Niall Fennessy: Phoenix Park, Dublin

The Image

Niall Fennessy

Phoenix Park, Dublin, Ireland

Time / Date:
13:00, March 3, 2010

The Technical

Camera Body: Canon 50D
Lens: Canon EF-S 10-22mm f3.5-4.5 USM

Camera Settings:

Shutter Speed: 1/500s
Aperture: f/9.0
ISO: 200
Focal Length: 10mm

The Story


Photographing bands live and in studio is what I generally work at. I love my work. It consumes me. However, it can be extremely frantic and pressurized. So for decompression time, I sometimes like to get outdoors in the peace and quiet with a camera. (And it has to be said, there are times after a hugely busy time that I don’t want to see a camera ☺). Regardless of whether I have a camera or not, I never stop ‘looking’. I’m always ‘on’. I’m sure you all understand where I’m coming from. It just happens automatically so I don’t generally have a premeditated mission, I just walk and if anything comes into view that I feel might make a photograph – I photograph it.

The Scene: 

The location here is the Phoenix Park in Dublin, Ireland. It’s one of the largest enclosed recreational spaces within any European capital city and was established in 1662. This particular location in the park is a place I go with my son to walk and explore. It’s full of wild life and nature. It’s a kids playground. This particular day it was very gray, with thick heavy cloud cover. As soon as I left the car I saw the lines, the curves, the simplicity. The little tree on the left and the adult trees on the right huddled together like they were picking on the little one. I knew instantly that it could make a lovely image.


I travel light, one old Canon 50D and a trusty 10-20mm.  Because I love wide imagery, I invariably always have a wide lens on when I walk.

Making the Shot:

Locked the exposure on a relatively dark part of the sky, re-composed and clicked. Nothing complex. Just one frame. People get bent out of shape about always keeping highlights and shadows – Fine of you’re in a studio or have control over lighting but there are times if you’re too concerned with highlights and shadows you’re going to miss what’s in front of your nose.

Editing & Processing:

Convert RAW file. Into photoshop, I have pre-recorded ‘actions’ that I have made over the years, straight B&W conversion. Dodge highlights and burn shadows ever so slightly to lift the image. Adjustment layer around clouds to darken them and give them an even more foreboding look. Vignette around final image. My friends tell me I’m a very B&W kind of chap. I guess that comes into my photography too.

Looking Back:

I’m not sure there is anything I could change about this image due to the conditions. It just screamed B&W to me.


Just keep looking. Sources of good photographs are around us everywhere we look. You just need to see them. I always say everything is interesting to photograph, you just need the right light and the right angle.


I’ve worked in all kinds of photography. Landscapes, weddings, commercial, children’s/family portraits so I came into band/live music photography quite late in life and it’s where I have found I am strongest and have complete satisfaction. I’ve had numerous influences all the way through my career so I like to think I’ve taken all those influences with me right through to my music photography. Names to note: Jeff Ascough, Henri-Cartier-Bresson, Robert Knight. What strives me to take a photograph? In music it’s to capture the raw emotion that a song writer felt when he/she was writing the song.



About the Photographer

I’m the official Radio Nova live music photographer and Independent concert and studio photographer for the music industry.

I have been involved in the creative industries of design and photography for the past 25 years and I have worked with, and continue to work with some select names in the music industry including Duff McKagan (Guns ‘n’ Roses/Walking papers/VR), Rick Wakeman (Yes), Alter Bridge, Thin Lizzy, Big Country, Simple Minds, Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake), Journey, Foreigner, Rush, Melissa Etheridge, Janice Ian, Bryan Adams and many more.

Facebook: /Niall-Fennessy-Photography
Twitter: @niallfennessy

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