About Conor MacNeill

Hullo there, I'm Conor. I'm from Belfast, Northern Ireland, but currently live in London, England. By day I'm a lead front-end developer for part of the Financial Times Group and by night I teach self-defence in the form of Urban Krav Maga. In between all of this, I am a multi-award-winning double book-winning HDR travel photographer. I tend to take photos of London, landscapes and cityscapes. I often write about my experiences too.

You can tweet me @thefella or email

Photo of Conor MacNeill. Taking a photo. On a river. In China.
Conor MacNeill. Taking a photo. On a river. In China. Taken by Greg Annandale.

About my photography

In the grand scheme of things, I am a relative newcomer to the world of photography, having only really taken it up at the end of January 2010. I quickly became captivated by the world of High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography and how it captures the world around us.

My photographs have been described as hyper-real. I guess the reason for this is the fact I want to transport you to where I took the shot; to make you feel what I felt when I was there. If I can convey at least some of that emotion to you, then I've done my job as a photographer. One of the many techniques I use to do this, is HDR photography.

About HDR photography

Have you ever seen a magnificent sunrise and taken a photo of it then, when it comes to showing it to someone, they are often less than impressed? Have you then qualified it by saying, "You had to be there?" This is because often your photograph is lacking something, but you're not sure what. Enter HDR photography.

At it's simplest form, an HDR photography is usually three shots of one scene, taken immediately after one another, but with different exposures; one overexposed, one normal and one underexposed. This is to make up for the fact that the human eye is tremendously good at dealing with large ranges of light and the camera isn't.

When you stand in a room and look out at a bright, sunny day, you can not only see the outside world fine, but also the interior of whatever room you are standing in. Your eye will immediately and imperceptibly compensate for the bright and dark areas. The camera can't do this. Unless we use HDR.

Sunrise in Tallinn, Estonia
Tallinn Sunrise. A 'shining' example of HDR photography.

The underexposed shot means that the bright outside will be the correct exposure, although the inside of the room will be pitch black. Conversely, the overexposed shot will show outside as a blinding white haze, but will show the inside in all it's wonderful detail. By combining these two shots with the normal exposure, we can incorporate this huge range of light into one photography. The trick is to combine these in a natural way.

Sadly in the past, people have abused this technique and HDR photography has gotten a bad name for itself. I feel it's part of my job to educate the naysayers on how beneficial HDR can be.

Gear

I'm not too fussed as to what camera gear people used, but it's often nice to know and everyone always asks me, so I thought I might as well tell you. This isn't a comprehensive list, but it's the main bulk of what I use.

Follow my work

If you are interested in seeing more of my work, as well as this photo blog, you can find me on these photography-based websites:

If you follow me on one of these websites, I will check out your work, although I can't promise I'll follow you back, as this would quickly get quite impractical. On these social sites, I get quite a lot of emails and I do my best to reply to them all, but it's not always possible. I also get a lot of enquiries saying things like, "I want to buy a camera, which one?" To be honest, I don't really know. It's entirely up to you.

I combined all my best photos from 2011 into one short video, so if you feel like catching up, here it is, if only for the amazing songs by my friends Beccy Owen and the Pannonia Allstars Ska Orchestra.

TheFella Photography on Vimeo.

Travelling

My photography is a great excuse to go travelling. I once made a New Year's resolution to go away every month that year. And that I did. The year before, myself and a friend drove from London to Istanbul and back again. 5500 miles in 12 days is not to be sniffed at.

I have decided that I want to visit every country in the world. Whether this is achievable or not remains to be seen, especially having a full-time job.

If you live in a far away country and you want me to take photos of it, then let me know! If you want to provide accommodation and be a tour guide, then even better.

Web Development

I have been involved in the web for over a decade now. What started as a hobby in the 90s has now progressed into a full-time job as a lead front-end developer for an international online publishing firm. I specialise in semantic HTML5, CSS3 and microformats, as well as a healthy dose of responsive web design. I haven't been doing any client work these days, but I still have been githubbing it up. If you fancy working with me, let me know and we'll arrange something if I have the time.

Martial Arts

I have been doing martial arts in one form or another since I was a kid. I briefly did Judo, then really got started with Kickboxing and Muay Thai. I then discovered Krav Maga and moved onto Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Mixed Marial Arts. I am a member of the British Combat Association and a Senior Instructor for Urban Krav Maga. I currently train in UKM with Head Instructor Stewart McGill and do MMA and BJJ under world champion Leo Negao.

I am available for private tuition in the London area, so if you fancy learning self-defence that's actually useful in a street situation, why not contact me and arrange a lesson.

Music

I have been known to pick up the odd instrument or two. I currently play the bass, guitar, mandolin, ukulele, jaw harp and… none of them particularly well. I used to dabble around with ambient and electronic music using programs like FL Studio, Cubase and Propellerhead. To check out some of my tracks, you can visit The Fella Goes Arctic.

Colophon

This site took a long time to form into it's current version. I wanted to fulfil three main objectives:

  1. Show my photographs
  2. Write about my travel experiences
  3. Incorporate my web design somehow

This is the result. Possibly one of the top 100 art-directed fine art HDR travel photography blogs in the world. And I don't say that often.

The site was built in a few weeks using a very small PHP5 framework called Fat-Free and I've found it great to use! This is built on top of an Ubuntu server from Media Temple (mt), a MySQL database, PHP-FPM, Nginx and Varnish.

It has been built from the ground up to very fast and work across a range of devices. The site is fully responsive and looks particularly sweet on my iPad retina.

Another concern of mine was accessibility, so I've spent a considerable amount of time looking into that; more than I've spent on any other site I've built. If you find any problems of have any suggestions, please let me know and I'll do my best to fix / implement it.

Although I wanted to try a new and original font, there are simply not that many that display quite as well as Skolar Web across operating systems and devices. Luckily it's a fantastic-looking typeface! It is served to you by the fantastic and game-changing Typekit.

A number of post, especially the more recent ones will be art-directed. This basically means that the article will be styled to compliment the photo or content contained therein. The problem is trying to not overshadow the photograph. Whether I can do this remains to seen. This approach not only shows my photographic portfolio, but also my front-end one too.

A lot of the art-direction is made possibly by Google Web Fonts and Subtle Patterns. To see a full list of thanks and links, I've gone all modern geek and provided you with a humans.txt.

This site uses cookies so I can get statistics like how many people visit and what browsers are used. I use these to make the site better and to boast if I get more than ten visitors in a day. If you don't like the idea of cookies being left on your machine, then leave this site, shut down your computer and run to the hills.