Boats-n-birds on Dun Laoghaire's East Pier

December 18, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

UPDATE Malcolm McCamley told me how the boat got there:-

"The boat is one of the National Yacht Club's motor launches which was stolen during the night. The prop shaft got snagged in a lobster pot and the culprits had to be rescued by the lifeboat! They were arrested on their return to shore. The club tried to board the boat the next day but gales prevented boarding and it was subsequently driven on to the pier and wrecked"

I had an hour or so to spare in Dun Laoghaire last Tuesday so I took a wet walk out the East Pier. Despite the weather, I got a few interesting shots – starting with this wrecked rowboat that was washed up on the outside slope near the bandstand. I don’t think it will become the new Sunbeam or Irish Trader though! I took these with the Canon EFS 17-55mm at 20mm – it was so dull I had to use ISO800 to get 1/80th of a second at f8 to keep Howth Head and Killiney Hill in the backgrounds reasonably sharp. A little bit of Lightroom magic using exposure adjustments and graduated filters brought out the boat colours and the cloud detail - and I finished them off with a light vignette. By the way if you do go to shoot this, remember that the outside slope of Pier can be SERIOUSLY DANGEROUS for getting washed into the sea if there are waves coming from the east!

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Later on my way back, I heard the ILV Granuaile sounding its horn as it prepared to leave port – but by this time is was really lashing down so I sheltered under one of the steps between the two pier levels and broke out the Canon 100-400mm lens for the shots firstly against the Dun Laoghaire skyline – and then as she left the harbour. For the birders that’s a Great Northern Diver in the foreground of the first shot.

003-Boats-n-birds003-Boats-n-birds 004-Boats-n-birds004-Boats-n-birds 005-Boats-n-birds005-Boats-n-birds Fortunately the rain eased off briefly as I scooted up to the top of the pier wall to get the last shot as she headed out in a choppy Dublin Bay.

006-Boats-n-birds006-Boats-n-birds I had no sooner finished with Granuaile when I saw a flying songbird with prominent white wing bars – surely a Snow Bunting – a regular winter visitor from the Arctic to the Dun Laoghaire Harbour in very small numbers. Fortunately it landed briefly to allow me get a few heavily cropped record shots – this is the best of them.

007-Boats-n-birds007-Boats-n-birds As I was leaving, I checked the path outside the base of the Pier for Black Redstart – another scarce winter visitor, this time from Europe, that shows up in this spot in most years. Fortunately it popped out of sheltering bushes to perch on a rock for a few quick shots in the rain. The family name comes from the Middle English word for tail - stert.

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Finally, I got close to one of the resident Rock Pipits for this last shot – this spot is a great area to get close to birds because they are so used to walkers. All three bird shots were taken at about 400mm at f5.6 and ISO1600. The shutter speeds were 1/1250th of a second for the bunting, 1/160th of second for the redstart and 1/400th of second for the pipit. As well as Lightroom’s sharpening, I find Photoshop’s Shake Reduction is very useful to add the impression of sharpness to borderline images - here a text tutorial and here’s a video. I find that the full effect is often too  much, so I apply the shake reduction to a copy of the background layer and then adjust the opacity of this layer to taste. Of course, the image has to be moderately sharp to begin with – it’s not going to rescue a total blur!

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