Shooting Connemara with Peter Skelton

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There are many instances where I think too much devotion and credit is given to social media. One of my biggest pet peeves is seeing “activist” groups on Facebook try to get “likes” to change the world. That’s nice, I guess, in terms of raising awareness. But there is a difference between the social capital found in the virtual world and IRL (in real life)…

Early in the day, it was hard to get some good light.
Early in the day, it was hard to get some good light.

What does it really mean for an amateur photoblogger to have x amount of followers? It’s easy to answer that in light of a professional photography: money plays. But none of my artwork is for sale; I’m not in it for the money. So what is to be gained from networking online? Facebook friends, Twitter and Instagram followers, and whoever reads this on WordPress -only a few of these individuals engage with me face to face. I don’t find these types of relationships to be as gratifying as real-world relationships. I hope that doesn’t offend anyone, but in terms of a healthy lifestyle, I think that physical contacts are superior. But in the instance where those superficial followers can become real-world acquaintances, I think social media can be incredibly valuable.

I wanted to see how much temperature editing I could get away with; definitely over did it.
I wanted to see how much temperature editing I could get away with; definitely over did it.

In the months leading up to my departure for Ireland, I was going through different online social mediums to find local photographers to follow. I stalked their photos and got some destinations in mind. There are plenty of photo opportunities throughout the Irish countryside and that became more apparent the more I got out and shot. But while researching, I noticed that most photographers were based somewhere and not in Galway. Then I found “Galway Pete,” whose work I fell in love with the moment I checked out his online portfolio. Maybe I’m still a newbie in terms of photography, but when I see someone’s work that I admire, I really do think, “Wow! I’d love to shoot around with this guy, see how they work, what equipment they use etc.” Again, despite how much I’ve learned online, I think there is something valuable about a hands-on approach to photography.

Watermarked_ConnemaraPS-5

For anyone not familiar with Ireland, it’s not the easiest country to get around with a limited and expensive bus system. Apparently, in the past few years, the major motorways that were constructed amount to small roads back in America. These “improvements” don’t really do much in terms of increasing accessibility, but I guess they reduce the time between major urban areas, which are basically Dublin, Galway, and Cork. So finding a local “fixer” was a priority upon arriving here. After some re-tweeting, liking, and generic Twitter conversations, I had contacted Peter and set a date to go out and shoot Connemara. It might strike Americans as odd at how easy and familiar that process seems. But Ireland is such a small country that people really are who they say they are. That “have your guard up” mentality is quite unnecessary here; I guess it’s because communities are so tightly knit.

I didn't truly know what macro photography was until I got a chance to use Peter's 100mm macro lens!
I didn’t truly know what macro photography was until I got a chance to use Peter’s 100mm macro lens!

We headed out of Galway into some pretty relentless rain. There are many attitudes that photographers can have when they interact. In some circles, unfortunately, I detect a lot of condescension, probably due to competition. But Peter was really comfortable with how he shot and was completely open to sharing his opinions on equipment, techniques, and his general philosophy when it comes to photography. I think it’s the last part that comes through in a face-to-face relationship. Sure, online you can view someone’s portfolio, and I guess ultimately, this is what matters if you want pictures. But it’d be pretty miserable if a bride’s wedding photographer was a jerk and ruined her day.

The money shot from the day. I knew these were the exact edits I wanted as I snapped away.
The money shot from the day. I knew these were the exact edits I wanted as I snapped away.

I really got the best of both worlds: great photographer and Irishman. Having a local show you around is something I’ve recently learned to treasure after some extensive traveling. I’ve been reading up on art and photography and relationships are what the more keen artists denote as important in their process. Two pieces of advice that Peter shared with me, (and I hope he doesn’t mind me repeating!) really stuck out to me. The first was to never shoot what another photographer dictates as the right way. His wording didn’t really make this tip as much of an absolute that I am making it out to be. But if you’re motivated by someone else’s mindset, or anything other than your own internal drive, then are you really an artist? This is definitely different from motivation or a passive type of influence. But it brings me to his second point: amateurs have the potential to create better work than the pros. I thought this was an interesting tidbit, just because so many people incorrectly assume that the most expensive equipment, which presumably pros have better access to with their photo-related income, churn out the best shots. The relationships that many pros make are, well, professional. And that basically means the motivation is profession driven –ahem, money. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. But it’s definitely in this category of online, virtual, and financial.

Watermarked_ConnemaraPS-13

Despite the poor weather, I think Peter and I got a few good shots. I went a little crazy with the edits, just because Connemara itself is a really wild landscape. I want to give a huge (virtual) thank you to Peter for the nearly perfect day! Be sure to check out his website and to follow him on Twitter! If your work is great, you’re bound to get a re-tweet at the very least.

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10 thoughts on “Shooting Connemara with Peter Skelton

    Maria Matthews said:
    05/05/2014 at 5:46 pm

    I read your post with interest. It often amazes me the way people/visitors see Ireland and Irish people while they are staying here. The best shot I saw on your post? The macro shot, I too know little about macro and the result was beautiful. Hope you had a great stay in Connemara, but all of the west coast is amazing from tip to tail.

      Jack Viere responded:
      05/05/2014 at 5:49 pm

      I think the other shots were heavily edited to make up for the weather. Anyone that doesn’t get to see Connemara might think they’re better than the macro but I do think in terms of what was captured in-camera, the best was definitely the macro shot! Thanks a lot for stopping by and commenting!

    Leya said:
    05/05/2014 at 10:09 pm

    I like the colours here, and the landscapes most. I’d love to visit Ireland . but so far I haven’t managed to…

      Jack Viere responded:
      05/05/2014 at 10:12 pm

      It’s pricey in some parts just because of the USD to Euro conversion rate. But Galway is really beautiful to visit, despite the rain, I’d say any time is great to visit the country!

        Leya said:
        05/05/2014 at 10:14 pm

        I guess the rain is what makes this island so lush and beautiful – so we have to accept the facts!

        Jack Viere responded:
        05/05/2014 at 10:17 pm

        Yea well I think in the warmer months it certainly has brought out some vibrancy. But you can get a lot of colors other than green depending on the temperature in the winter.

    Chasing Butterflies: Sunshine and freedom said:
    06/05/2014 at 10:50 am

    Amazing post. So well written and such complimentary photos. I especially love the fifth photo, so dramatic! Great shot and edit!

      Jack Viere responded:
      06/05/2014 at 10:53 am

      Thanks! Every time I look at RAW files from Connemara, I always go straight for the clarity slider in Lightroom…

    dorothychiotti said:
    06/05/2014 at 1:14 pm

    I love Ireland. Beautiful shots. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

      Jack Viere responded:
      06/05/2014 at 1:15 pm

      Thanks for stopping by and following!

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