Bee’s and butterflies

It’s been a while since I last posted, I had planned to stop this blog due to a number of things. Number one on the list was no motivation, so now having rested and with the support from friends plus followers from the blog, let’s continue. Thank you all.

Bee’s and Butterflies. 

We have had a hot summer here in Ireland, not much rain. Hosepipe ban’s and a lot of native people with a tan. Both rare in Ireland. With all this sunshine the butterflies are around in large numbers. The other thing I have been photographing is bee’s. Not to hard a subject has they flirt with the Blackberry flowers in the hedgerows.

 

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I liked the fly which was captured in this shot.

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This is a Ringlet  which is getting a little worn looking.

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So I decided bee’s flying would be a good subject to try, have you ever tried to photograph them in flight. It great fun and the hours disappear. So armed with a Nikon D7200 and a Sigma 105mm Macro lens fitted, a nice sunny day to keep shutter speeds up into battle I went.

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Why do bee’s always take off facing the wrong way, this kind of shot was the flavor off the first hour or so. I don’t give in easy.  A coffee break and it was back to the front line. I started to notice bee’s lift the rear end up slightly before take off. Which didn’t help when they are going the wrong direction. So in between the bee’s I got some other close up’s ( these a chopped in post).

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Hover fly.

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Clover flower caught in a light breeze. Yes it’s the effect of the slight movement that I like in this shot.

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Not a hundred percent on this plant but I think it’s English Plantain. These plant shots were taken by lying on the ground with the camera. Focusing  in live view, use the self timer and press the shutter release. Right back to the bee’s.

 

 

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After about two hours my success rate way getting better. I enjoyed this little challenge and will give it another try. Might try flash the next time. Now on to some butterflies. The next shots are Large Cabbage whites.

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The large cabbage white from different angles. Was going to try shooting these in flight but did not get one sharp shot. Bee’s are easy compared to butterflies.

For the final photo I’ll leave you with my favourite, a close up of one feeding.

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Thank you for joining me in the garden, please feel free to comment. I would love to hear your thoughts or tips on shooting these subjects.

George.

 

 

Sunset, The Mourne Mountains

Went for a short drive along the coast and the light was not great. Looking up at the Mourne mountains I decide to drive into the hills just North West from them and wait for sun set. Stopping at the view point called the Windy Gap, it wasn’t living up to its name last night. Just a light breeze which got cold has the sun set.

 

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This first show’s the Drumlin’s (small rounded hills) with the Mourne’s in the background. Drumlin’s  make up a lot of the country side in County Down.

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This and the one below  was take with at 200mm on a Tamron 70-200mm zoom lens just has the sun was starting to set.

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The sun was setting behind me and the colour was in the clouds behind me. So I walked up a short lane way and took the next few shots.

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It was at this point I packed up, I got the heater on in the car and sat and watched the last ray’s drop and pull the night down.

Thank you for visiting, please feel free to comment.

George.

Drifting clouds

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Drifting clouds


Small feet follow the secret paths,

Paths that lead to adventure’s,

played through the scrub and trees.

In the small glen where freedom was everywhere.

The secret tree hut, watch tower.

Shelter from the enemies that pursued me.

A place to see the wildlife

which the imagination transformed into monsters.

To lie in the fallen leaves and watch the clouds.

Faces and being’s formed in their shapes.

Drifting by where time mattered not.

A stick , a magic wand.

Bird song a code only I could know.

Know which plants to eat.

Berries that were sweet.

Secrets I would keep.

The dead forest, the swamp land.

Newts and frogs lived there.

Witch’s, swamp monsters kept watch’

Not a place to linger.

To know where the Sparrow hawk nested,

Sit beside the rabbit’s in the wild.

See the Hare  play on the open hill.

Mice scurry around the dry stone wall.

Today I sit an older man’

Memories drift like clouds.

Wild berries in my hand.

Birds speak and I understand.

GeorgeMcNeill

07/05/2018

Photo: The Mourne Mountians, rain clouds passing.


	

Sea mist and sunshine

So at a loose end I grabbed the camera gear and headed for the coast. a lovely spring morning and sunshine. Here in Ireland a day of sun here in spring time is rare, well one without rain. The winds along the Newcastle to Ardglass coast was strong and still cold. Not much wild life around it was a day just to get some air. When I got around to the Strangford Lough side of the coast the wind was a light breeze. So parked up I went for a walk. Sat on some rocks and watched the world drift by. Then a Spaniel dog appeared chasing a ball down the sand. Grabbed the ball and ran back from where  he came from. With great excitement he reappears chasing down the ball. Thought I would move and get some photos. I saw a lady throwing the ball , I loved the action and excitement here. So the first photograph captures this moment.

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It was time to move a little further along the coast, again not much wildlife around. So enjoyed the sunshine and chilled out. Then a Red shank arrived, prodding its bill into the mud in search of food.

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I like the reflections has it entered small pools left by the tide receding, this next shot is a little play on the reflection.

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I chopped in on the reflection and turned it 180 degrees so it looks like its feeding.

The next is common here in this part of Ireland, the Great Black backed Gull. They are the UK and Ireland’s largest gulls, around the size for a goose.

