John Coveney Photography - People Places & Wildlife: Blog en-us (C) John Coveney Photography [email protected] (John Coveney Photography - People Places & Wildlife) Fri, 03 May 2024 13:15:00 GMT Fri, 03 May 2024 13:15:00 GMT John Coveney Photography - People Places & Wildlife: Blog 90 120 Shooting Comet Leonard in Ireland in Dec 2021 I was thrilled to see my four-shot composite of Comet Leonard in the January 2022 issue of Astronomy Ireland magazine – and even happier when I was asked to write an article about how I got it for the following month’s issue. In the article, I promised a longer version here on my blog and this is it – albeit a bit later than intended!

My article in the February 2022 issue of Astronomy Ireland.


It was my second comet shoot, following Neowise over Lough Ree on the River Shannon in 2020 Comet Neowise by John Coveney. I’ll do a follow up blog about that in a few weeks time – and I’ll also include previously unpublished shots of Neowise over Dublin landmarks.

Comet Leonard was much dimmer than Neowise, at least when it was visible from Ireland, so I wasn’t sure if I could get it at all, much less get a good picture. I’ve been an active photographer for over 20 years now, starting with birds and then expanding to people, places and wildlife. One of my regular “places” over the last decade, or so, is my long-term lunatic project  around Dublin Bay the City Centre Irish Moonscapes. For this, I usually shoot the Moon in a land or sea context. So, I’m really chancing my arm at this astrophotography lark - ahem 😊. Other than my long lenses, I don’t have any specialist gear such as a star tracker or a lens warmer  lens warmer.   .  .   yet! So, this blog post is definitely not a guide to astrophotography. It’s more a journal of my intermittent meandering into this nocturnal imaging niche.

Since I started actual astrophotography a few years ago, mainly of planets and comets so far, I’ve used Stellarium’s free planetarium software. I use the computer version on a large screen at home for planning. But the Stellarium programme doesn’t automatically show comets – they have to be added manually via a deep dive into obscure settings. Fortunately, this blog How to Add a Comet to Stellarium by an American nature photographer, Martin Belan, clearly lists the sequence of simple steps required to add a comet  – it’s one of several similar links on Google.

Stellarium screenshot showing the complicated comet addition menus  .   .   . unless you follow Martin Belan’s guide .

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On location, I use Stellarium’s phone app to confirm object positions in the sky and to slowly build my familiarity with the heavens. When using the Stellarium app at night, the first thing is to press the Six Squares menu icon at the bottom left to show the Eye button. Use this to turn on and off Stellarium’s red filter to protect your night vision. It takes at least thirty minutes for your eyes to become fully dark adapted  – and longer for older people. However, a glance at a bright phone screen will quickly degrade your night vision. Unfortunately Stellarium’s red filter only works when you are using the app, so I also use a free android app, Twilight,  from the Google Play Store. This applies a reddish filter to the whole phone screen in every app so I can use other apps such as Google Maps or Photopills – but  not, of course, do any mindless social media scrolling during the darkest hours 😊.  And of course, for safety reasons, I never publicly post my shoot locations in advance!

This reddish filter is not great but it’s better than nothing and I also turn down the screen brightness. This also helps save the phone’s battery, especially if it’s cold. Of course I also have a head torch with a separate red light for protecting my night vision, as well as a battery pack to keep the torch and phone charged. It’s often said you should be able to use you camera in the dark, but that won’t help you find your way home across dark unfamiliar terrain after a shoot – been there, done that – and once was quite enough!

Stellarium app screenshot showing the Six Squares menu icon (left) and the Sensor Mode and red filter Eye icons (right) 

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The Sensor Mode tool in the phone app – accessed via the shaking phone symbol - is also very handy. Just point your phone up in the general direction of the object you are looking for and Stellarium automatically shows a zoomable image of the sky in that direction. Sometimes though, you might want to turn off Sensor Mode to stop the image of the sky jumping around as you move your phone, especially if you’ve zoomed in. You’ll also want to turn off the Sensor Mode if you just want to familiarise yourself with the stars in a patch of sky, perhaps while you are looking at the phone in your lap. I believe the phone app can also show comets, but I don’t yet know how to make this work – nor can I find a link on Google. If you know, please tell me in the comments.

You’ll also need to  ensure your phone’s compass is calibrated – and it’s best to do this in advance of a shoot. If you don’t, the Stellarium phone app may appear to be “looking” in the wrong direction in Sensor Mode. Firstly, you’ll need to be outside to get a good GPS signal. On an android phone, press the My Location circle near the bottom right of the Google Maps screen, and then zoom in on the blue circle that shows where you are – and expand it. Then lightly top on this blue circle to bring up the Your Location menu – don’t press too hard or you’ll drop a pin instead. Finally press the Calibrate button – depending on your location it will give you options such as moving your phone in a figure eight or taking pictures of a shop front. I think the figure eight option is more likely if you are in a rural dark location doing astrophotography. This is as much as I’m going to do on compass calibration and location accuracy in this post so, if you want more for android phones or any information on this topic for iPhones, you’ll need to Google it, sorry. If you have suggestions for either operating system, please add them in  the comments.

Anyway, as I scrolled through time on Stellarium on my computer last November, watching Leonard move in front of the stars, I thought of trying a composite to show this in reality.

Screen capture video of Stellarium showing Comet Leonard moving across the sky at the time of my Shanganagh Park shoot. Note d Boo near the bottom and the HIP 68785 “double” star at the top right (the dimmer nearby third orange star shown by Stellarium didn’t show in my shots). Note that using the Equatorial Mount option in the Stellarium programme to keep the stars relatively fixed as Leonard moved, tilted the orientation rightwards compared to my own images below. Once this is taken into account though, this simulation matches my images.

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Given Irish December weather, a multi-night series wasn’t on. However, the forecast for December 5th 2021 was cold and clear, but breezy. So about 1am and dressed in all my layers, I packed up my ebike for a short cycle to a nearby fairly dark area in my local park. This is Shanganagh Park – between Bray & my adopted home village of Shankill. It’s near the southern boundary of Co. Dublin. The Park is in a narrow greenbelt between Shankill and Co. Wicklow. In the strong westerly breeze, I sheltered on the eastern side of a patch of planted woodland just above the cliffs overlooking the Irish Sea

Maps showing the location of Dublin on the east coast of Ireland (top right), Shankill (left), my darkish shoot location sheltered by trees in Shanganagh Park (centre), and lastly the location of the Cooley Peninsular for my second Leonard shoot.


My comet shoot station in Shanganagh Park – with Killiney Hill in the background. The streetlights there, over 4km distant, were the only ones I could see during the shoot. Note the foam garden kneeler for keeping my bum warm and, on the right,  the 400 2.8  lens lit by the red bulb of my headtorch.


Stellarium said to look for Comet Leonard above Arcturus – rising about 2am in the northeast. Arcturus is in the constellation Boötes – the ploughman of the Plough according to the ancient Greeks. Arcturus is the brightest star in the northern sky and located in the groin area of Bootes, heavenly humour from an ancient - and presumably male - astronomer, perhaps?

Screenshots from Stellarium showing constellations around Comet Leonard during the shoot.


I thought I could see Leonard with my binoculars but I wasn’t sure, so I did “search shots” with my Canon 85mm f1.8 lens – set at ISO 3200 for 5 seconds to get as much light as possible. About 2.50am, I was delighted to see Leonard as a small greyish blur on the camera’s LCD – as in the next illustration

Uncropped unprocessed 85mm image of Comet Leonard between the HIP 68785 “double” star and d Boo, as well as two satellite trails with square ends (Canon 80D and 85mm f1.8 at f1.8 for 3.2 seconds at ISO 3200). Two bright stars in Bootes, Arcturus and Muphrid, are also marked. The curved line shows a roughly U shaped group of stars, one of the star patterns I used to “crab” my 400 f1.8 lens from Arcturus to Leonard. The inset shows a processed crop of this shot around the comet.

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Once I knew I had Leonard, I reduced the exposure time to 3.2 seconds to reduce star trails using the Spot Stars feature on the PhotoPills app on my phone. This was a compromise between the 4 seconds given for the traditional 500 Rule and PhotoPills recommended 2 seconds. I kept shooting every half-hour or so, until the start of astronomical twilight at 6.30am – in retrospect I could probably have kept going until the start of nautical twilight about 7am. During my shoot, Leonard travelled about 925,000km at 70km/sec - about 2.5 times the distance to the Moon!

In between, I tried to set up my recently purchased second-hand super-telephoto – a 400mm f2.8 Mk1 IS – it weighs 5.4kg or almost 12lbs! I picked it up second-hand in Conn’s cameras in Dublin a little over a year ago. It was on their used equipment page - for many many thousands of euro less than their asking price for the current Mk3/RF versions at about  €14,000. These current versions are only a little more than half as heavy as my Mk1. I was sure the Mk1 would be a very well used or even battered pro sports photographer’s specimen, but when I next ventured into Conns – always a dangerous experience as they always end up richer! – I couldn’t resist asking for a look. To my astonishment it was almost pristine. Apparently it had been almost unused for up to 20 years or so since this model  first appeared in in 1999 . The reason it was so (relatively) cheap was because Canon no longer supplies parts for it. Anyway after getting it checked out by Eoghan Murray of f1 camera repair in Greystones in Co. Wicklow, I took a chance on it. With quite a lot of padding, it even fits in one of my ebike panniers.

So what was it like for astrophotography? Until or if I get a high spec star tracker capable of taking its weight and I can try it on a few deep space objects such as star clusters or galaxies, it’s too soon to say definitively. I would have loved to have tried it on Leonard as it passed the M3 star cluster  two days earlier but it was cloudy in Ireland that night – what a surprise! Without a star tracker and/or GoTo mount, I had to painfully “crab” from Arcturus to Leonard, taking a test shot each time and checking star patterns on the LCD against the Stellarium app. And now after all the long scéal (story in Irish), here’s my best image – the settings were 1.6 seconds, f2.8 (of course!) and ISO 12,800. It’s notably better than the 85mm images, especially in capturing the comet’s green tone, but not so much that I wouldn’t be too upset if I had to travel light with just the 85mm lens and its one and one third of a stop wider aperture. The higher ISO due to the narrower aperture didn’t make sensor noise much worse. Again there are short star trails because I exposed for 1.6 seconds, instead of PhotoPills recommended 0.7 seconds.

Comet Leonard above d Boo – the brightest star at the bottom – taken with a Canon 80D and a Canon 400mm f2.8 for 1.6 seconds and ISO 12,800. Moderately cropped and processed in Lightroom.


In the few days after the shoot, I used Lightroom to reduce digital noise, to eliminate reds and oranges from light pollution, and to enhance Leonard’s natural green colour. The final step was a “lighten blend” composite of the four best 85mm shots in Photoshop. As I didn’t get the stars to line up exactly, I masked the stars out in all but the top layer and I just let the different exposures of Leonard shine through from the lower layers.

