First in line at Temple Bar

How do you beat the crowds?  Get there early!

That is sound advice when it comes to visiting the most popular pub in Dublin (or any pub in Dublin, for that matter!).  If you want to beat the crowds, get there early.  This is The Temple Bar, and this place fills up with tourists most nights of the week.  As such it's sometimes hard to make your way to the bar for a pint of Guinness (and that's definitely the thing to do there, though there is also live music).

But it's equally sound advice when you want to get some photos of the Temple Bar.

Because of said crowds, you just cannot possibly get a clean shot of the place, except early in the morning.  Let's face it - you know you can't possibly wait out the crowds in the evening.  They are probably out there til all hours of the morning.  I guess, technically, you could slap on a filter and do some really long exposure, with the result being that all the tourists blur out of the shot.  

But I'm not even sure that would work, because often there is a bouncer of sorts standing outside, just moving slightly left and right.  He would just be a blurry mess.  Besides, that's what caffeine is for.  Get up early, shoot without the crowds, then go get some caffeine.  It works great for me.

But you can rest assured that by 6am or something like that, everyone is safely slumbering back at their hotel, which means you get to stand in front of what is arguably the most famous Irish pub in the world, and shoot to your hearts content.  That's my kind of thing.  I get pretty excited about taking these shots, every time I go to Dublin.

And no, there are no tricks in these shots - no Photoshop "people removal" or anything like that.  The streets were just empty, with a single person walking by every now and then.  Otherwise, it was me and my camera (and my friend Mark, who was also shooting away).  Well, there was a guy doing a little work around the outside of the Temple Bar, but I mostly just shot around him.  That was easy.

I have found a great little hotel (The Clarence Hotel), which most times has very reasonable rates and is just a 2 minute walk from here.  It's perfect, in fact.  It's a nicely appointed place, and let's face it, hotel choices often come down to location.  Not to mention it's owned by Bono and The Edge of U2 fame, so there's that.  No, I haven't seen them there yet - I once missed them by 2 days though, dangit!  I've been a fan of them since I was a kid.  Maybe someday I will bump into them there.  Wouldn't that be awesome?

It also has a great little bar, shaped like an octagon, and conveniently named The Octagon Bar.  I've been there and chatted with the bartenders a couple of times, and like all the Irish I have met in my travels there, they like a good conversation.  The head bartender (who sadly moved to Australia or something) was a "certified flair mixologist", which is another way or saying that he used to toss bottles around while mixing drinks, like in the old Tom Cruise movie Cocktail.  It was incredibly entertaining.

But anyways, I stay at The Clarence and at least one morning during my stay, I drag myself up and out before sunrise, so I can stand on these tourist-free cobblestone streets and fire away.  It's so awesome when you have this to yourself.  That's why I recommend sunrise shooting in cities.  You can see all the awesome spots without the distraction of tourists.

For those that are curious, these were all shot with my Nikon D700 and the wide angle lens - which I absolutely love - which is the 14-24mm.  It gets nice and wide so I can gather up all the bits on both sides of the lane.  I love that thing.

Also, these photos were all adjusted in Color Efex Pro and Aperture (and the first 2 are single exposure shots, while the rest are all 7 frame HDRs).  In Color Efex Pro, I normally use some of these filters: Detail Extractor, Pro Contrast, Brilliance/Warmth, Glamour Glow, and Skylight.  Sorry but not sure which filters were used on which photos, though.  I'm not organized enough to keep track of all that!

I have so many shots of The Temple Bar, many of which I have shared here before, but even more that I just haven't processed and shared yet.  I've been to Dublin 4 or 5 times now, and I tend to gather a lot of shots while I am there.  So, hopefully you enjoy seeing Dublin pics, because this blog has a lot of them and more will be coming!

Lastly, these were all shot on my most recent visit to Dublin, which was a few short weeks ago, although it already feels like a year ago.  I love that town.  Hopefully I will get back!