Diego in Town
Cork, Ireland, Photography, Photos, Street, Urban

Diego in Town

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Cork in Covid-19 Lockdown

Masks down to eat ice cream.

I barely used my camera in April. I took one photo with it and it was a test shot of my office window. My first time taking the camera out was May 9th when we had to go into town to do some shopping.

Cork in Covid-19 Lockdown

Social distancing while waiting in line for coffee.

Not many people were wearing masks then, but social distancing was happening. The city was still mostly shut down and there weren’t that many people about.

Cork in Covid-19 Lockdown

Advertising for a movie that came out 2 months before.

It was a sign of the times that an advertisement for a movie released in mid-March was still showing on a bus at the start of May. The country had ground to a halt.

Cork in Covid-19 Lockdown

Cork in Covid-19 Lockdown

You can’t sit here. Public transport was pretty empty during lockdown.

Masks become mandatory today in shops and public transport. The next phase of unlocking the economy has been put on hold. Pubs were supposed to open on August 10th but that won’t be happening.

Aperture ƒ/8
Camera ILCE-7M3
Focal length 35mm
ISO 500
Shutter speed 1/250s
Cork, Ireland, People, Photography, Photos, Street, Urban

Cork in Covid-19 Lockdown

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On Thursday night I went out with my son to photograph Comet NEOWISE. This is a comet that was only discovered a few months ago on March 27 by NASA’s NEOWISE telescope.

Comet NEOWISE

Comet NEOWISE, 15 sec, f/6.3, ISO 640.

Comet nuclei are cosmic snowballs of frozen gases, rock and dust that orbit the sun. They can range in size from a few miles to tens of miles wide, and the nucleus of NEOWISE measures about 3 miles across. When these comets approach the sun, their frozen bodies start to sublimate, and they spew dust and gasses in a tail that can span millions of miles.

Comet NEOWISE made its harrowing close approach to the sun, known as its perihelion, on July 3, and it is now zooming past the Earth on its way back out of the solar system. NEOWISE will make its closest approach (64 million miles) to Earth on July 22, but the best viewing window is happening right now until July 19.

There were a few clouds in the sky, but with the sun setting very late we went out around eleven thirty.

We didn’t have far to go, heading to a local field looking north where I knew the comet would be. The Stellarium mobile app helped me figure out where to look as it’s more north-west than simply north. Look towards where the sun is setting, or has set, and you’ll find it.

At first I took a wide angle photo of the sky as I couldn’t see the comet at all. Once my eyes grew accustomed to the dark I could just about see the comet if I didn’t look directly at it. I can imagine in darker skies it probably would have looked even brighter!

Comet NEOWISE

Comet NEOWISE, 10 sec, f/6.3, ISO 2000

I took a few more photos of this scene but as the night sky got darker I realised I needed a point of interest to draw the eye in. The electricity pole in the field served that purpose well.

Comet NEOWISE

Comet NEOWISE, 6 sec, f/6.3, ISO 4000

As the minutes ticked by I was reminded that focusing in the dark is extremely hard. I recalled that someone mentioned pre-focusing at infinity in daylight hours and marking the place on the lens. I remembered outings with my photography club where someone would shine a light on themselves to help focus. If I had a flashlight I would have gladly used it to focus on that pole. I have so many out of focus photos of that pole and the comet!

Comet NEOWISE

Comet NEOWISE, 15 sec, f/6.3, ISO 2000

It was midnight and I promised my son I’d take “just a few more photos” before we headed off. I had no idea now if the pole was in focus. Zooming the lens adjusted the focus so I had to refocus. We tried shining the lights from our phones on the pole but it barely made a difference. The grass was long and wet with dew so I didn’t want either of us to go trudging through it to shine a light on it. I think I got reasonably lucky with the last shot!

The comet will be back in 6,800 years. I wonder if any of these photos will survive until then?

I’m glad you got to the end of the post. Here’s my top tips for capturing the meteor or just for taking photos of the sky at night:

  1. Open up the aperture as wide as possible. My zoom lens only went to f/6.3 🙁
  2. Bump up the ISO as the light fails to keep the exposure time short. You’ll capture stars too which is a nice bonus. I went to ISO 4000.
  3. A longer exposure records the motion of the Earth. The comet will start to streak and get bigger which you don’t want. I found < 10 seconds, or around 6 seconds best.
  4. Make sure you have some foreground interest. Bring a flashlight to shine on that object to help focus when it’s impossible to manual focus as it’s too dark. Bring someone along to shine a light on the scene to help focus.
  5. I forgot this on the night, but bump the ISO to it’s max to help you focus manually on your foreground interest. Reduce the ISO to shoot.
  6. During daylight hours manually focus on something at infinity. Mark on the lens where that is. It’ll make it simple to focus there when it’s too dark to focus. Similarly, if you know where you’re shooting, focus where your subject will be on the night, and mark the focus.
  7. You don’t need a 300mm or 400mm telephoto lens to shoot the comet. The most interesting photos of it are wide(ish) angle. I should have tried shooting with my nifty 50.

Aperture ƒ/6.3
Camera ILCE-7M3
Focal length 42mm
ISO 2000
Shutter speed 15s
Cork, Ireland, Photography, Photos

Comet NEOWISE over Blarney

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The ATM has Legs
Black and White, Cork, Ireland, People, Photography, Photos, Street, Urban

The ATM has Legs

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The Rebel Burger Co
Black and White, Cork, Ireland, People, Photography, Photos, Street, Urban

The Rebel Burger Co

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Clannad, the Irish band that is this year celebrating 50 years together began the year with a Farewell Tour. They played in the Opera House in Cork in early March when I saw them and they were great. I didn’t know much of their music beyond the obvious themes to Robin Hood or the Harry’s Game but I’m a fan since!

Hopefully they will be able to continue their tour but as of now, from a snapshot of their site from March 28th they have rescheduled shows up to the end of May. I’d say it’s likely they’ll have to postpone even more of those shows unfortunately.

Clannad

Clannad

Clannad

Clannad

Clannad

Clannad

Clannad

Clannad

Clannad

Clannad

Clannad

Clannad

Aperture ƒ/6.3
Camera ILCE-7M3
Focal length 28mm
ISO 10000
Shutter speed 1/60s
Cork, Ireland, People, Photography, Photos

Clannad 50th Anniversary Farewell Tour in Cork

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MacCurtain St Construction Site
Cork, Ireland, Photography, Photos, Street, Urban

The MacCurtain St Construction Site

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This was my fourth time seeing Flash Harry perform, and third time in the Cork Opera House and they brought the house down as they always do. The first half was sedate with a good mix of well known and more obscure Queen songs. I loved their rendition of ’39. After a brief interlude where we were told cups of tea were consumed, and not some illicit drug the band took it up a notch with great versions of Bohemian Rhapsody, Radio Gaga, I Want to Break Free and many other hits!

The band are touring Ireland this year with lots of gigs announced. If they play near you go see them! You’re guaranteed a great night!

For more, check out my Flash Harry archive of photos.

For the photographers in the audience. All the photos were shot with a Sony A7III, and and adapted Tamron 28-300 “super zoom” which unfortunately doesn’t focus that well. As a result I used back-button-focus since the performers were mostly standing in the same general area, and I wasn’t moving from my seat so it worked well!

Cork, Ireland, People, Photography, Photos

Flash Harry at the Opera House

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Boycott Black Friday!
Cork, Ireland, People, Photography, Photos, Street, Urban

Boycott Black Friday!

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