Wednesday, 12 December 2012

That rock again

Been occupied on a number of fronts so haven't posted much of late.  A day's hillwalking in the Mournes on 9 December 2012 brought me back past a boulder I photographed in December 2010 and 2011 so nothing would do but I had to photograph it again.  All 3 are below and all in different light.  This is beginning to feel like an annual pilgrimage.

30 December 2010

11 December 2011

9 December 2012
This year's picture was taken in a howling gale that at times threatened to blow us off our feet.  By the time we had lost some height the wind had eased a bit but I was surprised that the picture is sharp. This time the rock can be seen in its surroundings looking down towards the sea and Donard Forest.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Overcast day in the Mourne Mountains

Weather forecasts don't always (indeed rarely) take account of altitude.  A promising forecast today turned out to be low cloud and visibility of about 100 metres.  Not really a day for photogaphs.  However, on our walk I was struck by the colours in clumps of grass in a boggy area - ranging from vivid green to magenta and couldn't resist photographing them. 

Later there was more vivid colour where a spring arose on the hillside providing moss with greens and yellows.

All pictures Canon G10

There is always something, even on a poor day, if you are prepared to open your eyes.

Friday, 12 October 2012

100,000 Milestone passed

The website has been up and running for 8 months and in the last couple of days it passed the 100,000 page views threshold (now standing at 104, 000).  95% of the views have been my pictures of rallysport.  I have been amazed by the interest and while I will be continuing to pursue my landscape ambition, at the same time I will be working on scanning more rally pictures. 

Below is a favourite from my last batch of scans - Flying Finn Markku Alen in a Fiat 131 Abarth on the 1978 Scottish Rally.

 You can see more at

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Wet summer continues

Hard to believe the last post was in June.  Less hard to believe is that the wet summer continued.  Did very little photography over the summer.  Started a project based around Ballymacormick Point and have collected a few acceptable pictures but it is a longer term project and I will hold back on the pictures until I have a much wider selection.

Spent the end of August and early September in Canada visiting a number of locations previously shot with film over 20 years ago.  Once again, the weather could have been kinder – everything from wall to wall blue sky and 31 degrees C through heavy rain to snow and temperature of 3 degrees C.  What is it about landscape photographers – we are never satisfied with the weather conditions!  Unfortunately too early for the autumn colour (it was a family wedding that dictated the timing of our visit). Some reasonable pictures but I would describe many of them as being of a pictorial nature rather than anything creative. You can see the set at

Friday, 29 June 2012

Wet June

The second wettest June on record (and it's not finished yet).  This week we have had torrential rain leading to flooding in a number of areas of Northern Ireland but particularly in the Belfast area.  There was a bit of a lull last evening (heavy showers rather than rain) so I took the opportunity of a high tide in Strangford Lough to go to Island Mahee for some pictures.  A few breaks of sunshine gave some nice lighting on the huge shower clouds as they approached. 

Ringneill Bay

Ringneill Bay

I finished up at the Nendrum Monastic Site and fortunately made it back to the car just before the deluge started.

Nendrum Monastic Site

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Landscapes and rallying


Some more images posted on my website. 

Firstly, some images taken in various parts of Ireland over the last year.  Some of these have appeared in earlier posts and some are new – taken on a visit to Mayo and South Donegal last month.

 Sunset: Clew Bay and Clare Island

Secondly, over a couple of wet days, I scanned another set  of rally pictures (103) from my archive of negatives.  This time of the 1976 Ulster Rally. 

Ari Vatanen

All available to view at

All pictures copyright Leslie Ashe.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Spent a very pleasant afternoon on the southern side of the Mourne Mountains.  The planned pictures didn't materialise as they needed overcast conditions.  Just as I arrived the sky cleared and the afternoon was delightfully sunny.  Change of plan - I spent a while exploring around a small abandoned granite quarry and then round an outcrop of rocks. 

Rocks and Crocknafeola Wood
(Pronounced Crocknafoyle)

Lesson learned - check all 4 corners of the frame.  The picture above has a cowpat in the bottom right corner.  While it's not too noticeable in this size of picture, my eye cannot miss it when viewed full-screen.  My excuse is that I was trying to get a composition that hid an untidy small farm and its outbuildings (together with discarded tractors and other assorted farm machinery) behind the foreground rocks. 

If I had spotted it I would have tried a new composition - I wasn't going to move it!  Oh the joys of landscape photography.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

A dry but very windy day in the Mourne Mountains on 13 May.  Around this time last year there were serious fires in the mountains. The picture below was taken on 1 May 2011.

