Archive: » 2015 » July

A Weekend in Connemara

  • July 31, 2015
A Weekend in Connemara

Last weekend saw us taking a short break from the norm and spending some time in the small village of Letterfrack, Connemara for some landscape photography and of course time to ourselves.

The weather on the drive up was more than cooperative and we were lucky to have sunshine and fluffy clouds on Saturday too. By Sunday, the rain descended but that didn’t dampen our spirits as we drove home ‘the long way’ via Mayo & Longford.

Read on for a few ‘where to visit’, ‘where to stay’ and ‘where to eat’ pointers for the avid photographer, climber or traveller thinking of heading to Connemara. We’ve accompanied our post with some phone snaps taken on Milca’s Moto G 2nd Gen, whose little camera’s dynamic range took us by surprise!

Peacockes Hotel, Galway



Our first stop, to relieve and replenish was for a quick coffee at the Peacockes Hotel (Click for Website) in Maam, Galway, where we watched a few scenes of ‘The Quiet Man’ by a turf fire.






Once we arrived at Letterfrack, we were of course too early to check into the hostel, so we drove on past it and on to Renvyle. Before we go any further, let us just say, Letterfrack Lodge (Click for Website) is the only place to stay in Connemara. The rooms are spacious, the beds are comfortable and the term ‘hostel’ is quite misguiding. We had a big room, all to ourselves, with a double and single bed and a good-sized bathroom with lovely soft white fluffy towels. Everything was very clean and comfy. You have the use of the kitchen upstairs to make your own meals/packed lunches and plenty of dining/chill space for all.

The Lodge Restaurant (Click for Facebook Page) has simply got to get a mention when it comes to food and drink.

Half a KiloAndy ate a half a kilo of fresh, local prawns, while Milca decided that an entire gourmet pizza was in order. Andy also ate all the fresh, homemade brown bread that was offered to us whilst we were waiting on our food, then also ate the second round that was brought when he’d ploughed through the first. Fresh air certainly builds an appetite! The food and service were absolutely top class, what you would expect from a posh, over-priced restaurant, but with affordable prices and plenty of banter. “Eins, zwei, drei, vier… Ich habe keine ahnung” (from a flustered German waitress counting glasses for a large table) and “Alan is also on the menu” (from our own zealous waiter, about “Alan with the zero hair”, as he was described by some French ladies by the bar) remain the quotes of the weekend. Generous glasses of wine were served from the bar and guests are welcome to bring their own bevvies and join in with the craic.

We highly recommend phoning Mike and the crew directly to book: 00353(0)9541222 or sending Mike an email!


Now, after that rave review, back to the journey – less text, we promise:

Whilst waiting for check-in time to arrive, we used the time to do a littleCulfin, Co. Galway exploration along the coast, parking at Renvyle beach to tuck into a packed lunch and then further along the shores of the West of Ireland, stopping just short of Glassilaun Beach for some rock hopping and sight seeing.

Derryclare Lough, Pine IslandWe made our way to Derryclare Lough to recce the iconic Pine Island as a possible location for sunset, should the weather cooperate and then returned there in the evening. Milca spent more time wandering along the little paths, neck high in bracken, than she did taking photos and was rewarded with a glimpse of some true Connemara wildlife… A sheep on the other side of the island…

After a comfortable, restful sleep, on the advice of ‘Alan’, we got up early and headed for Diamond Hill – Milca’s first hill climb. It’s only a wee one, standing at 442 m (1,450 ft), but Andy reluctantly agreed to call it a mountain.

Below are some photos from the walk (click the images to enter the gallery or enlarge them), including one showing just how good the Moto G 2nd Gen is at taking pictures… It looks out of focus, but look closer!!