Because of these small miss-alignments, my image is not quite an astronomically accurate representation of Leonard’s movement against the background stars. Despite this, it’s plenty good enough for me to tell the story of Leonard’s appearance in Irish skies. It’s a memory that will stay with me for the rest of my days  .   .   . and nights! This is just as well because it’s now leaving us forever! Like many comets, it is believed to have come from the hypothetical Oort Cloud of icy objects surrounding the Sun between 2,000 and 200,000 times the Sun-Earth distance. The Oort Cloud is hypothetical because objects in it are too small, dark and distant for even the largest telescopes to see from the Earth but it’s believed to be the source of many comets. Leonard had an orbital period of about 80,000 years, spanning about 3,500 times the distance between the Earth and the Sun. On this spin around the Sun however, it got a solar gravitational boost that will kick it out of the Solar System - to roam the depths of interstellar space.

Final four exposure composite of Comet Leonard over Shanganagh Park Co. Dublin on 5 December between 2.50 and 6.30am. HIP 68785 is the “double” star above and to the right while d Boo is the brightest star toward the bottom.


Before I finish though, my Shanganagh Park shoot was not my only sighting of Leonard. Five days later, myself and herself had shnaked off for a couple days on our own to a nice B&B in Carlingford on the Cooley peninsula. Perhaps missing the central point of those few days 😊, I was out at Ballaghan Point just after 7am on the 10th of December. Although nautical twilight had begun, hence the blue background, I still got a shot of Leonard – and a meteor passing close by. Unlike the satellites in my shot above, this streak of light has a tapered end typical of a meteor as it burns up in the atmosphere.  Perhaps, it was a late Leonid wishing Leonard farewell as it began its eternal interstellar journey!

Comet Leonard and a meteor from Ballaghan Point on the Cooley Peninsula in Co. Louth taken at 7.05am – the start of nautical twilight – on 10 December 2021 with a Canon 80D and 85mm f1.8 for 3.2 seconds at ISO 3200.


[email protected] (John Coveney Photography - People Places & Wildlife) artifical satellite astrophotography Co. Dublin Co. Louth comet Comet Leonard composite Cooley Peninsula Dublin Ireland John Coveney John Coveney Photography meteor night sky Shanganagh Park Shankill Stellarium supertelephoto lens Thu, 17 Feb 2022 13:10:32 GMT
Dalkey Island's Heritage and Wildlife - A Photo Essay It was a bright sunny first Sunday of July 2021 when I went to Dalkey Island, Co. Dublin - a magical offshore island only a few kilometres from home in Shankill. Indeed, Dalkey Island was once part of the medieval Manor of Shankill - a feudal territory owned by the Archbishop of Dublin that stretched south to the Glen of the Downs in Co. Wicklow.

 I was hoping to get a few shots of the terns at the breeding colony managed by BirdWatch Ireland and wardened this year by Joe Proudfoot. As well as the terns, there's a wealth of other nature and heritage to enjoy and photograph. Much of it is close enough for shots with a long lens without causing disturbance. I've a bit at the end on how I got my shots*.

I speeded from Coliemore Harbour across Dalkey Sound with Ken the Ferryman  - he's open everyday from 10am to 6pm during the summer - weather permitting. The fare is €10 return and only €5 for under 18's. The crossing takes about 5 minutes. And yes, as in the song by former Dalkey resident Chris De Burgh, you don't pay the ferryman until you get to the other side - nor do you have to spend a lifetime preparing for the journey! But if you do want to swot up beforehand, read the island's conservation plan by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Co. Council. It has loads of detail on the island's geology, flora and fauna, archaeology, and history.

Once you get onto the island, it feels surprisingly remote and calm even though it's only a few hundred metres from the trophy houses of Coliemore and Sorrento Terrace. This is especially so when looking out to Dublin Bay and the Irish Sea - and if you turn your back on the land, you can really disconnect!


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Once you do get to the other side, be sure to read the sign on the landing pier to avoid trouble ahead and leave the island and its inhabitants as you find them. That's the last ferryman song reference, I promise! Also, here's a link to the information sign on the plaza above Coliemore Harbour.



Here's warden Joe showing us the off-limits Lamb Island where many of the terns nest. We weren't ogling the topless kayaker - honestly! Joe runs guided tours at 12 and 2pm on the weekends he's there.


The most prominent built heritage features are St. Begnet's church, the Martello tower and its associated gun battery. The island's conservation plan describes archaeological finds dating from the mesolithic period 8,000 years ago through the Bronze and Iron Ages, the Middle Ages and right up to the nineteenth century. Here's a great Wikipedia Commons map from the island's Wikipedia page that shows most of these features .


Dalkey Island is within two EU nature conservation designations defined by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS). These are the Dalkey Islands Special Protection Area (SPA) under the EU Birds Directive and the Rockabill to Dalkey Island Special Area of Conservation (SAC) under the EU Habitats Directive. The island is also part of the proposed Natural Heritage Area (pNHA) "Dalkey Coastal Zone And Killiney Hill" that will eventually be protected in national law by the Wildlife Acts. Currently it's safeguarded in the county development plan. Again the conservation plan has a very good description of the island's natural heritage features. 

The Geohive Map Viewer from Ordnance Survey Ireland provides maps of Ireland's built and natural heritage. Red dots on this screenshot show the main archaeological sites and the pNHA is outlined in blue. The SPA covering the island and the waters immediately around it is bounded by the curved line. The remaining hatched area shows the nearby parts of the SAC that stretches 40 km northwards to Rockabill Island off Skerries in north Co. Dublin. If you go into the Geohive viewer and select the relevant layers in the data catalogue, you can click on these items to get their code numbers that will allow you to access lots more information via the National Monuments Service's Historic Environment Viewer and on the NPWS's listings of protected sites.

The National Monuments Service describes St. Begnet's church as a fine pre-Norman structure that survives to full height despite modifications, including the fireplace and the side window that were added during the early nineteenth century by workers building the nearby Napoleonic era fortifications.



The lichens on the church's inner walls have probably have growing there for the last two hundred years since the workers left. I think they're Cladonia from checking Irish Lichens. Warden Joe told us there's almost none lower down - starving goats ate them during the big snow of 2010. Nowadays, happily, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Co. Council takes hay out to them during hard winters.


Centuries of salt and storm exposure hides the details on this cross-inscribed stone - even with sharpness, contrast and clarity pushed well up in Lightroom. I might do better another time with evening side lighting that would provide shadows to highlight the carvings.


Here's a few phone shots of the Martello Tower. It's one of nine surviving of sixteen built from Bray and Sandymount between 1803 to 1805 to counter a Napoleonic invasion that never came. Check out the Irish Martello Towers blog or the Wikipedia list of Dublin's Martello towers for much more on these coastal lookouts. If you look carefully from the Dalkey Island tower, you can see the tops of its neighbours to the south on the flank of Killiney Hill, and to the west near Bulloch Harbour. Of course that was the whole idea so that news of an invasion could be signaled along the coast in those pre telegraph times. Both of these towers are privately owned and hard to see from nearby roads. The Killiney tower is sometimes open to the public but you'll need to drop a few million euro to buy the Bartra tower as the country's priciest one bedroom house! Here's a link the map of the coastal walk route between them.


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Next is the associated gun battery although only a few Martello towers had these.

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Here's some Mallow and, I believe, orange Caloplaca lichens on the battery ramparts.


The main drama of the day was when Joe shouted that a Peregrine Falcon had caught a tern - I managed to get a few heavily cropped shots as it flew past the apartments near Coliemore Harbour with its prey. Predation of one protected species by another is always a quandary, but now that Birdwatch Ireland has removed rats from the island – a much more damaging predator – hopefully the breeding seabirds can tolerate occasional Peregrine strikes. From a conservation point of view, it's good that the Peregrine took a juvenile tern rather than a breeding adult. Juveniles have a much lower chance of surviving to breeding age whereas the predation of a long-lived adult could result in the loss of breeding attempts in this and future years. Later another Peregrine flew past, this time a recently fledged juvenile as shown by it's brown plumage. 

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Next are some shots of the terns themselves - this time at the sub-colony on the main island. These are Arctic Terns - the main species nesting on Dalkey & Lamb Islands although there are also a handful of Common Terns. There are warning signs and roped off areas to ensure human visitors don't stray into the colony but even 30m or so from the rope, the Arctic Terns approach you aggressively and even draw blood from your head with their beaks if you go closer - of course I didn't! The trick is to stay well back from the roped off area as they approach briefly to check you out. When they realize you are not coming any nearer they fly back to the colony. If you are ever near a seabird colony and terns or gulls are dive-bombing your head - you're way too close!

Apart from the risk of attack, please also remember, that it's illegal to photograph birds' eggs and nests without a license from the NPWS.  Check out this excellent article from BirdWatch Ireland with loads of advice on avoiding disturbance of breeding birds. 

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In spring, Oystercatchers move from their usual winter habitats on the Dublin Bay shoreline to nest on grassy parts of offshore coasts such as Dalkey Island. If you are within 50m or so of their eggs or chicks, you can't miss them "kleeping" anxiously around you. Despite the occasional disturbance from human visitors, a few pairs have raised several chicks this year on the island, One large chick followed its parent to the seaweedy shoreline to forage. 

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Here's a recently fledged Pied Wagtail that was also bred on the island - they look very tatty at this age!


Here's a group of roosting Shags and Cormorants on the rocks of Lamb Island watching a regatta outside Dun Laoghaire Harbour!


There's also a mixed breeding colony of Herring, Great Black-backed and Lesser Black-backed Gulls in the bracken on the outermost part of the island - largely hidden from the mainland. Here's three shots of adult Herring Gulls from various angles, followed by shots of nearly and newly fledged juveniles.

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Next we come to perhaps the most attractive of our large gulls, the Lesser Black-backed Gull (LBBG), with its yellow legs and dark grey back contrasting with its black flight feathers. When you're near their colony, they are much less aggressive than their bigger cousins, Great Black-backed Gulls (not pictured here). They will also attack people too near their nests - and much more forcefully than the smaller Arctic Terns! In contrast, Lesser Black-backed Gulls just fly over for a look - but if they are calling loudly at you, again you are too close!


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I was so happily snapping the LBBGs just before I left the island that I didn't even look at them properly! It was only when I was going through my images a few days later, I noticed two shots of a much darker bird with almost no contrast between the black flight feathers and the very dark mantle feathers. This is typical of the race intermedius that breeds in the Netherlands, Germany and southern Scandinavia. Separation of this form from the lighter graellsii that breeds in Britain and Ireland is complicated because the two forms overlap in The Netherlands - the so-called Dutch intergrades. Joe Hobbs' "A List of Irish Birds" says that intermedius is probably a rare winter and passage visitor. A search of Irish Birding pulled up about 43 reports going back to 2009. These reports include a well documented one seen by Collins Bird Guide author Killian Mullarney in the gull colony on Great Saltee Island on 18 June 2016. Several records of this dark form have also been well-documented in Co. Kerry between 2013 and May 2021. So this was nice birding bonus on a photography trip - but I wish I had noticed it on the day! I would have liked shots of it with the resident LBBGs and also flight shots. The bird was searched for the following weekend but not seen.

