Between the day job keeping me busy and finding it hard to decide what to photograph recently I decided to return to where I had restarted my photography in 2010.
Glendalough is one of my favourite places in Ireland with happy memories from my childhood and then with my own family. It is a really popular spot with tourists and during the holiday season it can get extremely busy.
I went across last Monday morning as it was a bank holiday here in Ireland. It is such a peaceful spot early in the morning and I felt myself completely relax as I took in the whole scene. With the sky so cloudy I did work on taking the shot as a potential black and white shot. Would really like to hear what you think of it. I dont know how the branch got there but I think it really makes the scene.
It is good to be busy and thankfully some of that busy has been with taking photographs. Getting back to the blog once again!
Most of my photography since Christmas has been around Naas. Recently it was our daughters mid term break from school so I took the same week off from the day job. A few mornings I got up early to see what wildlife I could come across.
I spent a few weeks photographing the swans taking off and landing on the lakes up at Lakelands in Naas. I was experimenting with settings to get the motion frozen and the picture sharp. Up to this shot I would have been reluctant to raise the ISO very high. Having looked at other wildlife shots I think with good light having a high ISO does not mean you will get a lot of grain in the shot. The high ISO for this shot meant I could have a high shutter speed and an fstop that meant what is in focus is sharp.
Settings: ISO 1000, f6.3, 313mm, 1/1250sec.
Along the canal near Tandy’s bridge there is a wildlife sanctuary just over the wall along the canal. It is not unusual to see a squirrel now and again. These two young squirrels were further down the canal running through the hedge. Again I had the ISO high to allow for a high shutter speed.
Just before the end of 2013 we went to Dublin Zoo with my brothers and their families. The Zoo is favourite spot of ours and all the children love it. As well as the Zoo animals if you keep your eyes open you can see a lot of other animals as well.
As always please feel free to comment, ask questions, share.
The Grey Heron
There are a lot of wild Grey Herons around the zoo. They have worked out between the seal lion/penguin feeding and the outdoor tables at the restaurants there is a lot of free food around. This guy was very calm and allowed people get very close. I got as close as I could to ensure the background would be blurry to make the Heron stand out more.
We visit the zoo regularly and most times we see Squirrels running around but I never get a clear photograph of them. The joke in the family is to shout Squirrel everytime we see one or miss one 🙂 Dont know if it was the cold weather or if this guy was hungry but I got two photographs of this guy. As far as I know this is the grey squirrel.
Californian Sea Lions
I know the blog is about other animals than the zoo animals but I always love spending time watching the Seal Lions. They are so graceful in the water.
These are very common in Ireland, most gardens would have one or two. This guy kept following us for at least 3-4 minutes. Not sure if he wanted his picture taken or was looking for food…
I did not plan on taking a break from the camera over Christmas but it worked out that way! Each year I think the lights and shop windows in Naas always look well for Christmas. This weekend I got out to take some photographs of the town. Here is a small sample of some these from this year. Please feel free to comment or ask questions. Hope 2014 is good for everyone.
Naas Presbyterian Church
While the idea is simple this is always my personal favourite each year. It can be seen from the top of town and I think it is a great reminder of what Christmas is about.
Naas Town Hall
The Town Hall has looked very well at different times this year. I think it looked really well with the Christmas tree this year. Interesting point there is normally two Christmas trees at the Town Hall and this year at the start there were two trees. I am guessing our recent storms were responsible for one tree disappearing..
Shop Front Window
There are a lot of lovely windows in Christmas this year. This is just one of the windows.
This decoration has been used for several years and I like it. One year it was actually hung upside down.
One of my favourite times of year for photography is Autumn. I actually got back into photography in October 3 years ago. The colours, mist, leaves, trees….there is so much choice. These pictures are from the start of the season and I can’t wait to get more.
About 20 minutes from where I live is Donadea National Forest Park. It is a lovely amenity and we go there regularly as a family for picnics, walks and just chill out time. We have even been known to bring our pet rabbit on a few occasions. This shot is actually my first attempt at a HDR shot. It is not three separate shots but one shot that I adjust to three different exposures in lightroom and then combined them for a first attempt at a HDR shot.
Going to work during the week and the mist around the Naas was absolutely beautiful. I could not pass it by so had to stop. Thankfully most days I have the camera with me so managed to get some photographs before the sun burnt the mist off. This was less than two kilometers from the edge of Naas town and less than 200 meters from the main road.
Autumn Evening. This was taken the same day as the previous photograph and I think demonstrates the range of colours that autumn brings. This was the sky over Naas as seen from the canal that runs along the back of Naas.
July has proved to be a busy month but not with the camera unfortunately. Hopefully August will allow more time with taking photographs. Below are shots form across June and July. As always please let me know what you think or ask any questions.
