A New Begining

Ryan Blair Photography

To my loyal WordPress followers, if I have any left. I have been home from my trip to Europe for 6 months now. I’ll have to admit, I did not like travel writing as much as I’d hoped. Like I’ve said before, I didn’t want to be in front of my computer while travelling and miss out on exploring a new city, or trip to the pub. The time I did use to sit on my computer was for picture and video editing. However, it is nice to start to read back on my blogs that I’ve started a year a go now. So maybe I’ll regret not keeping up with it…

To reiterate, I did not enjoy travel writing. At least I tried, right? I enjoyed taking and posting pictures. And this is starting to get me somewhere. Last week, I launched my photography website. I want to take what I’ve learned in Europe and start something new. I have posted all my favourite Europe photos into categories, and I’m starting to branch out and post pictures of my home city and province. I am also selling my prints, because I’ve had a few people ask me how they can do that. I’ve had one customer so far; super stoked! Moreover, I will be hanging some of my prints at local coffee shops in my home town throughout the spring, which is also very exciting! I hope I can do this to fund my hobby, because lord knows that I need a new computer and wouldn’t mind upgrading to a full-frame camera. I had one of my external hard drives crash and I got quoted $600-$1200 to recover that data. I didn’t lose my Europe pictures, but about half of my Europe video footage. Ugh. Every photographers worst nightmare.

 

Anyways,

 

I have some great ideas for the future, and cannot wait for spring and summer to hit. In the mean time, I invite you to check out my website and follow me on Facebook. I will not continue with WordPress, but will be writing short photography-related blog posts on my website.

My website:

http://www.ryanblairphotography.com/

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/ryanblairphotography

I have also opened up an Etsy shop. I have never heard of “Etsy” until a friend of mine told me about it last month. It’s like eBay, except for arts and crafts.

https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/RyanBlairPhotography?ref=hdr_shop_menu

 

I do miss travelling, yes, and is definitely something that I plan on doing in the future. I’d love to go to SE Asia and South America, but as of right now, I’m pursuing my career here at home and cannot see a trip in the foreseeable future.

We’ll see you around the bend!

 

Ryan

 

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I Need Your Help!

So, Dublin Photography School is having their annual calendar photo competition for Epilepsy Ireland. The competition is open to all non-professional photographers, and only 12 pictures will be chosen, and prizes awarded to all who has had their pictures chosen. The theme this year is “A Year Through a Lens”, and pictures submitted have to represent a true meaning from one of the 12 months of the year. To enter, I submit my best 3 pictures of Ireland, and seeing that  I have over 1100 pictures of Ireland in my Lightroom catalog, I had a lot to go through. Last week, I posted an album on Facebook of my 11 best, and asked my “likes” to vote for my best three. Here are 2 for sures:

 

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People LOVE this one.

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Aran Islands

 

Now, I need your help to choose the last one. It comes down to these two:

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Galway, Co.

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Wexford

 

The only reason why I don’t like the Wexford one is because I feel like there is too much sky and not enough water, but I love the clouds and sun during dusk.

Which one should I pick as my third entry? PLEASE HELP

If you want to see more of my photography, follow me on Instagram, like my Facebook, and/or check out my Flickr,

 

Cheers!

Road Tripping Ireland

One last Irish adventure before heading back to North America for the both of us.

Travel Morgan Travel

So last night, my friend Ryan and I sat down with our MacBooks and planned our trip to Donegal. It started off as a simple, “Let’s take the bus over to Donegal and Sligo” turned into a flown blown road trip.

We won’t be gone long, leaving early this coming Saturday morning and returning the following Thursday evening. He and I plan to go surfing, hiking, and get a little lost in the Irish countryside.

I cannot express to you just how excited I am for this trip!

I’ve seen so many movies depicting the Irish countryside and beautiful green scenery. Living in Dublin for the last year has deprived me of that lush green-ness I know Ireland has to offer. So we are going to find it!!

In preparation for this trip, I am having to do loads of laundry and go grocery shopping.

My clothing choice for this trip will…

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I Finally had my Lunch Money Stolen…in Barcelona

Break radio silence. Sorry for the absence with the blog posts. It’s hard to keep up with writing posts every place I visit. They get boring to write and probably to read about who I met, what I ate, what I saw etc.. So I’ll post stories like this when they happen because they are more entertaining.  On the trains, I choose to edit my pictures. And a lot of trains don’t have power outlets or wifi, so I can only use my computer for about an hour before it dies. It’s a shame because it’s the only time I have to do this. 

 

So I finally got taken advantage of as a tourist!!!

