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.
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.
The weekend before last the Naas Photography Group decided to go up to the Phoenix Park in Dublin to photograph the deer. It was the end of the rutting season and it was fascinating to watch the male deer challenge each other.
The Phoenix Park is just on the edge of Dublin and at 1,750 acres it is one the largest walled parks in Europe. The fallow deer have been in the park since the 17th century.
We had a good time photographing the deer although it was hard to get good shots of them challenging each other.
I cant believe it has been so long since I added a blog.
A combination of getting reminded of quick time goes and having to pay the annual fees for hosting has galvanised me into action again.
Last Sunday was the first time in a few weeks I got to get out with the camera. We have bird feeders in the front garden and I love watching the birds come and go. They have got used to us walking to and from the house so I am able to get relatively close them. It is fascinating to watch them competing for the food and chase each other way. They are House Sparrows and very common in Ireland.
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.
For sometime I have been trying to get close up photographs of Owls. We have traveled to Dublin zoo and Rathwood Falconry among other places but for different reasons could not get good photographs.
On our recent trip in the UK one morning we went into the middle of Hemel Heampstead and when we walked out of the car park we could not believe our eyes. There was a bird show being held on a small triangle of ground and it was really good. The birds were very calm and looked like they were really well looked after. It was a real reminder of the importance of always having the camera with you. Well I had to go back to the car to get it but you know what I mean 🙂
For all these shots I kept the aperture as large as possible to blur out the background which was the shopping centre or people.
Settings : ISO 200, 300mm, f5.6, 1/320sec
This guy I think guy is called a spectacled owl
Settings : ISO 400, 240mm, f5.6, 1/160sec
I really liked this guy. Apparently the feathers on each side of his are not ears, they are hidden.
Finally this was shot was a lucky break with timing. The owls were tethered to stands or in this case to the trainers hand but every now again one would try to make a break for it!
The holidays were so good I had to share more photographs 🙂
The last day in Edinburgh we spent in the Zoo. We had hoped to see the Panda’s but the viewing slots were all booked up by the time we got there. The Penguin enclosure is fantastic. They have a huge swimming area, hatching area, creche and they have several species of Penguins.
This Penguin I think is an Emperor but forgot to check the information boards before we left.
After Edinburgh we made our way down the east coast of Scotland and England down to Alnwick. The castle in Alnwick has been in the Percy family for 700 years and there is a great historical tour of the castle. The Percy family still use it to live in during the Winter. The court yard in Alnwick castle was used in the first Harry Potter film where the students learned to fly on broomsticks for the first time.
After Alnwick we made our way down to Durham. The cloisters in the cathedral in Durham were used in several of the Harry Potter films. The cathedral is an active church and again has a lot of history to it, you could spend all day learning about the it. All the children running around though were fascinated with the fact they were in the cloisters that Harry Potter had been in !
Last week we went on holidays. We did a tour across Scotland and England taking in areas that were used in the making of the Harry Potter films. We finished the week at the Warner Brothers Studios near Hemel Hempstead. The studio tour was really good and we could have spent many more hours there.
We started our trip in Edinburgh. During August the comedy fringe festival is in Edinburgh and the city was incredibly busy. For this blog I have shots from different parts of the city but bear in mind we covered only a small part of the city.
Edinburgh Castle overlooks the city and is an incredible sight. We were there during the day and I would love to go back and photograph it during the evening blue hour. For this shot I decided to get close to the castle and just focus in on a part of it.
ISO 200, 18mm, f8.0, 1/100 sec. I increased the contrast in the shot a bit more than I usually would to get the details in the clouds.
I did not realise before we got to Edinburgh Sir Arthur Conan Doyle the author was born in Edinburgh. The statute below is a representation of probably his most famous character Sherlock Holmes.
Settings : ISO 100, 27mm, f8.0, 1/100sec.
The author JK Rowling wrote most of the Harry Potter books around Edinburgh with the first three or four being written in different coffee shops in the city. We took part in a walking tour of Edinburgh that was based on either parts of the city that were in the book or had connections to the author. The tour is run by students, is free and we really enjoyed it. The first stop on the tour is Grey Friars cemetery. JK Rowling based the names of a number of characters from names off tomb stones in the cemetery including Tom Riddle!
The final picture today is of The Scott Monument. The monument is to the author Sir Walter Scott.