While I am a Carlow man I have always felt very lucky to be living in Naas. Between the lakes and the canal we have very easy access to enjoy the best nature has to offer.
My laptop is running out of space so I have spent the evening moving last years photographs to a backup drive when I came across this shot. It is from May of last year and I am sure it was taken down at the lake beside the hospital. It is always fascinating to see how the Cygnets manage to make their way onto their parents back.
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.
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.
Ok I did not realise it is over a month since my last blog!
On Sunday went for a drive and found my way to an area called Ballynafagh Lake, near Prosperous, Co. Kildare. Ballynafagh Lake is a man made lake that was built as part of the canal construction in the late 1700’s. It was used to keep the levels of the canal up as it made its way across Kildare.
It is a really beautiful area and I will be back again. There is an information board at the car park giving details of the history of the area, the wildlife and flowers that can be found around it. It finishes with the thought ‘Take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints and kill nothing but time……..’
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
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.
Ok, I have managed to do the blog early in the week and not be late two weeks in a row! I am currently working on another photography project that I can’t say much about at the minute so I have not had a chance to go with the camera at the weekend. What I decided to do then was find a shot from earlier in the year and process it to black and white to see which people prefer.
The area is called Naas Harbour. I took the shot early in 2013, around January just as the schools resumed after the Christmas break. It is at the south end of the town beside the town library. Please feel free to comment or ask any question..
The first shot is the original shot with small contrast/exposure adjustments.
Settings : ISO 100, 18mm, f 4.5, 1/4sec (Tripod used)
For the second version I have used more of the features of lightroom than I would normally. After converting to black & white I adjusted the contrast, shadows and added the vignetting. The settings are the same obviously. I would really love to hear if people have a preference for either shot and why?
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.