I left Drimnagh just before 7.30am and was at Sycamore for 8.15am, a coffee and away to Wexford.
Well that was the plan, but I decided I'd stay behind with Katie and Celia who were there for a beginner lesson with 'Wings' magazine front page hogger, John Fox.
The plan was to join Eric and the others down in Wexford once we'd finished a quick overview of camera settings, fstops, shutter speed, all that fun stuff, but as it turned out, once we'd finished our class, we decided to stay local and practice some photography round the house with a drive down to Killoughter to possibly see the juv Osprey which has been seen around Broad lough.
|Celia and Katie putting John's teaching to practice on the birds in the garden.|
|Katie tries to show John how to use the camera, but he's transfixed.|
|Special rare bird, Suzie the dog|
|Celia off in search of a wild Peacock which sometimes wanders around the house.|
|That's him there.|
After another coffee (thanks Hazel), and having asked John all the questions we could think of, John drove us down to Killoughter so we could practice some more 'in the field photography'.
|Killoughter Railway station, Co Wicklow.|
Depth of Field Lesson.
Once you cross the railway line at Killoughter, you turn right towards Bray, walk down some fields, past this derelict building, on a bit further and the lough is behind some hedges on the right past an old gravel quarry. I'd never been before, so it was nice to go somewhere different. Thanks to Hazel for showing us how to get there.
|Derelict building on way to Broad lough 'End Garda intimidation disband special branch'.|
Unfortunately I didn't actually get any decent photos to show off what I learnt today from John.
Sorry John, but I did learn alot, more than I thought I would and all that I had wanted to.
But in this instance, the light was dull and the birds remained pretty far away.
There were some Long tailed tits and a Chiffchaff which were close, but the light was so low my photos ended up blurry, and I deleted them all, but at least I had learnt why they were blurry.
|These Cormorants were far away in low light,so the photo quality is poor and it's hugely cropped, but I like the content.|
We also did manage a far away sighting of the juvenile Osprey flying over the north end of the lough, it started to look as though it was going to fly right over us, but instead turned away and flew back behind the far trees.
|Juvenile Osprey at Broad lough, Wicklow. It's assumed from Southern Europe on migration to Africa.|
|Hooded Crows mobbing the Osprey.|
When the Osprey disappeared behind the trees we waited another 45 minutes, taking photos of some far away Bartailed godwits, Ringed plover and Dunlin, when there was still no sign of it returning we decided we'd leave and see what was down at ECNR.
2 minutes after we left Broad lough, the Osprey (apparently) re appeared, swooped over the lough and grabbed two fish, one in each tallon.
That's right, an Osprey swooped over the lough and caught a fish in each tallon.
We could have seen it if we'd waited another 2 minutes.
But that's how it goes!
|Messing around with exposures, this Ringed plover was taken at + 0.7 (iso 320, f6.3, 1/400) bit too bright.|
|this Ringed plover was -0.3 (iso 320, f6.3, 1/1000), nice, but a little too dark|
|and this juvenile Stonechat was -0.7 (iso 320, f6.3, 1/320), which actually doesn't look too bad in this photo.|
|Male Stonechat, great to see them about again. Iso 320, f6.3, 1/160 - very slow shutter speed.|
I think todays was the second of several other courses being run at Sycamore hill from now until December.
There's more info on all Sycamore Hill courses on Eric's 'Bird's Ireland' website here: http://www.birdsireland.com/workshops
Huge thanks to John, Eric and Hazel for creating such a lovely learning environment.