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Birds enjoying the sunrise

Two birds sitting on a TV ariel on a house, as the sun rises behind them casting lovely colours on the sky.

A simple sunrise this morning. Two birds sitting on an ariel high up over the house had a great vantage point of the lovely colours in the sky.


Apertureƒ/1.9
CameraM2101K6G
Focal length5.89mm
ISO96
Shutter speed1/100s

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A Frosty Autumn Morning

Autumn leaves on the ground with a light coating of frost

Crisp, golden and orange leaves on an Autumn morning are coated in frost.


Apertureƒ/5
CameraCanon EOS 6D
Focal length20mm
ISO100
Shutter speed1/60s

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Get away from my tail!

Two cats lying on the ground, one cat is playing with the tail of the other while she looks at me.

Some photos are special, not because they’re wonderful photos, composed well, with striking colours or lovely contrast. The best photos are the ones that make your heart sing.

The cat on the left who is looking at me is Mommy Cat, the matriarch of all the cats we’ve adopted in this home of ours. The one annoying her is her son, Patches. There’s a whole series of photos here with Mommy Cat looking at me while her tail swishes up and way from Patches’ paws.

The photos were taken in 2009. They’re not great. They are a bit blurry because the exposure wasn’t fast enough for a long lens. Thanks to the modern AI tech in Topaz Photo AI I was able to sharpen it a little and present it here.

Mommy Cat is still with us. She’s an elderly cat now. Her fur was very matted on her back but in the past 2 years she has started sleeping in the kitchen. We managed to get her to the vet on Thursday, her first visit since being neutered, and they shaved her, and removed two bad molars. Only her head, her paws, and the end of her tail have any fur. But, SHE IS STRONG. She has a massive appetite. She’s on pain relief and antibiotics. She is a lot more agile than before, as the matted fur isn’t pulling at her. She is curled up on a couch now, where she couldn’t jump before, with one of the dog’s blankets on her.

So, I wanted to share a photo of Mommy Cat today, . She is amazing.


Apertureƒ/5.6
CameraCanon EOS 40D
Focal length300mm
ISO100
Shutter speed1/125s

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A Robin in November

A robin looking to the left, standing on a branch.

A little robin looks off to the left in the grounds of Blarney Castle last November. They’re a friendly bird.

If you want more, take a look at the fabulous robin photos that BathNature is posting and follow them!

I think my Blarney Castle membership expires today. I’m uncertain if I’ll renew it as it’s expensive, and I barely used it at all in the past 12 months.


Apertureƒ/6.3
CameraILCE-7M3
Focal length240mm
ISO10000
Shutter speed1/250s

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Diego says Merry Christmas!

A chihuahua dressed in a Santa outfit on a stairs.

An old photo of Diego from a few years back when he was dressed up as Santa. He’s used to wearing coats and I think he looks adorable in this one!


Apertureƒ/1.8
CameraCanon EOS 6D
Focal length50mm
ISO1600
Shutter speed1/50s

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Oscar in the snow

A shitzu dog walking the snow next to a wall with parked cars in the background.

Twelve years ago today, it had snowed heavily in Blarney. I took Oscar out for a walk that morning and brought my camera along because of the snow!

I don’t think he really minded the cold, but he was always happy to get home, snow or not!


Apertureƒ/10
CameraCanon EOS 40D
Focal length10mm
ISO100
Shutter speed1/125s

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My comfortable Pets

A cat on a bed looking at the camera

First up is Hoppy. She’s around 13 and only has three legs but she’s a fast mover. In the past she didn’t mind the cold but now she likes to avoid it.

A cat on a bed looking at the camera

Here’s Mommy Cat. She’s Hoppy’s mom.

She’s around 16 as best we can guess, as she was around for a few years before she brought her kittens in to us.

For years, she would never come into the house, but now she spends 99% of the day inside, asleep. She doesn’t go any further than the garden now.

We can’t touch her as she’ll take a swipe at us if we do, but we still love her.

A chihuahua in a bed looking at the camera

Then there’s Diego, our chihuahua. He was 8 this year. A middle aged dog with a special diet and who absolutely loves cuddles.

The cats and him sort of ignore each other, but if the cats get a treat, Diego makes sure that we know he wants one too.

It’s so very cold outside but Hoppy, Mommy Cat and Diego are inside in the warmth and putting up with me taking photos of them.


Apertureƒ/2.8
CameraILCE-7M3
Focal length24mm
ISO20000
Shutter speed1/60s

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Frosty Spider Webs

Spider webs covered with frost on a very cold morning

Spider webs covered in a thick frost this morning in my back garden. It is cold outside!


Apertureƒ/2.4
CameraSM-G998B
Focal length9mm
ISO800
Shutter speed1/35s

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Hoppy on Caturday

A black and white cat lying in a small bed surrounded by colourful cushions on a ping blanket

Hoppy, one of our cats, loves the luxury of having multiple beds she can lie in around the house.

Actually, all our animals can do that. Diego, our chihuahua, certainly takes advantage of that, laying himself down near whomever he wants to be with at any one time.

Animals in this house are spoiled? Whatever made you think that?


Apertureƒ/2.4
CameraSM-G998B
Focal length9mm
ISO640
Shutter speed1/35s

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Robin on the Ground

A little Robin standing on wet autumn leaves on the ground

A few weeks ago, I visited Blarney Castle to take some photos of the Autumn colours. Unfortunately the light was dull, and the ground was wet, but I had my tripod with me, so I set it up for some long exposure shots.

After a few minutes of that, I noticed a flicker out of the corner of my eye. I spotted a robin almost right in front of me! He was literally standing on the large log next to the mushrooms I was photographing. And of course, my camera settings were completely wrong to photograph him. In the 10 seconds it took me to swivel the camera around, fiddle with the settings and look up again, he was flying off to a nearby tree. This time I got a couple of shots of him, and then his friend approached and landed on the ground right by my feet! This time I was ready!

Why do settings change so much? In low light, you have to amplify the light hitting the camera sensor. Sort of like turning up the volume. You know how if you turn the volume up really high you’ll get distortion and crackling (and a headache and sore ears), the same thing happens with cameras. The best quality photo comes when the volume (called ISO for cameras) is turned down to a “normal value” but then it takes longer for the camera to “hear” an image. Damn, I’m straining an analogy here. For most cameras, that’s 100. This photo was taken at ISO 12800 and the only reason you don’t see lots of crackling (noise) is because of the magic of software called Topaz Photo AI. A previous ISO 100 image took a whole 1 second to make a photo. This robin photo was 1/160 of a second. He wasn’t going to hang around long!


Apertureƒ/11
CameraILCE-7M3
Focal length240mm
ISO65535
Shutter speed1/160s

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Diego, king of the castle

A chihuahua named Diego in a small bed, on a couch, with colourful cushions behind him and a blue fluffy toy he loves at his feet.

Who rules this house? The animals do! Diego, our tiny chihuahua, sits in a bed sometimes claimed by one of our cats, Hoppy. She was very unhappy that Diego was in there. He’s the king of all he sees.

Isn’t he handsome in his new jacket? It’s lovely and warm and made with love by Jo!


Apertureƒ/2.4
CameraSM-G998B
Focal length9mm
ISO640
Shutter speed1/35s

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Blarney Castle Through the Rock

Blarney Castle Through the Rock

Blarney Castle, as seen through the rock they set up in the grounds below the Castle. Not a great shot, but one to mark off the list.


Apertureƒ/16
CameraILCE-7M3
Focal length32mm
ISO100
Shutter speed1/200s