, recently and I saw a chap manhandling a large double bass into a coffin like transport box. He is the owner of Bassanova AS, a specialist double bass shop based in Oslo. How about that - a specialist Double Bass Shop! Not a musical instrument shop even. Just double bass. He opens only a couple of days in the week in-between playing classical music and jazz and teaching and lecturing in music. You can make an appointment and he will meet you there too of course. A relatively small premises is made look and feel smaller by the mass of the double bass lined up for sale. It was both intriguing and beautiful. He picked up one of the double bass and gave me a little rendition. It was really lovely.

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The one he was preparing for transport was due for delivery to a city north of the Artic Circle called Bodo.By coincidence, I too was to travel there and I thought we might share the same plane but it wasn't to be. It was explained that double bass take trains instead. They are more safely transported on rail rather than by air. 

Inside side and outside with 'coffin'.

Inside side and outside with 'coffin'.

If you want to buy a double bass contact Bassanova A.S., Oslo, Norway

If you would like to discuss any aspect of photography feel free to contact me at any stage

Eugene Langan PhotographyStudio Eight, 32 North Brunswick St., Dublin 7. D07 TWX3

e-mail: langan@indigo.ie - tel: 353(0)872597907 - web: www.eugenelangan.com

 

 

Do I need high resolution files or low resolution files?

Whether it is portrait photography, food photography or product photography there is always the little matter of post production. Post production can include anything from naming the files to full retouching of image. And when post production is completed you need to decide whether you need the final files in High Resolution or Low Resolution.

Which do you need for your purpose?

The digital file with your photograph can be delivered to you as a HIGH RESOLUTION file or/and a LOW RESOLUTION file.

If you look at the high and low resolution versions on your smartphone or computer screen they will appear virtually identical.

High resolution 300dpi image.                                                                                   Low resolution 72dpi image

High resolution 300dpi image.                                                                                   Low resolution 72dpi image

But if you were to print the high and low resolution files you would see a notable difference.

The high resolution file has much more information than the low resolution file - normal range for high resolution is between 240dpi and 300dpi. DPI is an acronym for Dots Per Inch(square). The high resolution file is used for printing, for magazines, newspapers, brochures, flyers etc. for all quality printing.

The low resolution image has a smaller resolution - normally between 72dpi -100dpi (72 - 100 dots per inch) This is more  than sufficient for viewing on smart phones, computer monitors, tablets etc… And most importantly is an ideal size for web sites and social media. 

The rule is: Use High Resolution files for quality printing. Use Low Resolution files for social media, web sites and viewing on screen

Both high and low resolution images viewed at 100%. Its obvious which one is high resolution.

Both high and low resolution images viewed at 100%. Its obvious which one is high resolution.

Don’t be tempted to use a high resolution images on your web site or social media applications in order to improve quality. It won't help. And they will take much longer to upload and open on your web site and social media apps and will slow everything down.

A professional photographer should be supplying you with either or both resolutions based on your needs. If you do not have software that allows you to resize your photographs then your photographer should be able to assist you here. Also it is very important to file the high and low resolution files in different folders and name them appropriately. This will help prevent any confusion for future use.(The last thing you want into send a low resolution file out for printing or for an advertisement.

As a professional photographer I keep the digital files backed up in my archive and can reissue the files at a later date when requested and in the appropriate resolution for the task in hand.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of photography or digital files feel free to contact me at any stage

Eugene Langan PhotographyStudio Eight, 32 North Brunswick St., Dublin 7. D07 TWX3

e-mail: langan@indigo.ie - tel: 353(0)872597907 - web: www.eugenelangan.com

 

 

 

 

The Dark Art of Distilling Whiskey.

(L-R) Ploughed field ready for planting barley. Early barley ready to shoot up. The happy 'Whiskey Cattle' of Ballykeefe Farm

(L-R) Ploughed field ready for planting barley. Early barley ready to shoot up. The happy 'Whiskey Cattle' of Ballykeefe Farm

The Dark Art of Distilling

A lovely trip to Kilkenny that was hugely enhanced by a visit to Ballykeefe Distillery, Callan, Co Kilkenny. This is a new whiskey distillery, Morgan Ging filled his first casks in 2016. He had a long held desire to open a distillery in the Family Farm Distillery tradition. Way back in Ireland the landscape was dotted with family farm distilleries. The farmers grew their own grain for the distillery and produced their own whiskey and then fed the highly nutritious leftovers to their cattle. Anything the cattle couldn’t eat was used to fertilise the land.This tradition continues in Ballykeefe Distillery, the Ging family grow their own barley for the distilling process from which they make whiskey, vodka, gin and poitín. They also source their water from their own aquifers.  Morgan Ging’s family has been farming for a few hundred years so you can expect that he knows something about farming. They brought over award winner and walking encyclopedia of distilling knowledge, Jamie Baggott, to distill and eek out the best flavours of their Ballykeefe whiskey, gin, vodka and poitín.

