Darren McLoughlin

Irishman and International travel photographer in search of the best bits of Ireland. Leading photography tours and experiences in Ireland.

Contributor to New York Times / Sunday Times / Irish Times / Echtra Echtra and Eonmusic

Cancer survivor.

Ask me about travel in Ireland or about photography in Ireland.

Sunday, 17 September 2023 00:46

Reds and Rocks in Donegal, Ireland

Ireland's fine scenery, as in a recent post looks as good in grey and cloudy weather as in sunshine and blue skies.

A case in point, here in the northwest, in County Donegal this landscape of granite mountains covered in a soft, boggy carpet with just delicate highlights and shadows across the empty scene.

This, a glaciated valley features steep sides hundreds of metres in height.

Join me, Panoramic Ireland, to photograph landscapes like these.

Saturday, 16 September 2023 01:10

Scenic Ireland, Even on a Grey Day - Donegal

I often get asked about photography and visiting Ireland, one of the most common questions is "What is there to photograph when the weather isn't good?"

Well even in summer, like here in this image, the weather can be grey and often rainy but it's still scenic.

And yet it is how Ireland often is, not the bright sunshine and blue sky of typical postcard images. The landscape is sympathtic to the soft weather of an Irish day.

There's a poetry to the landscape in such conditions as here in Donegal and although I typically head for woodlands in grey weather, I do still enjoy photographing the open landscape with the distant grey of mountains melding in with the grey of the sky.

Join Panoramic Ireland to photograph in the Irish landscape throughout the year.

Wednesday, 23 August 2023 20:49

October in Ireland

Are you visiting Ireland out of season? While most head to the Emerald Isle during the longer days of summer when temperatures are higher, the autumn, winter and spring offer much more interest photographically.

Recently I was asked what Ireland is like in October, is it worth coming to for photography and of course my answer was indeed it is worth visiting in October.

Here are some of my favourite images from Octobers over the years, a small selection but waterfalls and woodlands make up a lot of the locations.

Tuesday, 08 August 2023 22:31

National Heritage Week, Ireland 2023

National Heritage Week, Ireland: 12/08/2023 - 20/08/2023

National Heritage Week runs from 12th-20th August 2023 and sees events in every county in Ireland. This year’s theme is exploring the traditions and practices, knowledge, and skills passed down through generations.

Here are some of Panoramic Ireland’s picks for the week:

ECO Inishowen: Celebrating locals involved in sustainability as well as the natural heritage of Inishowen

Date & Time: 17 August, 12:30pm - 2:30pm

Location: Colgan Hall, Carndonagh, Chapel St, Gort Glebe, Carndonagh, Co. Donegal


Bat Talk in Roscommon Castle: Join ecologist David Fallon to learn about the bats living in Roscommon Castle and use a bat detector.

Date & Time: 12 August, 9pm - 10pm

Location: Roscommon Castle, Loughnaneane Park, Roscommon Town Centre, Co. Roscommon


Featuring storytelling from Wex Walks, traditional music by Craobh Loch Garman Comhaltas, face painting, falconry display from the Irish National Heritage Park, and traditional jewellery making by Irish goldsmith Christina Keogh.

Date & Time: 12 August, 1pm - 5pm

Location: Westgate Park, Abbey Street, Wexford, Co. Wexford


Nano Nagle Place Markets: At Cork’s impressive Nano Nagle Place, winner of the Council of Europe’s Museum Prize in 2022, local craftspeople sell and discuss their creations.

Date & Time: 12 - 13 August, 11am - 4pm

Location: Nano Nagle Place, South Presentation Centre Ltd, Douglas Street, Cork City


Whale Watch Ireland 2023: All-Ireland Whale Watch Day. Join the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group to learn more about cetaceans and hopefully spot some off the coast between Ireland and Scotland.

Date & Time: 19 August, 2pm - 4pm

Location: Meeting at RSPB West Light Seabird Centre, Rathlin Island, Co. Antrim

Also On: 19 August, 2pm - 4pm at Car park at Portmuck, Island Magee, Co. Antrim


Carpentry and Joinery: Join Carpenter Martin Wilson, deeply knowledgeable in traditional building and restoration techniques, to explore the tools and methods integral to joinery.

Date & Time: 18 August, 6pm - 8pm

Location: Martin Wilson Workshop, Crockacullion, Beltra, F91 PY83, Co. Sligo


Fort to Fort: Venture with local historian Una Walsh as she takes you through the scenic path between Corliss and Lisleitrim, two noteworthy raths situated in the picturesque, hilly landscapes of South Armagh.

