Win a Trip to Dublin for St. Patrick’s Day with Jameson!
Feb28

Win a Trip to Dublin for St. Patrick’s Day with Jameson!

As you might know, my love for Instagram is fairly substantial.  You might also know that my love for whiskey is just as high.  Therefore, when the people from Jameson Irish Whiskey contacted me about a contest they are running on Instagram promoting St. Patrick’s Day, I took notice.  The fact that the winner of this contest will win a trip to Dublin to take part in St Patrick’s Day 2014 with Jameson this year should have you taking notice too. Quick interlude… I’m a massive St. Patrick’s Day fan, but I’ve mixed up the dates for it twice.  One year, I showed up to a girlfriend’s house with a morning buzz dressed all in green on Valentine’s Day.  Another year, I planned on being in Dublin for St. Patrick’s Day, but arrived and found out it was, once again, Valentine’s Day.  That same year, I found myself in Wales at a pub with a group of 80-year-old women in town to see the Opera because I had completely messed up the dates. Romantic irony anyone? Word to the wise: don’t bother with dates for me, I’ll mix them up. Anyways, there is no doubt that St. Patrick’s Day is on the 17th of March.  And for your information, that places it on a Monday.  So if you’d rather be spending your Monday’s singing, dancing and sipping (or gulping) down Jameson’s than in an office, or Wales, you’ll want to sign up for this one.   If interested, the way to enter is extremely simple.  Basically, all you need to do is upload a photo from your city that demonstrates the “spirit” of your town.  Then, of course, you’ll need to hashtag it #Jameson and #hellodublin.  That’s it. To keep up to date with the latest regarding the contest, be sure to also follow Jameson on Facebook. Ok, off to Instagram with you.  I look forward to seeing what you come up with.  Better yet, link your Instragam image in the comments below so we can all see the “spirit” of your...

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Just Some Photos from Ireland
Oct24

Just Some Photos from Ireland

After spending time in Cork, then partying fairly hard with some fellow travel bloggers in Dublin, I set off on a photo tour around parts of Ireland with How to Be a Travel Writer.  After a couple last minute dropouts from the workshop, we were a tiny group, but it made it much easier to actually just go out and shoot and explore.  I probably only hit the shutter about half the amount of time as I normally would on a photo shoot, but that’s how it goes when you’re teaching. Anyways, the photo tour of Ireland started in the capital with a couple shoots in the downtown area.  We then headed out to Howth, which is one of my favourite places to photograph on the planet, and a place I’d gladly go back to ten or fifteen more times.  Then, to get a little bit obscure, we headed across Ireland to the west and the city of Limerick.  Though Limerick is certainly rough around the edges, it’s that grittiness, combined with some pretty serious history, that made it a great place to shoot. Below are the photos from Ireland from this 2013 trip.  I’m sure I’ll be back shooting this country again, because it really is spectacular.  Enjoy! That’s it from Ireland! See you next...

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Getting Hit by Culture Shock in… Dublin
Mar20

Getting Hit by Culture Shock in… Dublin

Getting Hit by Culture Shock in… Dublin ————————————- As I exit the bus from the airport my weary eyes stretch to attempt to adjust, not to a new light but new sights. My ear drums dance as they struggle to understand the sounds that they hear but are unfamiliar with. My nose begins to tickles as it’s sensors are struck with sounds they have not had the pleasure – or displeasure – of smelling before. The driver of the tall green double-decker lifts the air brake causing an emphatic shushing sound before he moves the bus revealing to me my home for the next few days: a hostel. Tired from the bumpy sleepless overnight flight over the Atlantic I take a deep breath and reach down to pull up the lever of my rolling bag. I glance quickly to my right and take a long step down from the curb and into the street. BEEEEEEPPPPP!!! A car whizzes by from my left, blaring its horn and swerving to miss me just at the last minute. I can almost hear the driver’s cursing words, and can imagine his or her hand signal out the window. “Shit,” I say out loud before looking down the road to see if anyone noticed my embarrassing stumble before this time looking both ways the way my mother taught me and crossing the street to the hostel. “How am I feeling like a lost puppy… in Dublin?” Culture shock is something that nearly everyone goes through when visiting to an unfamiliar part of the world. In fact, it’s something I’ve gone through before (read my article on reverse culture shock). However, as someone who has travelled the world for three years straight and over his life time has been to all continents save for Oceania, getting culture shock in Dublin borders on embarrassing. Perhaps the most confusing part is the fact that just a week before arriving in Dublin I spent a week feeling completely comfortable in Port au Prince, Haiti. I walked through the roughest neighbourhood in the city, and perhaps the western hemisphere, being chased by children and called the crazy white man just for being in the neighbourhood by others, and felt completely at home. However, the narrow sidewalks, the cars driving on the wrong side of the road, and the tight spaces of Dublin was driving me mad. For the first day I attempted to play it off as jet lag, assuring myself that it was a lack of sleep and change of time zones that had caused my skin to feel uncomfortable to wear and how even ordering a pint in...