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For many people, the real wildlife stars of the island are the seals and it was great to see people watching them from a safe distance so that they could comfortably haul out on the rocks. Exploring Irish Mammals by Tom Hayden and Rory Harrington tells us there are two species of seals in Ireland - Grey and Common - but the latter is the rarer of the two in Ireland! Key features of the larger Grey Seal include its long flat or convex "roman nose" - versus Common's shorter face with a concave profile. Up close, the shape of the nostril openings is also useful - almost parallel in Grey but V-shaped in Common. With one possible exception, the head shapes of all these seals match Grey Seal, as does the nostril shape where I can see it. The possible exception is the nearly black one in the seventh shot - a pup from last year I believe. On first look, the face appears to have a concave profile but I think that's just the angle of view and when I look at the nostrils closely, they don't meet at the bottom. According to Hayden & Harrington, the great variety of colours, as seen in this shot, is also consistent with Grey Seal. The degree of wetness of the animal also influences the coat's colour somewhat - note how slick the recently hauled out seal in the fourth shot is. Having said that, the wet and dry portions of the coats of the seals in the sixth shot aren't hugely different. Other clues to the identification of these animals as Grey Seals are range and habitat. A census of seals in Dublin in 2018 found that of about 120 seals found in the area, only 5-7 were Common seals and that most of these occur on North Bull Island - although one was seen in the Dalkey Island area. The intertidal sandflats of North Bull Island are also the favoured habitat of Common Seals, whereas Grey Seals prefer to haul out on rocky shores like Dalkey Island.

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The other mammalian stars of Dalkey Island are the herd of feral - that is gone back to the wild - goats. These were first introduced to provide meat and milk to the builders of the Martello tower and battery. However, the current flock are not their descendants but a later introduction. Due to the small size of the island, they have suffered population crashes because of disease, starvation and perhaps inbreeding but as I said previously, nowadays the Co. Council supplements their winter feed with hay. 


So that's it - I'll finish up with another sign - the one marking Lamb Island as off limits during the terns' summer breeding season. I learned a lot during my visit of a few hours but there's a lot more to see on future visits.

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* Photography Info: I used my Canon 100-400 MkII lens mounted on a 7D MkII camera - sometimes supplemented with a 1.4x Mk III teleconverter to get almost 900mm (full frame equivalent) at f8 and still with autofocus on the central point. While this is a very versatile combo, I should stress that addition of the teleconverter, by limiting autofocus to the central point, makes it much harder to get long range shots of birds in flight. The speed of autofocusing is also much slower - and a delay of a tenth of a second is an eternity for flight shots! As I was travelling light with just binoculars, camera and lens- well relatively light  - this lot still weighs 5kg - I used my Huawei P20 Pro for wide angle shots. I often do this in night mode - even in daylight! Night mode uses some sort of HDR (high dynamic range) to avoid blowing out detail in very contrasty midday scenes. These look a bit overdone on the phone screen but they're fine on the computer, especially if I reduce contrast and clarity a little in Lightroom.

** Acknowledgements  Thanks to several birders who gave me additional information on the forms of Lesser Black-backed Gulls.


[email protected] (John Coveney Photography - People Places & Wildlife) Arctic Tern bird photography birding Birdwatch Ireland birdwatching breeding breeding seabirds breeding terns built heritage Canon 100-400mm lens Chris de Burgh Co. Dublin Coliemore Harbour conservation Dalkey Dalkey Island Dalkey Sound DLRCoCo Don't Pay the Ferryman Dublin Dublin Bay Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council extender Falco peregrinus feral goats Grey Seal gulls Haematopus ostralegus Halichoerus grypus heritage Herring Gull intermedius Ireland Irish Sea island Joe Proudfoot John Coveney John Coveney Photography Ken the Ferryman Larus argentatus argenteus Larus fuscus graellsii Larus fuscus intermedius Lesser Black-backed Gull marine Martello Tower mature conservation Napoleonic era forts natural heritage area nature nature park offshore island Oystercatcher park Peregrine Falcon photo essay ruins SAC seabird seabird colony seabirds seals seascape SPA Special Area of Conservation Special Protection Area St Begnet's Church Sterna paradisaea teleconverter tern colony terns wildlife wildlife photography Wed, 21 Jul 2021 19:08:50 GMT
Strawberry Moon on the Front Pages! It was great to wake up today to see my “Strawberry Moon” – the midsummer full moon - on the front pages of the Irish Times and The Times Ireland. Using The Photographers Ephemeris yesterday morning at about 4.30am, I was lucky enough to capture it setting behind the Poolbeg chimneys. Although it was a fine clear night, it was quite breezy when I arrived on the North Bull Wall. Fortunately, I able to use one of the bathing shelters as a windbreak to keep everything steady. I took these shots with my Canon 7D Mark II and my Canon 100-400mm lens, mounted on a Manfrotto 055 carbon fibre tripod and a 410 junior geared head. The shot in the paper was exposed for 1.3 seconds, f20 and ISO 100 at a focal length of 190mm. So, you could say I’m absolutely over the .  .  .  ahem .  .  .   thrilled!



These moonshots – mainly around Dublin Bay – are my long-term photo project since 2008. Seeing one of them in front of so many people this morning makes up for the 3am summer starts and the freezing winter nights – although having said that, when I do get out there, I love being on own on the bay capturing the moonlit landscapes. You can see, and buy, many more of them at

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[email protected] (John Coveney Photography - People Places & Wildlife) blue hour Canon7DMkII chimneys dawn dublin front page front pages ireland Irish Times john coveney photography long exposure Manfrotto moon poolbeg smokestacks the photographers ephemeris The Times Ireland tripod twin towers Tue, 18 Jun 2019 08:46:32 GMT
EIRE sign at St. John's Point Lighthouse in Donegal and D-Day As today is the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Normandy Landings on D-Day in 1944, I remembered some of my recent shots of the lighthouse at St. John’s Point in Co. Donegal and the nearby EIRE sign – number 70 of a series of 83 that were marked out around the coast of the Republic of Ireland at the start of World War II to proclaim its neutrality to British, American and German air forces.

St.Johns-Point-mapSt.Johns-Point-map Last February, I took my lads to west Donegal for a few days during mid-term and I hope to post some shots from that trip in the future. On the way home, we detoured during a winter afternoon’s fading light for a quick run to St John’s Point on the south Donegal coast - not to be mixed up with another St. John’s Point lighthouse on the south coast of Co. Down in Northern Ireland. There’s fairly typical Irish low-lying farmland along most of this little-known peninsula but it opens out to an area of exposed bare grassland at the tip – where there are magnificent views of the whole of Donegal Bay from Slieve League in the west to Mullaghmore and Ben Bulben in the south.

The light wasn’t great, and I only had time for a quick walk around, so I just took my phone. It was also cold, breezy and exposed so it would have been hard to keep the big camera steady on the tripod .  .  . and OK, OK, I was feeling just a bit lazy as well! But of course, my camera phone is not just any camera phone, it’s the Huawei P20 Pro – then the world’s best camera phone until it was overtaken by the recently launched P30 Pro. I was pretty pleased with the quality of most of these shots – all the more so since I didn’t use the phone’s RAW shooting capabilities, just JPEGs, albeit improved a little afterwards in Lightroom.

Here’s my first image, a Panorama that I stitched in Lightroom from a series of phone shots. As the lighthouse had not come on at that stage, I used Photoshop to composite in the flash from one of my later shots. On the knoll in the background is the World War II watch station were two crews, of two men each, did twelve-hour coast watches from 1939 until the war’s end in 1945.  


Next is a view of the lighthouse compound with Slieve League to the west in in the background. This is followed by a view of Ben Bulben to the south. If you look closely you can see just the castle at Mullaghmore underneath and to the left of Ben Bulben’s nose. The quality of the Slieve League shot is not as good as the others, but I’ve included it to tell the story of the Point's views.



Next are two closer views of the lighthouse.

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Finally, as I walked back around the outer wall of the compound to the car, I came on this view of the lighthouse through a closed gateway. The relatively sheltered ground between the wall and the Lighthouse would probably have been used by the lightkeepers to grow potatoes and vegetables before all Irish lighthouses were automated since the 1990’s.


You can get more information on this hidden corner of Donegal at these links from Great Lighthouses of Ireland,  the Wild Atlantic Way and the Commissioners of Irish Lights. There’s much more information on the EIRE signs and the associated watch stations at these links from Eire Markings, Coast Monkey, an RTE video and an Irish Times report on the restoration of a similar sign in Co. Dublin, and a list of all the signs and watch stations on Wikipedia.

In my view, the St John’s Point sign is one of the most interesting because it’s directly underneath the route that was taken by wartime British aircrews using the Donegal Corridor. This was a shortcut to the Battle of the Atlantic, across the Republic of Ireland from Belleek to Ballyshannon. It was used by RAF flying boats based at Castle Archdale on Lower Lough Erne in Fermanagh in Northern Ireland. These flying boats located and sank, or helped sink, hundreds of German U-boats and warships – most notably the Bismarck. If they had not, the German Navy would probably have strangled the Allied war effort and its marine supply lines from the USA - and D-Day may never have happened.

Despite our neutral status, Ireland’s wartime Taoiseach, Eamon De Valera, agreed to the Donegal Corridor when he was under intense pressure from Britain and the USA to join the Allied war effort. As the war progressed, our neutrality leaned increasingly towards the Allies. However, in January 1941, before the USA entered World War II after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour on 7 December, the war’s outcome was far from clear.

Irish neutrality during World War II was and is controversial because we did not join in the fight against the brutal fascist dictatorships of Europe. On the other hand, we would have been allying ourselves with the British Empire against which we fought a bitter War of Independence only twenty years earlier – as well as with the brutal communist dictatorship in the USSR! Ironically, as I write this, there’s a discussion on the radio on whether the use of Shannon Airport by US forces on their way to the Middle East and Afghanistan compromises our neutrality in 2019!


[email protected] (John Coveney Photography - People Places & Wildlife) Battle of the Atlantic Ben Bulben Castle Archdale Co. Donegal Commissioners of Irish Lights D-Day Donegal Donegal Bay EIRE EIRE sign Fermanagh Great Lighthouses of Ireland Huawei P20 Pro Ireland John Coveney John Coveney Photography lighthouse Lough Erne neutral neutrality Northern Ireland P20Pro Republic of Ireland Slieve League St John's Point Wild Atlantic Way World War II Thu, 06 Jun 2019 20:54:21 GMT
Darkness into Light - comparing the Huawei P20Pro and a DSLR I was up early this morning for the annual Darkness Into Light walk at 4.15am in Kilgobbet Park between Cabinteely, Ballybrack and Killiney in Dun Laoghaire Rathdown, Co. Dublin. It’s the main fundraiser for Pieta House, the Irish hope and self-care charity that’s now spreading around the world. As I walked around the 5km course, I took some shots with my Huawei P20Pro - and also with my small DSLR, a Canon 760D.

