a while since my last photo blog but sure look, you wouldn’t believe it, I’m
working on something special behind the scenes. Brew Creative. Something that
encompasses everything I’m interested in and a definite line I want to take my
career down. It’s absolutely nerve-wracking, but if I pull it off I think it
could make a meaningful impact to myself and more importantly, to those around
Back to King’s Day. I never knew this one-day, nation-wide, party existed until four days before the actual event. In Ireland we have St. Patrick’s Day, which is a glorified piss up, and that’s okay for a few years but it gets kinda boring after a while. In the Netherlands they have King’s Day! Also a glorified piss up, but with a twist.
before the big event, I noticed kids using tape to create big rectangles on the
pavement outside their homes. I thought, nice work! Just how I did it when I
was a kid. But I didn’t realise that what they were actually doing was
sectioning off areas of the pavement for their family. When King’s Day rolled
around, low and behold, the whole family were in the rectangles setting up
tables and chairs to sell old clothes, toys and any unwanted bits from home.
These sections of pavement are in such high demand that kids head out days
early to reserve a section for their family?!
All over the city and I mean ALL over the city, families had tables set up selling their old gear to other families. Basically, just one giant recycling party! It was great! If you’re lucky you could get some serious bargains. All the local parks filled with kids selling baked goods from home, or parents setting up little games for all the kids to play. It was pretty cool to see. It was something very unique and it was great for the old community spirit. You could see it really brought the city together.
By the afternoon people started to trickle out of the parks to head back home after a long day of selling and bartering. This was when the real party started! The piss up can commence! The entire city turned into a federation of street parties! What’s unique about Amsterdam is that it’s not just street parties that commence but boat parties too. The canals filled with boats overcrowded with drunken, music blaring party animals. I’ve seen Dublin’s temple bar during St. Patrick’s Day and it’s crowded, but you need to see Amsterdam on King’s Day…
It was a
pretty cool day and one I’d put onto the bucket list for ya. Along with St.
Patrick’s Day too of course 😉. Go to St. Patricks day first then
fly over to Amsterdam and experience this.
I hope you
enjoyed the photos as much as I enjoyed the day!
We have finally gotten our selves a nice little apartment in Amsterdam! It took just over a month to get (which is lucky). To say that the apartment situation here in Amsterdam is hard is an understatement! It is insane! We got one with a bit of kindness and luck! So, for that month and a bit we were slugging it out in different hostels around Amsterdam (whatever was the cheapest to stay at from week to week). I have to say Amsterdam has a good hostel game, sheesh! They are swanky and mahhussive! I’ve never seen hostels as big as the ones here (750+beds).
Anyway, long story short, one week we were only able get a hostel in the city from Monday to Saturday. Saturday night was completely booked out, no room for two poor unfortunate Irish souls such as ourselves. So, after a quick panic, we met another Irish dude (Irish to the rescue) in the hostel and he gave us a little nugget of advice. He said that there was a hostel in the city that had another premises just outside Amsterdam. 35 km to be exact and here’s another thing, it’s at the beach!
Sounds good mate but how are we supposed to get there? To which he replied, the hostel is so class that they provide a €4 shuttle bus to and from Amsterdam! Bloody insane! Gotta love the little traveling Irish. Patriotism at its finest. So, we did just that! Saturday morning we headed out the The Flying Pig Beach Hostel for the night. Guess what? Yer man was sitting on the couch at the reception of the beach hostel. Hah… was he paid by them to do this? Or did he just want company? Or maybe he was just being a nice guy? I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.
So, aftersettling into our rooms at the hostel we decided to head out and explore the place and take a nice sunset stroll on the beach. Perfect conditions to bring the old camera out for a walk.
Heading out to the beach for a night was actually a blessing in disguise. I think Laura and I really needed it. At the time things were getting a little overwhelming back in the city. We knew that getting an apartment would be hard (we did research before getting to Amsterdam we aren’t complete noobs…yet) but we didn’t think it would be this hard. We were still looking for jobs too. All we had been doing since we moved here was just burning through our savings. You start to question whether any of this was a good idea. Why is it that it’s not working out? Is it me, us? If we can’t set up shop here then where will we be able to set up? We can’t go home, not like this. These are just some of the questions that start to flood into your head when you move for the first time. It can be really overwhelming. Coming out to the beach allowed us to detach ourselves from the situation and see the bigger picture a little bit. It really helped us to regain our composure and stay motivated. And it worked, we now have an apartment and jobs! Whoop!