I had a beach day today in Barcelona. I was skeptical at first about what I should bring that I didn’t want to get stolen, since I was going by myself. So I left my phone, wallet, and watch back at the hostel and only took my room key and a €20 note with me, as well as my GoPro. I also had to take the metro to the beach, otherwise it would be an hour walk or so.

I was laying enjoying myself, sitting in the sun, minding my own business, when I started to get pretty thirsty. Despite the fact that I brought my water bottle with me, I figured a cold beer would be perfect right about now. Who cares, I’m on holidays, right? Everyone should treat themselves every now and then.

On the beach, there are a whole bunch of people walking up and down selling crap. Everything from tattoo’s to blankets, and cold drinks, like water, beer, and pop. I decided I was going to buy a beer from the next dude who passed buy, but waited for a few others to pass because they looked sketchy. Once I saw a less-sketchy guy selling beers, I flagged him down as ask for one can, which he was selling for €2. I only had my €20 note on me, and asked if he was able to make change. He said yes, gave me the beer, and said something along the lines of having to go to his boss to get the change. He left his bag of other drinks with me, while he walked to his boss for my change. He seemed good for it because he left with bag with me.

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But then a few minutes passed. Then I realized to myself that my €20 was worth more than what he had in his bag (5 beers, 2 bottles of water, and 2 cokes).

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Anyways, he never returned with my change. Well played. Well played indeed. You got me good.

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A good rule to live by is DON’T BE A DICK. That guy was being a bit of a dick.

Since that was the only money I had on me, I was stuck walking the hour walk home on an empty stomach.

I’ll be sure to have the last laugh. I always do!

 

Sincerely,

Almost broke backpacker

 

Why I Hate Tour Buses


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I hate going on tours on tour buses. When I was in Galway, Ireland, I was on a mission to see some cool things in Ireland, like the Cliffs of Moher and other cool stuff like castles. I’ve been living in Dublin for 5 months and still never seen the cliffs! My first two days in Galway were cloudy, and as you may now, it’s hard to take good photos. I was also very hesitant about doing a bus tour because I’d rather rent a car with a few mates and do it on our own. I did this in Iceland with a friend and it worked out awesome. We did about 4 different tours we would have paid for separately all in one day, on our own, at our own pace. We saw Geyser, The Golden Circle, Blue Lagoon, and an attempt at the Northern Lights. Our rental for one day was $150CAD and divided that by 2, so it was well worth it.

It was a nice day in Galway, so I paid €15 to go on a day tour to the cliffs. While it was nice to finally see the parts of Ireland you see on TV, doing it on a tour bus was super lame. I can’t event think right now to what it is in particular about them, but you get real sick of the saying “get your cameras ready…”, “on you left…” blah blah blah, and the stupid jokes that they tell.

Also, the people are be annoying. Little children and their non-stop crying, people getting on the bus and the driver getting pissed, and just the typical tourist things that tourists do to get a “good photo”. Its ridiculous. I just keep to myself and laugh at it all. It’s like a bad TV show on a Friday night. Nothing else to watch.

Also, when a bus-load of people get off at the next stop, you’re forced to take photos with a bazillion of tourists in them. My photoshop skills are expanding and am able to shop them right out of my pictures now. Wazza!

It’s not the kind of touring I like to do. I originally wanted to rent a motorcycle out of Dublin for 3 nights and tour around Ireland, buuuuut I couldn’t afford that (still a life dream for one day, but not today). How bad ass would that be?

I want to be a backpacker/explorer, not a tourist 😉

Check out my Iceland Golden Circle video

Overall Impressions of France

Final instalment of my adventure through France. Read the first 4: The ferry over, Pontorson, Caen, Bayeux, and Juno Beach.

 

France was an awesome time. I was a little nervous at first because I got on that ferry and didn’t have an itinerary, and it is really expensive to travel within the country as well as accommodation. I guess I got lucky and was able to spend a week with my friend, who knew French (so I didn’t starve to death), and had someone to hang out with for a week!

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The restaurants in the smaller towns we stayed in (Pontorson, Bayeux) were authentic French restaurants, and we ate at some really nice, reasonably-priced restaurants in Caen. The French sure do know how to cook an excellent Italian meal! Also, I have finally killed my craving for a little THC, Tim Hortons coffee that is.

You may know that I have had a hard time finding a good cup of Joe in Europe. When I was in London for the first time, 2nd week abroad, I walked into a McDonalds and asked for a coffee with two creams and two sugar. The chick taking my order looked at me like I had ten heads. She replied, “white or black?”. So I learned quickly that Europeans don’t use cream in their coffee, and there is white coffee in London. Dublin is a bit different, as it’s milk and sugar, but anywhere is really expensive for coffee.

