The Arcadia, Portrush, Northern Ireland

A bleak, desaturated shot of The Arcadia in Portrush. The building sits out on an outcrop on the beach and was once an old dancehall where showbands played. It’s been given a lovely facelift in the last decade, but today was a particularly grim day in Portrush, and the Arcadia looked abandoned and dark.

Stonework face, Ormeau Avenue

It’s not often that I share my Instagram shots on the photoblog here, but I’m quite pleased with the effect here. The stone face is above a doorway on Belfast’s Ormeau Avenue. I thought it would be good to take the shot from below looking up. After I took the shot, I used Instagram’s Inkwell filter to make it monochrome and a touch of a tilt-shift effect to set the focus on the face in the center.

St Paul's Cathedral, London at night

It’s not often I include my iPhone footage when updating my photoblog, but I had to include this shot of St. Paul’s Cathedral at night.

The shot was taken during a freezing cold walk along the Thames in early January 2012, and was taken from the far side of the Millennium Bridge, giving two lovely lines of light leading to the magnificent dome of St. Paul’s in the distance. Unfortunately, there was much camera noise (I’m resolutely blaming the iPhone here), and so there was a fair bit of post-processing to remove the graininess in the photo.

However, I’m happy with the result. I’d love to revisit this someday with a proper DSLR and tripod in tow and try for something a little bit better!

Silhouette of Dunluce Castle at Sunset

A photo of Dunluce Castle and the coastline beyond at sunset on 1st November 2011. I’ve been wanting for years to capture this iconic image (the ‘concept’ of the castle at nightfall – not my actual picture – I’m not that conceited) and I finally managed it at the end of a wonderful day trip with the children.

There seemed to be a lot of amateur photographers taking shots of Dunluce from the roadside, but from my perspective, that angle didn’t give the contrast against the skyline that I was looking for. So, Jake (my 8 year old) and I hopped the wall and waded into a very mucky field to get the shot I wanted.

And I’m glad I did. I just wish I was a better photographer, because I’m sure I could have captured a far more dramatic image if I actually knew what I was doing! Still, it was worth the muddy boots – and the fact that Jake and I got chased out of the field by five curious cows!

Thatched cottage rectory at Cultra

Thatched cottage rectory at Cultra

This quaint thatched cottage is a former rectory that’s been a part of the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum for as long as I can remember.

According to estimates based on the tree growth rings inside the house, it was originally built in 1717. The rectory was originally sited in Toomebridge, Co. Antrim.

I’m incredibly pleased with the photo, which was taken this autumn on a clear, crisp November afternoon. The light on the thatched roof was just fantastic, as were the leaves on the nearby trees.

Halloween: Unreality TV themed pumpkin

For the first year ever, we’ve had a crack at creating an Unreality TV themed pumpkin! I had to simply the logo somewhat to make this work, but was able to carve it with bat’s wings and vampire teeth and remarkably…nothing fell apart!

I left some of the pumpkin skin on in order to form lines to give the shape definition and darkness. And as an experiment, I’ve added a “sunburst” type effect around the top of the television set.

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Skull Pumpkin lit up

It’s pumpkin-carving time again! I’ve discovered that Halloween is the peak of my creative output each year – from hacking up pumpkins to painting faces (mostly my own, I admit).

Whenever Halloween rolls around, I’m often thrown back to my teenage obsession with Alice Cooper and the theatrical horror and wicked makeup that he wore on stage. That’s why I always gravitate toward blood or strange markings around the eyes.

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Halloween facepaint

Thought I’d share this one – on the morning of the kids’ Halloween dress-up day at school, I decided to slap on a bit of make-up and join in the fun!

I always love doing make-up around the eyes, which probably stems from my fascination with Alice Cooper when I was younger. A little bit of sponge work sorted out the cheekbone definition!

You should have seen the stares as we walked the kids into school!