This blog is also a first as it is being put together completely using my phone so I don’t have the settings of each shot with me. If there is any you want to know send me a message and when I get back to my laptop I will send them.on.
Sometimes the small details in nature catch my eye and has me wondering about how it is all connected together.
When we growing up my family lived in Kilkenny and not far outside it there is a small park called Jenkinstown. We went down recently and discovered it has not changed much and they still keep Deer there. These two guys were very friendly.
As I have mentioned before I am part of Naas photography group. Over the Summer we have started to work with other community groups in town. We are working with the Tidy Towns Group to help promote the work they are doing and how good Naas can look. This shot is a close up of some of the flowers just outside the Town Hall.
And to finish here is a shot of the Town Hall at the moment.
Last weekend I managed to get away on the motorbike for a day and a half with two pals Friedrich and Les. The weather was perfect and we managed to cover 550 miles in that time. Actually the Friday afternoon it was nearly too hot for the the motorbike with the tar on some of the backroads melting in the heat. On Saturday we made our way out to Achill Island which I never been to before. The scenery on the way out and on the island was spectacular in the sunshine. For the first time ever I was caught between wanting to drive the motorbike and take photographs. If I stopped every time I wanted to take a picture we would not have made any progress!
The first shot is of the coastline of Achill Island that can be seen from some of the Atlantic drive.
Settings : ISO 100, 18mm, f11, 1/200sec
This was taken on our second stop on the island and is a view across the island. As I said there were two many views to choose from!
Settings : ISO 100, 30mm, f11, 1/200sec
View from Achill Island back to the mainland. This was our first stop.
Settings : ISO 100, 18mm, f11, 1/160sec
This was taken on our second stop on Achill Island.
Settings : ISO 100, 30mm, f11, 1/200sec
Last shot from Achill. Have to say I will be back to Achill 🙂
My wife bought a bird feeder last week and watching the activity around it I figured it must be possible to get some photographs.
At first I thought, right I need to buy a cheap hide to let me get close to the bird feeder and went straight to the source of all great value on the internet… ebay. Pausing for a second I thought wait now, lets work with what I have. So one rabbit hutch (rabbit only uses it under protest), spade, stake and a very questionable old duvet cover later…hey presto DIY hide for free! At the end of the blog I have included one picture of the hide for those of you who are interested.
I would like to thank John Rapple for helping identify the birds in the shots.
The birds in this shot are Common House Sparrows. There were a lot of them around this morning and they really enjoyed the food put out. I did set the ISO high to keep the shutter speed high in attempt to freeze movement. One thing I did learn is if your lens has stabilisation built in and you are using a tripod switch off the stabilisation as it slows down the shooting process slightly.
Settings : ISO 800, 300mm, f5.6, 1/160sec.
Starling and Common House Sparrow. These two did not share the tray for very long with the Starling taking over for a few minutes.
Settings : ISO 800, 300mm, f5.6, 1/160sec
Common House Sparrow on its own. It was a bit later in the morning so I was able to lower the ISO which I think does make the picture a little sharper.
Settings : ISO 400, 300mm, f5.6, 1/250sec
I will add more bird pictures during the week. As promised here is the high quality hide!! As this was taken with my mobile phone I have no settings.
My animal library has these pictures and others here Animal World
Last weekend I decided to go back to one of my favourite spots from my childhood in Wicklow, Glenmalure. We didn’t go there as often as we went to Glendalough but the beauty of the place left an impression on me even as a child. I thought as I went down looking for Glenmalure I had a memory of climbing to the top of the hill on the right hand side. When I got there I think it must have been somewhere else I climbed to the top of! The weather Saturday morning turned out beautifully for taking photographs.
Settings : ISO 100, 54mm, f11, 1/25sec (Tripod Used)
This view is facing the opposite direction in the valley from the first. Just fantastic view where ever you look.
Settings : ISO 100, 18mm, f11, 1/30sec
The monument stone below is just at the car park at the entrance to the valley. I did not realise all three glens (Glendalough, Glenmalure & Glen of Imall) in Wicklow were used during 1798 fighting. Lots of information if you google Glenmalure and 1798.
If you are interested in going down to the Glennalure here is the google maps view. Point B on the map is the valley, point A is the village Glenmalure.
At times when I am out with the camera I get so caught up watching what is happening I have to remind myself to take the pictures. Sunday evening was exactly like that. John Rapple who is the chairman of Naas Photography Group rang me to say there were new cygnets on the lake in town. I meet John down there and we spent well over an hour watching the parent swans minding their brood. It was a fantastic reminder of the wonder of mother nature in action. I eventually got around to take some photographs. I will add the settings later but to be honest I am not sure they are that relevant for these type of pictures. As always, comments questions welcome.