Date & Time: 12 August, 4pm - 6pm

Location: Corliss Fort, Corliss, Crossmaglen, BT35 9AY, Co. Armagh


Clonmel in the Middle Ages: Archaeologist with Ireland’s National Monuments Service, Jean Farrelly, will give a talk on the history of Tipperary’s largest town.

Date & Time: 16 August, 6pm - 7pm

Location: Emmet Street, Clonmel, E91 YW66, Co. Tipperary


Walled Garden at Strokestown Park House Visitor Centre: During Heritage Week, the volunteer gardeners will give advice and show how the gardens are cultivated today compared with 300 years ago.

Date & Time: 14 - 17 August, 12pm - 4pm

Location: Strokestown Park House Visitor Centre, Strokestown Park House, Co. Roscommon


Poetry by the Barrow: Barrow Bards are entertaining on the theme of Water Heritage Day and Town of Books Festival with poetry celebrating the Barrow and Duiske rivers, their importance to the local area.

Date & Time: 20 August, 3:30pm - 4:30pm

Location: Duiske Inn (outside), Main Street, Graignamanagh, Co Kilkenny, R95 DH00


River Barrow Safari: Also on in Graignamanagh is a walk and talk with well-known broadcaster and biologist Éanna Ní Lamhna

Date & Time: 20 August, 2:15pm - 3:15pm

Location: Outdoor Activity Hub, The Docks Graignamanagh, Co Kilkenny, R95 EKN5


The Fair of Muff: An ancient horse fair held annually in August. The Fair of Muff has plenty of traditional activities and characters in the rural County Cavan townland - not to be confused with the Muff in Donegal. Will you be heading for Muff this weekend?

Date & Time: 12 August, 9am - 6pm

Location: Muff Cross, Kingscourt, Co. Cavan

It’s coming up to Electric Picnic time again. Ireland’s largest music festival is set to return to Stradbally from the 1st to 3rd of September 2023 with a big line up featuring Billie Eilish, The Killers, Paolo Nutini, Niall Horan, The Wolfe Tones and Rick Astley among others.

All tickets are sold out but you can still get to head to EP2023. 

Every year for the past 13 years Electric Picnic have run the Tour de Picnic, a charity cycle that gives you, and others like you who have missed out on tickets, the opportunity to fundraise for good causes and challenge yourself.

Entry is still open for the Tour de Picnic but you need to be quick as the cut off date for fundraising is the 18th of August.

This year you can partake in an 80km cycle or, for those of us lucky enough not to have shin splints, a 17km run.

The charities supported in 2023 are Children's Health Foundation, ISPCC, and Jack and Jill Children's Foundation.

Each participant will need to raise €450 and in return will receive a three-day ticket to Electric Picnic that includes camping.

All the information is up on the website at: https://www.tourdepicnic.ie/faqs-info

 

There's no need to sprint like Mark Cavendish
There's no need to sprint like Mark Cavendish

 

But before you go rushing out to just sponsor yourself €450, you do need to actually partake in and complete the Tour de Picnic before you get your ticket.

Get stretching and good luck!

 

Ireland is not short of fantastic coastlines and of course as an Irish landscape photographer seascapes make up an important part of my collecton.

It should come as no surprise too that for the workshops and tours that I organise throughout Ireland, I recommend the coast often and get asked about the coast.

Here, a scene from a cloudy evening. After finishing up photographing some more well-known scenes from the Irish coast we set our sights on a tranquil scene of a calm Atlantic Ocean.

This image is one of my favourites from the evening's workshop.

Join me, Panoramic Ireland, on a photography workshop to Ireland's sometimes wild and sometimes serene coast all year round.

Are you having trouble editing files from Adobe's Lightroom in Photoshop?

Normally a seamless experience, right clicking on an image and choosing Edit In > Edit in Adobe Photoshop... is easy, or quicker using the CTRL+E shortcut.

**Final Update: September 2023 - this issue has been fixed with the release of Adobe Photoshop 2024 which includes the Generative Fill commands previously only available in Photoshop Beta**

**Update Again: 17/08/2023 part Two - This bug has been addressed and partially fixed with Adobe Lightroom Classic v 12.5 that should be available now. The context menu will show "Edit in Adobe Photoshop 2024..." but now it actually does open as normal. So it's time to update Photoshop (Beta) to v 25.0 and you will have almost normal operation and the return of Generative Fill** 

Please consider a small donation to help with the costs of running this website, every little helps and goes towards creating articles on Photography, Photoshop and Ireland. Thank you.