If there is any advice I could give, not that I’m entitled to give advice because this is only my first time moving away, it would be to be persistent. As hard as it might get just keep the faith, stay motivated and it will happen.
Back to the beach story. So we headed out to the beach and just walked and walked and it was actually so great. We watched the sun set slowly over the horizon and the birds glide across the water so peacefully. After a while we found this nice beach bar that had only been open for 2 days. We grabbed 2 glasses of wine, sat out on some chairs near a little fire and just watched the sunset. Pure bliss.
Maybe it was because of all the emotion from the past few days that made this little escape feel so good, but I can not recommend a trip to Noordwijk enough. Its amazing how close it is to Amsterdam. Such a peaceful break from what the busy city might push on you.
Noordwijk also has Europe’s largest Space Expo, we only found that out when we read the map on the beach. Noordwijk a place full of hidden gems…
The next day we headed back to the city and 2 days later we had our own apartment! Funny how things work out like that.
If you want to spend a few days away from the city and out in Noordijk, then check the links below to see the hostel itself and the shuttle service. I’ll also leave a little link to more about the history of Noordwijk and the space expo.
If you liked this blog and the photos from here, or it helped inspire a trip to Noordwijk let me know. I’d love to hear from you. Or if you have any questions about our little trip just send me an email or visit the contact section on my website.
We have been in Amsterdam for 4 weeks now and the majority of our time has been spent trying to get jobs and find an apartment. It has been harder than we thought, especially on the apartment side of things. It’s been pretty full on. I’ve been suppressing all my creative ideas and projects because I wanted to stay focused on getting a job because I need the money!
So we decided to take the day off and head out into the city and see what the north (Noord) had to offer. It was time to finally get shooting again and let the creative juices flow! It felt so good. The lack of creative release over the last few weeks made me come up with all these crazy ideas and plans for new projects for the future (all of which are time consuming, don’t produce any form of income and way too far fetched. But I still really want to do themmm….why?)
Anyway, this has made me want to re-design my blog and make it more appealing and easier to interact with readers/ viewers. I’m gonna spend more time on my blog this year and if all goes well, hopefully it will lead to bigger and way better things. It’s top secret, but here’s a hint; a magazine…
So welcome to my new Photo Blog. Issue No.1! New design, new concept and new layout! I hope you like!
All the photos that you’ve seen so far were taken from our spontaneous day out in the Noord. It began with the happiest dog I’ve ever seen enjoying a free ferry ride (it’s free for humans too not just dogs) from Amsterdam Central Station to Amsterdam NDSM (14min). While we came into dock in the Noord we passed the ‘Greenpeace’ fleet and offices. It was actually so cool to see it all in person. I’ve only ever seen them on TV and media reports so it was special to see it in person.
Then as we swung around, to the right of the Greenpeace fleet, we saw a retired Submarine! I’ve also never seen a submarine before! I was very star struck at this point and we hadn’t even stepped off the ferry yet!
The North of Amsterdam used to be an old ship building yard. Back in the day, it was very significant to Amsterdam and the rest of the world. Unfortunately, it fell into disrepair and closed its doors in 1984 and now it has been converted, and in my opinion improved, into a start-up/expo center for young creative companies in Amsterdam and man is it cool!
Inside the actual walls of the massive hangers (is that what they are called?) they have built incredible offices and an expo center to encourage people to still visit and use the area. It is an incredible mash up of history and modern technology. You can see how new businesses are using the space while trying to preserve the wealth of history it contains!
The way that they have managed to build offices around the existing structure is pretty incredible. If you are an engineer or an architect I highly recommend a visit here!
While we walked around this incredible place we stumbled into a film set! AGAIN, I’ve never seen a film set in person!! What a day to see things in person!
It was so so cool to see the whole production side of things with the make up and the camera crew and the actors, so cool!
I was so mesmerised by the whole thing, I just started snapping photos and perspectives and I ended walking right into frame by accident and the director yelled out to me and I quote: “Don’t look at the camera!”.
I just looked straight down at the floor and got out of there as fast as possible!
But hey who knows I might appear in a Dutch movie sometime soon! Weird day…
Don’t look at the camera!
Laura’s on camera look. Blue steel…
So we got straight outta there and headed out past the ship yard a bit! Scary but so cool to get shouted at by a director! Very surreal day.
Next we found a really cool make shift beach bar on the shore of the river next to the ship building yard. How cool is that?! People just chilling out and enjoying their Friday afternoon on a makeshift beach in Amsterdam. I love their innovation!
