Jul 212009
 

Just received this great offer from Pixmania, and thought it was well worth sharing here… €159 for 2TB of Iomega storage is not to be sniffed at.

My 500GB WD MyBook hard drive (also bought from Pixmania) is filling up fast since I got my Nikon D90 in May… so it won’t be long before I need to invest in a bigger drive myself.

Meanwhile, if you’re in the market for a bigger hard disk to store all your photos, videos and those all important system back-ups then check out the range of hard drives on offer at pixmania. The prices are the best around, and I’ve been very happy with the service when I’ve bought from them in the past.

Jul 062009
 

There seem to be fledgling robins (Erithacus rubecula) all over the garden at the moment… exceptionally cute, noisy and pretty easy to get close to.

DSC_1873

Slowly getting used to my Nikon D90… which is turning out to be an absolutely superb camera!

My old (10 years +) 28-200 Sigma zoom from my film SLR days, which I used for this shot, gives me 300mm at the long end with the DX sensor on the D90 (1.5 x magnification factor).

Works reasonably well, but….

I’m already hankering over better glass – need a macro, a decent wide angle and of course a long, fast (=very expensive) super telephoto for wildlife stuff.

I knew heading down the DSLR route was a bad (and potentially very expensive) idea ;-).

Time to start saving….

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Jan 162009
 

A 19.7 metre (more than 60’) long Fin Whale (Balaenoptera physalus) that live-stranded in Courtmacsherry, West Cork unfortunately died after being beached by a rapidly receding tide.

 Dead fin whale stranded on sandbank in Courtmacsherry, West Cork

For full details see the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) article on the stranding.

Here are some of the photographs I managed to snap in very low light during the few minutes we had around the whale before the tide raced in and cut us off. I might have stayed a bit longer, but we had the children with us, so didn’t want to risk it. It was also raining, and the camera was getting soaked :-(.

These were 4-8 second exposures, and turned out reasonably well, all things considered.

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Dec 012008
 

West Cork is a truly amazing place for getting up close and personal with some of the largest and most spectacular creatures on the planet. Every winter large baleen whales congregate off the South West coast – with a lot of activity focussed off the headlands of West Cork.

On Friday I was lucky enough to head out on a Whale Watching Trip with Colin Barnes out of Union Hall. We saw a total of five cetacean species on the trip: Fin Whales (Balaenoptera physalus), Minke Whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata), Humpback Whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), Harbour Porpoise (Phocoena phocoena and more than a hundred Common Dolphins (Delphinus delphis).

A fin whale surfaces not far from the boat

A Fin Whale (Balaenoptera physalus) surfaces not far from the boat

Common dolphins bow riding a fin whale off the West Cork coast

A common dolphin (Delphinus delphis) appears, riding the bow-wave created by the large whale

Dolphin bow-riding large whale off West Cork, Ireland

… and behaves exactly as it would when bow-riding a boat, demonstrating, perhaps, the origins of this curious habit.

We had an amazing trip – the second best I’ve ever been on (my best whale watching trip ever was one four years ago, also with Colin Barnes off the West Cork coast). We saw literally dozens of fin whales blowing all around us, about half a dozen minke whales, four humpbacks, the occasional porpoise and a hundred or more common dolphins. One of the highlights was seeing three different species of whale swimming together – two fin whales, a humpback, and two minke whales in one place. Amazing!

A humpback whale and a fin whale surface together off Galley Head, West Cork

A humpback whale and fin whale surface together just off Galley Head, West Cork

This is the best time of the year to see large baleen whales off the Irish coast… November, December and January are when you get peak whale activity. So if you want one of the most spectacular wildlife experiences on the planet, get in touch with Colin (who incidentally also does gift vouchers, if you’re looking for an unusual Christmas present).

Ireland really is a hotbed of cetacean activity at this time of year – but enough of my wittering, here are some more photos. Judge for yourself:

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Nov 242008
 

Mullroy Bay II, Baltimore, West CorkI

The Mullroy Bay II wallowing half submerged at high tide – lit with orange filters on an array of 5,000,000 candle power handheld lanterns.

I was invited by Marc Holden of Firehorse Imaging to attend and photograph an extremely unusual event on Saturday 15/11/08. Local artist Sheelagh Broderick was inspired by the half submerged hulk of a disused trawler, The Mulroy Bay II, to highlight the plight of the local fishing industry, and the effect it’s having on West Cork’s coastal communities.

Sheelagh contacted Chantelle Stewart of Guerilla Lighting and together they hatched an intricately coordinated plan to light the stricken vessel from the water. They used two RIBs and an army of volunteers armed with 5,000,000 candle power handheld lanterns and filters to pick out the vessel in the darkness.

I’d been given a Manfrotto 055ProB tripod with the amazing 322RC2 trigger-grip ball-head for my birthday the day before, so jumped at the chance to put the combination to the test. Still, I was VERY wary of the poor low-light performance of my trusty old Nikon Coolpix 5700.

Focussing was a huge challenge, as was time between shots (each was an 8 second long exposures + 8 second “noise reduction” exposure + write time to the card) – but a couple of the images came out OK – including the one they used (without acknowledgement… grrr!) with an article in the Southern Star.

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… and the same vessel lit without the orange filters.

Mulroy Bay II, Baltimore, West Cork

The view from the other side of the vessel.

Mulroy Bay II, Baltimore, West Cork

Trying to use a tripod from a RIB moored to a buoy gives interesting results….

As an exercise in low light photography it was extremely challenging; as an experience it was wonderful… racing around Baltimore harbour to church strand on RIBs in the pitch black was invigorating… if a little chilly… and Sheelagh’s hospitality at the house before and after the event was fantastic.

Oct 212008
 

Picked up a link to this photo on Twitter (click on the image for the original image on Twitpic) it’s a shot taken by @clodaghkelly at her local SuperQuinn.

Superquinn do their bit for the over seventies :)  on TwitPic

Sums up the government’s medical card fiasco so more eloquently than anything I could write… no further commentary required!

Oct 152008
 

On a West Cork beach this Summer (during a brief respite in the soggy summer weather) I spotted this tiny piece of lustrous green glass worn perfectly smooth by the sea.

picasabackground

I couldn’t resist getting down on hands and knees and taking this snap – I love the juxtaposition of the manmade glass and the natural gravel. To give you a sense of scale the piece of glass is only about four or five millimetres across.

If you click to enlarge the image you’ll see what I think are salt crystals on the surface of the glass.

Aug 062008
 

This is the most popular image in our photo wedding invitation line up. It’s the photo that inspired the business, and the one that best captures what Image Invitations is all about.

Hanging out – a photograph that inspired a business

I know this isn’t a forum for commercial promotion, and that’s not the aim. I thought I’d share the image with you here on its own merit.

The teddies, which belong to my twin daughters, were hanging on my parents’ washing line in North Wales after a much needed “bath”. I took several images from a variety of angles… this was the one that stood out.