Jak Sparkle

Jak Sparkle was a man. A man like many men, except for his ability to transform. Jak Sparkle, when facing embarrassment, did not blush red like you or me. No, he glowed. Glowed until his head was a shining white, bright bulb. A bulb so bright it dazzled all those who looked at him.

And how they looked. But those gazes never were never met by Jak. The glow it shielded him. And those fingers pointing went unseen; the little nudges and head tilts unnoticed, and even the sniggers, the low whispers, those went unheard. Jak was impenetrable. Impervious. He could just walk on by, not fazed, unaffected.

Now, it was not always like this for Jak. Times were when Jak would burn with embarrassment. His face roasting red when mouths would hang open in shock at seeing Jak pass by. He tried wearing wide-brimmed hats, wearing long-peaked caps, wearing baggy-hanging hoods. He tried large sunglasses and long, bushy beards. He tried not going out. He tried and tried and tried. And then one day, his embarrassment blushed until it burst and popped into that glowing, white, impervious bulb. Jak was saved. But saved, only when his awkwardness overwhelmed him. And lately he was just not getting as embarrassed as he used to.


Jak Sparkle

Some people on the streets in Luxembourg

The iPhone allows you to get up close and personal on the street. I find it so much better than the bulky in-your-face DSLR. Here are a selection of shots taken on the streets in Luxembourg a few weeks back. (all processed on iPhone – Instagram filters)


I see the future



I used to kiss the future



Two old friends putting the world to right



Straight ahead



Whistle as you go, fella.



Things you forget


And now for the camera that never leaves me. Here are a selection of my own recent favourites taken with my iPhone. More of these can be seen on my iPhone Flickr account.


Peer Pressure

I took this on Saint Patrick’s weekend in Dublin. While waiting outside a shop for my wife, the flight of this flock of birds overhead drew my attention away from all the revellers in green on the street.


On a night like this

This was taken from the front passenger seat of my father’s car as he drove us into the city centre to celebrate my brother’s birthday. It was an awful, wild night as you can see. Stopped at the traffic lights, the colourful reflections in the rain attracted me. However, once I ran it through Instagram, I realised it had to be in black and white. I will always remember this for my father asking me “what the hell are you doing now?” “What are you taking photographs of?” ”This!” I replied!


Never waking

Taken while waiting for the Luas tram to take us into the city centre of Dublin. I was excited at the photo opportunities ahead. I had the DSLR around my neck and the iPhone in my hand. Looking around, looking for reflections, I found this steel column and what you see is what I saw. There’s my wife in front, looking at me taking another photograph!



Dublin was packed on the holiday weekend. So many people, so many tourists, so many chances to snap, snap, snap. This handsome boy appeared in front of me. I snapped.




Out walking with my brother on Cork’s Lee Fields, we passed this tree, this bare tree with a path stretching off from it, like a rebellious branch. We walked around a hundred yards, climbed an old gate and crossed the road. The tree stayed there.


The tempation to tilt this man over the edge is great

An escalator doing its job.

Thanks to all for following this blog, re-blogging it, commenting and visiting. I appreciate it a lot. Happy Easter.


I first met Fred on a cold, winter’s day  in a second hand record store. I could not help but notice him, his inflated head bop-bopping along to the tune playing. A Bod Dylan one, if I recall well. I held back a while before pulling up next to him. Flicking casually through the D section of the records, taking out Duran Duran’s Rio, both our heads turned at the same moment and our eyes met.
No words were said. Fred bit on the side of his inner lip, nodded and I nodded back. He was browsing the B section of the records. He had stopped, as it happened at Bob Dylan’s Desire.
- Dylan? I said.
- Ya, Dylan. He said.
We held our gaze for a while. His head was a perfect sphere. His eyes, sunken gems; dark, resplendent. Still biting on his inner lip he asked me:
- Where do you buy your hats?
- Hats?
- Ya, you wear hats don’t you?
- Eh, ya, I guess. I guess when it’s cold, I do.
- OK. He said.
I moved to the next section of records. The Bob Dylan song ended. I cannot recall what played next. He stayed, looking at the B section. A young girl passed behind me and took up place between us. She ran her fingers over the plastic sleeves of the records, not seeming to know what it was she was looking for. Her eyes glanced up at me and with a swift turn to look up at Fred to her left. This she repeated a few times. She didn’t disguise it. Clearly, our larger-than-normal bald heads intrigued her.
- I can’t find hats to fit me. He said.
The girl in little shudders turned to look at me, waiting for my response, and then looked down at the records again.
- No? I said.
- No. He said.
The girl stepped in a pace, lowering her head, sensing a conversation was to develop. I stepped out behind and walked to the A section of the records to the left of Fred.
- What is it with hats? I asked. My question taling off with a smile.
- It gets cold. He replied. He released on biting on his lip and flashed a smile in return. His eyes glistening as they travelled up to inspect my hairless globe.
- Ya, it does get cold. But I cannot wear a hat either. I find they itch. I said.
- Itch a lot, ya.
- Hoods?
- Hoods? Never. Mine is a little bigger than yours, you know.
It was more than a little bigger than mine. To be fair, if mine was a grape his was an apple.
He turned and walk past sections C, D, E and F and stopped at G. The girl watching him as he passed. An Abba album caught my attention. I picked it up, flipped over its cover. Ring, Ring. It was one I had not heard. Immediately, I decided I had to have it. I flipped the cover back again, this time taking a little longer to take in the cover’s photo of the four members of Abba together. All smiling, all with full heads of hair, and wow – how their smiles dazzled.
- Abba?
He was at the counter,  propping himself up with his left elbow. His eyebrows shooting down, pointing to the album in my hand
- Ya, Abba. I said. Why not? They have some great songs.
- They do. Some greats one altogether.
The sales assistant stood on his elevated spot behind the counter surveying the scene. Silence fell between us. Fred turned to the assistant and asked how much he had to pay. As he was paying the girl joined the queue. I felt her eyes resting on me. I fidgeted. I quickly paid for the album and saw Fred waiting for me at the door. His eyes piercing me. As I approached he stretched out his hand.
- I’m Fred. He said.
- Cliff. I said.
- Hoods? He said.
- Hoods!? I said.
- Ya. He said. How about getting a hood. I’m fucking freezing with this bulb on me.
- Right. I said. I know just where we can you sorted with a fine hood.
Out the door we went, bop-bopping along to buy some hoods.