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They have a wing span around 1.7 metres and masters in flight. With the sun dropping lower in the sky and a chill returning in the wind I started for home. A few mile down the road and I spotted some seals basking on the rocks. Yes it was park up time and with camera and tripod I found a spot close to them but far enough away so I wouldn’t disturb them. We have two types of seals in Ireland . The common seal and the grey seal. Here’s a link for anyone who wishes to find out more about them. Seals in Ireland.

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This is the Common Seal.

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And a couple of Grey Seals. Please note its not the colour that gives them there name.

 

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A Gray enjoying the evening sun.

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Here we have Brent Geese feeding along the shallows.

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A dispute about who own’s this section of the dinner plate. With the sun low and even with a coat, scarf and gloves the cold was seeping into my body I packed up the gear and headed for home. I had been out on the coast for over eight hours, when not photographing I love to sit with a scope and watch the interaction in wildlife. think we humans could learn from them.

Thank you for visiting.

George.

 

A short drive.

I’ve not posted for a couple of weeks due to a slight injury. I’m back driving but still limited in my walking. So with the sun shining and being house bound for a while I grabbed the camera and went along the coast for a short drive. Not many shots but still a beautiful day with bright sunshine and a cold wind. A couple of shots were taken taken from leaning on the open door for support and the rest seated in the car.

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This first is of the common Buzzard with a crow heading his way to chase him off.

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this was shot from the car park at Cloughy rocks. These rocks become small islands when the tide is out and today there was a lot of seals around. These two where on the closest one. We have two type of seals common here in Ireland. These are Grey seals pictured and the other the Common or Harbour seal.

 

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This little Robin sat posing in the sun a few feet from where I was parked, he kept returning so here he is. They have a great voice and if you whistle back you will soon have a duet going.

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This last one is looking across the bay to Killard Point Nature reserve. Killard point

From here the coast turns into the sun so following it around to the village of Clough. I turned north and the road home.

Thank you for visiting.

George

Killough harbour.

This week has been a busy one plus the weather should be turning towards spring. With snow still falling in places and heavy rain and winds hitting others, its still winter. So with an hour to spare and a chance of fresh air I went to Killough on the county Down coast here in the northeast of Ireland. With grey sky’s and dull light on the land, landscape shots were out.

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With the tide on the rise this forgotten boat and the colour on the harbour wall caught my attention.

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With it’s moorings long gone and just the remains left I decided this would be in monochrome.

My next three where taken with a 600mm lens with a fence post used has a tripod.

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Shot from around 100 metres and chopped  with very little post processing. I could spend all day shooting gulls in flight. I you every watch a master working in their craft, then gulls are the masters for flight using the medium of air to paint their path.

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The colour’s nature has painted over time and the textures left by the stone masons tools has they shaped the blocks for the harbour wall. The worn steps reshaped with cement, the rusted and coloured metal handrail. It was all this texture and colour that pulled my eye to this shot.

Thank you for visiting, feel free to comment.

Take care,

George

Wagtail’s and sepia tones

With the sun shining and a light breeze I shouldered the camera bag, grabbed a tripod. Car locked and my first chat was with a man and his dog. Some local information is always welcome. I sit here listening to the wind and heavy rain beat it’s tune on the window. I took the following photos last weekend, what a difference this weekend.

First up are a few photograph’s of the Pied wagtail, these were taken while out for a walk along the coast.

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I always hope to get some shots of seals that bask along the shore, but so far no luck. With the tide in I knew they would be out from shore. This one was around 100 metres from shore.

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I got a few head shots but loved the light catching his whisker’s in this one. We have two  type of seal’s around our coast. The grey seal and the common seal with this being the Common seal.

My last one is off the small lighthouses that mark the entrance to Strangford lough on the east coast of Northern Ireland. I gave it an old time look when editing it in Silver Efex Pro. Let me know what you think.

 

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Thank you for visiting.

Take care,

George.

 

Monochrome day

I have a love for black and white images so this week, yep it’s like the weather here. Not much colour with a mix of snow, mist and the never to far away RAIN. So the first image is another misty lough shot.

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This was taken last week, I enlarged the grain a little to soften the image to get the effect of B&W film I shot some years ago.

This next shot was taken with a telephoto lens and edited in Silver Efex Pro2 which is part of the Nik Collection.

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This was taken in the afternoon before sunset with the light coming in from the right and the clouds acting like a large light modifier on the landscape. Also giving a nice rim light to the clouds. This is the Mourne mountains in County Down, Ireland with the cloud covering Slieve Donard the highest mountain in Northern Ireland.

And my last shot I took was of some woods near my daughters home. It was the play of light and shadow on the texture and into the trees that drew me to this shot.

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I edit all my raw images in Lightroom before finishing with Silver Efex Pro2 for any monochrome shots. I hoped you enjoyed the blog, please feel free to leave a comments. What you like or dislike, what software you use for B&W editing or for colour.

Thank you for visiting, liking and your comments. Have a good weekend.

George.

Rising mist.

Was going to sea my daughter and was passing the Spa lough, there was heavy fog that morning but by the afternoon it was lifting. So has I passed the lough I had to grab a couple of photograph before the mist was gone.

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and my last one in monochrome.

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Thank you for visiting.

First sunset 2018

Still cold here with a wind that would cut through you. But it was dry and the sun was out. So took a half hour drive over to the coast on the County Down. With the tide and wind sculpting the sand around the rocks I got these before a rain shower blew in.

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After this was shot the rain started and I watched the first day of the year get overtaken by the dark.

Thank you for visiting,

George