To start with, here's the first one with the phone in a four-second night-mode – this doesn’t like moving subjects, but for me, the movement blur tells the story.


Next a shot of Minister of State, Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD, with the organizers just after the start – it didn’t look too bad on the phone but good and all as the P20Pro is in night mode, it couldn’t get this sharp - or maybe it was me! This is followed by one of a local group of musicians keeping peoples’ spirits up.

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Next is a series of three tripod-mounted long exposures at 4.30am  with the DSLR and the 17-85mm lens at 85mm – THE shutter speeds are 20 seconds, three seconds and one second. If there’s not enough light to get it sharp  .   .   .  then use motion blur to tell the story! In the fourth shot, I switched to the 70-200mm at 168 to get a closer 1-second view.

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Next a couple of low angle night shots with the phone – it’s starting to get bright at 4.50am but there’s still a lot of motion blur.

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Twenty minutes later, it’s a lot brighter, and the phone is coping fairly well in automatic mode.

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Here's a short video clip with the phone - not bad for handheld in low light.



By 5.20am, 10 minutes before sunrise, I can handhold the DSLR/70-200mm combo at speeds of 1/30th to 1/125th of a second at f4 and ISO 3200.

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To balance things politically, here at the finish is Cllr. Cormac Devlin and local election candidate Michael Clarke (3rd & 4th left) from the other big political party.


And finally – proving you did it for social media!


Photographically, I learned that good and all as the P20 Pro is for static low light shots it still struggles with slow action shots in the dark. As I’m on a two-year contract with this phone, maybe next year’s P40Pro will be up to it! I'm fairly pleased with the DSLR shots – even if it takes longer to get the shots - although shots to camera club quality levels would require a lot more care and attention.  But I don’t think I’ll be relying totally on my phone in difficult conditions for a while yet!


[email protected] (John Coveney Photography - People Places & Wildlife) 5km-walk Ballybrack Cabinteely charity Co. Dublin counselling Darkness into Light dawn Dun Laoghaire Rathdown fund-raising Ireland John Coveney Photography Kilbogget Park Killiney Pieta House self-care self-harm prevention suicide prevention Sat, 11 May 2019 16:15:36 GMT
Dragons Thrive Best Here! "Shall we begin?" (the title & this quote are from Rhaenyra and Daenerys Targaryen - source)


The final series of Game of Throne kicks off today, so here's are a few shots of the real Dragonstone that I got on my holidays in the Basque Country in July 2018. In reality, its the islet of Gazteugatxe  - and no I haven't a clue how to pronounce it either!- near the town of Bermeo - more at The Best of the Basque County Guide. The chapel on top, Gaztelugatxeko Doniene or (San Juan de Gaztelugatxe in Spanish) is dedicated to St. John the Baptist who is even reputed to have visited! It has been rebuilt several times and originally dates from the 10th century . . . when maybe there were dragons! It has been used as a defensive refuge by the Lords of Biscay and it was also attacked by Sir Francis Drake who looted it and the threw the hermit living there into to sea! Unexpectedly, of course, it was also raided by the Spanish Inquisition looking for witches who were reputed to hold ritualistic meetings there.

The first two shots were taken on my first visit there during the day when my son & I climbed the 241 steps in 80m to the hermitage. The first one is a stitched panorama taken for 10 seconds at f16 and 17mm at ISO 100 with my Lee Filters "nine-stop" combination (6 stop Little Stopper plus the top end of 3 stop graduated filter). The second one is an automated panorama I made with my Huawei P20Pro as we started back down. As they were daytime shots, I had to clone out quite a few people!

This was such an incredible site that I went back early the following morning to get the remaining three "golden hour" shots. On this north facing coastline, the sun rises high enough over the landward hills to light up the islet at about 6am. The third and fifth shots were exposed for 120 seconds at f11 & f16 with the same combination of filters, while exposure of the bridge arches was for 30 seconds.

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[email protected] (John Coveney Photography - People Places & Wildlife) arches bridge Daenerys Targaryen Dragonstone Games of Thrones Huawei P20Pro islet John Coveney Photography Jon Snow landscape Lee Filters long exposure panoramea San Juan de Gaztelugatxe seascape silky water The Basque Country Tyrion Lannister Mon, 15 Apr 2019 13:19:39 GMT
Bray Air Display 2018 - People, Planes . . . and Wildlife?? I previously shot the Bray Air Display in 2010 and 2016 and I’ve blogged about those shots here, here and here - as well as giving a few tips on shooting air shows. In those shoots, my main goal was to get good shots of the planes and the aerobatics but most of them could be anywhere because they are against the sky. For the 2018 Air Display, I didn’t want to do the same thing again – instead,  I wanted some shots that captured a sense of the place and the people . . . after all it’s John Coveney Photography, People Places and Wildlife – and yes I even managed a wildlife shot!

So here are 26 shots I like from Sunday’s event on 29 July 2018. There's many fewer than in my previous posts as I was experimenting. I particular, there were lots of duds when trying to combine the planes and the rides. The main trick in doing these was use a small aperture - typically f16 to try to get both rides and planes sharp or nearly sharp. As a consequence, I needed to use high ISO of about 1600 to maintain high shutter speeds of around 1/1,00th of a second.

 The Red Arrows at Mach 1, . . . well nearly!

001-Bray-Air-Display-©-2018-John-Coveney001-Bray-Air-Display-©-2018-John-CoveneyThe Red Arrows at Mach 1 at the Brau Air Display.

High Flying with the Red Arrows.

002-Bray-Air-Display-©-2018-John-Coveney002-Bray-Air-Display-©-2018-John-CoveneyHigh Flying with the Red Arrows at the Bray Air Display

High flying with the 75-year-old Catalina PBY-5A.

003-Bray-Air-Display-©-2018-John-Coveney003-Bray-Air-Display-©-2018-John-CoveneyHigh Flying with the 75 year old Catalina PBY-5A at the Bray Air Display

Which way is up? With the Blades Aerobatic Team

004-Bray-Air-Display-©-2018-John-Coveney004-Bray-Air-Display-©-2018-John-CoveneyWhich Way is Up? with the Blades Acrobatic team at the Bray Air Display

Huawei P20 Pro mobile phone shot of the Red Arrows


Round and round with the Red Arrows

006-Bray-Air-Display-©-2018-John-Coveney006-Bray-Air-Display-©-2018-John-CoveneyRound and Round withe the Red Arrows at the Bray Air Display

An acrobatic flyer at the Bray Air Display

007-Bray-Air-Display-©-2018-John-Coveney007-Bray-Air-Display-©-2018-John-CoveneyAn aerobatic flyer at the Bray Air Display

Aer Lingus's 1936 Shamrock

008-Bray-Air-Display-©-2018-John-Coveney008-Bray-Air-Display-©-2018-John-CoveneyA136 Shamrock, Aer Lingus, at the Bray Air Display

The Blades Aerobatic Team

009-Bray-Air-Display-©-2018-John-Coveney009-Bray-Air-Display-©-2018-John-CoveneyThe Blades Acrobatic Team at the Bray Air Display

Pitts Special S2S the "Muscle Biplane"

010-Bray-Air-Display-©-2018-John-Coveney010-Bray-Air-Display-©-2018-John-CoveneyPitts Special S2S - the Muscle Biplane - at the Bray Air Display

Pitts Special S2S the "Muscle Biplane" - with Bray Head in the background.

011-Bray-Air-Display-©-2018-John-Coveney011-Bray-Air-Display-©-2018-John-CoveneyPitts Special S2S - the Muscle Biplane - at the Bray Air Display

The Blades Aerobatic Team with Bray Head Acrobatic Team

012-Bray-Air-Display-©-2018-John-Coveney012-Bray-Air-Display-©-2018-John-CoveneyThe Blades Acrobatic Team at the Bray Air Display

Spectators watching the Bray Air Display 013-Bray-Air-Display-©-2018-John-Coveney013-Bray-Air-Display-©-2018-John-CoveneySpectators at the Bray Air Display

Crowds at the Bray Air Display

014-Bray-Air-Display-©-2018-John-Coveney014-Bray-Air-Display-©-2018-John-CoveneyCrowds at the Bray Air Display

Scary Chairy Planes!

015-Bray-Air-Display-©-2018-John-Coveney015-Bray-Air-Display-©-2018-John-CoveneyScary Ride at the Bray Air Display

A Hairy Ride!

016-Bray-Air-Display-©-2018-John-Coveney016-Bray-Air-Display-©-2018-John-CoveneyHairy Ride at the Bray Air Display

Even Hairier! 017-Bray-Air-Display-©-2018-John-Coveney017-Bray-Air-Display-©-2018-John-CoveneyAnother Hairy Ride at the Bray Air Display

A stylish pair! 018-Bray-Air-Display-©-2018-John-Coveney018-Bray-Air-Display-©-2018-John-CoveneyStylish attendees at the Bray Air Display

Adam Banks from Kimmage, Lorraine O'Reilly from Ballybrack and Dave Rogers from Beaumont.

019-Bray-Air-Display-©-2018-John-Coveney019-Bray-Air-Display-©-2018-John-CoveneyAdam Banks from Kimmage, Lorraine O'Reilly from Ballybrack and Dave Rogers from Beaumont at the Bray Air Display.

Daniel Michalik, Aneta Malanowska and their twin daughters Nadia and Ines, from Navan and Poland.

020-Bray-Air-Display-©-2018-John-Coveney020-Bray-Air-Display-©-2018-John-CoveneyDaniel Michalik, Aneta Malanowska and their twin daughters Nadia and Ines, from Navan and Poland, at the Bray Air Display

Charles Chamburuka, Constance, Chamburuka, Erinora Makunike, Ethel Makunike and Andrew Makunike, from Newbridge and Zimbabwe.

021-Bray-Air-Display-©-2018-John-Coveney021-Bray-Air-Display-©-2018-John-CoveneyCharles Chamburuka, Constance, Chamburuka, Erinora Makunike, Ethel Makunike and Andrew Makunike, from Newbridge and Zimbabwe, at the Bray Air Display

Darren Delaney, Thomas Kinsella, Jessica Delaney, Barbara Delaney, Mikey Campbell and Martin Delaney (seated), from Windsor.

  022-Bray-Air-Display-©-2018-John-Coveney022-Bray-Air-Display-©-2018-John-CoveneyDarren Delaney, Thomas Kinsella, Jessica Delaney, Barbara Delaney, Mikey Campbell and Martin Delaney (seated), from Windsor at the Bray Air Display

Megan Cleary from Mayo, Connor Parker from Dublin & Auckland New Zealand, abd Sarah Clune.

  023-Bray-Air-Display-©-2018-John-Coveney023-Bray-Air-Display-©-2018-John-CoveneyMegan Cleary from Mayo, Connor Parker from Dublin & Auckland New Zealand, abd Sarah Clune from Cork at the Bray Display

Dimei Lai from China and Charlene Tam from Hong Kong, both working in Dublin 024-Bray-Air-Display-©-2018-John-Coveney024-Bray-Air-Display-©-2018-John-CoveneyDimei Lai from China and Charlene Tam from Hong Kong, both working in Dublin, at the Bray Air Display.

Dimei Lai from China and Charlene Tam from Hong Kong   025-Bray-Air-Display-©-2018-John-Coveney025-Bray-Air-Display-©-2018-John-CoveneyDimei Lai from China and Charlene Tam from Hong Kong, both working in Dublin, at the Bray Air Display.

Oh the wildlife shot - an adult Mediterranean Gull moulting out of breeding plumage - calmly flying past in "airshow - what airshow?" mode. 026-Bray-Air-Display-©-2018-John-Coveney026-Bray-Air-Display-©-2018-John-Coveney



[email protected] (John Coveney Photography - People Places & Wildlife) Places and Wildlife 1936 Shamrock Adam Banks Aer Lingus Andrew Makunike Aneta Malanowska Barbara Delaney Bray Bray Air Display Bray Festival Bray Head Catalina PBY-5A chairoplanes Charlene Tam Charles Chamburuka Connor Parker Constance Chamburuka Daniel Michalik Darren Delaney Dave Rogers Dimei Lai Erinora Makunike Ethel Makunike Huawei P20 Pro Ireland Irish Aviation Authority Jessica Delaney John Coveney Photography Lorraine O'Reilly Martin Delaney Mediterranean Gull Megan Cleary Mikey Campbell People Pitts S2S Muscle Biplane Red Arrows red white and blue Sarah Clune Thomas Kinsella Visit Wicklow Tue, 31 Jul 2018 11:01:12 GMT
How (Not?) to Photograph a Lunar Eclipse – Dublin September 2015 Early this week, the Dublin weather forecast for this evening’s lunar eclipse on 27 July 2018 looked promising and I was looking forward to doing a time-lapse from the East Pier in Dun Laoghaire as the blood moon rose out of the Irish Sea near the Muglins light and then arced over Dalkey and Killiney Hills. Sadly, however, the forecast changed, and this celestial spectacle was clouded out in Ireland. At least, it's not long until the next one – on 21 January 2019 just as you finish clubbing in Dublin at 3.33am!

As part of my preparations though, I went back and looked at my shots for the last lunar eclipse in Dublin – an effort that I never got around to blogging about until now.  Both and provide excellent information on celestial events and they told me that the partial phase of the eclipse began at 2.07am and the total phase was between 3.11am and 4.23am with the maximum at 3.47am. There was an additional penumbral phase at the start and end when the moon was in the edges of the earth’s shadow but during this stage, the shading is so light that it is hard to see any difference in the brightness of the Moon. Unfortunately, I slept it out on the night in question, so my sequence starts just after the maximum at 3.54am and I finished around the end of the partial phase at 5.34am – still in a totally dark sky (for Dublin) because astronomical twilight did not start until 5.22am. At the time I had little idea on how to do an eclipse time lapse and I made several mistakes on the night, hence my title on how NOT to do this!

For the 2018 eclipse, I also read up from several sources that give lots of tips and ideas for different kinds of eclipse shots as follows: -

  1. A handy introduction from Wikihow.
  2. A good overview from Photography Life.
  3. An interesting article from Dahlia Ambrose at Lightstalking.
  4. 22 tips from B&H.
  5. And old article dealing with film from Weatherscapes - with useful exposure tables.
  6. Another old one going back to film days from Fred Espenak at Mr Eclipse - and a variant of this published by Nikon.
  7. A spectacular one minute video time-lapse over several hours by Jean-Luc Dauvergne.

The first step in photographing any eclipse is finding a good location to shoot it from.  The Photographers Ephemeris told me that the from the North Bull Wall, the moon would be over the Poolbeg chimneys – one of my favourite locations for moonshots in Dublin.


Once I finally got there, my camera settings for totality, or blood moon phase when its much darker, were 8 seconds at f8 and ISO 1600 at 37mm on a Canon EFS 18-55mm lens mounted on Canon 7D Mark II. Here’s a shot of my setup on what was a very clear calm night – note the camera in vertical mode on the tripod, my cable release to make sure there was no vibration when doing the exposures, and my camera bag hanging off the tripod further dampen vibration. 


During totality, I used the 500 rule, as explained by David Kingham on Petapixel,  to make sure the moon’s motion did not cause it to blur. In my case, the exposure length multiplied by the focal length and the 1.6 crop factor came to 473 – i.e. just little less than 500. As always for night shots, I level up everything before I start, and I focus at 10x in live view with both image stabilisation and autofocus off. Here's a single exposure from the sequence.


During the partial eclipse phase, I kept the aperture at f8 and started at 2 seconds at f8 and ISO 200 dropping to 0.25 second at ISO 100 by the end. My goal was to get both the bright and dark part of the moon but this precluded getting detail in the bright part. I decided this wasn’t that important given how small the moon was in the frame anyway. Nowadays, I have two cameras and a tripod for each, so next time I might try dual exposures with settings for both the light and dark parts of the moon, although this would further complicate the stacking.

Once I had the shots in Lightroom, it was quickly clear that a shot during totality when the exposure of the moon was approximately balanced with the nightscape should form the base shot. As in many of my moonshots, I adjusted the white balance toward the blue end, in this case around 2250 Kelvin to get a blue-orange balance between the sky and floodlit areas that I like. I also added a graduated filter in Lightroom over the bottom to tone done the floodlit buildings and to open up the shadows – as well as adding some clarity and sharpness. Sharpening was set to about 100 and masking to about 50 with noise reduction to about 60. Back then, I tended to use the Camera Landscape calibration but nowadays I prefer to start from Adobe Standard because I find the Camera landscape option a bit garish. These develop settings were copied to the remaining 24 shots in the sequence. Subsequently, I changed the white balance setting to auto for the partial phase shots because I thought the settings from the total phase made the moon a bit too blue.

Once the shots were processed in Lightroom, I prepared the final shot in Photoshop as follows: - 

  1. Export all 24 shots as JPEGs, resizing to 2,400 pixels on the long side. My moderately high spec Dell XPS 8500 desktop with a i7-3770 3.40GHz and 16GB of Ram (well it as fairly high spec when I bought it in 2013!)  would struggle to stack 24 full-resolution JPEGs. To help keep track of the layers in Photoshop, I numbered the filenames in Lightroom’s export module.
  2. Export the base shot again as a full resolution JPEG – typically the first one- and label it no. 1. This file needs to be full resolution as it will comprise most of the image whereas the lower resolution of the moon exposures won’t be noticeable because they are so small in the frame.
  3. Reimport these files into Lightroom and then do Photo > Edit in > Edit as Layers in Photoshop. If you have numbered your files correctly, your base layer will be on top and the rest of the exposures will be in layers in start to finish order. You can also get these files into Photoshop in layers using Bridge - use Tools > Photoshop > Load Files into Photoshop Layers.
  4. Note that the base layer will be in a much bigger canvas because it is full resolution image. Hit Ctrl O to fit this layer in your window.
  5. Select the top layer with your base image & decrease its opacity to about 50% so that you can see the next layer.
  6. Select Free Transform using Ctrl T and drag the bottom right corner of the top layer until it is the same size as the next layer. Hold the Shift key while doing this to maintain the aspect ration (relative proportions) of the top layer. When you are done, reset the opacity of Layer 1 to 100%. This will align the top layer with the rest of the layers without losing any its pixels.
  7. Do a rough crop to the size of layer 2 while holding the Shift key to maintain proportions.
  8. Hit Ctrl 1 to maximise the cropped image in your window and fine tune the crop to align the image size in Layer 2.
  9. Select all layers and set the Blend mode to Lighten – this simple trick shows the lighter moons from all the layers in the top layer. Note, that my sequence is not properly aligned because I accidentally moved the tripod in the dark due to rushing because I was late. I also did not know the correct shot intervals to space out the moon exposures properly – next time I would do an exposure every five minutes or so. The key thing is to have an alarm on a timer so that you stick to the same interval between shots throughout the eclipse. If your camera has intervalometer you may also be able to set it up to shoot automatically – but it would be best to practice this in advance!

  10. Turn layers on and off to identify near duplicates and delete those you don’t want to reduce the final file size.
  11. Use Free Transforms (Ctrl T) to move layers around with the arrow keys to line up the moons and position them approximately equidistant from each other - other than layer 1 with the full res version. Again, turn layers on and off to see which exposures you are working with. This step is only necessary of you have not been able to keep your tripod in the one position for the entire eclipse. However, it is important that several shots are shot with the tripod in the same position to keep establish the line of the moon’s travel during the eclipse. Finally, be sure to preserve the relative order of the exposures so that the sequence looks natural.
  12. Because of all the Free Transforms, the ground in the shots is now in many different positions so a mask to show only the moons must be applied to all layers other than the top one to deal with this.

  13. Zoom in on the moon in a layer other than top layer and select one of the red moons. For this image, Magic Wand settings of Tolerance 30 and Contiguous worked well. Contiguous is important to avoid selecting similar tones on other parts of the image such as the ground. I modified the selection by applying a three-pixel smoothing and expansion and a five-pixel feather – you may need to tweak these selection modifications to ensure that the moons coming through from lower layers blend well with the top layer.
  14. Ensure your foreground is set to black an add a layer mask, this will hide all of the layer other than the moon itself. If you want to reduce your file sizes, you can permanently delete the parts of these layers that you don’t want by Applying the masks – but it might be better to wait until the end to do this unless your computer is really struggling.
  15. This masking darkened the moons a little – I’m not sure why, but I dealt with that later with Lightroom tweaks of the final image. To get the Moon in the top layer to match these darkened moons, I also selected it and darkened it slightly with a localised Brightness and Contrast adjustment layer.
  16. Repeat steps 13 and 14 with all the moon exposures – this is the most tedious part of the procedure. Even if you didn’t have to do the Free Transforms in Step 11, these masks will be necessary as the exposures of the ground will differ as the eclipse progresses. Sometimes saving a selection from a previous layer and moving it with Transform Selection worked and this speeded things up a bit – although I sometimes I had to reapply the feather.
  17. As you work on doing these moon selections at high zoom, you may also see that some of your Free Transforms positions from Step 11 need tweaking.
  18. When I was working on the masks for the exposures in the partial eclipse phase, it was easier to use the elliptical marquee tool with the Shift key down to make a circular selection based on the bight crescent. 
  19. In one case, a moved moon ended up behind a star so the star was cloned out.

Once the image was completed, I brought it back into Lightroom for some final tweaks including boosting the whites to make the partial phase moon exposures a bit brighter. I also added another graduated filter to the bottom to cancel out the effect of this on the buildings. OK, I think I’ll stop the photoshoppery now!

Overall and despite the various issues, I am pleased with this image. Despite arriving late, I got exposures from the peak of the eclipse to the end of the partial phase and I think the composition works well with the Poolbeg chimneys. Because of all the transformations, it not a scientifically accurate record but I’m happy with it as a picture of a special night out for me.

This shot is available to purchase in my new land and seascapes gallery– prices are in the gallery. 



[email protected] (John Coveney Photography - People Places & Wildlife) 500 rule B&H blood moon chimneys city lights Co. Dublin Dahlia Ambrose David Kingham docklands Dublin Dublin Bay eclipse Fred Espenak free transform full moon intervalometer ireland Jean-Luc Dauvergne John Coveney John Coveney Photography landscape lighten blending mode Lightroom Lightstalking Live View lunar eclipse magic wand masking moon moonshot Mr. Eclipse multiple exposure night sky night-time nocturnal North Bull Wall people places and wildlife Petapixel photo stacking Photography Life Photoshop Poolbeg resizing seascape selection modifications smokestacks stacking images striped The Photographers Ephemeris time lapse tripod Weatherscapes white balance Fri, 27 Jul 2018 20:38:29 GMT
Fashion between the Showers at the 2018 Summer Ladies Day at Navan Raceourse Despite the showers at Navan Racecourse last Saturday 2 June, it was great to photograph the large crowd of fashionistas that turned on the style at 2018 Summer Ladies Day at Navan Racecourse on Saturday 2 June. Corinna Hynes from Sligo was the best-dressed lady. Her outfit is from online boutique Lavish Alice and her hat was designed by Louise Burke. Geraldine Sheppard from Newry, Carol O Connor from Navan, Louise Grimes from Newry, and Breda Butler from Tipperary were the best-dressed finalists. The Judge was Siobhan Daly of Siobhan Daly Designs. The day was sponsored by Nvey Hair & Beauty in Navan and Stiletto and Ebony Boutiques in Trim.

It was also great to see a selection of my shots from the day featured in here - the largest Irish website for a mainly female audience of of over one million viewers in 2017.

Here a small selection of my own faves from the day - you can see over 150 more at 

001-Navan-Ladies-Day-©2018-John-Coveney001-Navan-Ladies-Day-©2018-John-Coveney 002-Navan-Ladies-Day-©2018-John-Coveney002-Navan-Ladies-Day-©2018-John-Coveney 007-Navan-Ladies-Day-©2018-John-Coveney007-Navan-Ladies-Day-©2018-John-Coveney 015-Navan-Ladies-Day-©2018-John-Coveney015-Navan-Ladies-Day-©2018-John-Coveney 017-Navan-Ladies-Day-©2018-John-Coveney017-Navan-Ladies-Day-©2018-John-Coveney 028-Navan-Ladies-Day-©2018-John-Coveney028-Navan-Ladies-Day-©2018-John-Coveney 035-Navan-Ladies-Day-©2018-John-Coveney035-Navan-Ladies-Day-©2018-John-Coveney 037-Navan-Ladies-Day-©2018-John-Coveney037-Navan-Ladies-Day-©2018-John-Coveney 040-Navan-Ladies-Day-©2018-John-Coveney040-Navan-Ladies-Day-©2018-John-Coveney 042-Navan-Ladies-Day-©2018-John-Coveney042-Navan-Ladies-Day-©2018-John-Coveney 044-Navan-Ladies-Day-©2018-John-Coveney044-Navan-Ladies-Day-©2018-John-Coveney 053-Navan-Ladies-Day-©2018-John-Coveney053-Navan-Ladies-Day-©2018-John-Coveney 059-Navan-Ladies-Day-©2018-John-Coveney059-Navan-Ladies-Day-©2018-John-Coveney 063-Navan-Ladies-Day-©2018-John-Coveney063-Navan-Ladies-Day-©2018-John-Coveney 068-Navan-Ladies-Day-©2018-John-Coveney068-Navan-Ladies-Day-©2018-John-Coveney 070-Navan-Ladies-Day-©2018-John-Coveney070-Navan-Ladies-Day-©2018-John-Coveney 072-Navan-Ladies-Day-©2018-John-Coveney072-Navan-Ladies-Day-©2018-John-Coveney 079-Navan-Ladies-Day-©2018-John-Coveney079-Navan-Ladies-Day-©2018-John-Coveney 096-Navan-Ladies-Day-©2018-John-Coveney096-Navan-Ladies-Day-©2018-John-Coveney 106-Navan-Ladies-Day-©2018-John-Coveney106-Navan-Ladies-Day-©2018-John-Coveney 127-Navan-Ladies-Day-©2018-John-Coveney127-Navan-Ladies-Day-©2018-John-Coveney 135-Navan-Ladies-Day-©2018-John-Coveney135-Navan-Ladies-Day-©2018-John-Coveney 156-Navan-Ladies-Day-©2018-John-Coveney156-Navan-Ladies-Day-©2018-John-Coveney 158-Navan-Ladies-Day-©2018-John-Coveney158-Navan-Ladies-Day-©2018-John-Coveney

[email protected] (John Coveney Photography - People Places & Wildlife) aisling holland alan kinney alison collins amy smith best dressed breda butler carol o'connor catherine keane co. meath colette mcdonogh corinna clarke hynes ebony ladies fashion eilish daly eimerar o'sullivan fashion george garner ger shalvey geraldine sheppard john coveney photography ladies day louise grimes marita dunne michal niedzialkowski michelle wilson navan racecourse nvey hair & beauty patricia courtney proudstown racing sarah mannix seamus daly shelagh mckenna siobhan daly stiletto boutique summer tereasa kearney victoria hayward Mon, 04 Jun 2018 17:48:33 GMT
Summer Fashion at Navan Racecourse's Ladies Days 2015-2017 I’m delighted to asked back to Navan Racecourse to shoot their summer Ladies Day this Saturday 2 June. It’s hard to believe this is my fourth time doing this event! So far, it’s always been a fine day and the forecast says 2018 will be a no exception – hopefully this will bring a big crowd of racing fashionistas! The judge will be Siobhan Daly of Siobhan Daly Designs - she was the best dressed at Navan last November and you can check out her style here. Here’s a selection of my faves from the past three years starting with 2015 when the best-dressed was Linda Morrison in blue and white as judged by Rozanna Purcell.

001-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney001-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 002-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney002-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 003-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney003-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 004-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney004-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 005-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney005-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 006-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney006-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 007-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney007-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 008-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney008-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 009-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney009-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 010-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney010-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 011-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney011-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 012-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney012-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 013-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney013-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 014-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney014-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 015-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney015-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 016-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney016-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 017-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney017-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 018-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney018-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 019-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney019-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 020-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney020-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney

Here’s my 2016 selection when the winner was Veronica Walsh in pink and white and the judge was Joanne Larby.

021-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney021-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 022-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney022-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 023-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney023-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 025-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney025-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 026-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney026-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 027-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney027-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 028-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney028-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 029-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney029-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 030-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney030-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 031-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney031-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 032-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney032-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 033-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney033-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 034-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney034-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 035-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney035-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 036-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney036-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 037-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney037-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 038-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney038-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 039-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney039-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 040-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney040-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 041-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney041-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 042-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney042-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 044-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney044-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 045-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney045-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 046-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney046-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 047-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney047-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 048-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney048-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 049-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney049-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 050-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney050-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 051-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney051-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney

And finally, this is my 2017 selection with winner Emma Curtis in a blue cape of her own design. The judges were Michael Joseph McCarthy and Paul Carroll of Funky Fashion Frolics.

053-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney053-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 054-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney054-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 055-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney055-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 056-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney056-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 057-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney057-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 058-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney058-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 059-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney059-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 060-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney060-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 061-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney061-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 062-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney062-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 063-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney063-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 064-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney064-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 065-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney065-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 066-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney066-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 067-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney067-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 068-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney068-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 069-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney069-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 070-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney070-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 071-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney071-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 072-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney072-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 073-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney073-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 074-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney074-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 075-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney075-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 076-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney076-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 077-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney077-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 078-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney078-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 079-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney079-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 080-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney080-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 081-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney081-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 082-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney082-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney 083-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney083-Navan-Ladies-Summer-©-2018-John-Coveney

Summer Ladies Days at Navan Racecourse are supported  by Nvey Beauty & Hair (Navan), Stiletto Boutique (Trim) and Ebony Ladies Fashion . Check out my Galleries  if you want to see even more fashion shot from Navan.

[email protected] (John Coveney Photography - People Places & Wildlife) best dressed co. meath ebony ladies fashion emma curtis fashion funky fashion frolics ger shalvey joanne larby john coveney photography ladies day linda morrison louise allen marcella mccoy mary o'halloran michael joseph mccarthy navan racecourse nvey hair & beauty paul carroll proudstown racing racing fashion rozanna purcell stiletto boutique summer veronica walsh Thu, 31 May 2018 08:11:53 GMT
Poolbeg Jogger I’m delighted to have had two of my favourite types of shots published in The Times (Ireland Edition) this month. The first was a weather shot - “Poolbeg Jogger”, that appears in today’s paper - 12 May 2018. The second was of the full Moon setting at the Ha’penny Bridge at about 6am on the 29th April last - that one appeared on 1 May. Check back next week for my blog post about my April moonshots.


Anyway, I headed for the Great South Wall in Poolbeg yesterday morning as a spell of wet weather with southeasterly winds arrived at high tide. As it was only a neap tide, I wasn’t expecting the pier to be overtopped by the waves like on a previous visit, but I still hoped there might be a nice long exposure shot to be had. When I arrived however, I could see a jogger heading out along the pier, so I rushed to get set up on my usual perch in the shelter of the blockhouse in the last car park - and I wasn’t disappointed as there was spray sheeting across the pier as he ran back. It wasn’t dangerous, but I was glad it was him out there and not me! The exposure was for 1/250th of a second at f/5.6, and ISO 400 at 220mm, using a Canon 7D Mark II and a Canon 100-400mm Mark I. Thanks to StenaLine for the loan of the ferry!

001-20150511-Poolbeg-Gale-©-2018-John-Coveney001-20150511-Poolbeg-Gale-©-2018-John-CoveneyJogger during this morning’s gale at high tide at Poolbeg Lighthouse on the Great South Wall in Dublin Bay, Ireland.

Once the jogger had gone, I settled down for the original target - some long exposure shots. After some playing around, I found that relatively short exposures of about 0.5 to 1 second worked best to show the spray well while retaining some movement in the waves – longer exposures smoothed things out too much. And of course, the relatively short exposure only slightly blurred the ship – thanks this time to P&O for their freight ferry!  The exposure this time was for 0.6 seconds at f/9.0, ISO 200 at 190mm, with the camera mounted on a tripod and with a Lee Little Stopper (6 stop) Filter on the lens.