Diamond Hill The Peak of Diamond Hill My Phone is So Good Mandatory Selfie Atop Diamond Hill The View from Diamond Hill Diamond Hill Route Map





















UnimpressedHere we see a very happy Andy, in his waders, on the rocks along the middle of the path carved out by the Bunowen river. We were driving across a bridge along the N59 towards Killary Harbour and Leenaun when we saw it and of course had to turn back and park in the week quarry area and make our way across the road to the series of falls. We were back this way again on the Sunday after the heavy rainfall on Saturday night and the difference was astonishing, the river was inaccessible and flowing hard and fast!

The Sunday Drive… Saturday was a wild night, weather-wise, Sunday didn’t improve. There was plenty of rain as we headed North towards Leenaun, where we picked up some souvenirs and ended up with matching caps…

Doo LoughBrave Andy


We stopped at Doo Lough in Mayo, another iconic scene, which Andy braved in the rain to take a few photos of, whilst Milca sat in the car sipping coffee from a flask and getting creative with the raindrops on the van window.






Last LookFinally, a shot from the van, looking in the rear-view mirror at the last of the hills before we moved to a more gently undulating landscape on the way home.

We hope you’ve made it to the end of this post, if you have, well done. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you visit our Facebook pages (Andy‘s and Milca‘s), you will find finished photographs from our trip to Connemara. These are of course for sale, so don’t hesitate to ask!

FREE Polaroid Collage Template

  • July 18, 2015
FREE Polaroid Collage Template

Before you download, remember – Sharing is caring!

Free Polaroid Collage Template Example

Welcome to the first of MIAN Photography & Training’s FREE downloads. In the coming months, we hope to offer you tutorials, free overlays and composite elements as well as templates for collages and more. Any of our freebies are no-strings-attached, but we would appreciate it if you could share the link this page via any of the social media buttons below.

Just for you, here’s a Polaroid collage template, ideal for adding something a little extra to an image. It gives the illusion of being broken up into different pieces, though what it actually is, is a series of Polaroid frame shapes overlayed onto one image.

Your free download is 4500 x 3000 pixels. Follow these steps to download:

  • Click ‘Free Polaroid Template’ below
  • Enter the password (mian1)
  • Click ‘Download’ and then ‘Save’
  • Locate the file that you just downloaded, right click it and click ‘Extract All’ to unzip the file.
  • Right-click the file and choose ‘Scan’ with your antivirus provider such as AVG (always do this with ANY downloads from the internet!)
  • Now you can open the PSD file in Photoshop
  • Click the bottom layer, titled ‘Place Your Image Here’, then click ‘File’ and ‘Place’. Locate the photo you wish to use with the template and insert it.
  • Now you can resize, rotate etc. to suit, using the transform tool (shortcut Ctrl & T)





Feel free to share on social media and of course, keep an eye on the website or on our Facebook page for more freebies!

IPF Nature Group Macro Workshop

  • July 17, 2015
IPF Nature Group Macro Workshop

We recently visited members of the IPF Nature Group in Palmerstown to demonstrate Macro & Focus Stacking techniques.

The night before, our kitchen was filled with bugs (thanks to the moss we extracted from the forest floor) as we made little mini studio setups for our attendees to use to photograph the bugs and flowers.

(Quick Tip – These are so easy to make! Get some cake board, a small 8″ square will do, then a block of oasis, cut in half and glue to the cake board – pop some moss on the top, you can fix this in place with some bamboo skewers like we did. Now all you need are some props such as flowers, plants, twigs, ivy etc. to create your scene. Great rainy day indoor project!).

Here are our 8 sitting ready to be transported:

Mini Macro Studios







The ‘Pringles Tube Flash Thing’ was a big hit and we decided to throw everyone’s names into a hat and pull out a winner so that at least someone could take it home and wouldn’t have to resort to eating an entire tube of Pringles in order to make their own. To the rest of you and to those on diets, we apologise…

We would like to thank all of the IPF delegates who attended. We certainly had fun and we hope that everyone came away having learned something new and enjoyed their experience. Looking forward to future workshops with the IPF Nature Group and will keep you all posted here!

Here are some images by Martin Devlin: