I uploaded this photo of an adorable sleepy little baby seal to facebook yesterday, and it made quite a fuss.

It had over a hundred likes within the hour (it’s up to about 500 now!) and I was approached by “Photos of Dublin” who asked my permission to share it on twitter. I gave him the go ahead and it seems like it was quite the hit there as well, so much so that it has made it into The Independent!



A Twitter account dedicated to tweeting pictures of Dublin over the years has gained 10,000 followers on the social networking site.

The account tweets photos submitted by Twitter users. The one requirement of the pictures is that they were taken in Dublin, leading to a varied and interesting account of Dublin over the years.

Filled Under : Blog

To celebrate this season of Samhain over at #irelandART this morning I compiled a memorial I’ve nicknamed the “Feature of the Dead”. I was inspired to do this by my favourite elements of Samhain and Dia de los Muertos… But the main motivation behind the idea was to honour my friend Kathy, who died tragically ten months ago.

Everyone who has been featured deserves to be remembered, so I thought I would share the link here, since memorials are made to be seen.

#irelandART Blog – Halloween Feature and Memorial

Filled Under : Blog , Feature

In this month’s tutorial I will demonstrate how to do Psuedo HDR processing to photographs inside Adobe Lightroom 4. It is Strongly recommended that you shoot in RAW (always but especially) in any sort of Psuedo HDR scenario.

What is the difference between an HDR photograph and a Pseudo HDR photograph?

A True HDR combines multiple photographs of difference exposures to show detail in the overexposed and underexposed portions of the subject. This can be done with as few as 3 different photos, but ideally 12 or more would be used!

A Pseudo HDR is a single photograph, only one exposure, that has been processed to have an HDR like appearance. Cheating?, maybe. But the good news is, with modern day tools at our hands, Pseudo HDR images are giving us the effect we want more and more often. It’s not always possible to take an HDR… a moving subject is a perfect example. But if you shoot in RAW, and you know how to process it, you can achieve that dramatic HDR effect on any image.

Step 1: Flatten Histogram

First we recover as much detail as we can from the shadows and highlights as we can (this is when re really want to be shooting in RAW!) by turning the Highlights and Whites down to -100 and the Shadows and Blacks up to +100 While we’re at let’s turn Clarity up to +100 as well, giving us that sharp microcontrast we see in HDR images.

Step 2: Localised Adjustments

We will take this flattening further by using Lightroom 4’s Localised Adjustment Brush (keyboard shortcut K), creating a new mask with the effect “Exposure”. Exposure is a very strong tool in Lightroom when shooting RAW, and we are going to get good use out of it in this tutorial. First I set the exposure for the brush to 0.80, and I start painting over the shadows in the image, brightening them.

Then I create a new mask, set the exposure of the brush to -0.80, and paint over the highlights. I repeated this on a second highlight and shadow mask until I was happy enough with the result. When using the Localised Adjsutment Brush, it’s helpful to remember keyboard shortcuts H – to (H)ide/un(H)ide mask pins and O – to adjust mask (O)pacity (it’s easier to see where you’ve painted when it’s pink!)

Step 3: Curves

Next I adjusted the tone curves to reintoduce contrast to our now rather dull flat image. Just a basic slight S curve is all we need, for this image I settled on Hightlights +37, Lights +20, Darks -20, Shadows -22.

Step 4: Finishing the Look

And lastly I upped the Contrast right up to +100 lowered the Saturation down to -40 (so that we get nice contrast in our luminance but not the grossly overblown colours) And last but not least I added some sharpening to further the HDR look.


Left: Unedited / Middle: Pseudo HDR / Right: True HDR

Photograph is of Dublin gallery, Gallery @ No. Six, who represent Suzanne Brady and 26 other Irish Artists. The gallery is well worth a visit, and are doing a showcase on Suzanne’s work this month, definitely drop in if you’re in Dublin, the gallery is located just off Grafton Street.

Filled Under : Tutorial

The subject of this month’s tutorial is Bokeh. Bokeh is of course simply background blur, or rather the quality of the blur in out-of-focus areas. Small bright areas show up as shapes, which used wisely, creates fantastic effects on the photos. In this tutorial I will show you how you can actually change the shape of your bokeh by creating your own bokeh filter using basic household items you probably have in the room with you right now!