002-20150511-Poolbeg-Gale-©-2018-John-Coveney002-20150511-Poolbeg-Gale-©-2018-John-CoveneyLong exposure during this morning’s gale at high tide at Poolbeg Lighthouse on the Great South Wall in Dublin Bay, Ireland.

For the final shot, I wanted just a bit more context than I could get in a single frame, so I took three shots to make a stitched panorama in Lightroom – here’s an excellent tutorial on doing these from Photography Life. The exposure was for 1 second at f/13, ISO 200 at 320mm – again on the tripod and with the Little Stopper. All the edits were done Lightroom i.e. cropping, white balance, exposure, contrast, dodging & burning, and minor levelling adjustments. In particular. I used Lightroom’s graduated filters for dodging using both the exposure and dehaze sliders to emphasise the spray. I used the Radial filter to emphasize the jogger by darkening him.

003-20150511-Poolbeg-Gale-©-2018-John-Coveney003-20150511-Poolbeg-Gale-©-2018-John-CoveneyLong exposure stitched panorama during this morning’s gale at high tide at Poolbeg Lighthouse on the Great South Wall in Dublin Bay, Ireland.

These shots are available to purchase in my New Land and Seascapes gallery.

[email protected] (John Coveney Photography - People Places & Wildlife) dublin dublin bay dublin port ferries gale ireland jogger john coveney photography lee filters lighthouse lightroom little stopper long exposure p&o ferries pier poolbeg red red lighthouse rocks running silhouette stena line storm waves Sat, 12 May 2018 20:22:55 GMT
New Year Supermoon or Wolf Moon over Roches Point in Cork Harbour I was back in my old hometown of Cork for a few days over the New Year and despite the stormy weather of the past week or so, New Year's Day itself was not too bad. I've been doing moonshots around Dublin Bay for years so I was keen to have a go around Cork Harbour for the Wolf Moon which was also a Supermoon - although I always think the use of the word "super" is a bit over the top for a slightly larger than average looking Moon when it comes a tad closer to the Earth than normal. For a truly super moon, you'd need to go back about 4 billion years when it may have been 15 times closer to the Earth shortly after it was formed. Photographing it may have been difficult though . . .

As usual, I turned to The Photographer's Ephemeris which showed me this good alignment looking north east from Myrtleville over Roches Point Lighthouse at the mouth of the harbour. When I arrived, I was delighted to find a perfect full Moon in a clear sky - the line up worked best from just outside the well known Bunnyconnellan Restaurant. I exposed the first shot for two seconds at f16 and ISO 100 at 190mm using my Canon 100-400mm MkI lens on a Canon 7DMkII - as always on a tripod for these long exposures. Using the 500 rule and taking account of my crop sensor, 2 seconds is about the longest shutter speed I can use to keep the moon sharp at a focal length of around 200mm.

Once I had this shot, I walked back towards Myrtleville Beach to see people playing at the waters edge - eventually one of them stood still for long enough to make a sharp silhouette against the reflected moonlight. This second shot was was exposed for 1.3 seconds at f11 at ISO 800 at 250mm.  It was taken at 5.16pm, twenty three minutes after the previous image which was itself taken twenty minutes after sunset. Note how there is almost four stops less light in the second shot taken at the end of civil twilight than in the earlier shot taken in the middle of civil twilight - three for the difference in ISO and one for the difference in aperture. Actually, its a little bit less because of the slightly shorter exposure. I guess the difference would actually be a bit more if there wasn't a full moon. 

The final shot was taken from the beach itself at 5.40pm for 30 seconds at f11, ISO200 at 28mm using the EFS 17-55mm lens. By this time, well into nautical twilight, it's impossible to avoid blowing out the moon and I'm not worried about the 500 rule because its just a blob anyway. Instead I want a good long exposure to smooth the sea. I was complaining recently that I didn't get many moonshots in 2017 and I'm normally very pleased if a twilight trip nets a single good shot - so I'm thrilled to get three on a single evening on the first day of the year. Hopefully its a good omen as there will be thirteen full moons in 2018. As the next one on January 31st will the second of the month, it's a so-called blue moon - although it will be just the same colour as normal in this part of the world, at least. In Asia, Australia and North America this "blue moon" will also coincide with a total lunar eclipse so it will actually be a much redder moon than normal - a "blood moon".

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[email protected] (John Coveney Photography - People Places & Wildlife) bunnyconnellans co. cork cork harbour dusk full moon ireland john coveney photography landscape lighthouse long exposure moon moonrise night photography nocturnal roches point seascape silhouette supermoon twilight wolf moon Thu, 04 Jan 2018 21:44:45 GMT
A Light in the Dark - Happy New Year for 2018 Last November's Moon was good to me - a few days before I got the Hunter' Moon here,  it illuminated Crookhaven here and then it silhouetted the Fastnet Rock for me. This rock is the most southerly Irish point - it's also called Ireland's teardrop because it was the last bit of the country many emigrants ever saw. 

I'd like to wish all the reader's of this blog A Happy New Year - hopefully the light will continue to win out over the dark for 2018! 01-A-Light-in-the-Dark-©2017-John-Coveney01-A-Light-in-the-Dark-©2017-John-Coveney

[email protected] (John Coveney Photography - People Places & Wildlife) Mon, 01 Jan 2018 15:52:31 GMT
Best 2017 Moonshots Updated 17 January 2018: I've added shots at the end of the Irish Examiner press cutting of the Hunters Moon shot along a shot of an A2 print of this image being printed by 360-DPI for a client.

I didn't add that many images to my moonshots project in 2017, with cloudy weather not helping on several occasions. Here are three that I did like. The first is a crescent moon taken at dawn on a February morning with an Offshoot group - I previously blogged about it here. The two remaining shots were from early November. The first, the Hunters Moon, was taken in Dublin Docklands as it set behind the Samuel Beckett Bridge and The Spire. It was published on the back page of the Irish Examiner a few days later. The second was a very different image taken that evening in Dalkey. It was too cloudy to get a good image at moonrise but as the Moon moved higher into a clearer sky, a tree in Dillon Park was well silhouetted against the moonlit water of Dalkey Sound. All three images are available to purchase here.

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[email protected] (John Coveney Photography - People Places & Wildlife) 360-dpi crescent dublin docklands full moon hunters moon inspiring image ireland john coveney photography moon moon" moonbeams moonrise samuel becket bridge silhouette the spire Sat, 30 Dec 2017 22:24:26 GMT
Gales, Storms and Hurricanes of 2017 Continuing with my look back of the past year, here are some of my favourite storm shots. The first is from the Great South Wall in Poolbeg, Co. Dublin during an unnamed gale - lots more shots here. Next, a tree blown down during Storm Doris, being cleared between Shankill and Bray - more shots here. Doris was quickly followed by Ewan although it was fairly minor on Dublin. Here is a shot of its effect on traffic at the Wooden Bridge on Bull Island - more here. Finally, there was the biggie - Hurricane Ophelia. I heeded the red alert warnings and stayed indoors during the worst of it. While it wasn't as bad in Dublin as feared, it was a strange beast compared to our normal storms with its prolonged powerful warm gusts interspersed with calmer periods. In the evening, as it was calming down, I headed down to Bray Harbour where, despite all the warnings, I saw this guy getting far too close to the waves to shoot with his phone. I was safely on the opposite pier well back from the waves.

001-2017-Storms-©-2017-John-Coveney001-2017-Storms-©-2017-John-Coveney 002-2017-Storms-©-2017-John-Coveney002-2017-Storms-©-2017-John-Coveney 003-2017-Storms-©-2017-John-Coveney003-2017-Storms-©-2017-John-CoveneyCars, cyclists, walkers & dogs brave the waves at the Wooden Bridge on Bull Island in Dublin at high tide this morning during Storm Ewan 26 Feb 2017 004-2017-Storms-©-2017-John-Coveney004-2017-Storms-©-2017-John-Coveney

[email protected] (John Coveney Photography - People Places & Wildlife) best of 2017 bray bull island co. dublin dublin bay gale great south wall hurricane hurricane ophelia ireland john coveney photography lookback2017 poolbeg shankill storm storm chasing storm doris storm ewan waves wooden bridge Fri, 29 Dec 2017 09:48:10 GMT
Fave Christmas 2016 Swim Composites at the Forty Foot Continuing with my look back over the last year, here are my favourite composites (#2-5) from the 2016 Christmas Swim at the Forty Foot in Sandycove. To see all the shots and how for lots of information on how I shot and processed them, check out the original post here. Unlike the fine weather of last year, Christmas morning this year was wet and windy - although it didn't deter many many people from taking the plunge, I stayed at home editing my shots of the RNLI memorial on Christmas Eve

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[email protected] (John Coveney Photography - People Places & Wildlife) christmas christmas swim co. dublin cold water composite diving dublin forty foot how i shot it ireland jumping layer masks lightroom lightroom print module photoshop sandycove swimming Tue, 26 Dec 2017 22:13:35 GMT
Memorial for Loss of Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat Crew on Christmas Eve 1895 I'm taking a break from my 2017 look back to show the best of my shots from yesterday at the annual memorial for the loss of the crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat on Christmas Eve 1895. They were attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme – a Finnish/Russian sailing ship travelling from Liverpool to South America to import hardwood. Check the Dun Laoghaire  Lifeboat's home page for a detailed account of how fifteen lifeboatmen were lost when their boat overturned. In a terrible irony, the nineteen people on the SS Palme were later saved.

The memorial was held by the current volunteer crew, the Irish Coastguard and the Civil Defence, at noon on the East Pier in Dun Laoghaire. The gathering was addressed by Fergal Keane of RTE who narrated the story of the disaster. The crew of Rescue 116, lost off Co. Mayo earlier this year were also remembered with a fly past by a Coastguard helicopter. Rector Asa Bjork Olafsdottir O’Hanlon and Fr. Paddy Dundon conducted an ecumenical service. There was a big attendance of RNLI and Irish Coastguard members, and local people, as well as  Minister of State, Mary Mitchell O'Connor TD and Councillors Cormac Devlin and Barry Ward.

There's also a few shots at the end of this post of the memorial stone with the men's names on Queens Road opposite the RNLI station.

High-resolution copies of my pictures are available to download here and these have also been donated to the RNLI and the Irish Coastguard. For any other use of the images, please contact me at [email protected] 

If you wish to download individual images for personal use here, please consider donating at least €10 per image to the RNLI HERE,  or whatever you can afford. And if you don't want any of them why not DONATE anyway!!