Details from Distillery

Details from Distillery

Stepping inside the visitors centre the interior is lightened up with a series of well designed displays explaining the history and process of whiskey. And even mentions the gem that the earliest reference to whiskey distilling known, is in the 700 year old Red Book of Ossory, where three vellum pages of the text are given over to the distillation of Uisce Beatha (Water of Life i.e. whiskey.) So Kilkenny is officially the source of whiskey making. So much history behind Ballykeefe.

It was here I met Master Distiller Jamie Baggott. Jamie comes from Herefordshire in England and is an international award winner for his distillations. His intimate knowledge of the process is astounding. Jamie brought me around the distillery explaining the process from start to finish. A group of four French whiskey enthusiasts joined us for the tour.

Ethanol flows clearly at the 'Cut'.                                                       Jamie Baggott assesses the cut.   

Ethanol flows clearly at the 'Cut'.                                                       Jamie Baggott assesses the cut.

 

The mash is heated in the beautiful copper stills and the different alcohols are removed and kept as required. The ‘Cut’ is where the bad alcohols are separated form the good ones.  I found this fascinating. The first type of alcohol, methanol comes off at 64.7ºC. Quickly followed by acetone. Both have their uses but this is the stuff that made poitín makers blind in the past. After some time and an increase in temperature of the mash the good good alcohol, the heart - ethanol, pours out. The volume of alcohol is 78.1º at this stage and is suitable for the next stage of the process. This goes on to become whiskey.

Some of the Ballykeefe Distillery product. 

Some of the Ballykeefe Distillery product. 

The alcohol is put into bourbon barrels to age for a minimum of three years and gives the whiskey its colour. For gin - Jamie uses his talent to vapour infuse high quality botanics into the finest quality potato spirit that can be sourced, already 6 times distilled it is then distilled a further 6 times through the bespoke copper rectification column and hey presto we’ve got the highly regarded Ballykeefe Dry Gin. The vodka is bottled from the very same alcohol as used for the gin with nothing added. After all Gin is essentially flavoured vodka. 

If I remember a fraction of the knowledge that Jamie passed on during that visit I would be impressed. He made the trip a wonderful experience. So next time you are in the area you know what to do. And it makes a lovely day trip from Dublin, about two hours by car, just outside Kilkenny.

(L-R) Whiskey ageing in bourbon barrels. Morgan Ging founder of Ballykeefe Distillery. Jamie Baggott Master Distiller.

(L-R) Whiskey ageing in bourbon barrels. Morgan Ging founder of Ballykeefe Distillery. Jamie Baggott Master Distiller.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of photography feel free to contact me at any stage

Eugene Langan PhotographyStudio Eight, 32 North Brunswick St., Dublin 7. D07 TWX3

e-mail: langan@indigo.ie - tel: 353(0)872597907 - web: www.eugenelangan.com

 

The Maker's Hand

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Delighted to be associated with the celebration of craft in the upcoming RDS exhibition, The Maker's Hand, celebrating 50 years of the Craft Awards in the RDS. I got to photograph a range of items for the exhibition - lace, glassware, a silver watch, medals to name a few. But the saddle won me over. A thing of beauty. A complex and beautifully crafted piece made by Rev Kenyon Homfray, which picked up top craft makers award back in the early nineties. Nice to see the Irish Times using the shot in an article about upcoming exhibition. Well worth visiting if you are anywhere in or near Dublin. The exhibition opens to the public from 21st June.

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A link to the full Irish Times article: here

 

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If you would like to discuss any aspect of photography feel free to contact me at any stage

Eugene Langan PhotographyStudio Eight, 32 North Brunswick St., Dublin 7. D07 TWX3

e-mail: langan@indigo.ie - tel: 353(0)872597907 - web: www.eugenelangan.com

 

 

Claude Monet in Finglas!