After every meal in France with Veronica, she got dessert, and I got coffee. It’s served in a mini cup with a little chocolate to eat with it. IT WAS SO GOOD and that is how I kicked the THC craving. Writing this while I’m in Luxembourg, I am now craving a French coffee. Anyways, that’s enough about coffee.

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The people were friendly, for the most part. We did have a few instances of rudeness. When we were finished at Mont St. Michel, we walked to the little town in search of a cold pint on a hot summer’s day before heading back to our hotel. A lot of restaurants seemed to be closed between lunch and dinner services. We walked into 2 or 3 of them and they were not open yet. We couldn’t even stop in for a pint! It was weird because it was about 5:30pm and nothing was opened. Yes, we were very confused. One restaurant we did walk in to, the girl working there told us that they were closed, that we couldn’t have a pint until they open (in one more hour), and suggested that we go to the grocery store just down the road to get a beer. Seriously lady? We’re not going to drink beers on the street like bums. We just wanted to have a beer on the patio on a summer day, a typical summer time thing to do. Whatever. We spent out money elsewhere. Some people working at small food stand and other tourist attractions aren’t the most happy and friendly people to talk to either. They either hate a) native English speakers who don’t speak French, b) hate their jobs, or c), all of the above! That’s fine; I don’t really like tourist attractions with copious amounts of people, especially with hysterical screaming kids, huge strollers, on a showering fast etc. I’d be grumpy too working at one of these places.

France is definitely an awesome place. I was getting the train out of Bayeux to Brussels, and had to transfer in Paris. I wasn’t thinking properly and what I should have done is stayed in Paris for 1 or 2 nights. I first originally didn’t want to go during the summer just because I’d be paying €40-50 a night. BUT I’ll see what’s going on there for New Year’s Eve!

I do plan on returning to France while abroad. I’d like to go to Vimy Ridge for Remembrance Day in my army dress uniform, and would also like to rent a car and explore the rest of the Normandy beaches; there are so many more museums and D-Day things to see and learn about!

Anyways, until next time France. Next up: the smelly streets of Brussels!

 

Chow.

 

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Bayeux, Normandy, France

Out of the three or four places I visited in Normandy, this one tops the list. When I went to Juno beach and Veronica stayed behind, she researched options for our next destination, and since it was only a €6 train ride away, we were off to Bayeux. As we got off the train, it was so damn hot out, and had to hike about 3 kilometers to get the our B&B. This was an awesome little town, bigger than Portorson and smaller than Caen, but so much character. There are countless little restaurants on the sidewalks, parks, and old buildings and of course lots of sights to remember the allied invasion. Bayeux was one of the very first towns liberated during the Battle of Normandy shortly after the D-Day landings without any resistance. We ate more crepes, had more coffee and other French food that I’m not even going to try to spell but it was SO GOOD. We were really enjoying each other’s company by this time and probably one of my best travel experiences thus far.

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Bayeux is not a hostelling or budget backpacker’s destination. There seems to be a lot of young families and couples visiting here. That being said, it’s not a big party town like other places I’ve been to. Veronica wasn’t feeling well one night, so I set out at about 1030pm on a quest to bring home some bottled water (tap water doesn’t taste too good in Europe). I walked and walked and walked and nothing was open. I ventured through the city centre again as out B&B was on the edge of town and it was dead. There was only one pub open with a few people on the patio around 11pm, but it was an Irish pub (typical). At least in Caen we saw a lot of partiers such as stag and hen parties, but Bayeux doesn’t have any nightlife. I’m not complaining as I’m not the biggest bar star to begin with and it’s a nice change of pace. Quiet, relaxed atmosphere, and would recommended this destination to any couple no matter how young or old.

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Throughout Normandy, it is clearly evident that they are grateful for their freedom and the liberation of the allied forces during WWII. There was an old cathedral, Cathedrale Notre Dame de Bayeux, which in the courtyard had a huge tree known as the tree of liberation. The whole church and tree area were lit up each night by an array of colors, much the Niagara Falls, and every other night, there was a light, sound, and music show projected onto the tree. It was spoken in French but some segments projected symbols of the war, such as the Nazi party symbol dubbed over old speeches from Hitler, and sights and sounds of the invasion known as D-Day such as gunfire, solders etc. It’s hard to explain what I saw so you must go see it for yourself 😛

Veronica left for Paris, I stayed an extra night to plan my next trip. But before I did that I visited visited the Battle of Normandy Museum which was pretty neat.

 

More pictures:

https://flic.kr/s/aHsjZUMWYn

 

Next stop: Brussels.