We finally ended the day at a green house that had been converted into a jazz bar…I think I’m gonna love this city!
I know one thing for sure I’m definitely going to spend way more time in Amsterdam Noord!
Thus ends the first installment of a new blog project that I’m doing. I hope it’s more engaging and easier to read for you. Please let me know if you liked it, if any of it was helpful or even if the photos turned out alright.
Your support is hopefully what will one day turn my hobby into a career. It would mean the world to me if you would share this, or any of my work with a friend or a colleague to help spread the word. It will help me to make more photo stories and help me improve my story telling.
At the end of the day I want to be able to tell real stories to help showcase the incredible places and people of this world.
Thank you so much and I hope you enjoyed the read. Till next time!
In all honesty, of all the coffee cities I’ve been to (Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Dublin, Galway, Capetown and Prague) Hong Kong had the most consistent cup. Smooth and silky sweet coffee seems to be the standard there and it’s incredible. We spent 8 days in the crazy, vibrant city and drank some delicious coffee. I think I only had one bad cup of coffee the whole time we were there and that was probably just the barista having an off day. I’m sure if we went back the next day the coffee would be back to silky smooth.
Anyway, I will take you through the best tasting, most unique and some of the shortfalls of the cafes we went to. I hope that you can take this guide with you when you visit Hong Kong and enjoy the same experience we did.
If you do use this blog as a guide when you’re over there drop a comment! I would love to here how you got on and if this guide helped or was it just a whole load of shite!
1. The Coffee Academics
This was the first thing we did when we landed in Hong Kong. We dropped our bags off in our hostel and headed straight for the nearest Coffee Academics. This little spot was on the edge of an upmarket shopping mall ( All shopping malls in HK seem to be upmarket!?).
We were so jet lagged and droopy from our flight but our flatwhites helped pick us up out of our slump! I was surprised by the taste because I nievely thought that a cafe at the edge of a shopping mall might not provide the best tasting coffee, but how wrong was I? The cafe also provided a cool view out over the ever busy Carton Road. It was fun to just sit there and sip our coffees and watch the traffic wardens try to manage the chaos on the street.
Side note: Their flatwhites are like Irish cappuccinos in terms of size. It’s smooth and not really foamy (just the way I like my coffee) unlike a cappuccino, but its 8oz? It’s so interesting to see other parts of the world interpreting different sizes for different coffee drinks.
I give these guys an 8/10 for overall quality and cafe design!
Barista Jam is located near a cluster of specialty coffee shops. It’s like the coffee center of HK. Barista Jam has a nice simple interior, the coffee was Colombian and just as smooth as The Coffee Academics’. However, these dudes did their flatwhites to the same size as the Irish do them (6oz)? Anyway it was good.
The best thing about these dudes is the products they sell! They have a whole second floor dedicated to coffee apparatus and supplies. It’s great! I actually got a cold brew maker here. They sell more stuff than any other cafe I’ve ever been to. If you need anything coffee related, go here! They also have stuff you’ve never seen before. Check it out for the craic.
I give these dudes 7/10 for their consistent coffee and loads of supplies!
These dudes! You’ll know what I’m talking about the minute you walk through the door. You’re greeted by this massive trophy “4th Place in The World Barista Championships!”, holy samosa!
These dudes are all about taste and consistency. We came back to the cafe multiple times when we were in HK and the coffee was insanely good. Every. Single. Time! They also have the best cup design I’ve ever seen from a cafe. Both their takeaway and sit-in cups are amazing!
Okay so don’t get angry at me, but I actually forgot to take a photo of the takeaway cup design. This is because I was so consumed by the taste!… I’m sure if you check their Instagram link, which I will put below, you’ll see the design in some post they have. The only thing I’d say about the cafe is, it’s tiny. It gets crowded fast and deservedly so! They are good.
I give Amber a whopping 9.5/10! They are in the top 3 of my all time favourite cafes!
Omotesando have a cool concept with their cafe. It’s set up like a science lab. It’s very minimal and their baristas wear lab coats and are serious about their coffee. These guys have taste above everything else.
The cafe has a nice very simple design. You could see your self sitting there for a couple of hours in the afternoon doing some laptop work. It’s pretty sweet.
However, these dudes were actually the guys that had the worst cup. Coffee tasted a bit over extracted unfortunately. But! This could have been just the barista having an off day. The way the place is set up it looks like they are serious about their coffee! I’d still go back here for another cup of coffee.
