23, Calbro Court, Tuam Rd, Galway

Of late there’s been a lot of talk about experience vs material goods. Those in favour of the latter argue that things last, while experiences are quickly forgotten. In some ways photography helps retain those experiences and keep them fresh. Some people also argue that often the photograph can become the memory, but I feel that the photograph can help refresh the memory.

One thing that I had the opportunity to do this year highlights experiences over things. Each year, in August, the Cruinniu na mBad festival happens in Kinvara. It stems from the tradition of the Galway Hookers (a flat bottomed sail boat) coming across Galway Bay from Lettermore in Connemara to deliver the turf for the winter fires in Kinvara.

The Baileys are one well known family from Lettermore that sail these magnificent boats. A good friend and fellow former chairman of the Galway Camera Club, Andreas Riemenschneider had organised a trip in on one of the boats. The plan was that they’d stop off at Parkmore Pier on the way into Kinvara for a little barbecue.

The weather wasn’t great, so the boats actually docked the night before in Kinvara. Still, we were blessed with the opportunity to go on one of the two boats that docked at Parkmore. So with Luke Bailey at the helm, we took the roughly 30 minute trip into Kinvara when the tide came in.

There’s a lot to getting the sails up, so it took a while before we got going. Using the wind, we swung back into the bay and around. With the edge of the boat practically lapping the water, we spun around and headed into Kinvara. With the hard part out of the way, the boat sailed quickly and calmly into towards its destination. It was a little surreal.

Once docked we all helped get the turf out of the boat. It really was a great experience. Thanks to Andreas and those at the Cruinniu for allowing it to happen too!


More photos beneath the fold.  Continue reading ›


I went to The Photography Show the first year after Focus on Imaging finished, and really enjoyed it. It was a great show, but for various reasons I haven’t been since. Sometimes it was work related, last year it was because I was writing ‘The Indispensable Guide to Lightroom CC’ under deadline pressure.

This year, I’d no such commitments and was really itching to go. I loved speaking at The Societies Convention in January. It a great chance to network and see new gear, but the trade show is smaller than with The Photography. I’m not giving out about the Convention- I love going to it! It really is a wonderful few days at the start of the year, and I always come away buzzing with new ideas and fresh insight. I highly recommend it to any photographers.

The timing wasn’t great still, so I finished at job at 2am and drove to Dublin for a 6:25 flight. I met loads of Malahide Camera Club members in the airport. Big shout out to Joe Doyle, Michelle la Grue and the crew. The flight was painless though there was a bit of a wait the other end!

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Being so big, The Photography Show is a great place to catchup with people, meet people you only know from on
line and see new gear (of course). So this post is about that, and probably will bore the pants off non photographers. You have been warned. I will be talking about the great people I got to meet. If you think it’s name dropping, umm, sorry, it’s not meant to be.

Fujifilm were one of the main sponsors and the stand was right inside the entrance. I spent a bit of time there chatting to the fabulous Nathan Wake as well as grabbing coffee with him and the equally wonderful Gary Astill (formerly of Lastolite). This is a big part of why I go to trade shows. Meet great people, play with new gear. I got to play with a few cameras on the stand, like the X70. Tempted as a pocket and BTS camera, but at the price, I would seriously consider a 2nd X-T10. There was a mockup of the EF-X500, but I didn’t get a play with it. Next year I need to make a list and have a better plan of attack. As with the SWPP show, Fujifilm were doing free cleaning, so I got my X-Pro1 cleaned. Yay for free cleaning. Of course this meant that I didn’t take many photos.

The Photographer Academy were helping on the Flaghead stand, so I got to talk to Jay and Sam for a bit, and of course had to take part in Mark Cleghorn’s 101 beards at the show. I was somewhere in the mid 40s of that section. That was done on The Flash Centre stand, using Elinchrom, my lighting of choice in the studio and for more powerful lights on location. I chatted to Simon Burfoot there, and tried to convince him to let me talk there next year (hey, I can only ask!). John Moors was there as well, helping away.

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I met plenty of Buxtonites (a special group of people-we really did form a bond at these training weeks run by Paul RG Haley), and hung with them after the first evening. That may not have been a wise choice from the wine point of view, but it was a lot of fun. So hi again to Mac McBride, Paul Brown, Michelle Heseltine, Jennie Miles, Claire Elliot, Julie Oswin, Iona Long and all the others I bumped into. It’s like an extended photographer family really. Many of the attendees have gone on to become trainers in their own right. I really love going to these and am looking forward to the next event in May.

I spent a little time at the Lensbaby stand and there’s a Sweet Optic in my near future. I haven’t decided on the 35 or 50 yet, as the 35 is my main lens on the Fuji, but I’m thinking of it for portraits. I just love how they look. Both Jake Hicks and Adam Robertson, two photographers I know and admire, use them from time to time. I do have the 24mm & 90mm TSE tilt shift lenses for Canon, and I can use teleconverters and adaptors for these on Fuji, but they’re really cumbersome. The Composer Pro is really light and easy to use. I’ve loved this look for years and first saw it with the editorial portraits of Mark Tucker– with his infamous Plunger Cam. This was long before Lensbaby of course.

My book was for sale on K52, so I popped along to meet Jane and Pippa from CBL Distribution. Scott Kelby was signing books there, so I chatted to him for a bit. I write for the Kelbyone magazine ‘Photoshop User’, so it’s nice to bump into the boss at these shows. Scott also had me do a quick chat to camera so hopefully that will air at some stage! The camera was run by Dave from 3 Legged Thing and helped along by Dave and Peter from Hybrid Photography.