Feed the habit

I have an addiction. I am a Flickr addict. It is the first site I hit each day. And I hit it a lot each day. To feed this habit I have to post each day. Each day to my two accounts. My DSLR account and my iPhone one. A few years back, I was a Flickr lurker. Posting irregularly. Then the Flickr thing just clicked for me. The social aspect of it. The fact that each day I could see photos from all over the world from people who, in turn, would come and see what was coming out of my little corner of the world. How wonderful that is. The opportunity to share, to support and to learn is priceless. I have learnt so much from Flickr. Taken steps on to photographic paths that I feel I would never have gone on except for Flickr; except for the support of Flickr contacts. Posting an image on Flickr and seeing the comments come on stream is a little buzz. A little joy each day. A fix.

But Flickr needs to be fed. Fed with photos. Nourished on new images. Not only new images, but evolving ones. Each day. And it is not easy. This week, I dried up. Photographic reserves shrivelled up. I had nothing new to show. I had to raid the reserves. And that is not what I want to do. I want new images to show. I want to experiment and learn.

So, this morning I headed out. Down town. Cork city. A cold morning. Camera swinging in front of me, alert to compositions. iPhone in my pocket. Excited, I was. Put me in a big city and I am in my element, but in my hometown is not a big city and I am not anonymous. I become so conscious of people noticing what I am doing. I see their puzzled, suspicious looks. “What is he taking photographs of?” “Why?” “He’s taking a photograph of a wall.” “Was he photographing me?” It is not that easy. But I persevere. My Flickr condition demands it.

Eventually, I got some shots. Some to be deleted once they hit the computer screen and some to be worked on. Either way, I got out. I got some new photographs. And I can relax for a few days. I have my feed for Flickr.

Here are a few from this morning.


Feeding that Flickr beast




Entrance to The English Market, Cork, Ireland

This is not easy.

Chains can be curtains

Posting this to Flick this morning, I realised I have quite a few photographs of chains and the like on my photo stream and it might be a good idea to pull them together here on the blog to showcase them. Doing all of this in a rush as I am chained to my desk this morning with work, but chains can be curtains, we can pull them apart.

Chains can be curtains

Chains can be curtains



Sunrise Gravy






Unblur the past


Saving me


Flickr Infidelities

Blur 9

I could have chosen 27 photographs from Blur will save the world this week, such was the quality of the images in the group pool. In the end, I have selected 9. 9 blurred images, all with an absence of colour. These images speak loudly to me. Each has their own charm. I would love to hear from those photographers whose images are selected. I invite you to write a little about your images. Unblur them for us if you can.

9 Blur

9 Blur

There are many more examples of great art in these photographer’s streams. Click on their names to view their streams. From left to right – Marcelo Montecino - RiaPereira – here and there - serap günay - Mister Blur - MdKiStLeR - wjosna - Marianna Di Ferdinando - brianephotos - Paul..Andrews 

And some music


9 (suf)fixes from Super(osity)

The images just come flowing in to Superosity. Each day, the group sees around 70 – 80 new photos submitted and another 20 – 30 invited. Soon, there will be 70,000 images in the group and I intend to ban each member who does not paste a monstrous, ugly GIF on to each (YES! EACH)  photograph.

Well, maybe not.

So, here we go another 9 of my favourite images posted and invited to the group this week. Some beauties here, I am sure you will agree. Which one is your own favourite? Maybe, I missed one in the group, let me know. If your image is one chosen here, how about giving us some background information in the comments below.

Again, thanks to all. Have a super-duper week. The mosaic is in square format and has cropped some images poorly. I advise you to click through below to see the images in all their glory.

9 Suffixing Super images

9 Suffixing Super images

These photographers, from left to right - Rintaro_Wada - Paul..Andrews - randall der - petyrc - FlipMode79 - nomilknocry - Pat Kelleher - RiaPereira – here and there  - Ian De Búrca


And some music to make your Sunday that little bit better.

like some sort of over-vigilant ward

shoes? these aren’t shoes.

these are stone bricks. stone bricks stuck to me. 

try as i might,

and I do try,

i can’t move off. 

and you, you there,

always there,

like some sort of over-vigilant ward.

leave me be. 

this rain too.
it rains too much.

like an over-vigilant ward

like an over-vigilant ward