I actually didn’t get any photos of these guys… I don’t even have an excuse, just forgot. The coffee is great though! They were selling the best range of filter coffees of all the cafes we visited. They were selling competition roasts and natural single origins! Kinda expensive though… But very tasty. If you like a really nice filter like me, it’s worth the money. They also had a nice Ethiopian espresso too! Check out their Instagram for some cool snaps of their place. It is located in that little coffee cluster center place in HK. You could go wild around there.
They also have some champion baristas!
I give these dudes a Solid 8.2/10 for filter variety!
Elephant grounds wins the best cafe design in HK! It’s an open styled cafe. There isn’t a front to the cafe, it’s just open to the street and it’s pretty cool! Nice open seating too and loads of vegetation! Very unique cafe and the coffee is tasty too.
These guys have cool cups too. They also do their flat whites in 8oz cups? HK you’re all over the place! It was tasty though.
I gives these guys 8.2/10 for great design and good coffee!
If you are looking for a coffee destination that’s next level, Hong Kong is your next spot! I was honestly really surprised at the quality of coffee in HK. It also seemed that most of the cafes do their own roasting. This kinda roastery/ cafe thing hasn’t hit Ireland yet. It’s cool to see and it gives each cafe a unique flavour.
Cafes stand out more in HK than they do in Ireland. They all look different and have their own personality. Ireland and Europe need to take a leaf out of the Hong Kong book.
So the final score for Hong Kong coffee: 54.9/70 = 78% on the good coffee scale!
I will eventually do a coffee scale for all the places I visit and then have a masso map with all the scales and cafes so we can all enjoy coffee everywhere!
Have your own input! Tell me what you think about the guide and the cafes in it! would you score them as high?
So, I quit the ole day job in hopes of becoming my own boss.
It’s a really surreal period of my life right now. I never thought that I’d be doing anything like this; quitting my job and completely depending on my own initiative for income hah! For years I’ve been yearning over being a full-time freelance photographer. Being able to have control over when I work and where I work and to a certain extent, what I work on. But I always thought of that as a far-fetched out of reach idea that would never actually happen (basically a dream), “c’mon Enda be practical, get yourself a real job”. But here I am. I’ve actually quit my job on the sole focus of doing everything I’ve dreamed of doing for the last 5 years and it scares the absolute shite out of me!
My biggest fear and the one thing that really is holding me back is the fear of not obtaining any clients or jobs, basically not getting enough money to pay the bills and live off of. I’ve had photography jobs in the past and I have had the incredible opportunity to work for some big clients and great people, but those gigs were intermittent and sometimes far between. Will I be able to keep a steady stream of work coming in?! It keeps me up at night. Its weird though, it’s like there is this internal energy inside of me that is just putting one foot in front of the other and willing me forward, even though my conscious is setting off alarm bells and saying this is a bad idea.
However, having written those two above paragraphs covered in doubt, fear and anxiety (apologies, just need to get those emotions out). I know that if I don’t take the risk and do this now I will always say “what if” and regret not trying this out for the rest of my life, and for future Enda’s sake, that’s not cool!
So here goes, let’s take the risk and eat into my savings for a bit, woo! My true aim with becoming a freelancer and essentially setting up my own business is for three very important goals that I want to achieve with the work that I produce and put out into the public eye. To Educate, Motivate and Inspire others to get out there into the world around them and explore and experience everything you can before you close your eyes for ever. This is essentially my philosophy in life. Now I know my initial work won’t be promoting this as I’ll take whatever I can get (to a certain extent) to pay the bills. But if this works, in the long run I want to create relationships with clients and people where I can produce work that embodies those three values. Now that I’ve said it, I give you full permission to call me out if my work in a few years does not embody any of those values! Call me out, or call me a fraud, whatever it is I probably deserve it.
With the work that I do I want to create a conversation and a community that helps each other out and inspires each other to get out there. So having said that, get in touch with me, let me know what I can improve on in my photography or writing skills (sorry I know the latter isn’t great), or story telling skills (this one is huge for me). Also, I write this blog in the most honest way I can to allow you to get to know me honestly and truly. This way if any future clients are reading this (I very much hope they are), they know exactly who they are working with. I strive for meaningful, real and positive relationships with the people I meet and work with. So I hope this blog has helped promote that.
Anyway I’ve blabbered on far too long and if you are still reading up to this point, I thank you very much! Lastly if you do know of anyone looking for a photographer, I would be forever grateful if you would send them my way, gotta get this show on the road! Please check other sections of my website for examples and a portfolio of the work I have done. Ok thanks again for reading and I hope I’ve somehow inspired others to go for it too in what ever project or ambition they want to do. If I can do it then so can you!
