Wildlife Photography on the Isle of Wight

Wildlife Photography on the Isle of Wight

My recent Wildlife Photography on the Isle of Wight

I visited the Isle of Wight in June 2018 to visit the Isle of Wight Festival but after this I stayed 10 days on the island. Wildlife on the Isle of Wight is quite amazing. There is a huge variety of wildlife from rare butterflies and red squirrels to buzzards and huge dragonflies. I have outlined below some of my recent Wildlife Photography on the Isle of Wight.

Had I known that Wildlife Photography on the Isle of Wight was so good I would have ventured further around the Island. However 10 days was more than enough to get a feel for the species of Wildlife which live on the island.

The Isle of Wight as a Wildlife Photography location

I first visited the Isle of Wight in June 2016. On that occasion it was cold, wet and very windy. This time, in June 2018, the temperature was around 28C consistently and it was warm with little wind. Amazing conditions to explore this beautiful island off the south coast of the UK.

Normally with wildlife photography, I find you have to be a bit more observant or sometimes lie in wait for an opportunity. I found that Nature and Wildlife Photography on the Isle of Wight is made easier because you seem to get opportunities come to you. There seems to be a microclimate on the south coast of the island which has flora and fauna not found anywhere else on in the UK. I saw butterflies, beetles, dragonfly, damselfly and birds which seemed to be waiting for you to photograph them.

In this blog post I’m going to post some of the wildlife photos I took on the Isle of Wight along with the locations where they were taken. There is also a global map at the foot of the post which outlines all the photos. I hope you like the post.

Wildlife Photography on the Isle of Wight - Red Winged Beetle / Butterfly - could be a Lycidae flying beetle

I’m not sure exactly what type of butterfly this is. My wildlife identification skills are not great but from my research it could be a Lycidae flying beetle but I’m not sure. It looks too butterfly like to be a beetle. If you know please leave a comment in the section below.


Wildlife Photography on the Isle of Wight - Butterfly - Coenonympha tullia | Large Heath

Again, I am making a huge leap and I’m going to say this is a Coenonympha tullia or Large Heath butterfly. I am basing this on the streak of brown and the small eyes on the wing. If I’m wrong, please let me know in the comments below. This photo was taken on the south coast of the Isle of Wight.

Wildlife on the Isle of Wight - Swan

This is a series of two images. On the esplanade in Ryde on the north of the Isle of Wight, there was a large pond full of swans. Just as we passed one swan in particular started to flap. I was in the right place at the right time.


Wildlife on the Isle of Wight - Swan Flapping

Here is the second image of the swan in full flap. Quite an impressive wing-span.

Isle of Wight Wildlife - Lizard on a rock

In the Ventnor Botanical Gardens you might see these little lizards as they warm on rocks and then scamper away as you approach. This was taken from a distance with the 70-300mm lens as any approach would be met by an exit, stage left, by the shy lizard.

Dragonfly Photo on plant - Wildlife on the Isle of Wight

This photo and the following 2 are of an amazing dragonfly which left around the Ventnor Botanical Gardens. It hopped and flew from plant to plant. It did not stop for long. Any approach was met by it flying away. I found that it returned to the same spot every 3-4 minutes, so I decided to wait nearby. My patience paid off and I got some great shots as you can see below of this amazing dragonfly.

Dragonfly Photo on Water - Wildlife on the Isle of Wight
Dragonfly Photo Closeup - Wildlife on the Isle of Wight

The close up image was taken with a shallow depth of field, aperture of f/4 so as to focus on the subject, get a faster shutter speed and also blur the background.

Wildlife Photography on the Isle of Wight - Male Kestrel

While walking to a clifftop viewing point I spotted this bird flapping in the tops of the trees, almost as if it had caught something. I walked towards it with the 70-300mm zoom lens attached and just kept shooting. This was one of the best shots.
This is a Male Kestrel.

