Orense, Spain by Conánn FitzPatrick

Heading home

After a much needed break from work and life back at home it was time to go home. While giving Estrella some time to say Adios to her Familia, I took another opportunity to wander around the train station and get a few more pix. 

Just back from a few amazing days in Orense, Spain. 

Kids & the Sigma 50mm F/1.4 DG HSM EX lens by Conánn FitzPatrick

Seven. For me this is about the time you want to let your kids know that they have complete control over how they look in photos. They can always feel awkward, shy, uncomfortable, But they can make it look they way they want. Confidence is an illusion. 

On another point purely technical and photographic. I have a love/hate relationship with this Sigma 50mm F/1.4 DG HSM EX lens. There are times when I take photos and I hate how horribly out of focus it is. It front focuses by more than my canon 6D can correct for and the results are terrible. That said if I do the right thing and take my time. I can't imagine a better lens for taking portraits. Switch to manual focus, rock back and forward a few centimetres, until the eye highlights are in focus and it's perfect in every way. At F/1.4 there is lots of colour shift but the results are completely pleasing. 

Wandering around Dublin at the end of summer. by Conánn FitzPatrick

Never to be accused of being last minute about anything. I was back home in Dublin in August waiting on my passport which I needed to travel to Spain the next day. These images are all from Grafton Street. Wandering around town (Dublin City Centre) or anywhere, for that matter, with a camera is great fun. Especially with digital, though the urge to look at the screen can end with a punch if you are trying to sneak a pic of a rough looking character, chiefly fat bankers. One of the only things I don't like about street photography is that it has a name. 

Three generations of men

The sight of three generations of males in the window of a coffee shop runs in sharp contrast to the Dublin of thirty years ago where this scene would have taken place in the dark corner of the pub. Pints, shorts, peanuts, crisps and lemonade. Definitely seemed like a whole load more fun back then. While the three of them were definitely together, there was no eye contact or conversation between them. What hadn't changed was, they were not going shopping. 

Primitives and people

There is a school of thought in photography that an image should not be cropped. Yeah OK, it is nice to see and capture an event in all it's purity, but there are also times when you feel something and click. Later when reviewing the images it isn't there. That familiar feeling of emptiness and head scratching as you realise they are all crap and you are unfortunately insane and imagined the whole thing. I like to go back over sequences that are a few months old, when my memories of the scene have faded. Quite often that feeling pops up again. Imperfect, poorly framed or exposed. Or in my case, often quite small in the frame. I spent most of the 80's and early 90's walking about with a telephoto lens, which seems to have had a long term effect on my sense of scene.

Get your hands off my coffee

The second and third images here from M&S coffee shop on Grafton street were both feelings that there was something there that was interesting. On review months later the graphic composition of the light and the silhouettes of the people was so obvious in the first image, but quite small in frame. Latter was tilted and poorly exposed. I remembered at the time that the guy's face was lit in a very interesting way but the reflected arm on the coffee was luck. Cropping, recomposing and exposing the images gave them new life and restored that feeling that there was something interesting when I was walking down the street. Something that I like. 

Character on Grafton Street 

Dublin has real character all the time. It is and feels like a cosmopolis. While it is far removed from the place I grew up, it still has an energy that is unlike anywhere else in the world. Also, luckily for me, mine was the last passport handed out on that day and we were in Orense the following evening for a well deserved break.

Scissor cuts only 

Fun in Malin Head by Conánn FitzPatrick

Halloween weekend we all headed up to Malin Head for a little sight seeing and a few laughs. We had a visitor over from Spain and thought it would be a good idea to show off a little of the country. Though explaining how we were going to drive head north out of the North to the most northerly part of the south without entering into an odd history of politics was difficult.

The sun was out and Banba's Crown looked beautiful, but this is the most northerly part of the island and the wind was baltic. Standing straight was difficult enough, but then I thought it would be good for the girls and I to play a little game. It goes something like this. Stand facing the wind. Bare your teeth as far as you can while facing into the freezing cold wind. First to flinch loses. 

Heyzus, the pain was unbelievable. We felt like our teeth were going to shatter as our heads were squeezed with the pain. That combined with the near suffocation as our breath was blown from our lungs. Good crack as we say. We laughed hard and I was impressed with the girls for being such good sports. 

The abandoned buildings are more interesting than the view when you are a kid. Especially when it is freezing cold outside and you have refused to wear your sensible school coat. 

There is a one eyed teddybear above the Monster logo. 

Thanks to Estrella for taking the pictures of the kids and I. 

A grand day out by Conánn FitzPatrick

The thought of going on a road trip with your seven year old kid, where there is just the two of you is amazing. No distractions. Lots of chat and an vain attempt at getting lost on this very small Island. Ended up visiting the folks. 

Art Happening – Belfast School of Art by Conánn FitzPatrick

Great thing about working in Ulster University's Belfast School of art is there is aways something interesting going on.

Around Belfast by Conánn FitzPatrick



Each group must design and produce a visual presentation based on the lecture series.

The visual presentation can be realized in a number of ways:

  • A book
  • A film
  • A poster, or series of posters
  • A wall display
  • A t-shirt collection
  • A website
  • A projection
  • Sculpture
  • Installation
  • Performance
  • A combination of any of the above... Etc.

The content can also be shaped in a variety of ways:

  • Covers it all
  • Focus on a specific movement
  • A specific aspect e.g. type, print publications etc.
  • A series of pertinent quotes
  • Key designers... Etc.

We would ask you to be creative, innovative and considered in your approach to this task. You must develop a strong rationale for you project and justify you choices regarding format, content, presentation delivery etc.

You should also consider your audience, who is your project for?

  • Children: what age? Where? Museum, school, indoors/outdoors? etc.
  • Prospective Viscom students: school, HE? Where? Web? Large-scale projection on school building etc.
  • Arts Centre/theatre: sculptural, posters, performance?
  • The general public: shopping Centre, City Hall, public park etc. flash mob?

Our advice is to spend as much time as you can planning and re-planning your idea. Keep it simple, design it well and take great care in the production.

You will be expected to present weekly updates on your project’s progress and you will be asked to formally pitch your idea to your peers by week 7.

No More Managers. Everyone Leads by Conánn FitzPatrick

An engineering researcher was clairvoyant when he said in 1994 that subordinates often make the best leaders:

Often with small groups, it is not the manager who emerges as the leader. In many cases it is a subordinate member with specific talents who leads the group in a certain direction.

Leaders must let vision, strategies, goals, and values be the guide-post for action and behavior, rather than attempting to control others.

Daniel F. Predpall

Teamwork Ground Rules by Conánn FitzPatrick

Good advice from Kristof Kovacs

There's only three things:

  • ASK: If a task is not clear, or more information is needed, please ask as soon as possible. Asking is always ok. Doing the wrong thing (or doing nothing) because you didn't ask is not ok.
  • DEBRIEF: It's not done until you reported it done. This is often just a one-sentence email to me or to the client, sometimes a "100%" mark in the task list, or a ticket closed. It is done, completed or fixed only when whoever needed it done knows about it.
  • WARN: If a deadline you know is important will likely be missed, warn me soon, as the situation is evolving, and then we can usually figure something out. If I have to learn at the moment of the deadline that it was missed, that's not ok. (In multi-boss situations that occur frequently in matrix organisations, or if you're a freelancer, also warn me if your workload is above what you can actually do, instead of not doing certain tasks.)