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Master of Photography on Sky Arts

Master of Photography on Sky Arts

For the past two years on Sky Arts, the Master of Photography series has run in association Leica cameras. Last year there was an Irish interest in the series with Molly Keane involved. It is a very good show if you are interested in photography. I have another blog, a photography blog which I update with my shots. I would have loved to been involved in series 2 of Master of Photography, so that’s why I entered. 

I decided to apply for Master of Photography again this year. Last year I applied but I felt my shots lacked any punch – as they were all landscapes. One of the questions a judge on the show posed was, “so what?”. Therefore, when you take a photo you should ask “so what?”. Does it engage the viewer and does it tell a story? I am hoping my submission this year is a bit more effective.

As I watched series 2 of the program I had ideas of my own of what could be shot etc. I felt that watching series three of Master of Photography without even trying to enter would be very “sure, what’s the point”. There is a good saying “you miss every shot you don’t take” – similar to “if you’re not in, you can’t win”.

So who knows, if the judges like my submissions they may decide to include in in series three of Master of Photography. Only time will tell…


Update – Jan 2018

Unfortunately, I got the “Thanks but no thanks” email back. Maybe next year! I know for a fact that my shot selection was my main issue and I have lots of lovely pictures but few of the style they look for, So perhaps I need to push myself further in this regard, and do more street and studio work! I know there are certain things which I need to work on – so perhaps series 4 of the competition might be a runner.

Update to my photo blog

Update to my photo blog

I have been running a photo blog since 2010 on .Over the past 3 years, I have not given it as much attention as I did at the start. With this in mind, I have just redesigned the whole layout of the site.

New Photo Blog additions

Firstly the homepage is a full-screen photo. This is important to show off my photos. For years I hated the fact that the photos were not as big as they could be. The front page also scrolls to give more information about the photo blog and my photography.

The blog pages are a bit nicer to read now. I stripped out a lot of widgets which added little to the user experience. The next step for the blog pages is to increase the content. I hope to have a weekly post now for this photoblog section.

The Instagram section is back up and running. A previous plugin stopped working and no longer displayed my @shanesphoto Instagram feed. Not it looks a lot better and pulls live images from my Instagram.

Photo Blog Design Challenges

One of the problems I had when I first redesigned the site was the size. Google rated it as zero on the mobile-friendly grader. There were far too many requests and the images were too large.

By adding some caching software, minifying plugins and an image optimiser the site was suddenly rated a lot better. It is now at an acceptable rating on Google but some extra tweaks in September should see it improve further.

Future Improvements

I hope to add a new gallery and some other features to further enhance the site. I have a lot of photos not uploaded so there’s plenty of content to come. The site has done very well for me in the last year and in October 2018, Shane McDonald Photography blog won a Silver Blog Award at the Blog Awards Ireland which were held in Dublin on 25th October 2018. I hope to add some new posts to the website very soon, as I recently did some food photography for Arcane chocolates in Dublin who make some of the Best Irish Chocolates.

If you wish to view the new photography site it is at


Flashback – Feile 92 Recovered Photos

Flashback – Feile 92 Recovered Photos

Feile 92 Photos

In 1992 I was at the Feile ’92 festuval in Thurles after I won a competition on 98FM. I recently found a collection of old photos which were taken with a Fuji disposable camera which I bought at the festuval. The camera was very poor, as you would expect from a disposable camera from 24 years ago. Some great memories of staying in the tented community at the racetrack, seeing bands like Extreme and experiencing Christy Moore during a rain storm.

Below is a select gallery of images from that festival weekend. If you spot yourself please leave a comment !

My memories of Feile are certainly varied. The weather was showery and I recall it lashing down as Christy Moore went on. I also recall many drunk people at the festival, at one point I thought I was walking on a riser but it was a drunk person under my foot – frightening. Extreme were amazing and I recall the discoball-like outfits of Shakespear Sister. I also remember, as the photo proves, the “Peig” notice on the big screen. There was also the countdown to Bryan Adams arrival on stage.

The recent TG4 programme about Feile in which Feile 92 was mentioned, discussed many of these memories. You might also have seen my name on the credits as the images on this page were to be used, but the programme length was cut shorter than was originally planned.

If you have any memories or photos please feel free to leave a comment about Feile or specifically Feile 92.


About Féile ’92

Féile ’92 was a music festival held in Thurles, Co. Tipperary between 31st July and 2nd August 1992. It was actually the first big festival I was every at. The venue was in Semple Stadium in Thurles, County Tipperary, and subsequent festivals were generally a three-day festival held over the bank holiday weekend in early August, however after 1996 it became a one day event before dying out until it’s revival in 2018.