Photography Locations – Isle of Wight

All the locations of this Wildlife Photography on the Isle of Wight blog post are shown on the map below.

Dragon Fly & Lizard Photos

Dragon Fly & Lizard Photos
Ventnor Botanical Gardens

Wildlife Photography on the Isle of Wight - Dragonfly closeup

Wildlife Photography on the Isle of Wight – Dragonfly closeup

Swan Photos

Swan Photos
Ryde, Espalande

Wildlife Photography on the Isle of Wight - Flapping Swan

Wildlife Photography on the Isle of Wight – Flapping Swan

Pheasant Photo

Pheasant Photo
Quarr Abbey, Woodland Walk

Wildlife Photography on the Isle of Wight - Pheasant

Wildlife Photography on the Isle of Wight – Pheasant

Butterfly and Red Beetle/ Butterfly Photos

Butterfly and Red Beetle/ Butterfly Photos
Near St. Catherine Lighthouse on Coastal Path

Wildlife Photography on the Isle of Wight - Butterfly

Wildlife Photography on the Isle of Wight – Butterfly

Male Kestrel

Male Kestrel
South Coast of Isle of Wight

Wildlife Photography on the Isle of Wight - Male Kestrel

Wildlife Photography on the Isle of Wight – Male Kestrel


Isle of Wight Festival – Summer Photography Retrospect

Isle of Wight Festival – Summer Photography Retrospect

My visit to the Isle of Wight Festival – Summer Photography Retrospect

I attended the Isle of Wight festival this summer. It was the 50th Anniversary of the Festival and the headliners included The Killers, Kasabian, Rita Ora, The Script, Sigrid and many more. I had been to 3 Glastonbury festivals but never the festival on the Isle of Wight.

The historic Isle of Wight festival is held at Seaclose Park every June. The original event was held between 26 and 30 August 1970 at Afton Down. This year the festival was held on 21-24th June 2018. In all 72,000 people attended the festival but for some reason it felt like a bit more.

In this blog post I am going to upload a few photos of the visit to this historic festival. This is a look back at some of the photos I took at the festival…

Photo Gallery of the Isle of Wight Festival

Amazing Guitarist at the Isle of Wight Festival

This wonderful guitarist was playing on one of the smaller stages and he took quite a crowd. The highlight was a guitar based rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen.


iPhone watching Amazing Guitarist at the Isle of Wight Festival

Some people were enjoying the festival through their iPhone. i thought this was an unusual viewpoint for a photo.


Judas at the Isle of Wight Festival

This is Judas, a wonderful band with a great sound.


Judas at the Isle of Wight Festival - closeup

A second shot of Judas – his poses were quite interesting to capture


Nile Rodgers and Chic at the Isle of Wight Festival

Nile Rodgers and Chic – a classic 70s band


Nile Rodgers and Chic at the Isle of Wight Festival Group Shot

Nile Rodgers and Chic – Group Shot


Nile Rodgers and Chic at the Isle of Wight Festival - Solo Photo

Nile Rodgers and Chic – Nile enjoying a guitar solo


Picachu at the Isle of Wight Festival

Picachu enjoying the Isle of Wight Festival, if he gets in your way – poke-him-on !


The Big Wheel at the Isle of Wight Festival

The festival is unlike anything I had seen at Glastonbury as it was more like a funfair combined with a festival. This is the big wheel.


The other Fun Rides at the Isle of Wight Festival

These are some of the other fun fair rides. This particular one had my head spinning for days.


The Terrible Rubbish problem at the Isle of Wight Festival

Unfortunately, the one thing I found about the festival was that people just didn’t use the bins. This is a very sad shot of people sitting amid the unbelievable amount of discarded rubbish. I think this is such a sad photo.


Hope you enjoyed these images of the festival and if you were there, please leave a comment.