This was the first time we ventured into the worst of the area shown in the picture above and it is encouraging to note that although the heather is well burnt off the grasses, ferns and gorse are beginning to re-establish themselves. Careful scrutiny also showed new heather growth - up to about half a centimetre in height but growth nonetheless.  The damage appears to have to the surface vegetation only and not to the roots or underlying peat.  A couple of years without any more fires should see the natural vegetation well established again.  However, many of the trees in Annalong Wood are beyond recovery.

Annalong Wood

Stand of burnt trees

New growth

Burning the vegetation also revealed a relic from WW2.  Apparently the American Navy used this area of the Mournes for target practice and we came across the remains of an artillery shell - fortunately it had already detonated.

How these pictures  are sharp is beyond me - the wind was so strong it was difficult standing in the more severe gusts!

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Last post seems a long time ago -  6 March.  I have been doing bits and pieces but nothing sustained.   A strained back meant little done for a couple of weeks but I took a few pictures on a couple of days in Donegal at Easter and then a week in Provence, France.  Thought I might have missed the bluebells at home but managed to get in just at the end of the display.

Finally uploaded pictures from the Iceland trip in February having let then settle a while in my mind before making choices.  Hmmm.... they didn't get any better!! In effect took the easy option and included more than I had intended.  In due course I will go through both Iceland gelleries and delete the weaker pictures.  To see the Iceland pictures visit

A small selection of the recent pictures of the various locations:

Muckros Head, Donegal - wavecut platform and Slieve League


Cloisters, Abbeye du Thoronet, France

 Sunny afternoon, Vaison La-Romaine, France

 Ochre quarry, Roussillon, France

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Ards Peninsula sunrise

Back from Iceland a week and have done an initial edit of the pictures.  I now want to leave them for a week of two and review them again once I have distanced myself from the enthusiasm for the trip.

Went out at sunrise yesterday along the Irish sea coast of the Ards peninsula and shot a few images - nothing spectacular - the sky was largely uninteresting and there was a lot of seaweed washed up making much of the beach look untidy - well, natural but still untidy!

Here are a couple of shots.  In the beach pool picture I like the contrast between the coolness of the sand and the promise of warmth in pale tones of the sky.  In the rock pool picture I like the reflections of the sky. Nothing special but good to get out again at home after a disappointing winter (from a photographic viewpoint).

Beach pool sunrise

Rock pool sunrise

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Iceland winter landscapes but not the Northern Lights

Just back from a week in Iceland with Daniel Bergmann and 6 others.  Unfortunately the gods were against us  - despite a couple of clear sunny days, each night we had overcast conditions which hid the Northern Lights.  By way of compensation we spent a wet afternoon under cover (more or less) photographing an ice-cave in a glacier.  By day however, we lost only one day due to adverse weather and spent it travelling to Myvatn in the north of Iceland in the hope of getting clearer skies at night.  Sadly the Northern Lights continued to elude us.  Nevertheless we had lots of daytime photo opportunities in conditions ranging from bright sunshine to snow and probably everything in between!

Currently working on the pictures and will post in due course on the following link (which has images from my two earlier trips to Iceland):

By way of a taster here is an image of a small frozen lake behind the moraine at Fjallsarlon complete with a "JCB":

Saturday, 11 February 2012

New Website

Well I've been and gone and done it!  I have launched a new website.  The plan is to have 2 main sections - Landscape and Rallysport.  So far I have only included Rallysport pictures and over time as I work to scan my back catalogue I will include samples of pictures taken on events over the period 1972 to 1992. 

Landscape pictures from the back catalogue will start to be uploaded shortly.

Have a look

In the meantime here is the picture that initially generated interest when it was published on the Online Photographer last year and made me realise that many people are interested in old rally pictures  - Achim Warmbold  - Donegal Rally 1975:

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Moneyscalp Wood

Approximately 14 hectares of  larch trees in Moneyscalp Wood County Down have been felled to prevent the spread of the fungus-like pathogen known as Phytophthora ramorum.

The Forest Service plans to replant the area following the completion of harvesting operation but because spores from the disease remain active in the soil for a period following the felling of trees this restricts the range of species suitable for planting.

Felled larch trees awaiting removal

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Lightroom 4 beta

All my pictures are processed in Lightroom and I was interested to try out the recently released beta version of Lightroom 4.  The new tone controls were a bit strange at first but with a bit of practice they become intuitive.  The issue I do have is that it is slower than LR3, it likes to use lots of memory and sometimes grinds to a halt!  However, I see from various comments on the web that the speed is expected to improve once the final version is released.

The following shot has been processed in both for comparison purposes.  It has been heavily cropped from a Canon G10 image taken last week.


This shows that with some practice it is easy to replicate in LR4 a LR3 processed image.

Another example:


In this example (another G10 shot) LR4 handled the highlights much better while preserving greater detail in the shadow areas of the wooden carving.

So far I like the way it handles images and I hope Adobe can address the speed issue in the final release.