Not far from my studio in Stoneybatter in Dublin runs the Tolka Valley Park. It goes from Castleknock to Glasnevin along the river. It is a beautiful walk in an area that was once semi derelict and under used. Over the last 10 years Dublin City Council worked on wetlands, ponds and reed beds along the Tolka Valley. This time of year, with the early summer flowering of the wild plants growing in the valley, is a particularly good time to visit. 

 

Yellow Iris in abundance by the water lilies.   

Yellow Iris in abundance by the water lilies.

 

Most spectacular are the water lilies growing in the ponds. There appear to be at least two varieties when I visited over the June Bank Holiday Weekend. But they are abundant. They attract all sorts of interesting insects including bumble bees, damsel and dragon flies.

 

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So don’t even think of taking the plane to Paris and visit Monet’s Water Lily paintings at the Musée de l’Orangerie. Or travel to Monet’s home and gardens in Giverny - the source of the water lily paintings. 

Go to Finglas. Claude Money has arrived in Finglas in the form of the wetland ponds and Tolka Valley Park. And it won’t cost you a cent.

The whole area is designed to slow down and absorb water reaching the Tolka itself and thus preventing flooding in a wonderfully imaginative way. The wetlands and reed beds clean the water entering the river by naturally filtering run off water that flows into the river. The water quality of the Tolka now supports trout and other fish. I saw a king fisher along its banks recently.

The variety of plant life is stunning. Queen Ann Lace lines the pathways.

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Buttercups gild the neighbouring fields.

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Planted wild flower meadows show their splendour with poppies, cornflowers, cowslips(the last few from spring),dog eyed daisies and vetches. Really pretty.

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And if you need a refreshing cup of peppermint tea you can harvest it fresh from the water's edge.

Fresh Peppermint.   

Fresh Peppermint.

 

 

Well done to Dublin City Council for designing such a beautiful parkland along the Tolka River. Not only is it a really pretty attraction but is also working away during heavy rainfalls by acting as a flood defence mechanism. Brilliant!

All the images shot on an old Motorola Smartphone by the way. 

If you would like to discuss any aspect of photography feel free to contact me at any stage

Eugene Langan PhotographyStudio Eight, 32 North Brunswick St., Dublin 7. D07 TWX3

e-mail: langan@indigo.ie - tel: 353(0)872597907 - web: www.eugenelangan.com

PREPARING FOR YOUR NEXT PRODUCT OR STILL LIFE PHOTOGRAPHIC SHOOT.

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Here are a few suggestions on what to expect and what you might do to get the very best from your next photographic shoot. I'll try explaining what goes on before, during and after your photographic shoot of your product. It is relevant for   all still life subjects such as  food, bottled spirits, wines, beers and soft drinks, packaging, medical devices, jewellery, electronic equipment, smart phones… most items for still life photography.

To start, it is a good idea for you to know how you want to portray your product. The clearer the image/brief in your mind the easier it is to execute that vision. You can discuss this with your photographer and your design and marketing team.  You might also look at your leading competitors imagery or go to the best magazines and web sites in your industry and see what is current and fashionable. This will also help you to decide what you do not want. 

THE BRIEF

The ‘Brief’ is an explanation of your idea in words and with visual references you have gathered from your research. It will dictate how the final image will look. The brief can be put together with the help of the photographer and designer too and should cover the following areas

 Image Use.

  1. Where will the image be used - web site, social media, print for billboard or magazine or brochure...

      This can dictate how the image will be photographed from a technical stand point.

 

The look of the final image.

  1. Style of packaging/web site/brochure/ad the image will be used on
  2. Is the style traditional or modern
  3. Will it be earthy and organic or slick and stylised.
  4. Will it be bright and airy or dark and moody.

Propping.

  1. What sort of props and background do you want to use.
  2. Cutlery, plates, wooden surfaces or linen table clothes, reflective or matt surfaces.
  3. Colours used in shot.
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Location of Shoot.

  1. Will the shoot be at the photographer's studio.
  2. Will the shoot be at an appropriate location - a castle or elegant house, a farm yard, a landscape etc…
  3. Can we shoot in the client’s production area or warehouse
  4. Are there facilities to cater for the shoot, in the studio or on location, such as ovens, cookers, freezers, electricity, bathrooms, water and so on.

 

All these factors can be discussed with your photographer in advance of the shoot. This allows all aspects of the shoot to be organised in advance before the meter starts to run.

You, your designer, if you are working with one, and photographer should discuss the look and style of the final image you require. The photographer should be able to help you move in the direction you choose and again when this is discussed before the shoot it really helps with efficiency during the shoot.