How to Protect your Photos Online

How to Protect your Photos Online

As a photographer one your main focus will be on taking photos, but you will also wish to share these photos online. With the advent of online photo sharing websites such as 500px, Flickr, ViewBug and others, not to mention social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, sharing your photos online couldn’t be easier. For the same token, copying these photos also becomes easy and you can have your photo technically stolen and reused elsewhere without your permission. If you post one photo somewhere online for example every second day, you would have over 150 photos per year uploaded. You will never be able to research and track if a photo is being misused without your permission. Here are some tips on How to Protect your Photos Online.

Watermarking your photos

Placing a visible deterrent on your photos is probably the easiest way to deter the most basic instance of someone stealing your photos and images. This could be simply your name or your web address, basically stamping your ownership on the photo. Going back to before 2011, I never did this, that was until I found a company using my image without permission. So after that I placed my details on all my photos. I tried many versions of watermark and now I have the perfect version, which is via PhotoLogo. (Read my PhotoLogo Blog post here.)

As much as possible I try and maintain the logo so that it is not too much of a distraction from the main image. I also think, as well as it being a deterrent to image theft, I think it is a nice exercise in branding!

You can add a watermark in Photoshop very easily. I simply load my image, create a new layer and paste and transform the logo so it sits in a suitable position.

Watermarking to Protect your Photos online

Only Upload Lower Quality Files

One trick you can use to deter commercial usage of your images is to only upload lower quality images, or images less than 1400 pixels. The problem is that if you upload a high quality image to your site or for example flickr, anyone who downloads this could actually us it for print etc. The image size I quote of 1400 pixels is what I regularly use, partly because my website maximum width is 1300 and I feel an extra 100 pixels will display is decent enough quality, yet, 1400 pixels is small enough to protect my images.

You can also compress the images, e.g. only upload images which have had 30-40% compression. Ideal for screen viewing and fast download, but useless if you want a high resolution image.

If you want to compress your images in photoshop, there is a great tool called Save for Web under the File menu. Export the file to about 60% quality and you should have a file size around 200-300Kb. This is good for websites but not so good if you want to download and manipulate the image.

Lowering Quality of images to Protect your Photos online

Add your copyright information to the Images MetaData

Did you know that you can actually embed your copyright information directly into a JPEG file? This can be done from within Lightroom (under MetaData) or Photoshop (under the File -> File Info section). It is called metadata, and similar to Meta Data used in web pages, it provides extra information about the item.

I have my website and name added to all my exported images just to I can keep tabs on them. Also, if you are giving images to a newspaper or magazine, their software often picks up this information and your credit on the printed image can be made a bit more of a certainty.

Note, this is not always a site fire way to eliminate image theft as some if not most image upload sites will or may strip out this information but it is good practice in my mind to do so.

What can you do if someone steals your photo online?

I have been in this situation. Someone is using your photo without permission. It is not a nice scenario to be in but having to write an email or letter asking them to stop using it or perhaps even pay you for the permission.

There are a few things you can do such as;

  1. Contact the company hosting the images, e.g the hosting company will usually have an abuse@ email address or similar.
  2. If it is Facebook or Twitter etc, these usually have standard forms you can complete to make a copyright abuse complaint.
  3. You could write to the person who took the photo via their website or published email and ask them to stop using the image.
  4. I have seen some photographers write a ‘Thank you for using my image’ letter accompanied by an invoice. (Money talks!)
  5. If you really want the image removed you can contact a lawyer as a last resort. But this costs money so it is not for all.

Unless you are a professional the best you can do is to try steps 1 to 3 above. It may not always work but you need to protect the images you worked so hard to produce.


Protect your Photos online

You can always feed the perpetrators to the tigers …. only kidding, that’s frowned upon in the photography community.


If you are posting images on line you need to be aware how to protect yourself from theft and also be able to proceed with a cease and desist complaint should the need arise. Hopefully this post will be a guide in How to Protect your Photos Online.
If you have any comments please feel free to leave them below.

Photo Tip – Have the camera out and turned on. Always be ready!

