My Gear

If you’ve been wondering why things have been a little quiet here, I should mention that my gear was stolen while I was shooting a job in Colombia. They got my camera, lenses, cards, accessories, phone and laptop. I’m hoping they’ll all be replaced soon, so I can get back up and running, and in the meantime I’m working on the footage I brought back from the trip. Thanks for checking in 🙂

Ben Keenan Signature


[dropcap]A[/dropcap] little month late, here’s some background on 2012, the video I made with the wonderful Nathalie about our year together. We shot this on our 5D Mark IIs and the 16mm-style footage was shot by Nathalie on an iPhone 4S. She has some wonderful shots from our trips over on her blog, which she recently revamped, so it’s definitely worth a look.

We cut the video on Final Cut Pro X on my 13″ MacBook Pro over three or four evenings with a strict deadline of midnight on New Year’s Eve. We got it done by seven or so and headed out to dinner to ring in the new year, knowing our project was finished and live – a lovely feeling!

Like pretty much all of my video work, it’s been added to my portfolio.

Film Shots

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]hough I’m quite busy at the moment, I couldn’t help but try out some of the bells and whistles on my new site. Here are some of the film shots I’ve shot in the last couple of years.

I have a bag of undeveloped film I promise to get done some time this year. Watch this space!

Ballymaloe Cookery School

[dropcap]G[/dropcap]rowing up, I had the good fortune to visit Ballymaloe almost every summer. My family would stay in the cottages that were used the rest of the year as student housing for the Cookery School. We had access to the freshest, most delicious food, in the most beautiful surroundings. We stopped going when I was about ten years old.

I visited again once more in 2007, right before I produced my biggest project to date at the time, The Chronoscope. I don’t remember much from that family occasion, except a powerful feeling of peace I got from the place, my tense muscles uncoiling as I turned the corner into the grounds of the farm where the school, gardens and accommodations are nestled.

Nathalie had the wonderful luck of being gifted with a prize for a course, accommodation and meals for two in Ballymaloe this year, and we chose a subject we knew nothing about: seafood. We had both intended to take a lot of photographs of the food we’d be working with, but the course was impressively intense, so what follows is a more reflective post than I’d expected. I hope fish-centric culinary photos are to follow, now that I’ve upskilled, but you’ll have to do with this trip down memory lane with me instead. If it’s any consolation, I think the school in Shanagarry, Co. Cork is one of the most beautiful places in Ireland.


The Avenue

The Tree House

High Life

Cleaning Time


Pink Cottage


Scarecrow Lady

Pink Cottage

Tennis Courts

Shell House






Ferns in sunshine



Paso Robles

Paso Robles is a wine country south of San Francisco, an emerging market, newer and cheaper than the Napa Valley. Nathalie and I took a tour of the vineyards – I managed to taste a lot of wine, though I had to do a lot of spitting as I was driving. This also led to us buying FAR more wine than we should have, making our return trip tricky, expensive and a little messy. Still, no regrets.



Wine Country

Big Sur

Treebones Sky

At the very beginning of January, Nathalie and I drove from San Francisco down to San Diego. Nathalie has some gorgeous shots from our stay at Treebones. I found myself hypnotised by the Pacific.




Californian Skies


The Grand Canyon

Several years ago I visited The Grand Canyon and discovered the most beautiful landscape I’d ever seen. I had only gotten my first camera (it was really quite a while ago!), so I struggled to do it justice, but given the vistas before me, it wasn’t tough to get gorgeous shots.
Road to the Canyon

A Grand Canyon

Beautiful Grand Canyon

Hazy Canyon

The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon - Couple


LA Streets

Very soon (SO SUPER SOON) I will be visiting the sunny state of California with Nathalie. It reminded me that I’d never really been through my shots properly since being in the States earlier in the year with Shane (who has a great photoblog you should check out). Looking through reminded me of the benefit of time – I saw so many shots I’d missed on the first edit. Kinda tempting to go back through all libraries and pick out some old shots.

We started off in Santa Monica, an uncommonly lovely part of LA.


Our hotel was right by the famous Muscle Beach.

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We then headed into the belly of The Beast, LA itself and Hollywood.

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Of course, LA is the home of a religion I am not mad about, but since it is so intrinsically mixed up with celebrity and the film business, I am still rather curious about Scientology.

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We found ourselves outside this place:

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And of course, we ventured in. It was a decidedly creepy experience. It is also the site of the famous meltdown by BBC journalist John Sweeney when making an episode of Panorama about Scientology.

We also indulged in taking in a little wildlife while we were there.


We then hit the open road North and got some real heartland America stuff, which is always great.


While I was driving, Shane snapped these:


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And of course, San Francisco was beautiful, and I didn’t take nearly enough photo’s. I plan to rectify that on my return.

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Roma: Piazza

The Choir

While taking a break from the traipsing around the Tavasere district to let our iPhones get their table on:

iPhones in Repose

We enjoyed some Limonade Naturelle – freshly squeezed lemon juice, with sugar, water and ice on the side for you to add to taste:

Limonade Naturale

We then noticed a disturbance the other side of the Piazza:

Piazza de Santa Maria

And when we got there, discovered there was fun a-happening! A (probably) South African choir doing an impromptu performance!

The Choir

Rome on Film

Wooden Pots

When Nathalie whisked me to Rome earlier this year, we brought along my recently-acquired film camera and fired off a few rolls of ridiculously fast 35mm B&W.

Wooden Pots

Nathalie a Roma

Nighttime Streets of Rome


Weather Rollin' In

Had the good fortune to visit Glengarriff recently with Nathalie. She was doing a wedding shoot down there and took me down to beautiful West Cork with her. En route, we stopped for some delicious lunch in Avoca, which Nathalie duly took gorgeous pics of (I was too busy scoffing). We then noticed these lovely little guys on the way back to the car:

Hangin' In There


Hanging On


Hanging On

Lavendar Field

Then once we were in Glengarriff and had a bit of time, we hit Seal Island (I wanted to include a link to Google Maps here, but there’s too little coverage of West Cork, it’s pretty off the grid). Nathalie got some stunners.


Japan or West Cork?

Italy or Japan?

Weather Rollin' In

Welcome To The Jungle



Nathalie's Pieces of Flare

All credit for the macro shots goes to Nathalie – she kindly let me use her beautiful 100mm macro lens, and some of the bee shots are certainly hers, we both took so many, we found it impossible to figure out whose were whose!

The Vatican I: Say Your Prayers

St. Peter's

Though I’m not an especially religious person, The Vatican was quite amazing. It stands like a living remnant of the Roman Empire – the buildings look and feel as old as the Colusseum and Pantheon, but they remain in use.

The Murals

The Statues
Something I’d never known – all of the old Roman statues would have originally had eyes. Amazeballs.



St. Peter's

The U S of Hey!

Pacific Heights

The why and wherefore of how I ended up going to the US is an interesting story, but not one for this blog. Here are some holiday snaps 🙂

Statue of Liberty

Santa Monica Pier

Infinite Corridor

Noo Yawk

Three Wee Deer

Red White & Blue

Pacific Heights


Golden Gate

Golden Gate Bridge

I didn’t make it out to the Golden Gate Bridge on my last trip to San Francisco. I got these last time I was in town.

Golden Gate Bridge



Lightning Strikes


On a trip to Colorado, my friends and I noticed that just about every night, the peaks surrounding our apartment in The Rockies were alive with dry lightning storms. I borrowed a remote shutter and would leave the aperture open for up to five minutes, letting it snap shut the instant we saw a flash.