4711 Cologne, the Alte Markt, Rathaus and “Früh” brewery pub: Trip Notes

The original 4711 Cologne shop is worth a visit, the outside is easy to shoot and they didn't seem to mind us taking photos inside - they're used to tourists! Incidentally, use a wide lens for the best offered, as you go in, on the right there's a fountain where you can wash your hands in the cologne! But be warned, I did this and smelled of the stuff for hours.... Just a short distance from Cologne Cathedral is the Alte Markt, and on the way there are some photogenic "half-timbered" houses … [Read more...]

Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom): Trip Notes

The best view of famous Cologne (Köln) Cathedral is from the Rhine (or across it), but you'll probably be right in front at the Cathedral square.  This church is BIG, people don't realize how tall it is.  Get back as far as you can - you can get halfway across the street by MacDonalds before the traffic lights, lamp posts, etc. intrude across the Cathedral itself.  Even then you'll be tilting your camera upwards. Walk round the Cathedral outside and pick out elements of the architecture … [Read more...]

Rhine River Cruise (Oberwesel to Boppard): Trip Notes

No trip to Germany is complete without a Rhine river cruise.  This time we boarded the KD Rhine River Cruise at Oberwesel and disembarked 2 hours or so later at Boppard. As this was a morning cruise, the sun was behind us, usually to the right, as we travelled up river.  In this situation your best bet is to get to the front outside observation deck and if possible get yourself a seat next to the rail.  This means you get a clear shot forward and really to either side as well as your … [Read more...]

Blarney Castle and Gardens, Blarney Woollen Mills: Trip Notes

It's not so easy to kiss the Blarney Stone as you think as you have to climb up to the top battlement of Blarney Castle and lie on your back with your head and shoulders arching backwards over a drop of 100 feet or so!  They do have an "official" photographer, but you can take your own shot.  The exposed staircases on the way up are also interesting, worth the effort as you've paid for entry into the Castle and Garden anyway. Apart from the Castle itself. don't miss the "Medieval Garden of … [Read more...]

Ring of Kerry/ Killarney, Bog Museum, Sneem Village: Trip Notes

From Killarney, most people do the Ring of Kerry anti-clockwise, starting in the morning.  That makes it a bit early for an Irish Coffee at the Fox Inn, but the small Bog Village Museum (owned by the same poeple) is off the car park and worth a visit.  It's composed of a number of cottages that were owned by a thatcher, labourer, peat-cutter, etc. and the village smithy.  I used a wide lens and indirect, fill-in flash for the interiors -  the burning peat fires provided atmosphere but were … [Read more...]

Bunratty Castle & Folk Park, Adare Village: Trip Notes

"Bunratty Folk Park" sounds awful, but is actually quite worthwhile, especially from the photographic aspect.  It consists of the Castle and a variety of buildings that have been relocated from different parts of Ireland and rebuilt, including a church!  There are shops, bars, workshops, farm buildings, a grand house, cottages - you get the picture.  They even have actors playing the parts of "inhabitants" of a few locations, they're both interesting and photogenic. Start with the castle, … [Read more...]

Cong and “The Quiet Man”, Galway and Bunratty Castle: Trip Notes

The village of Cong is where John Huston filmed "The Quiet Man" with John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara in 1951 and it's still living on its reputation.  There's a good shot over the stream opposite the small cottage museum. "Pat Cohan's Bar" on the main drag was recreated in 2008 and actually looks like the one in the film. Travelling through Connemara to Galway provides the opportunity for landscape shots, but to be honest I didn't find it particularly striking.  Sweeping views but expanses of … [Read more...]

Londonderry or Derry, Donegal and Yeats at Drumcliff: Trip Notes

Londonderry or Derry was the scene of a lot of internecine strife during "The Troubles" between the Loyalists and the IRA.The only more signs of it now are the painted (actually, repainted) wall posters - the size of houses - in the Bogside district and some bullet and bomb blast scars on a few buildings.  You'll also see some security fences that date back to that time. One of the best ways to shoot these huge wall posters is to walk around the city walls (on the battlements) and use a long … [Read more...]

Shooting Ireland’s Giant’s Causeway: Trip Notes

After the ferry ride from Scotland to Larne in Northern Ireland, it was on to the big shoot of the day, the famous Giant's Causeway on the north Irish coast.  It's an easy ten minute walk downhill to the Causeway from the Visitors Centre. At first sight, the rock formation doesn't look as impressive as you might expect, but walk through the gap to see the high pillars, then climb up onto the Causeway and go down towards the sea until you get to the black section; that's when you realize how … [Read more...]

Eilean Donan, Ben Nevis, Fort William and Glencoe: Trip Notes

Leaving Skye, our first stop was at Eilean Donan Castle, the one you've seen immortalized on a thousand cake-tins!.  You've got a range of shots from the huge parking area next to the loch, but try going onto the shoreline to the right of the entrance gate for a different approach.  Of course, you hope for a mirror-like surface to the water so that you can get the reflections.  Interesting lights, especially in the evening or early morning certainly would add to the results, but most of us … [Read more...]