Photographing Irish Sea Birds 2014 with Guy Edwardes

Day One

The ferry crossing went well, and I arrived in the village with plenty of time to spare. The weather report was looking great, very sunny and with great light. The wind looked low so I was wondering if there would be much opportunity for landing birds. But hopefully the quality of light will make up for any lack of bird action. Plenty of time to unpack, grab a bite to eat, get to know the other people on the trip and get an early night…I’ll need it!

Day Two

Up very early for a 6am start at the fishing boat. The landing on to the ¬†island was astonishingly easy. I literally hoped out the dingy, quick easy and dry. I was suffering from a light fever which was making my breathing quite hard, so I wrapped up and tried to sweat it out. It’s a long and hard walk to the Gannet Colony and I was very hot by the time we arrived. We stopped off along the way to capture Razor Bills landing….although they were very scarce compared to last year. The few landings I did capture were a great reward for such challenging conditions. Great light, but no wind….photographers are never happy! The morning went well, but the evening shoot at the Gannet colony was amazing, a full moon and great light…it doesn’t get much better than this! Gannets, A Chough, Razor Bills, Puffins, Shags, Gull Chicks and lots of Gannets.

Day Three

We started with back lit Gannet photos…a very hard technique which needs a lot of anticipation and sharp wits. These were highly frustrating and at the time didn’t feel very rewarding…and yet I captured a few really strong images. Later in the day, I managed to capture a number of good take off photos of some Razor bills and the general portraits went well too. A Fulmer, Gannets, Puffins, Razor Bills and a few Guillemots. The trip back to the boat landing area was brisk due to shooting so late. We literally shot right up until the boat arrived!

 Day Four

Another sunny day greeted us! The landing was a little harder today and the sea weed was starting to smell a bit funky. This was certainly my best day in terms of my ability and technique. My skills were honed, mt panning was far far better than when I started a few days previously, although my body was tired and my determination was weak. I yielded my best crop of portfolio photos yet! I have to say I’m a little bored of photographing Puffins now….happy to leave them for another year! The last few shots were quite low light, iso 3200 and a rather friendly Puffin who was very helpful! A few of these images were using stacked 1.4x and a 2x converters…the spot focus nailed the AF perfectly and are amazingly good. Some were just the 2x, shot wide open and are incredibly sharp.

^ 100 % Crop of the previous image. This was shot nearly wide open using a 2x converter