The Photography of Mike O'Neill ABIPP

Travel and Tourism

Italia 14

A recent exercise I went on had me in Italy for a week. We were staying 5 minutes walk from The Leaning Tower, so it would have been rude not to take the opportunity to go and shoot it properly.

One sleepless night due to a roommate who snored like a hibernating bear, I found myself on my way to the square at around 5.30 am. The whole square was deserted except for a couple of Carabinieri in a parked car doing the overnight watch. I got to work. It took me around 30 minutes to breeze through a range of shots including a nice panoramic.

One side of the Basilica was under scaffolding so I had to try and avoid that side. All in all I was happy with what I came away with, yes it would have been nicer to have a better morning sunrise but hey ho…

Leaning Tower

Leaning Tower

Leaning Tower

Leaning Tower

Leaning Tower

Leaning Tower


End of an Era

The British base at Lashkar Gah has been handed over to Afghan control. I spent a good deal of time at the base myself during my two tours of Afghanistan. Although I think the British Public do not realise that Lashkar Gah is a large City. Its name translated means ‘Soldier’s Place’ and it dates back to the time of Alexander the Great.

It has a hustle and bustle with thousands coming and going. Glimpses of modern technology mix with the traditions of old. It is a beautiful place and is target rich for any budding street photographer.

HELMAND SECURITY SHURA

TWENTY20 CRICKET

HELMAND SECURITY SHURA

HELMAND SECURITY SHURA

TWENTY20 CRICKET

TWENTY20 CRICKET

TWENTY20 CRICKET

TWENTY20 CRICKET

TWENTY20 CRICKET

It is certainly a place that I would one day like to go back to as a civilian.

VISIT OF PERMANENT UNDER SECRETARY TO SOLDIERS AND CIVIL SERVANTS IN AFGHANISTAN


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Bunker on The Maginot Line

My first job with Headquarters Allied Rapid Reaction Corps was one of learning. We were following in the footsteps of the 9th Panzer Division as they pushed towards France at the start of World War 2.

We were visiting a bunker on the Maginot Line, the images above are the photos that I took whilst in the bunker. The place had a quiet cold feel to it. It felt like a Tomb as it turned out to be for its unfortunate French Soldiers, RIP.

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Walking The Wall

Walking the Wall

Ill be honest, I know nothing about Hadrian’s wall and that period of British History but a competition win for the wife meant a few days free break in Cumbria and a chance to learn all about it. For example, many of the ‘Roman’ soldiers based in the area were actually Gauls (French) who had been conscripted.

What a great time we all had. My father-in-law joined us for the trip and he wasn’t disappointed.

Off with Grandad

Off with Grandad

We visited the Roman Army Museum and also Vindolanda, before trekking a section of the wall which even my small children managed without complaint. I did shoulder-carry my youngest on the way back somewhat as she only has little legs. Our section of the wall included the Lone Tree which has featured in Costner’s ‘Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves’.

Vindolanda, Roman Fort Ruins

Vindolanda, Roman Fort Ruins

The Gate

The Gate

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The scenery was lovely and I was happy with the images, shot on the Canon G12 and iPhone as I rarely carry my pro cameras on family days out.

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Stalking The Ghurkhas

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Just before last Christmas I found myself facing a gargantuan road trip of epic proportions.  I was to travel to Lairg in Scotland to photograph a team of Nepalise Snipers from 1 Royal Ghurka Rifles who had been invited Deerstalking with a veiw to a published article in Shooting Times.

What an assignment! I thought to myself as I tried to get transport sorted and checked the routemap.  It would take around six hours to get to Lairg, however I could not reach the group by Telephone and no one had any further details as to where these guys were staying.  It shouldt be too hard to find Ghurkas in the Highlands surely?

In addition to this the new reports were full of woe to anyone contemplating driving:  “Dont go unless absolutley!” neccessary they said.  I was not deterred from my task, the mental picture of Ghurkhas in white ghillie suits with sniper rifles was driving me, it will be a great shot.  I just have to get there….

When I set off at 6pm I had no idea what was in front of me.  The journey was fine albeit for a couple of overturned lorries although I did get caught in a blizzard as I came down off the Cairngorms.  I arrived in Lairg after 2am, I parked in a car park by the Spar shop on the shore of Loch Shin.  I got my sleeping bag out and got my head down.

Waking up at first light my first stop was the Spar.  “Seen any Ghurkas?” I asked the bewildered staff, obviously not used to a uniformed soldier in these parts.  No was the answer so I carried on.  A postal sorting office in mid flow provided me with an answer to try the Duke of Edinburgh’s Ranger Lodge and they gave me directions.

An hour later I was there with the rangers and a hotel telephone number in my hand.  I tried repeatedly throughout my broken communications to reach the Ghurka team but it was all in vain.  The hotel proprieter informed “They left this morning!”.

Gutted.  A word that can only describe my dissappointment at the failed task, however as I looked around the stunning scenery I realised I probably would never have come were it not for the tasking.  It truly is a beautiful place, maybe Ill go back.

It turns out the Ghurkas have indeed been invited back to shoot again, and they have invited me to go with them…

Next time they can pick me up en route.


Murals of Belfast

Not so long back I spent the day photographing the Murals that are painted on the sides of buildings in and around Belfast. Armed with a trusty Belfast Bus Tour Map, I started on Shankhill Road and worked around the local housing areas to get a selection I could use to make a final composite. Then I moved onto the Falls Road and did the same.
It was a great day out, it was good to play the tourist and get out and about in the unique culture of Northern Ireland.

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