Photo Tip – Have the camera out and turned on. Always be ready!

Photo Tip – Have the camera out and turned on. Always be ready!

This is my Photo Tip for capturing the unexpected… Always be ready, have the camera out and turned on, you never know what’s going to happen.

Capturing the Unexpected – Photo Tip

So many times I have been out and about, when I had the opportunity to capture something very special. You really never know from day to day when something truly amazing will pass your way. It would be even better if you could capture this event or moment. I have outlined some tips on this subject below and also my own photo gallery of times I was happy I had my camera ready

1) The first step is easy, have the camera with you as much as possible. 

Even if you only have a small DLSR like the 1100D which I use, it is small compact and light.

2) The second step is simply to have the camera ready

I normally have the camera out and on standby mode, i.e. turned on but sleeping. I then have the camera set on auto-focus and shutter speed priority (around 1/500s with an adequate ISO so as to be correctly exposed).

3) Choose the right lens

Normally, the unexpected things which happen will be in the medium to long distance. For example, an unusual bird or something in nature will not be landing right in front of you. Therefore, I normally have my 24-105 L lens or the 70-300 telephoto lens attached. I feel a wide angle lens serves no purpose in this situation.

4) Be aware of your situation and use photographers intuition

Photography can be a very mindful hobby and pass-time. As a result, while you walk the countryside or amble the streets of the city with your camera ready and turned on, you are every ready to capture a moment. If you hear something or see something in the distance which is out of the ordinary, get ready, it could be something photo-worthy. These fleeting instances will pass in moments, so get ready to shoot your moment.

My Photo Gallery – Moments when I have Captured the Unexpected

This is a photo gallery of times when I have been ready and I was lucky to capture moments which came and went in a minute. I have outlined underneath the details and locations of these photos.

Photo of Swan Landing - Shane McDonald Photography

This swan was photographed landing on a lake at Doneraile Park in Co. Cork. I heard the flap of the wings coming from behind me and just as I turned it landed. Camera: Canon 7D. Lens Canon 70-300 IS.

Cliffs of Moher, stupidity on the cliffs photographed by Shane McDonald Photography

This photo was at the Cliffs of Moher and this shows real stupidity (or bravery … I’m still not sure). Just as I turned around I saw a guy doing a hand-stand near the cliff edge. Luckily, I had the camera turned on and ready to shoot. I got 2-3 good shots of this outrageous stunt. Camera: Canon 7D. Lens Canon 70-300 IS.

My First Fox photographed by Shane McDonald Photography

This was the first fox I photographed. I had a loan of a Canon EF lens but the fox appeared without notice and I learned a lesson. My camera wasn’t 100% setup at the time so I had to act fast. The point being, if I hadn’t the camera ready and activated I would never have captured that shot. The only thing I wish I had done was to had the camera setup on shutter priority. Camera: Canon 450D. Lens Canon EF 200mm.

Spitfire at the White Cliffs of Dover - by Shane McDonald
Spitfire at the White Cliffs of Dover - by Shane McDonald
Spitfire at the White Cliffs of Dover - by Shane McDonald

While walking along the white cliffs of Dover, I head a low hum. A distinctive hum which I knew was a plane but I hoped it was the sound of a Merlin engine from a Spitfire. As I turned around, it was exactly that. Luckily, the camera was already in my hand and all I had to do was shoot. The plane had come and gone in about 1 minute 25 seconds based on the timings from my camera. Had I not had the camera ready I would have missed the majority of this amazing flypast.  Camera: Canon 7D. Lens Canon 70-300 IS.

Amazing Dragonfly in Ventnor Botanical Gardens by Shane McDonald

While at the Ventnor Botanical Gardens, I saw a few smaller damselflies around. However within a few minutes I could see a much larger dragonfly doing amazing loops. It would stop and then fly off. I noticed it liked one particular plant as it kept returning to it. I approached it but it flew off, so my technique was to stay near the plant hoping it would return. The dragonfly complied, and I zoomed from a distance of about 5 feet to capture this shot.   Camera: Canon 7D. Lens Canon 70-300 IS.