I’m one of those people that hates bad weather. If I see it raining, more importantly, if I see it grey, overcast and windy, then Enda is in a bad mood. Don’t get me wrong some days I love the slow pitter patter of raindrops on a porch or window and the distant sounds of a thunderstorm, that stuff is nice and ironically makes me feel good. I’m talking about the bad weather that engulfs Galway for about 90% of the year. Just bland, bleak and never changing. Utter shite.
Anyway, the whole point of this is that I decided to try and tackle this! I challenged myself to head out in the rain with my 50 mm prime lens and capture the beauty of Galway in the rain. This forced me to try and find the beauty in the rain, try and create unique perspectives and angles that look good in a photo. It was actually really fun! I actually want to do it again, it was good craic and it helped me improve my photography technique. So this is what I managed to capture, hopefully, it makes you see rainy days more positively…
To be honest it’s hard to believe that I’m writing this photo blog right now. Before I get too dramatic, it’s just that I didn’t think that I’d be travelling abroad this year. I’ve been aggressively saving money (it sounds funny but it is true… I’ve been such a stingy poo with my money this year) since I started my new job. I’ve been saving for my future, to give me the best opportunity to go and achieve my ultimate dream of having a photography cafe one day. Anyway, when a bunch of my mates asked if I wanted to head to Amsterdam for a few days I looked at the bank account and said: “screw it, why not?!” (didn’t take much convincing).
So, we headed for Amsterdam. Enda does not go to a city without checking out their coffee scene and jaysus Amsterdam has some scene! So let me recommend some for you if you’re thinking of heading over to that part of the world. Now, I have to say most of the time I was drinking filter coffees in each of the cafes, dis because Enda LOVES FILTER coffee! For those who don’t know, filter coffee is coffee that is roasted a little lighter than espresso coffee, it is also ground a little coarser than espresso coffee. In general what happens is that you pour the coffee over a filter and then slowly pour water over the coffee. Over several minutes the water reacts with the coffee releasing all the chemicals and gases in the ground coffee to eventually give you a drink that is really complex in flavour and profile. Sometimes it feels like you’re drinking juice! It’s great, try it next time, you’ll be surprised!
These dudes know how to do a filter, so much so that I had one filter and then two more after that! So, so tasty! They had a delicious Colombian, Kenyan and Ethiopian on that day! The interior is really nice and open and simple. If you’re a freelancer, it is definitely a place where you can come and bash out a few hours of work on their slick tables, while guzzling litre after litre of coffee! Honestly, if I lived here, that is exactly what I’d do!
If you know anything about the infamous hygge feeling that is promoted in Denmark, then you need to head to this place! It is bursting with hygge. It’s a very cosy, simple, minimalist, warm little cafe. This is exactly the spot that you want to head to if you want to chill out for the afternoon in a snug corner reading your book. They serve delicious Koppi coffee and on this particular day, it was a beautiful Costa Rican coffee. They also sell the freshest pastries in Amsterdam!
This is the kind of cafe that you would go to if you want really good coffee; quick fast and on the go. They are situated in the heart of Amsterdam. They are really convenient and they sell a killer batch brew. If you do have time to stay you can grab a treat for on the run!
This cafe is a really cool concept. It’s an art gallery as well as a cafe. You can enjoy your sweet coffee while also admiring the art that is hung all around the walls! This is exactly how I’d have my cafe one day! Showcasing photo stories and other artists from around the city while allowing the public to learn about the world around them! One day!
Some other cafes that rock it with their interior and coffee and food selection:
The one thing that is similar with all these cafes in Amsterdam is that they all look freakin’ amazing! Sweet and stylish interior designs and lushes furniture. This city has so much style! It’s given me a lot of inspiration for what I’d like my cafe to look like one day. If you aren’t gonna find yourself in Amsterdam soon, have no fear your boi Enda has got you covered with his ‘Self Guided Mini Coffee Tour of Dublin‘! Now, these cafes I can vouch for! They are gooood. Go check it out and keep guzzling that coffee litre after litre, I’ll be right there next to you drowning in the stuff! Ok, till next time!
One of the best parades I’ve been to. I think all of Galway was at this one this year! one of the most creative parades around. It out trumps any st. Patrick’s day parade! I had a great time capturing perspectives from the night! please enjoy them below and let me know what your favourite one is. I’m always interested to see what resonates with people the most. Thanks!