I would recommend using a graphic designer at this early stage. They can prepare rough versions of the final designed piece whether it is new packaging, a web site, an ad or brochure. Indeed you can use a nearly finished look mock up  at this stage that you can use to discuss with your colleagues and peers.

Mock Up.

Having a mock up before the shoot helps everyone visualise the final result with the photograph. The photographer optimises the photograph in the space on the artwork. If the image is square, rectangular or round the important elements in the photograph will be in the prime position on the pack, web site, ad or brochure. The photographer also ensures no logos or type are blocking important parts of the image.

Food Styling.

If your product is food - a very important person to have involved at an early stage is the Food Stylist. This is the person who will cook and prepare the food for photography, not for eating. They can bring a vast knowledge to the early stages of any shoot with ideas to help present your product at its best. Apart from preparing recipes and food suggestions they will bring the black art and skill of making sure the ice cream won’t melt, the sausage skin remains intact, the steam rises out of the hot soup and the melted cheese on the pizza looked perfect.

Working in the studio.

Working in the studio.

 

THE PRODUCT.

This is your area of expertise. Whether you are producing food or computer components you need to get perfect examples of your product in front of the camera. 

So if you are supplying food for the shoot send as many samples as possible. If you are dealing with frozen foods send twice that amount - you can never tell how they will look when they defrost. If your food product is made of different components such as pizza, send extra pizza bases, tomato sauce, salami, cheese etc. as this will help the Food Stylist get the best from the ingredients.

If not yourself, have a competent colleague select the items for delivery to the photographic studio or location. Have the items delivered a day or two prior to the shoot. This way it can be checked and confirmed that everything has arrived safely. You don’t want to discover this on the day of the shoot.

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THE SHOOT.

Ideally you or a decision making colleague should attend the shoot. You know your product and how it should look. And you know what you want at the end of the process. 

The product will be set up on the surface and background - this could be pure white or an atmospheric rustic set. The photographer will do preliminary shots of the lighting set up and then when the photographer is happy the client will be invited to comment. 

This is the time for you to speak. Everything can be changed at this stage. Your opinion is valued. You will not be hurting anyones’ feelings. So speak out even of you feel it is a minor issue. Remember you will be using the photograph for the next couple of years and you need to be fully satisfied with its look.

When the shoot is completed the photographer will need to convert the images into files that you can use, normally jpegs.(See my blog Jpeg vs Tiff and other file formats). Minor retouching is normally included in the quoted cost but more complex retouching will need to be discussed regarding the final costs. In my studio there is a turnaround time including shooting day of 3 days unless some complex retouching is requested.

MODEL RELEASE.

If you are using people in your shots you should have each person sign a model release form stating how the images are going to be used and what specific agreement has been agreed with them. This should be fair for both you and the model and will save you and your models from any misunderstandings that might develop in the future.

COSTS.

Here is a list of the likely costs that you may need to deal with. Only some of these items will be relevant to specific types of photographic shoots

  1. Photographer’s fees
  2. Stylist Fees
  3. Food Stylist fees
  4. Model fees
  5. Propping costs and hire charges
  6. Computer Retouching charges
  7. Do you have all the usage rights you require?
  8. Potential location charges
  9. Overnight and travel charges

If you would like to discuss any aspect of photography just contact me at:

Eugene Langan Photography

Phone: 00.353.(0)87.2597907      e-mail: langan@indigo.ie

Studio Eight, 32 North Brunswick St., Dublin 7. D07 TWX3. Ireland.

A Sound Hand on the Tiller

Here is a portrait of Wally. I photographed him in my studio in Dublin recently where we spent a lovely time  together working on this portrait. As you may have guessed from the photograph, Wally is an avid sailor. He has sailed over vast areas of the ocean, north and south. He even worked on the sea at one stage. He built his own 50 foot sailing boat out of steel by himself. He was involved in restoring the Asgard which is now on display in the National Museum of Ireland in Collins Barracks, not far from the studio. And if you are in need of an odd shaped shackle or a scuttlebutt, if Wally doesn't have one he knows who to point you to. With his vast knowledge of the sea, boats and sailing Wally is the man you would like to have on the tiller when things get challenging.

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If you would like to discuss any aspect of photography feel free to contact me at any stage

Eugene Langan Photography, Studio Eight, 32 North Brunswick St., Dublin 7. D07 TWX3

e-mail: langan@indigo.ie - tel: 353(0)872597907 - web:www.eugenelangan.com