There is a famous saying, you miss all the shots you don’t take. It’s a bit over used but in this case it is somewhat true. If I hadn’t had my camera at the ready and I wasn’t looking around the nearby environment, I would have missed these great shots. I have many more photos I could have included here with the exact same story … The camera was ready and I was lucky with my timing.

Photography opportunities can be fleeting, be ready, know your camera settings and keep snapping.

How to Take Great Fireworks Photos – Fireworks Photography Tips

How to Take Great Fireworks Photos – Fireworks Photography Tips

How to take Great Fireworks Photos

I’m often asked How to Take Great Fireworks Photos. I have the same answer every time and that is, practice. The key to taking great fireworks photos is knowing how to capture the pyro while keeping the frame stable and in crisp focus. Taking Fireworks Photos is not the most difficult skill to master, these are my tips for to take the very best photos of pyrotechnics.

At some point in the year you will get a chance to take photos of fireworks displays. The normal events for fireworks displays are New Year’s Eve, Independence Days, Festivals and sometimes even weddings. From a photography point of view taking great fireworks photos is not the most technical thing you will encounter in your photography journey. Once you do a few successful firework events you will be sure to have it mastered.

There are a few things to consider for getting the best fireworks photos; pre-planning your location, the camera, the tripod and the technique (including your camera settings).

The Location of the Fireworks

Now that you know where the general area for the firework display is you now need your spot. If the pyrotechnics display takes place in a public place, you can be sure there will be a large crowd – keep this in mind. Take a look at the obstructions, what could get in your way but also interesting foregrounds or backdrops. Fireworks in the black of night are not that interesting so keep it in context, e.g. landmarks or monuments.

Next, you need to be there early to ensure you have your spot. Even better if you have clear leg-room so that your tripod is not kicked or knocked by the onlooking crowd. Plus, you should choose a place that’s comfortable, as you might be here for a while, and it could get cold. Regarding locations, taking shots from bridges can be a problem, as the traffic, either cars or people, can create a slight but noticeable (to the camera) bounce or vibration on the bridge.

You can also take into consideration the fact that many other people will be taking photos, so why not take an unusual viewpoint, perhaps ask someone for access to a rooftop or even a property nearby but at a different angle than everyone else. This way you get the unique shots and also you won’t have crowds to contend with. With photography of a public event, always try to have a different angle or niche, so your photos differ from the thousands of other photos taken of that moment.

The Gear

I use all Canon gear. I have a 7D, 450D and a 1100D. All of these have produced great results for me in the past. Therefore, you don’t need the top of the range in order to get great fireworks photos.

There are some items which can help, a wide angle lens and a cable release. If you don’t have a cable release, a remote or Infrared remote will do also.

The wide angle lens works well for me as you get a great view of the surroundings and also the spray of the fireworks. I use the Tamron 10-24 lens which I got a few years ago, relatively inexpensive and has decent sharpness. The cable release basically means you can enjoy the show and either have it on repeat or on manual cable release mode. i.e. you can press the button on the cable release when you want to take a photo or you can have it depressed so that it is continually shooting.

Note, on your lens, if you have image stabilisation (IS on Canon) or vibration reduction (VR on Nikon/Nikkor) then you should turn this off. Image Stabilisation will actually induce blur/vibration when on a tripod. One other tip, ensure your lens is really clean, you don’t want dust spots on your lovely photos. They may not show up at night but give yourself every chance for a good shot.

Next you need to focus the lens. Choose a point at infinity and view it through your digital display on the back of the camera. Now zoom in using the + function, on Canon I can go 10x. Now turn off auto-focus and use manual-focus to get that pin sharp. From here you need to ensure the lens is not touched or if it is you know where to focus to.


