Monday, March 29, 2010

Skellig trips with Joe and Ken Roddy

Skellig Boat Skipper Ken Roddy came to Portmagee today to set the boat into the sea after the winter break. It is always a great feeling to see her going back in to the water, as this is where she belongs . The other boat was already swimming in the harbour, waiting for her sister to join in. The season starts in a couple days and we have hopefully many people from all over the world to visit Skellig Michael and the smaller Skellig with thousends of birds. Here are some photos that I took today and a few more from the archive, mainly from last summer.

Ken Roddy at the Monastery of Skellig Michael
Mini, Ken´s Dog

here is the link to Ken and Joe Roddys website with all the details about booking trips to the Skelligs and the B&B. 

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Birds galore at Irish seashores




Here are photos I recently took from our regular seabird population.
It is not that easy to take pictures of birds, you need quite a good telelens and some special settings - if your camera allows for them.
Here is what I did (you need all those settings mainly for birds in flight, but you can use them for sitting birds also - they might take off after all):
First of all you need a short shutter speed of 1/1000 sec. 
Set your camera settings on this with shutter speed priority.
With that you want an automatic ISO, because you cannot predict or change it on very short notice (if you cannot set this automatically, use a highish ISO of 400 or 800 because of the very short shutter speed).
The aperture will be chosen automatically with shutter speed priority.
Now, the focus, last but not least, needs to be constantly changed with the flight of the bird, thats easiest taken care of with an Autofocus Servo Setting - it will adapt the focussing on moving subjects.
One more thing, if in flight, follow one bird, its easier to concentrate on and predict what one little fellow is going to do...
Consult your camera´s manual for the above mentioned terms, if you have not used them before...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Joy in the Morning

Camellia flower
To  take pictures of flowers, which is especially rewarding now in Spring, I use my 100mm macro lens and aim for a shallow depth of field with a big aperture, so as to blur the surroundings of the main subject - I only want the flower and the dew drops in sharp focus.
Macro lenses tend to have a shallower depth of field anyway, so for this photograph I used an f-stop of f/6.3 in aperture priority, the resulting shutterspeed was 1/300.
I had set the ISO to 100 first and of course I used a tripod, which is a habit of mine, not that you would need it by all means with this fast shutter speed.
I was also lucky, that there was absolutely no wind that morning, so the flower "sat" quite still.
If you cannot set your camera manually, there is actually a little flower on most compact cameras as a scene mode, so you want to use that for close-ups of flowers.
For a shallow depth of field the portrait mode is the nearest option but you might not get near enough to your flower, so try to experiment with these settings and then choose what you like best.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

I saw the whole of the moon

I went for a walk in to the mountain yesterday with no expectation and came home with the feeling I had witnessed something special. After spending some time just walking around I saw this wonderful moon rising over the Macgillicuddy´s  Reeks. Standing myself on top of another mountain ment I had to descent in very little light.
To my relief the moon provided enough light to make my way back to the car and my tripod acted very helpful as a walking stick. A exceptional experience and a lesson for my next adventure in to nature. Here a some pictures I took during the day.

this shot is pure moonlight, shutterspeed 65 seconds, f 7.1