Without a filter, the shape of your bokeh is determined by two things; your aperture, and how many blades the diaphragm in your lens has. This varies from lens to lens, specifically how many blades your lens’ diaphragm has. At wide apertures the bokeh will be circular, and at narrower apertures simple polygonal shapes.

To change this, all we have to do is make a cover of some description that can fit over the opening of the lens, forcing the lens to make it’s exposure through the shape of our choice:

daniel geesen custom bokeh

Equipment needed: A camera A piece of card or very thick, dark card stock A pen, pencil, or marker A razor knife or other such cutting apparatus

diy bokeh filter

Step 1: Trace a circle around your lens.

homemade bokeh filter

Step 2: Draw and cut out your desired shape!

create your own bokeh filter

Step 3: Tape the filter onto your lens!

With the heart-shaped bokeh filter created in this tutorial.

Without the bokeh filter.

There you have it, quick, simple, and easy! I’m not saying this will improve your photos, and I’m certainly not suggesting these custom bokeh shapes are a superior bokeh. In fact, out of the two example photos above I actually prefer the one without the filter I made for this tutorial. The reason for that being that the aperture of the heart filter was small enough to effectively narrow my depth-of-field, bringing the background into more focus than I liked.

What I do hope came across to anyone who hasn’t tried this technique, is that you can use this method to add another dimension of creativity into your photography, that there are endless possibilities for where, when, how and why you might apply your own custom shapes to this process, and at the very least there is some craic to be had!

Filled Under : Uncategorized

Local biweekly news publication Skerries News chose me for their current installment of “Behind the Lensskerries photographers in the frame“!

I’m delighted for the feature, and can’t thank the editors enough! It’s brilliant to join the ranks of fellow Skerries photographers Ian Murphy and Ian Richter, the only other two photographers to be ran in Skerries News’ “Behind the Lens” series so far!

The headline reads “A keen sense of place and an eye for the otherwordly” David Diebold has a way with words and did a great job on the article.

Skerries News Article

Daniel Geesen’s two page spread in Skerries News

The sneak-peak photograph on the right and the headline are all I will share for now, since the issue is still current and for sell in Skerries stores. So if you want to see and hear more you’ll just have to go pick up a copy!

Thanks for the honour.

Filled Under : Press

If you’re new to photography, you might be wondering what ISO is, and what difference it makes to your photos.

ISO numbers are a gauge of film or sensor sensitivity. The higher the number, the more sensitive your camera’s digital sensor is to light. This can be useful if you are shooting a moving subject, or shooting handheld. However, those high ISO numbers come with a high cost… the higher ISO you use, the more noise (digital) or grain (film) your photo will have. Yuck!

Here is a demonstration of what effect your ISO choice will have on your photo:

Here is a 1:1 full pixel crop so you can see the noise caused by high ISO more clearly.

These images were shot on my Canon 550D, which actually performs with remarkably low noise for ISO 1600 and below, as compared to my old Canon 350D. But nonetheless, I always shoot with the lowest ISO possible. I only ever venture above this setting when I really need the light and can’t open my aperture any wider or afford to use a slower shutter speed.

There are a few film purists out there who actually like the grittiness of old ISO 1600 film in certain types of photos… But there aren’t many of us shooting on film, and I’ve yet to meet someone who claims to like digital camera noise! Of course there are times and places where noise is less noticeable, such as the night sky (my example photos may have been a bad choice for this reason) since the noise is easily camouflaged as distant stars, and indeed high ISOs are popular among astrophotographers (for the obvious reason of being more sensitive to light)

I hope there are a few of you out there who are still new enough to photography to have found this tutorial helpful. I realize it’s not really a tutorial in the strictest sense of the word, since I’m describing something more than detailing the process of how to do something… but if anyone is reading this and is unsure how to change your camera’s ISO, please comment below with your camera make and model and I will give you detailed instructions for taking control of your ISO.

Filled Under : Tutorial


Instagram Photography Exhibition

No Grants Gallery

Temple Bar Cultural Trust‘s “Your Photos, Your World SharedInstagram Exhibition is still on display until February 23rd! I had a chance to go down last Tuesday, and I have to say, they did a great job. The collection looks great, and the idea of the instagram exhibition is a great community art project.

The Culture Box

No Grants Gallery

So if you’re in Dublin City Centre, drop into No Grants Gallery (in the big brick building marked The Culture Box!) And have a look while you still can! More information including opening hours and all that can be found at Temple Bar Cultural Trust’s Event Detail Page!