The Tripod

A good sturdy tripod is probably the most essential thing you need for great fireworks photos. I had a light aluminium one a few years ago, which did me for a while but I soon saw the limitations. I purchased a second hand Monofrotto and it’s a different ball game! It’s heavy, sturdy and is firm even in a breeze. When taking long exposures you need a tripod which will not move a millimetre.

Attach your camera on and point in the direction of the fireworks. You can leave one of the handles slightly fluid in case you need to move the point of view, but secure all the other areas of the tripod which could move.


The Camera settings for Great Fireworks Photos

The settings I have used in the past normally start off as follows ISO 100, f13 and shutter speed of 7 seconds. This is my starting point and based on my first few shots. If there is not enough action in the shot I either increase the time of the shot (shutter speed) and close down the aperture more (higher number). However, if there is too much firework activity I do the exact opposite, a more open aperture (lower number) and less shutter speed time. I am keeping the ISO at 100 to reduce noise but you can play with this if you know how the exposure triangle works.

Always review the first 3-5 shots for crispness, so you will need to sacrifice 40-50 seconds of the show in order to do this, but this ensures the rest of the fireworks show will be perfect.


The Card Trick

There is another trick you can use, which uses pitch black card or even a thick black felt cloth.

For this you will need the cable release. Set your camera on Bulb setting which basically leaves the shutter open until you choose to close it.  You cover the lens with the card or cloth, trying not to wobble or move the camera. Then when there is a fireworks burst uncover it. You can do this multiple times so as to capture multiple fireworks bursts set within the one exposure. It would certainly make your fireworks photos different from the rest as most would only be able to capture bursts as they come. With this technique for capturing fireworks, you can capture pyro bursts 1,2,5 and 7 for a very interesting and different composite result.

My Fireworks Photo Gallery

Taking Great Fireworks Photos - Tramore Fireworks Spectacular
Taking Great Fireworks Photos - Tramore Fireworks Spectacular
Taking Great Fireworks Photos - Tramore Fireworks Spectacular
Taking Great Fireworks Photos - Tall Ships Fireworks
Taking Great Fireworks Photos - Tall Ships Fireworks
Taking Great Fireworks Photos - Tall Ships Fireworks


I hope this guide to taking the best fireworks photos was a help to you. Please take a look at my photo gallery of fireworks below for some of my pyrotechnic shots.

Having the following items done well will result in truly great fireworks photos;

  • a good, well researched location
  • a cable release or infrared remote (to ensure a steady camera)
  • a steady camera fitted to a quality tripod
  • a clean wide angle lens focused correctly with IS/VR turned off
  • well exposed camera settings
  • chimping / checking the first few images to ensure they are in line with your expectations
ShaneMcDonald.me in The 2018 Blog Awards Ireland

ShaneMcDonald.me in The 2018 Blog Awards Ireland

I was delighted to find out that my photoblog, shanemcdonald.me has reached the finals of The 2018 Blog Awards Ireland. I have been shortlisted a few times in the Blog Awards Ireland, but reaching the finals is a huge bonus.

About ShaneMcDonald.me

I have always had an interest in photography. I purchased a very basic Olympus back in 2001 and this only had 1.3 megapixels. I used this camera when traveling around the world in 2003. I upgraded to a Fuji S7000 in 2005, upgraded to a Canon 450D in 2009 and then on to a very sturdy Canon 7D in 2015.

I created and setup the Shane McDonald Photography website in 2010. The aim of the website was to have a channel for my photography. Since then I have being optimising and adding more photos to the site as much as possible. I spent the first 8 months of 2018 rebuilding the design and layout of the site and it seems to have paid off.

The plans for the rest of 2018 and into 2019, are more photo tips and also a few ‘how to…’ photo videos.

Blog Awards Ireland - Finalist : Shane McDonald Photography

The Blog Awards Ireland

The Blog Awards Ireland are open to any blogger based on the Island of Ireland. Every year there are about 2,000 nominations. These are placed into a longest, then shortlisted and finally a few are nominated for the finals.