At the 1992 festival the acts included The Wonder Stuff, James, The Beautiful South, Carter USM, Primal Scream, The Sultans Of Ping FC, PJ Harvey, Pop Will Eat Itself Toasted Heretic, Whipping Boy, The Ambition, Simply Red, The Saw Doctors, David Byrne, Shakespears Sister (in very sparkly outfits), EMF, Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, Inspiral Carpets, Luka Bloom, A House, Therapy?, The Pale,Black 47, Forget-Me-Nots, Bryan Adams, Christy Moore (in the lashing rain), Extreme, The Stunning, The 4 of Us, Buddy Guy, Del Amitri, Sharon Shannon, Les Négresses Vertes, Kirsty MacColl, and Big Geraniums.

First Use of the Lee Filters system

First Use of the Lee Filters system

Over the past 7 or 8 years, I have experimented with using filters. I started off using very cheap ones I got online for under £10. Those were really rubbish but I could see the potential.

I then upgraded to brand name filters, I won’t name the company as those filters resulted in soft photos and a colour cast on some occasions. They worked to an extent but you could not rely on them.

For those who don’t know, filters block a certain amount of light which means you can leave the shutter open longer. Longer shutter time means more time passes and you can get longer and longer exposures as are required. If you choose the wrong photographic filters your images may have colours or tones which are not actually there.

After doing some research on Twitter (basically asking photographers which filters they used), I found that the Lee Filters system was the one to go for. While I was in London recently I decided to take the plunge. I got the adapter ring for my 24-105 L series lens, the foundation kit holder for the Lee filters and the Lee Filters Big Stopper. The Big Stopper is a whopping 10 stops of a filter, so a 1-second exposure becomes a 16-minute exposure using the Big Stopper.

In the past 24 hours I have tried out the filters and they work really well as you can see yourself below. I hope to post more photos using these filters on my photo website at and on my Instagram account

Sample Photo using Lee Filters

Photo of Waterford using Lee Filters

Social Media & Photography Blog & Photo Sharing

Social Media & Photography Blog & Photo Sharing

Photo Sharing on Social Media

As you may know, I have a photography blog at Photo sharing is important to me so I also share a lot of this photography content online via Instagram, Twitter, Flickr, Facebook and only recently the site at 500px which I have been slightly addicted to. I have just posted my Photography Year in Review and look forward to more of the same in 2013.

I really enjoy sharing photography and images online either on the specialise photography sharing sites or social media. It is nice to get feedback from the photo sharing by visitors who either compliment or provide constructive criticism. I have often posted photos on social media which I thought were poor or average photos which the public have loved. Often the photos you have taken which you may not like, those might be the ones the public really like. That’s one benefit of the social media photo sharing. Another key benefit of having a photography account on social media is seeing other photographers work. Being inspired by other content or getting ideas is always a benefit.

My Photography Social Media Accounts

If you wish to follow any of these photography & photo sharing channels which I have outlined below via the social media and social sharing links below.

Shane McDonald Photoblog:
Shane’s Photography on Twitter: @shanesphoto
Shane McDonald Photography on Instagram: @shanesphoto
Shane’s Photography on Facebook:
Shane’s Photography on Flickr:
Shane’s Photography on 500px :

If you do follow my photography on any of the above please drop me a note and let me know that you saw this post. I will also do my best to ensure I follow back any related accounts.


Photo of Ghostly Pair of Legs – Is this a Photo of a Ghost ?

Photo of Ghostly Pair of Legs – Is this a Photo of a Ghost ?

In the past 3 days I have being getting a lot of traffic from a site called ( and their reference to a ghostly pair of legs which I took a ghostly photo of in Prague about 10 years ago. (see ghost photo above)

I decided to go onto the site and have a read about what was being discussed. Most people seem to think the photo was a long exposure however the camera I had at the time was a ultra basic Olympus which not capable of any advanced photography. Also, I went into the histogram and saw that the setting was 1/2 s not really the circumstances for a long exposure for faking a ghost photo. Could this be a photo of a ghost?

The Arguments – is it a Photo of a Ghost or a Fake / Long Exposure?

  • One person commented it was  a fake created through long exposure – I don’t think 1/2 s is long enough for this, also no deliberate attempt was made to attempt to deceive people or try to create a fake photo of a ghost.( I was simply there taking a photo of my friend coming down the steps.)
  • One person said it is somebody running – how can you run with stiff legs?
  • One person said you would not notice if others were around – the area in question was enclosed and guards were locking-down for the evening (castle gates closed at 10:30pm and the guards would not let us in, which is why we had to take out photos here), plus after the photo was taken and we actually saw the ghostly legs on the camera’s digital view-screen we checked around to see if others were around. Nobody!

The strange thing was that at the time, this image was visible on the cameras digital viewfinder and we had repeated views of it that night, trying to explain what it was, well in advance of the photos being downloaded to the computer.

Do you believe in Ghosts? Do you think this is a photo of a ghost? Have you ever taken something strange like this?…

It remains one of the strangest photos I have ever taken.

What do you think, is this an actual Photo of a Spectre ?

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