Photographing Irish Sea Birds with Guy Edwardes

Day Four:

The ferry boat captain informed us that due to a ┬ástrong westerly wind, the crossing was too dangerous today…..which was disappointing when the light was really nice. Rest and Photo Post-Production filled most of the day. The local Guinness was going down a treat!

Day Three:

Well, we quite wet on the crossing over to the Saltee islands, but when we got into the dingy….it fell down. Guy had a mutiny on his hands as we all climbed back into the boat for shelter. So that was the morning session….spent back at base, drying out and sleeping. It was nice to catch up in some sleep and a bit of post production of yesterdays’ photos. In the afternoon session, we made it onto the island this time, but the walk to the colony was pretty rough. Very windy, and rainy. I was constantly buffeted off the foot path, thankfully in a good direction. Someone mentioned that it would be “slightly windy”…..about gale force 8 was also mentioned! Very few photos were possible, the birds were mostly under shelter…and my gear was soaked to the point where my tele-converter stopped working correctly and I had to give up. I think the 4 shots I took were the most effort I’ve ever had to go through to get only 4 shots! The last photo has a shutter speed of 1/500th second and the rain streaks are very long! The weather was quite brutal, but most of my waterproofs held up well, all except my squelchy waking boots…their water proofing gave up several days ago! I’ve had wet feet ever since! I was glad to get back to the hotel and dry out!

I don’t normally show pictures of myself….but Des took this shot of me…sopping wet and very wind swept. My only failed waterproofs were my boots…the rest of me was dry.

Day Two:

A much better day weather wise, but I still got a soaking in the morning….along with a covering of guano….my camera bag and my jacket was literally peppered with Bird poo splats. It’s tough to get onto the island, a boat ride and then a transfer into a dingy. Then it’s a 1/2 mile walk to the Gannet Colony, which is mostly uphill. Which is fine on a nice day, but when it’s very windy, cold and wet…and a fully packed camera bag…it can be hard going. Still, the photo opportunities were well worth the effort. We managed two sessions, a morning and afternoon. The morning light was overcast and a bit flat, but the light in the evening was the best. The birds weren’t too playful in the evening light. Maybe next year will have more opportunities! It was sad to see so many abandoned water and coke bottles left on the island. I think that the popularity of these islands is starting to become a problem…or rather the photographers who abuse the natural environment is becoming a problem! My tripod took some damage this workshop and over the last 4 years of fairly modest use, I’m needing regular repairs. One of the long spikes broke off and will need a new lower leg assembly for the third time in a year. Which was pretty frustrating in the middle of a workshop. I might have to look at alternatives to my current Gitzo….I’m a bit frustrated with it. The boat trip back to the mainland was exceptionally wet and windy. The waves were scarily big!

Day One

It was a very rainy, cold and foggy day. Certainly not ideal conditions for Bird Photography. It was pointless in going up to the Gannet Colony, which was in thick fog….so it was an Ideal opportunity to shoot passing and landing Razorbills….which are very very quick! I even managed to capture a Puffin as one of my last frames of the day! I returned back to the hotel very wet and soggy. Thankfully my photographic equipment performed without any fault.