The photography section is the area I am a finalist. The photography blog awards are nominated under any blog which blogs about architectural, contemporary, fashion & beauty, landscape, open art & creativity, portrait, press & editorial, or wildlife photography. I would certainly fall under architectural, landscape, portrait, press and wildlife photography. I’m hoping to do a lot more set-up or organised photo shoots in the coming months so editorial might be a nice feather in my cap soon.

The Blog Awards Ireland ceremony takes place in Tramline in Dublin on Thursday 25th of October 2018 with a theme of ‘Day of the Dead’. I’m not one for fancy dress so I might just go along as I am!

About Shane McDonald

I always appreciate comments and feedback from my website and blog visitors. Please feel free to leave a comment on any post or contact me directly. The work is all non-commercial, I’m not in this for the money,  I just enjoy taking and sharing photos.

I am very active on Twitter and Instagram, just search for @shanesphoto on both channels. You can also follow, if you wish, my personal account @mrshanemcdonald which is more of a general feed. Finally if you want to know more, my personal website is at www.shanemcdonald.ie.

I am on BlogLovin, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and I love hearing back from followers, so please get in touch if you want to say hi!


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Photographing The Waterford Spraoi Parade 2018

Photographing The Waterford Spraoi Parade 2018

I was asked by the Waterford Spraoi Festival to take some photos of the 2018 Spraoi Parade. This year the Spraoi Parade was entitled, Bugs, with all the floats having some sort of theme relating to creepy crawlies. Having reviewed the floats prior to the parade I knew the sequence of the parade. I also knew the parade route would create many lighting issues, since the parade was starting at 9:30 and darkness was already beginning to fall.

The Spraoi Parade ‘Bugs’

The parade started with an amazing butterfly accompanied by performers and a solo rapper. This was followed by the red ants, young and old, closely followed by a big stomping boot. The next float was a musical one, a brass band set on top a float which had a massive locust peeking over the top from time to time.

The activity became frantic with the next float as the bee hive and bee keepers were running around trying to find the missing bees, much to the amusement of the onlooking crowd. This particular float was very high energy and had quite a comedic result. I was trying to capture the interaction of the performers with the crowd which was 8 to 9 deep in some parts.

A preying mantis then followed, which was great to shoot while it was fully extended. This was closely followed by a musical section, passing by decorated as a lady bug.

One of the most impressive floats was The Moth. Suspended high up, the moth had translucent wings which made for a very spectacular shot. The next float was equally as impressive, the wasp with the many worker wasps buzzing and weaving around. One of the biggest challenges here was trying to avoid colour cast from the yellow street lights combined with the yellow and black of the wasp costumes.

Two of my favourite floats were the next two in the sequence. The Leaf nest and the Spider.  The Leaf Nest had a creature lurking in the centre of the nest. From time to time you would see a glimpse, all too fleeting, of the crazy stick haired creature. I aimed to capture this shadowy creature and also to get a shot of him peaking through the nest. There was also minions running around with the same plant like growths from the hands and head. After this came the immense Spider, a mechanical arachnid with moving legs and a team of dancing soldiers and burlesque dancers.

The final float in the parade was the Hive Drummers which featured many drummers from the well known drumming group Torran.

My Aims and Challenges

The main aim was to capture each float of the Spraoi Parade, the characters involved and also the interaction between the onlooking crowd and also the performers. The main issue I faced was how do you capture a momentary interaction or expression while shooting in the hours of darkness.

I was using a 430EX flash on the Canon 7D with the 24-105 L series lens and I also had a Canon 1100D with a wide angle lens set at f/2.8 and a high ISO, just in case I needed to take a different type shot within changing lenses. I also had the 75-300 telephoto lens which I changed to half way through and I found this to work very well even without flash.

My Shots of the Waterford Spraoi Parade 2018

A few of the resultant shots of the Spraoi Parade are below, this is only a tiny fraction of the photos I took on the night.

