The Swan’s Wings

You really only appreciate how large and imposing a swan is when they rear up out of the water and spread their magnificent wings. While at The Lough on Sunday there were a number of fights between swans. Guess it’s that time of the year again, eh?

The swans were fairly tame towards us humans, and allowed us to shoot quite closely, but I’ve had run ins with swans before and I’m always suspicious of them!

Katie caught me as I lay on the ground to get a shot of The Lough Church. Embarrassed? Me? Never, I’ve been in many other more compromising situations just to get a shot!

Ryan posted a whole set of photos from the day and Kevin has posted his first shot.

That bread is mine!

A heron swoops in on a bunch of greedy gulls at The Lough yesterday!

For more pictures, check out Katie’s set and Will’s photos!

In retrospect, we were very lucky with the weather for the photowalk. Just after I got home the downpour started and 60mph winds ravaged the south of the country!

I was going to upload a bunch of the photowalk shots today but I’ll let them trickle in and then post the remainer on Friday.

The Lough Photowalkers

We had a great day today. 11 people showed up at the Lough in Glasheen today for the photowalk. Pictured above are some of us. Unfortunately Patrick and Amy, and then Brendan left earlier. Thank you all for taking the time and making the effort to come. It was freezing cold and windy and it would have been so much easier to sit inside with a good book or in front of the telly!

From left to right: Sean, Kevin, Katie, Will, Donal, Sandy, Ryan and that’s me Donncha kneeling down in front. Ryan & Sandy – what’s your dog’s name again?

We stayed at the south end of the lake most of the time, probably because there was most activity there. I got plenty of shots of swans, ducks, herons and small strange black birds with a white mark. Even got a few shots of swans fighting! You can really only appreciate the size of these birds when they rise out of the air and spread their wings! Thankfully they’re very tame.

After about an hour we headed off to the Lough Church where we were filmed on CCTV taking shots of the church exterior. I wonder what the parish priest will think if he reviews those tapes in the morning. Anyway, it was getting late, I set my camera on a post, took the above shot, and afterwards myself, Kevin Will and Donal retired to The Hawthorn for some light refreshment.

If you post any photos can you tag them “corkphotowalk”? You can subscribe to the feed on the Flickr tag page or this Google Blogsearch query to see what others have posted from the day. (Google hasn’t picked up on the tag just yet.)

I had a quick look through my shots, I took 199, and there’s a couple of good ones.

Suggestions for the next photowalk? Fota perhaps? Maybe Doneraile Park?

Clouds over the Lough

Clouds gather and block out the sun over the Lough in Cork last year. The display was beautiful as light wispy clouds and dark brooding rain clouds skirted across the sky.

The sun made one final effort to shine, but the clouds won out and it started to rain moments later.

The lonely swan

A solitary swan swims on the calm waters of The Lough as the sun disappears at the end of the day.

Believe it or not, this is a 10 second exposure that turned out much better than I could have hoped! I balanced my camera on the edge of the Lough, set it to Aperture priority mode at f/11, dialed the exposure down two stops, flipped up the camera flash and took the shot.

How does this work?

  • By setting the aperture to a fairly high value little light is let into the camera sensor.
  • By setting the exposure down two stops the whole scene will be underexposed but bright areas will be exposed mostly correctly.
  • Given the above settings, any dark moving objects will be completely invisible so when the flash fired it picked out the swan swimming past and even created a nice reflection in the water.

Hope that helps!

The swans they are a coming

Swans rush to the bank of the Lough looking for bread from the crazy guy hanging over the water with a large black object…

This shows off one of my favourite night-time techniques. Long exposure with a flash. The long exposure captures the background while the flash illuminates the foreground objects, along with some nice movement blur.
It works really well at parties when people are dancing, especially if you’re lucky to capture a laughing face while the body is in motion.

Swan and Young

Swan and Young

A mother swan and her young offspring. There was a lovely sunset causing a deep red reflection in the water. The mother swan was very protective and aggressive and reared up and spat at me a moment after I took this shot!

Edit: This photo is hosted on Zoomr! Thomas Hawk is appealing to the greed and curiousity of bloggers and giving out pro accounts to those who host a photo on their site and blog it. Hey! What can I say? I bit!

The Swan Gang

Tough looking swans gather for bread at the Lough in Cork for bread.

The problem with shooting dangerous wildlife with a wideangle lens is that unless you stick the camera in their faces nobody will believe you were risking life and limb by leaning down right next to them when shooting. Well, I was that close. *gulp*

See how the swan in the background is lunging for his neighbour with a wicked looking snap? He wasn’t the only one doing that!