17th May 2013

As you may have noticed from previous blogs I spend a lot of time around Wicklow driving the car or motorbike. While the photographs here are not the best technically and hopefully on another day it would be clearer I thought it was interesting to get an overall shot of the area I spend so much time in 🙂

This shot is of Vartry Reservoir and it is located near the village of Roundwood. When I saw it first I thought it was the Blessington lakes but checking details on google maps tonight and I am happy it is the reservoir.

I have the ISO at 400 as I wanted a relatively faster shutter speed to reduce shake/vibration from the flight. The setting of f11 was to attempt to get sharpness across the landscape but shooting through the window I think negates some of that.

Settings : ISO 400, 55m, f11, 1/160sec.

 

Wicklow Vartry Reservoir
Wicklow Vartry Reservoir

These are Lough Bray Upper and Lough Bray lower. Until I checked Google maps I thought there was only one Lough Bray so you learn something new every day !

Again I had the ISO at 400 to allow for the shutter speed, vibration etc.

 

Wicklow Lough Bray Landscape
Wicklow Lough Bray Landscape

 

Actually last year I went up to Lough Bray on the motorbike to take a shot of Lough Bray from the lakeside. Checking the dates it was in May as well. Tricky bit it was a 15 minute walk across fields to get to it. I used a tripod to ensure a clear shot so this allowed the shutter speed to be slow.

Settings : ISO 100, 18mm, f22, 1/5 sec

 

Lough Bray Lakeside
Lough Bray Lakeside

 

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9th May 2013

As the year goes on and life gets busy it is hard to keep everything going. I do really need to focus back on keeping the blog up to date!

Last weekend we were back in one of our favourite places, Dublin Zoo. As mentioned on a previous blog we find the animals are more active during the colder weather and as the weather was warm (for Ireland ) at the weekend the animals were a bit subdued but we still enjoyed our time there. There was not much direct sunlight so it did make getting photographs easier as you did not have to worry as much about reflections off the glass, although at times I had the ISO set to 400.

The first two shots are of a Sumatran Tiger. There are fantastic looking animal and even though this one was relaxing he was very impressive to watch. According to the notes in Zoo the Sumatran tigers love to swim and they are the only tiger that has webbing on their paws to help with the swimming.

Settings : ISO 400, 300mm, f5.6, 1/250sec

Sumatran Tiger
Sumatran Tiger

 

This is the same tiger deciding we were not that interesting 🙂

Settings : ISO 400, 225mm, f5.0, 1/250sec

Sumatran Tiger Sleeping
Sumatran Tiger Sleeping

 

Normally with the Californian Sea Lions the challenge is to get a clear shot of them as they are usually swimming under water. No such challenge on this trip!

Settings : ISO 100, 150mm, f5.0, 1/160sec

Californian Sea Lions
Californian Sea Lions

 

One of the things I really like about Dublin Zoo is the large number of breeding programs they are involved in across a lot of the species they have. I forgot to take note of which type of monkey these are, if anyone does know please leave a comment. They were indoors and in very low light so I pushed the ISO to the highest setting on my camera.

Settings : ISO 1600, 70mm, f4.0, 1/60sec

 

Mother & Baby
Mother & B

 

Finally when I started back at the photography a few years ago I got a similar shot to this but I was using a smaller lens. When I took this first I was thinking there is the monkey do the same thing. Then it occurred to me he probably looked across and thought there’s your man taking the same picture again 🙂 Oh the monkey is a Sulawesi Crested Macaque.

Settings : ISO 400, 300mm, f5.6, 1/100sec

Sulawesi Crested Macaque
Sulawesi Crested Macaque

 
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18th April 2013

I love this time of year as the weather settles down and you get clear skies in the early morning. As I have mentioned before I live close to Wicklow and absolutely love going across to take pictures. Last weekend I got to go across on my motorbike so it really does not get much better than that! I went up to the Sally Gap and onto Lough Tay.

 

The first picture is on the road up through the Sally Gap. I like to take a picture including the motorbike once a year usually around this time.

Settings : ISO 100, 22mm, f8, 1/50sec

 

Wicklow Sally Gap
Wicklow Sally Gap April

 

 

The next two shots are of a tree just off the road at The Sally Gap. The mist going behind tree caught my eye which made me stop to get the pictures.

 

Settings : ISO 200, 18mm, f8.0, 1/60sec

 

Wicklow Sally Gap
Wicklow Sally Gap

 

Settings : ISO 400, 18mm, f6.3, 1/125sec.

Wicklow Sally Gap Tree
Wicklow Sally Gap Tree

 

Just on from the Sally Gap is Lough Tay or sometimes it is referred to as The Guinness Lake. When I got up there it was sunny but the mist was coming in. The shot below is part of Luggala which is one the mountains that surround Lough Tay. Shortly after this the mist came in so quickly you could not see this scene.

 

Settings : ISO 200, 25mm, f11, 1/100 sec

 

Wicklow Luggala
Wicklow Luggala

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4th April 2013

I am late with this week’s blog. Normally I post on a Monday or Tuesday but due to another photography project I could not reach on it. At the weekend we went to one of our favourite spots, Dublin Zoo. The sunshine was out so there were lots of photo opportunities. The Zoo can be a great place for photographs. We have noticed down through the years the animals seem to be more active in the cold months rather than the summer.