LadyBug Band - Spraoi Parade 2018
The Big Boot - Spraoi Parade 2018
Hive Drummers - Spraoi Parade 2018
The Moth - Spraoi Parade 2018
The Locust and Band - Spraoi Parade 2018
The Boot - Spraoi Parade 2018
Leaf Nest Creature - Spraoi Parade 2018
The Bee Keepers
The Butterfly - Spraoi Parade 2018
The Leaf Nest - Spraoi Parade 2018
Spider and Haka Warriors - Spraoi Parade 2018
Drummers - Spraoi Parade 2018
Spider and Haka Ladies - Spraoi Parade 2018
The Wasp - Spraoi Parade 2018
Bray Air Show 2017 – Photos from the Bray Air Show, Ireland

Bray Air Show 2017 – Photos from the Bray Air Show, Ireland

Photos from the Bray Air Show, Ireland

These are a few photos from the Bray Air Show 2017. I saw last years photos from the Air Show and I vowed I would make it in 2017. The Bray Air Show takes place over 2 days in July along the beautiful seafront and prom area in Bray, Co. Wicklow.

There were some excellent acrobatic display teams performing plus the Irish Air Corps had a prominent presence at the Saturday display. For me, one of the stand-out performances was from the Royal Jordanian Falcons. This display team was flying the Flying 5 Extra-300 L aerobatic aircraft. The Royal Jordanian Falcons are some of the most skilled aerobatic pilots in the world and this is obvious from some of the stunts they pulled off. Check out the gallery below, they are the red aircraft. This national aerobatic team was formed in 1976 with the mission of promoting peace and friendship to the world through the art, skill and science of aviation.

It was an amazing day, even for those who had no interest in aviation. I heard a few comments from the crowd like ‘Oh my God, how is he doing that’ and ‘woah’ at times when some aircraft looked out of control. It was truly an experience to savour and enjoy – even more if you love aircraft like me.

Having been there I think the Sunday is probably the better day for to my liking. The Sunday schedule had more jets and more high speed activity so maybe next year.

Bray Air Show 2017 Photo Gallery

Click the gallery below to see the photos from the Bray Air Display 2017



2018 Update

I didn’t manage to get to the 2018 Bray Air Show as I was in the UK at the time but it is worth keeping an eye on the Bray Airshow Website for outing planning of your trip to it, as in 2018, the Red Arrows were displaying at it … something I wish I hadn’t missed!

Monster A380 emerging from the clouds

Monster A380 emerging from the clouds

Monster A380 emerging from the clouds

While I was in London I visited Hyde Park and there was an approach to Heathrow on the far side of the park, running parallel to the direction in which I was walking. I spotted an A380 in the distance and saw it was going to have to pass through a series of clouds. My aim was to capture the amazing Airbus Super Jumbo as it emerged from the clouds. The last time I saw one as close was when I attended Flightiest Dublin a few years ago. (click linked text to see the gallery for Flightfest)

Below are the shots of the Airbus emerging from the clouds. Shots taken with the Canon 75-300mm f/4.0.

Airbus A380 Emerging from Clouds

Airbus A-380 Emerging from Clouds

A380 Emerging from the clouds

A380 Emerging from the clouds

Airbus A380 Emerged from Clouds

Airbus A380 Emerged from Clouds

The Airbus A-380 is a real monster of an aircraft, a double-deck, wide-body, and four-engines. It is the world’s largest commercial passenger aircraft and unlike the 747 which has 2 decks, the A380s upper deck extends along the entire length of the fuselage. It is also 50% quieter on take off than the 747. British Airways has 12 A-380s in the fleet.

Being ready to shoot

The key to capturing this photo is that I was ready to take it. I had my camera in hand and I was observing the surroundings, actively looking for a photo opportunity. A related post might be of interest which talks about How to be Ready to Capture Photos.