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Dublin Bridge in HDR
Mar18

Dublin Bridge in HDR

Dublin: the little village that thinks it’s a city. Or maybe it’s the other way around; I’m not all too sure. Regardless, Dublin, Ireland was the first stop on my Europe trip which to date has been amazing. However, when I got to Dublin, I have to admit something: I got culture shock. I’ll go into this embarrassing situation in a post coming up, but let’s just say that for about 3 days I felt like I was in a parallel universe. Anyways, the photo of the week is an image that I knew I wanted as soon as I arrived in the city. I tend to wander quite aimlessly around a place when I first get there. I don’t take a lot of photos, I just look for potential shots I might want to get in a better light or at a different time of day. But most of all, I try to get a feel for the city.  I later try to exude that sentiment through a photo. For me, Dublin felt like it was a big city trying to be a village, and somehow for me this image captures that. The old bridge, to me screams small and quaint, but the traffic and buildings above it tell of the chaos of the city, and that’s exactly what I was hoping to show. How I Got This Shot This is an HDR (High Dynamic Range) photo which basically means it draws from more that one photo exposure to create a better range of light into one image. Without getting into too much detail the human eye can see a certain amount of light (colours), the amount of light that the human eye sees is actually more than a single photo can capture. By placing 2 or more photos together digitally you expand the range of light shown in the photo. Thus, where a single photo might have a lot of dark shadows or blown out highlights an HDR photo can capture all those types of light properly. The danger of the HDR photograph, of course, is that if you overdo them they can look horribly phoney. Also, you have to remember that just because you’re shooting in HDR doesn’t mean you can forget the principles of photography. You still need to shoot the right scene, the right light, etc. This image was made with 3 separate raw photos: one underexposed by 3 stops, one exposed properly, and one overexposed by 3 stops. I then processed them in a program called Photomatix Pro. The properly exposed image was shot at a focal length of 18 with an aperture of f/16...

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Reviews of the Kinlay and Avalon House Hostels in Dublin
Mar06

Reviews of the Kinlay and Avalon House Hostels in Dublin

I spent a total of six nights in Dublin, and as such I actually rested my pretty head in two different places. Both places offered something quite different, but both were also nice stays. I will start off with the review of the first place I stayed at, Kinlay House Hostel. Kinlay House Overview I stumbled into Kinlay House early in the am after an overnight flight on which I didn’t sleep, so I’ll give the staff who welcomed me quite unenthusiastically a break since I may just have been grumpy; they were really pleasant beyond that morning.  At the end of the day, I was really happy with my stay there. Other than some internet issues, I felt like the hostel formed into a nice little community. They way it was set up was very conducive to meeting new people. Rooms The rooms, for a change, were not bunk beds but single beds simply laid out. I liked not having someone above or below me, but I wish there was a little more space for luggage. Personally, I would have liked it they took out one of the beds in the room and put a set of luggage lockers in its place. There simply wasn’t anywhere in the rooms to lock things up, and as someone who packs about $4,000 worth of electronics I’d like to know they are safe. Facilities Internet: There was wifi internet throughout the hostel, and it was free. There were also a number of desktops available. My only issue was that the internet was really slow, and got worse based on if the time of day was busy.  I also had to keep accepting terms of internet use which was really annoying.  Still, as someone who generally works at about 6-8am before others jump on the internet I wasn’t too bothered. Food: There was breakfast available which is always a plus. The best part was though that they also had free meals about 4 nights a week. Free pasta, pizza and pancake nights made it really easy to meet people. It also made it really easy to save money in a city that is not cheap. There is also free tea and coffee all day. Kitchen: The kitchen here is perfect. It has about 3 stoves, 3 ovens and 2 sinks. You wont spend your night waiting to cook. The facilities in the kitchen are top notch. Activities: In Dublin most of the tours collaborate among the hostels, so your not going to have to stress about organizing these. There are always people. Location You wont find a hostel with a better location....

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