The Elephants are always very popular but after waiting for a few minutes I managed to get a clear spot to take pictures from. I always like to fill the frame with a few Elephants, trying to catch the interaction between them.

Settings : ISO 100, 200mm, f5.0, 1/200sec

Elephants Dublin Zoo
Elephants Dublin Zoo

 

In the last year or two Dublin Zoo has developed a whole new area for the Gorillas and it is fantastic. They have a lot more room to move around in and it is built so they have plenty of cover to hide behind. This is great for them as it is closer to their natural habitat but makes getting photographs a lot more difficult. This shot is one of a few I got as they made their way back towards their enclosure for the evening.

Settings : ISO 200, 300mm, f5.6, 1/100 sec

Gorilla Dublin Zoo

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26th March 2013

Last weekend I decided not to go far from the home town in search of photograph. I decided to get up early on Sunday and go for a walk along the canal at the back of Naas. The idea was to check out what wildlife was around. Regularly along the canal bank there are posters put up by Irish Wildlife on what you can expect to see living around the canal. Unfortunately there was no sign of Foxes, Otters or the Grey Heron that is a regular sight normally. The lack of wildlife may have been related to the fact that it was very cold and after about 30 minutes I was beginning to wonder what I was doing down there as well! I then noticed this little Robin was watching me intently and seemed very happy to pose for me 🙂

 

Settings : ISO 1600, 300mm, f5.6, 1/40sec. I had the ISO up high as it was very cloudy and the Robin was in the shelter of the hedge.

Robin Watching Me!

 

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18th March 2013

Here is a second shot from Kilcoole Beach in County Wicklow. The Gannets were resting on the water when a dog on the beach spooked them. It was a lovely morning down on the coast. Earlier I had been up in Wicklow trying to get a shot at Lough Tay but it was too cloudy. Great thing is Wicklow is close to the coast so you  change locations with very little driving!

Settings : ISO 200, 300mm, f5.6, 1/1000 sec.

 

Kilcoole Beach Wicklow Ireland Gannets
Kilcoole Beach Wicklow

 
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4th March 2013

Rathwood Garden Centre and Woodlands Falconry is just a few miles outside of Tullow in County Carlow. We have been down before and decided to go down at the weekend. The falconry is a great place to visit and we were looking forward to seeing the Hawks, Owls and other birds. Last time we were down they had a flying display but we didn’t realise they only do the display after Easter through the summer. While that was a little disappointing it was more than made up for meeting the two miniature owls in the shop called Diego and Gizmo. Diego was very friendly and is a great character. The shot below he is sitting on my wife’s hand. If you are near Tullow you should go visit especially during the summer when the flying display is run.

Settings : ISO 800, 55mm, f5.6, 1/25sec. The ISO is high as the lighting was not great in the shop but as I got close to Diego the noise is not too noticeable.

Diego Rathwood Owl Tullow Carlow Ireland Falconry Paul O'Rourke Photography
Diego the miniature Owl.

 

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18th February 2013

We went down to West Cork last weekend to visit an aunt of mine. West Cork is obviously a very scenic area but good weather does help which did not happen last weekend! So rather than take landscape shots I focused on the wildlife.

On the Saturday we went across to Baltimore. There were three Seals in the harbour and they kept getting closer to us. We were convinced at the end they were watching us more than we were watching them….

Settings : ISO 200, 300mm, f8, 1/250sec

Baltimore Seal
Baltimore Seal West Cork

 

Ballinglanna Seagulls. We stayed in Ballinglanna which is right on the coast. On the Sunday morning the sea was rough and there were a lot of Seagulls on the one beach trying to get the seaweed coming in with the waves. Below are two of the shots from the morning.

Settings : ISO 400, 270mm, f8, 1/400sec

Ballinglanna Seagull West Cork Ireland Paul O'Rourke Photography
Ballinglanna Seagull

 

Settings : ISO 400, 235mm, f5.6, 1/64osec

Ballinglanna Seagull West Cork Sea Ireland Paul O'Rourke Photography
Ballinglanna Seagull

 

 

 
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10th February 2013

I checked the forecast last night and saw it was not going to be the best morning! At first I was going to stay in bed and then decided to go out and see what could I get in the mist and the rain. The trees are on the road near the Sally Gap and are photographed regularly especially when there is snow around. For an experiment I have processed the shot as colour and B&W. Please leave a comment and let me know which you prefer. I have done the same on Facebook and I am interested to see if there is a difference in preferences.

Settings : ISO 100, 38mm, f11, 0.8sec

Colour Version

Sally Gap Trees
Sally Gap Trees

B&W Version

 

Sally Gap Trees Wicklow Landscape Paul O'Rourke Photography
Sally Gap Tree B&W

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6th February 2013

This is my second blue hour shot, although this time it is the morning blue hour. I was on the way to work on Friday and the colour of the sky behind the moon caught my eye. It took me a few minutes to find somewhere to park so did not have many options to include something in the foreground to gave scale to the shot. Lately I have been reading up on star shots and hope to practice some of them in the near future.

Settings : ISO 200, F5.6, 270mm, 1/80sec

Spring Moon
Spring Moon

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