In fact it only works to open Photoshop (Beta), if Photoshop is open it will default to the old behaviour of taking minutes to respond, tell you it can't be opened and then create a .tif file.

So if you have Photoshop open it will not work, only if both Photoshop and Photoshop Beta are closed, or if only Photoshop Beta is open, then it will work.

To say Adobe are making a right mess of this Photoshop Beta would be an understatement.

I was editing some images from Dublin, and this one of city's fine City Hall, it opened in 1779 as the Royal Exchange but functioning since 1851 the city hall. Unfortunately I ran into problems with editing the image.

If, like countless others, you are having problems with Photoshop hanging then Lightroom showing an error stating "The file could not be edited because Adobe Photoshop 2024 could not be launched.", well you are far from alone.

 

Adobe Lightroom - The file could not be edited because Adobe Photoshop 2024 could not be launched.
Adobe Lightroom - The file could not be edited because Adobe Photoshop 2024 could not be launched.

 

The solution in most cases is simple, this is a known and acknowledged bug by Adobe. 

Likely it is because you have also installed Adobe Photoshop (Beta), the newest version has an incorrect reference to Adobe Photoshop 2024 when in fact you have Adobe Photoshop 2023 installed.

This fix will work even if you are using Photoshop for external editing.

For me, on Windows 10, the error started after updating Photoshop Beta to the latest version (25.0).

CTRL+E in Lightroom, even with the official Photoshop app already open, caused the program to hang for several minutes after which Lightroom showed that error about Photoshop 2024.

 

Adobe Lightroom - The file could not be edited because Adobe Photoshop 2024 could not be launched.
Adobe Lightroom - The file could not be edited because Adobe Photoshop 2024 could not be launched.

 

After clicking OK, Photoshop did then open the image but it also instantly created a .tif version in the Lightroom filmstrip (normally when editing in Photoshop this tif wouldn't be created until you saved the file).

To fix, open Creative Cloud Desktop then go to Apps, scroll down to Beta apps and click on the three dots beside open for Photoshop (Beta)

Choose Other versions then go to the previous version, in this case I reinstalled 24.7.

 

Install version 24.7 of Photoshop (Beta) to fix Lightroom error
Install version 24.7 of Photoshop (Beta) to fix Lightroom error

 

You don't need to uninstall Photoshop (Beta) 25.0 as installing 24.7 here will uninstall the offending most recent, offending version.

Afterwards, Lightroom correctly shows the external editing in Photoshop to be Adobe Photoshop 2023 - Edit > Preferences... > External Editing > Photoshop Version:

 

Adobe Lightroom External Editor now shows Adobe Photoshop 2023
Adobe Lightroom External Editor now shows Adobe Photoshop 2023

 

Normality resumes, with Edit in Photoshop 2023 bringing the file instantly into Photoshop and loading it as a .CR2 file and only saving it when choosing to save.

I have read elsewhere of people uninstalling Lightroom and Photoshop but the simple fix is to try this first.

It's a big problem, and just one of a number recently introduced since Adobe launched Photoshop (Beta), so if you don't want to attempt this fix an update will be released sooner rather than later.

Kildare Town

I visited Kildare Town recently and the grounds of Saint Brigid’s Cathedral and round tower. See more about one of Ireland’s three patron saints, Brigid, here.

Having recently read about a visit to Kildare by a descendent of one of its most famous citizens, William ‘Squires’ Gannon.

Squires Gannon was captain of Kildare’s Gaelic Football team and won two all-Ireland finals, in 1927 against Kerry, and in 1928 against Cavan, becoming the first captain and first team to lift the GAA’s Sam Maguire Cup.

Interestingly Kerry are playing in this year’s final, aiming to retain and lift the Sam Maguire tomorrow, Sunday 30th July 2023. Kerry have won the All-Ireland 38 times, Dublin 30 times. But Kerry have won the Sam Maguire 31 times, and Dublin only 16 times.

That of course means Dublin won the All-Ireland more times before 1928. As a native of neither place but a visitor to both I will be watching the final with interest.

Saint Brigid’s Cathedral

Saint Brigid’s Cathedral is one of the finest buildings in Kildare Town, the building itself dates to 1223 but the site is much older and earlier churches would have existed here. Most of what you see though dates to the 1890s. The round tower though is older, dating to the 1100s is Ireland’s second tallest at 32 metres and is climbable, when open. The crenellations or battlements were added in the 1730s having originally been a conical hat like with most original round tower design.

