By @. Interesting interview with Kelvin Gillmor Professional Photographer from Leitrim, based in Galway City in the West Of Ireland. Picked up a few awards for my photography here and there. Plays drums too!
What’s your background? How did you move into what you do now?
I was studying Hotel Management in the IT in Galway when I had an awakening and realised the hospitality world wasn’t for me!
I ended up enrolling in a V.T.O.S. course in media studies after that and one of the modules was photography. I got the opportunity to process and print my own black and white film in the dark room. I was hooked from there on.
After this I was lucky enough to get a job with a wonderful award winning commercial photographer, Neil Warner. I spent 10 happy years working there. Then the recession hit Ireland and I lost my job. I decided to give it a go on my own and set up my own business. That was in 2010 and I haven’t looked back.
— Kelvin Gillmor (@kelvingillmor) November 20, 2016
What camera(s) do you use? Which do you prefer for which occasions?
I have a Canon 5D mk iv as my main camera and a 5D mk ii as a second body.
I use the 5D iv for everything since I got it and I love it!
The bigger file size and better auto focusing are two of my favourite improvements.
Dunquin Pier, Slea Head, Co. Kerry
What are your favourite shots, why?
I had the chance to shoot Dunqin Pier at sunset in August of this year. It’s a location I’ve wanted to visit for a long time. It didn’t disappoint. That whole area is a hot spot for tourism at the best of times and the recent Star Wars fame has sky rocketed it in popularity. I love the shape of the path down to the pier and the jagged rocks protecting it. It’s such a cool place!
Aurora Borealis, Lough Mask, Co. Galway
Not the most impressive Aurora but I loved the two trees on the edge of the lake. Without them it wouldn’t have worked.
The International Space station passing over the 12 Bens, Connemara.
I love this picture because it wasn’t planned. I had no idea the ISS was going to pass over at that time. My camera was on the tripod and in the middle of a 10 ten-minute exposure when the ISS passed right through the scene. I couldn’t wait for the camera to finish processing so I could see if I’d captured it. I got the chance to meet Colonel Chris Hadfield who was the commander on the ISS. I met him at a book signing in Galway. I showed him the picture and we had a lovely little chat about photography.
Old Schoolhouse at The Gleniff Horseshoe Valley, Co. Sligo
It was a very dull and cloudy morning when I visited the location. Luckily there was a tiny window where the light popped out and I managed to shoot three frames. I love the way this encapsulates the ever changing sweeping light that constantly passes over the Irish Landscape.
Aurora on Mother’s Day 2016 at Lough Gill, Co. Leitrim
One of the best auroras I’ve seen in Ireland. It was such a cloudy night and a huge aurora had been predicted. Luckily just after 12a.m. the clouds parted and the show began! The beams of light were clearly visible with the naked eye.
The Moon, Mars and Mist over Blackrock Tower, Salthill, Galway.
Lots of interesting elements came together for this one. Mars was at its most visible and can be seen on the left hand side of the image and the moon illuminated the textured foreground perfectly. The mist was a bonus and after shooting two frames it had cleared so I was lucky to be there at the right time.
The billiards room at Ashford Castle, Cong, Co. Mayo
I love this simply because it is a fantastic room. The refurbishment of the castle is fabulous and is definitely worth a visit.
Tribeton bar and restaurant, Galway
This was a really fun space to photograph. The design is fantastic and I love the green velvet bar stools.
MRI Scanner, Galway Clinic for the cover of Philips Ireland brochure
I loved the challenge of photographing this incredible piece of technology. I had a very limited window to photograph it. It’s in huge demand and the next patient was due for a scan. I could only photograph it from the doorway due to the high powered magnets it uses. Not only would they scramble my CF card but it would be incredibly dangerous if my camera and tripod took off!
What gear do you use that helps you on location?
I always use a tripod and remote shutter release. If I’m shooting landscapes at night, my LED Lenser torch is my best friend in the dark!
On commercial shoots I use a lot of off camera wirelessly controlled speedlites which are essential in highlighting and brightening certain areas of the scene I’m shooting.
Emerging tech, what new things are you using?
Having built in Wi-Fi on my newest camera is such a great addition. I can wirelessly transfer the files to my iPad on a shoot and review the images immediately.
I can also remotely control the camera from my iPhone which is also pretty cool!
What tech do you wish was already available for you to use?
I don’t think there is any one particular piece of technology I am eagerly anticipating. The general pace of improvement in the quality of digital cameras is fantastic. I recently purchased a Canon 5D mk iv and love the addition of a touch screen. It also offers Dual Pixel Raw technology. In Canon’s own word “Using the Dual Pixel RAW Optimizer in Digital Photo Professional software, users can make use of the Dual Pixel data recorded with the Dual Pixel RAW image for micro adjustments of the position of maximum sharpness using the depth information contained within the file. I’m not sure that Canon’s Dual Pixel Raw can make big adjustments but maybe the technology will be further advanced in time.
Have you used drones yet to take pictures, is this an area you might do more of?
No I haven’t used drones. I had this conversation with an architect recently and he was of the opinion that a building is best photographed from a human perspective i.e. from the ground which is how it was designed to be viewed and not from a seagull’s viewpoint! Drone footage offers another feather to a photographer’s cap but so far I am happy using my perspective control lens and tripod.
DSLR vs smart phones, pros and cons from your point of view?
The obvious answer is that DSLR’s produce far superior file quality and resolution in comparison to smartphones. However, smartphones also have their place and the quality that some phones produce is really quite amazing. I have an Instagram account which I reserve only for iPhone snaps. It’s a fun way to keep a sort of visual diary. Sometimes you find yourself in a situation where you might see a beautiful sunset and only have a smartphone camera with you. It’s at these times that you realise, the best camera is the one you have with you at the time!
We take more pictures, we share more, do you feel sometimes we are over documenting and not being in the moment? What’s your take on this?
Yes, indeed this can be very true. We’ve all been at a concert where the majority of the crowd are too busy trying to film the band as opposed to letting themselves get truly enveloped in the music. They then rush home to post the terrible quality shaky footage with blown out sound on YouTube. Put the phone back in your pocket and get lost in the music!