Book on sale 25% off any stand K52 at #ukphotoshow

A photo posted by Sean McCormack (@seanmcfoto) on

Remember I did that post showing my speedlight modifiers? Well the ring flash softbox was on sale at the show.. for £120. I kid you not. Save your money and get it for $30 instead. Maybe I should start rebranding and selling them myself!

The highlight of the show for me was meeting Julian Calverley. He’s a commercial and landscape photographer and I’ve genuinely been in love with his work for years. They say never meet your heros, but he was a total gent. Great to finally meet you in person Julian (despite my hangover!). He did a talk at the Linhof Studio stand, under the On Landscape magazine banner. Julian’s personal work is shot on an Alpa, but he also uses the iPhone as well. It’s a full spectrum difference, yet one has come to inform the other for him. The #iPhoneonly book is a delight and a worthy purchase for any landscape photographer. It’s also come full circle and is available as an iBook! If you’re getting it, go for the print version. The print and paper make it worth it. I really wanted to ask loads of questions, but didn’t want to keep interrupting!

I didn’t get to catch up with Ben Brian, editor of Digital Camera World, this time. I did however get to meet Richard Hill for the first time. He’s the Operations Editor on the magazine and is the person I deal with most. Total gent and it was a delight to meet him, albeit unexpectedly! I also met Chris George, the man in charge, and he too was a gent. Don’t forget to catch my monthly column in the magazine!

Scott Wiggins has been doing a Follow Friday with me in it on Twitter for quite a few months, so it was great to meet Tigz Rice, one of the other that’s regularly in that same tweet. Her work is fantastic, and so is she. She was doing demos on the Wacom stand, showing a mix of stuff from Lightroom and Photoshop using the tablets. Follow her.

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I also got to chat to Lara Jade about being an author at a networking event for pros run by 3XM. She was lovely and very social, as was Sinbad that joined us a bit into conversation. This was the event where the wine issue came in (mentioned earlier). I hadn’t intended on having anything, but decided to have one glass of white wine, despite being really tired. Then the replacements glasses arrived, and next thing I was signing happy birthday over the PA to 3XM boss Ronan Ryle. Sorry Ronan, I may be able to do sound, but I’m not much of a singer!

I've got 15 seconds on #thegrid tonight at 8.. Here's @scottkelby with @hybriddave, Hybrid Peter @itsdaveclayton, being filmed by Dave from @3leggedthing

A photo posted by Sean McCormack (@seanmcfoto) on

I mentioned Scott Kelby, so I definitely need to talk about Dave Clayton! Dave was running the Live Stage, and what a busy affair that was. You’ve heard me talk about total gents, well Dave is another one. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing photographers don’t like to do more than bitch about other photographers, but there are plenty of people in the business that like to see people succeed, and Dave is one of them. Dave is the man that gave me the connection to Rocky Nook in the first place.

Final mention should go to the Adobe peeps: Gavin Hoey, Richard Curtis, Dave Mallows and Eric Renno. Eric was showing off his Surface Pro 4. Now if only Apple would run OS X on an iPad Pro.. Can’t someone write an emulator app for that?

It’s a week later now, and it almost seems like a lifetime ago already. I’ll have to go for longer the next time. Too much to see, and too much fun to have!

I popped into PIA for its 2nd Birthday celebrations. One of the highlights of the evening was the fashion show with 2 former Miss Galways: Laura Fox and Leah Tiernan. The short show was MC’d by none other than Exposé presenter Brendan Courtney.

The 10 outfits shown were all gorgeous and I can see myself trying to borrow them to shoot with-assuming there’s any stock left! Brendan had great advice and suggestions for various body types to suit each outfit. Highly entertaining.

The Galway Player was in too, and looking fabulous as always. He looked great later on in the first waistcoat that was worn by Leah!

I couldn’t not take photos, so here’s a few shot with my Fuji X-Pro1 (while the X-T10 is in hospital) and EF-42 flash (using ceiling bounce). Had I known there was a show I’d have brought a light stand and triggers!

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After the successful shoot at Kilcolgan Castle, Andreas Reimenschneider has organized another group shoot at Galway Airport. Limited to 24 photographers, there will be 8 models from Roza Model Agency as well as hair and makeup. All details are in the image above. I’ll be on hand to help with technical and lighting queries.

The Big Red Ball has definitely been one of the more fun things at the Galway International Arts Festival this year. The concept is simple, a giant red ball magically appears at a host of locations around the city. Due to other work I couldn’t make all of the locations, but here’s the ones I did make!

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I throughly enjoyed my trip to London, especially being at the Awards Dinner (in the company of commercial photographer Adam Duckworth). Unfortunately I didn’t win, but still being in the top 4 Portrait Studio photographers for the SWPP this year is an honour in itself.

Over the weekend I was also working on The Photographer Academy stand. If you’re into photography and want ridiculously cheap online training, you need to go them. In fact, if you apply the promo code SEAN, you’ll get a chunk off the already cheap subscription fee. I make Lightroom videos for them and there’s also a video of me wandering about Dublin shooting urban landscapes. They cover all aspects of photography, along with live webinars and mentoring.

Thanks to the kindness of my good friend Panikos, I was also able to book a shoot with Ruby True. It’s only taken years to make it happen, and it was every bit as good as I imagined. I should have photos from that soon.

I will be entering competitions again this year, and hopefully this will lead to more nominations next year.

If you’re interested in making a booking, go to the Contact page to make an enquiry!

An old set of images, but with the 2011 Miss Ireland in full swing, I thought I should make a slideshow of last years Galway heat of the competition, held in the House Hotel.