Kilmacduagh in Galway is the tallest round tower in Ireland which I have visited and photographed so expect an article soon.

Anyway, I found the story of Squires Gannon to be interesting, his place in history recently commemorated by a statue in Kildare Town.

Irish singer/songwriter Sinead O'Connor has died aged 56.

The famous and controversial musician died today 26/07/2023.

Best known for her late 80s and early 90s work with songs such as Mandinka, Nothing Compares 2 U (written by Prince) she also collaborated with Bono, Peter Gabriel and Roger Waters amongst others.

I was lucky enough to have seen her performing and also to photograph her at Electric Picnic in 2014 where she delivered a powerful performance.

I don't use my mobile phone for serious photography but I do often take personal images, videos and quick overviews of landscape scenes when making long exposures for instance.

But I know that so many do use mobiles for photography, often it's their main or only camera, but the file formats being used now can pose problems for some computers and programs.

One in particular is the HEIC or HEIF format.

HEIC, or High Efficiency Image Container, is a relatively new image file format that was developed by the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG). It's also known as HEIF (High Efficiency Image Format), and HEIC is the file extension for image files stored in HEIF.

HEIC was introduced in 2015 by the MPEG. It's a part of MPEG-H Part 12 (ISO/IEC 23008-12) and was largely popularised by Apple, who started using it as the default format for photos on iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra in 2017, replacing the JPEG format.

 

Advantages of HEIC Over JPEG:

  1.  Size Efficiency: The most significant advantage of HEIC over JPG is its superior compression. HEIC images are typically half the file size of JPG images at the same quality level. This means you can store twice as many photos in the same amount of space.
  2.  Support for More Features: Unlike JPEG, the HEIC format supports 16-bit color depth, as compared to JPEG's 8-bit. This results in a wider range of colors and greater color accuracy. HEIC also supports transparency like PNGs and can store image sequences, similar to GIFs. Furthermore, it can store additional data like burst photos, live photos, or image editing settings within the same file.
  3.  Lossless Compression: HEIC also supports lossless image compression, meaning no image quality is lost when the image is compressed.

 

Disadvantages of HEIC Over JPEG:

  1.  Compatibility: Not all operating systems, applications, or devices support HEIC natively. For example, older versions of Windows or Android do not support it without additional software. However, newer versions of these platforms and many modern web browsers have begun to include native support.
  2.  Conversion Issues: Because of the lack of universal support, you may frequently need to convert HEIC images to JPEGs or other formats, which can be an additional hassle.
  3.  Processing Power: The better compression algorithms in HEIC require more processing power to encode and decode. This might result in slower performance on older hardware.

 

It's worth noting that, despite its disadvantages, the adoption of the HEIC format is growing due to its advantages, particularly in the era of high-resolution cameras and limited storage space on devices.

 

So how easy it is to make use of the images depends on your system, but using Photoshop it is easy to process and convert HEIC to JPG, TIFF or PSD; here's how using Image Processor in Adobe Photoshop:

 

Adobe Photoshop - Image Processor
Adobe Photoshop - Image Processor

 

  1. Open Photoshop 2023
  2. Click on File > Scripts > Image Processor

A window will open with lots of options, for this we simply:

 

Adobe Photoshop - Image Processor Options
Adobe Photoshop - Image Processor Options

 

  1. Choose the location of your source images, it could be files already open in Photoshop or it could be a folder, here my source images are in Q:\Photos-001 (2) and I don't want to include any sub-folders this time
  2. Choose the destination of your processed images, it could be the same location, like I have chosen or select another location on a different drive for instance
  3. Choose the output file types, here I have chosen both JPEG and TIFF but you can choose one or both as well as adding PSD output. There are some options here, JPEG Quality, Convert Profile to sRGB etc. I didn't want to resize to specific dimensions
  4. Here you can choose to run an action from your default and saved Photoshop actions, you can also add copyright information and add the ICC profile.
  5. Hit Run at the top right

That's it, Photoshop will run, process the images and create the folders such as JPEG / TIFF / PSD with those files added.

 

Adobe Photoshop - Image Processor Folders
Adobe Photoshop - Image Processor Folders

 

You now have your HEIC images converted to other formats.

Join me in 2023, 2024 and beyond to learn how to make better images in Ireland from photographing to post-processing using Photoshop.

 

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