Filled Under : Exhibition

Much to my delight, The Temple Bar Cultural Trust has chosen two of my instagram photographs in the Your Photos, Your World Shared Exhibition, opening this Thursday in the No Grants Gallery in Temple Bar

Best of all I get to share gallery space with some great photographers, iphonographers, and instagrammers, including my very own fellow irelandART Admin, Viktoria Panik (aka @missviii to you instagrammers).

The Pensive Cyclist

The Pensive Cyclist

So if you are in Dublin, and near Temple Bar, drop into the No Grants Gallery and have a look at what’s on display! The “Your Photos, Your World Shared” exhibition opens Thursday, February 2nd 2012 and runs for three weeks!

Follow us on instagram:

Daniel Geesen @danielgeesen

Viktoria Panik @misviii

Temple Bar Cultural Trust @TBCT

Filled Under : Exhibition

‘Tis the Seasons!

This weekend (Saturday December 17th and Sunday December 18th) Seasons Cafe is hosting their annual Christmas Fair!

There will be live music performances, mincemeat christmas squares, mulled wine, artisan coloured popcorn roasted over an open fire, and all sorts of craft stalls!

A great place to finish off (or start!) your christmas shopping.  A must-do for anyone in Skerries.  And if you don’t live in Skerries, it’s a great time to visit.

I have a Limited Edition Framed Print for sale at the fair!  Your computer screen mightn’t do it justice, and doesn’t show off the fine framework, so drop in to view this nightscape taken of the Irish Sea at Skerries’ Hoar Rock.

On display two days only, 16″x24″ limited edition, white moulding, black wood frame.  Shot, printed, and framed in Skerries, Co. Fingal, Ireland!  €130

Support the local economy, and give the gift of art!

Filled Under : Exhibition , Sale

Seasons Café baker Daniel’s stunning pics of Skerries in new calendar - MEET the baker from popular Seasons of Strand Street, otherwise one of the star photographers from our 2012 community calendar project this year. Daniel came to Ireland from the States in 2008. “I have always had a strong interest in the visual arts and experimented with painting and drawing before studying photography,” says the young father. “Of course now I am married to beautiful and talented artist Suzanne Brady I don’t dare try my hand at traditional art, but am content using photography as my creative outlet. “We count ourselves very lucky to live in Skerries. The seascapes have greatly influenced both my photography and my wife’s painting. But Daniel’s other great passion is food. “I have worked as a professional baker for years. In 2010 I found my culinary home at Seasons. When he’s not cooking, Daniel works as a freelance photographer, as well as graphic and web designer. “My most recent project was my website, Daniel- Geesen.com,” he says. “I enjoy all photography; long exposure night photography as in the calendar’s February photo, and HDR photography as in ‘Seaweed and Rocks’ where 11 exposures were used to capture the seascape’s dynamic range.”I just wanted to say a quick thank you to Skerries News.  Not only did they select five of my photographs for the Unseen Skerries 2012 Calendar, but they also wrote a nice little article on me in the current edition of Skerries News!

Seasons Café baker Daniel’s stunning pics of Skerries in new calendar

MEET the baker from popular Seasons of Strand Street, otherwise one of the star photographers from our 2012 community calendar project this year. Daniel came to Ireland from the States in 2008. “I have always had a strong interest in the visual arts and experimented with painting and drawing before studying photography,” says the young father.

“Of course now I am married to beautiful and talented artist Suzanne Brady I don’t dare try my hand at traditional art, but am content using photography as my creative outlet.

“We count ourselves very lucky to live in Skerries. The seascapes have greatly influenced both my photography and my wife’s painting. But Daniel’s other great passion is food. “I have worked as a professional baker for years. In 2010 I found my culinary home at Seasons.

When he’s not cooking, Daniel works as a freelance photographer, as well as graphic and web designer. “My most recent project was my website, DanielGeesen.com,” he says. “I enjoy all photography; long exposure night photography as in the calendar’s February photo, and HDR photography as in ‘Seaweed and Rocks’ where 11 exposures were used to capture the seascape’s dynamic range.”

You can access the newspaper on archive at http://www.skerriesnews.ie/skarchive/sknwsnovember11.pdf and you can purchase the 2012 Skerries Calendar at http://www.skerriesnews.ie/calendar for €12.99 including delivery (or from any shop in Skerries for €9.99)!


Filled Under : Press