001-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney001-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneyMemorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 002-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney002-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneyMemorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 003-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney003-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneyMemorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 004-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney004-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneyMemorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 005-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney005-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneyMemorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 006-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney006-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneyMemorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 007-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney007-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneyMemorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 008-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney008-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneyMemorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 009-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney009-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneyMemorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 010-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney010-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneyNarator Fergal Keane addressing the memorialby the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme 011-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney011-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneyRector Asa Bjork Olafdottir O'Hanlon and Fr. Paddy Dundon conduct an ecumenical service at the memorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme 012-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney012-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneyRector Asa Bjork Olafdottir O'Hanlon addresses the memorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 013-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney013-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneyRector Asa Bjork Olafdottir O'Hanlon addresses the memorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 014-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney014-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneyPaul McNally of the Dublin Fire Brigade Pipe Band at the memorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 015-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney015-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneyMembers of the Irish Coasguard at the memorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 016-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney016-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneyMembers of the Irish Coasguard at the memorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 017-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney017-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneyA member of the Irish Coasguard at the memorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 018-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney018-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneyAn Irish Coastguard helicopter at the memorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. The crew of Recuse 116, lost earlier this year were also remembered. 019-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney019-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneyMemorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 020-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney020-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneyMemorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 021-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney021-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneyMemorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 022-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney022-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneyMemorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 023-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney023-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneyMemorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 024-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney024-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneyMemorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 025-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney025-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneyMemorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 026-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney026-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneyLaying of wreaths at the memorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 027-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney027-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneyLaying of wreaths at the memorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 028-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney028-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneyLaying of wreaths at the memorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 029-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney029-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneyLaying of wreaths at the memorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 030-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney030-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneyLaying of wreaths by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 031-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney031-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneyLaying of wreaths at the memorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 032-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney032-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneyIrish Coastguard members at the memorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 033-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney033-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneyIrish Coastguard members at the memorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 034-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney034-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneyIrish Coastguard members at the memorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 035-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney035-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneyPaul McNally of the Dublin Fire Brigade Pipe Band at the memorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 036-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney036-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneySailpast at the memorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 037-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney037-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneySailpast at the memorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 038-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney038-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneySailpast at the memorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 039-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney039-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneySailpast at the memorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 040-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney040-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneySailpast at the memorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 041-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney041-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneySailpast at the memorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 042-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney042-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneySailpast at the memorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 043-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney043-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneySailpast at the memorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 044-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney044-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneySailpast at the memorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 045-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney045-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneySailpast at the memorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 046-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney046-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneySailpast at the memorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 047-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney047-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneySailpast at the memorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 048-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney048-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneySailpast at the memorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 049-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney049-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneySailpast at the memorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 050-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney050-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneySailpast at the memorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 051-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney051-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneySailpast at the memorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 052-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney052-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneySailpast at the memorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 053-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney053-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneySailpast at the memorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 054-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney054-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneySailpast at the memorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 055-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney055-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneyWatching the memorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 056-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney056-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneyMicahel & Kay Casey from Foxrock at the memorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 057-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney057-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneyCouncillor Cormac Develin (r) at the memorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 058-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney058-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneyCouncillors Barry Ward & Cormac Develin by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 059-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney059-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneyRector Asa Bjork, Olafsdottir O'Hanlon and Minister of State Mary MKitchel O'Connor, TD at the memorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 060-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney060-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneyEvie Conway at the memorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 061-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney061-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneyRTE covering the memorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 062-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney062-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneyMembers of the Irish Coastguard at the memorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 063-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney063-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneyAfter the memorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 064-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney064-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneyMembers of the Irish Coastguard at the memorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 065-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney065-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneyThe Irish Flag flying over the East Pier Lighthouse at the memorial by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 066-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney066-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneyThe Irish Flag flying over the East Pier Lighthouse by the current crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat and the Irish Coastguard to the loss of the lifeboat crew on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 067-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney067-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneyMemorial on Queen's Road to the crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat lost on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 068-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney068-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneyMemorial on Queen's Road to the crew of the Dun Laoghaire Lifeboat lost on Christmas Eve 1895 attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme. 069-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-Coveney069-20171224-RNLI-Memorial-Dun-Laoghaire-©-2017-John-CoveneyRNLI Lifeboat Station at Dun Laoghaire  

[email protected] (John Coveney Photography - People Places & Wildlife) co. dublin disaster dun laoghaire east pier ireland irish coastguard john coveney photography lifeboat lost at sea memorial rnli safety at sea shipwreck ss palme tragedy Mon, 25 Dec 2017 10:39:01 GMT
If Horses Could Fly in my Best of 2017 Series Continuing with my Best of 2017 series. I do a lot of fashion and social photography at racecourses but I like to think I could shoot the horses and jockeys as well! This one is from a Point-to-Point at Tinahely in Co. Wicklow last February - taken on an Offshoot outing.  If -Horse-Could-Fly-©-2017-John-CoveneyIf -Horse-Could-Fly-©-2017-John-Coveney

[email protected] (John Coveney Photography - People Places & Wildlife) best of 2017 co. wicklow flying hooves horses if horses could fly ireland john coveney photography jumps offshoot point-to-point racehorses racing steeplechase wicklow Sun, 24 Dec 2017 08:23:33 GMT
The Blaskets from Dunmore Head Today's image from my best of the year series is a failed moon shot from west Kerry, where we took the family holiday in August. The Photographers Ephemeris told me that, from the western extremity of the Dingle Peninsula and Europe, the moon would set over the Blaskets at 5.48am on Bank Holiday Monday, the 7 August. So, no lie in for me! Sadly when I got there, it was completely overcast but I was still stunned by the view from the tip of Dunmore Head on a very calm morning. After some playing around with the positioning of the tripod, I felt this was the best composition I could make. Using a Lee Little Stopper that reduces the exposure by six stops, I extended the shutter speed from 4 seconds to four minutes to get a really smooth sea. The other settings were f11 and ISO 100 at 23mm using the EFS 17-55mm lens mounted on my Canon 7D MarkII. I think I also used a one or two stop hard graduated filter to keep the detail in the clouds - I forgot to make a note of which one. I did quite a bit of processing in Lightroom, as you can see from the before and after comparison, below. However, the main adjustment was Dehaze +24 and the use of several radial and graduated filters to bring out the detail in the clouds, especially at the top left. I'm pretty happy with the outcome of this dud moon shot!

For sale at . Blaskets-Dunmore-Head-Before-AfterBlaskets-Dunmore-Head-Before-After Blaskets-from-Dunmore-Head-©-2017-John-CoveneyBlaskets-from-Dunmore-Head-©-2017-John-Coveney

[email protected] (John Coveney Photography - People Places & Wildlife) blaskets cloud co. kerry dawn dingle peninsula dunmore head great blasket island ireland islands john coveney photography kerry landscape lee filters little stopper long exposure most westerly point in europe peaceful rocks seascape silky sea silky water tranquil Sat, 23 Dec 2017 11:19:36 GMT
Crookhaven by Moonlight Starting with my update on the 2016 Winter Solstice yesterday, I'll be posting most days until early in 2018 with some of my favourite shots from the past year or so. Today's offering is Crookhaven by Moonlight. Its a panoramic stitch of three images I took on 1 November under a near full moon from Brow Head. This is the most southerly point on the Irish mainland overlooking the Crookhaven peninsula. The elevated lights in the background are from the air traffic control radar station on Mount Gabriel and those 0n the right are from the village of Baltimore - famed for being sacked by Barbary corsairs in 1631. Each image was exposed for nearly five minutes at f8 and ISO 400 at a focal length of 55mm using a tripod-mounted Canon 7D MarkII. It's available to purchase as an A4 or A3 print, framed print or download at  Contact me for larger sizes.  01-Best-of-2017-©-2017-John-Coveney01-Best-of-2017-©-2017-John-Coveney

[email protected] (John Coveney Photography - People Places & Wildlife) baltimore co. cork crookhaven ireland john coveney photography landscape long exposure moonlight moonlit mount gabriel night photography nightlights nocturnal peaceful peninsula seascape silky sea silky water tranquil west cork Thu, 21 Dec 2017 18:33:54 GMT
Winter Solstice at Newgrange - updated Last year I made two magical visits to Newgrange in brilliant sunshine for the winter solstice on 18 and 22 December. I blogged about my first visit here and I've just updated my post with some shots from the second visit. You can see a few of these shots here in this post as well.  The additional pictures include a few from inside the chamber where visitors are normally not allowed to shoot. No - these weren't when the sun was shining in - I wasn't lucky enough to win the Solstice lottery - but it's still very special to be able to shoot in a 5,000-year building. Sadly, it seems this year's solstice is going to be clouded out, which is such a pity because this morning and tomorrow morning, the event is being live streamed on the Ireland's Ancient East YouTube channel. We can only hope for next year!

Comp1Comp1 17-2016-Solstice-Newgrange-©-2017-John-Coveney17-2016-Solstice-Newgrange-©-2017-John-CoveneyThe roof of the central chamber at Newgrange in Ireland during 2016 Winter Solstice. 19-2016-Solstice-Newgrange-©-2017-John-Coveney19-2016-Solstice-Newgrange-©-2017-John-CoveneyOne of the side chambers at Newgrange in Ireland during 2016 Winter Solstice. 25-2016-Solstice-Newgrange-©-2017-John-Coveney25-2016-Solstice-Newgrange-©-2017-John-CoveneyBrilliant sunshine during the 2016 Winter Solstice at Newgrange in Ireland.

[email protected] (John Coveney Photography - People Places & Wildlife) 5200 bc ancestors ancient astronomy archaeology bend of the boyne bru na boinne co. neath five thousand years ago heritage ireland irelands ancient east john coveney photography lightbox megalith mobile phone photography monument neolithic newgrange passage tomb roofbox royal county selfie shadows solstice solstice alignment sunbeam sunrise trispiral world heritage site Wed, 20 Dec 2017 16:10:17 GMT
Shankill Smartphoneography Friday was a fab late autumn day in Shankill but I was running around doing bits and pieces with no time for shooting . . . forgetting the fine camera in my iPhone SE! So, I took a few minutes to capture some shots along the Main Street of my adopted village. As I’m writing articles  about smartphoneography , I should really practice what I preach!! And yes, I just made up smartphoneography and I was feeling rather pleased with myself – although though it sounds a bit fake if you pronounce the e! Nonetheless, as I wrote this I was looking forward to taking my place amongst the world’s neologismists? egologismists? . . . whatever! But,  before I got too carried away with myself,  I thought I should google it – and damn I’m not the first to think of it! it’s even a Twitter hashtag!! Oh well, back to the photography.

Setting the scene, here’s a HDR shot using the native phone app – as I did for all of these shots. I dickeyed it up a bit using the automatic enhancement​​​​​​ editing feature in the native Photos app.


The shot of the main street was also HDR, again with automatic enhancement to bring out the colour of the sky – I just waited for the bus to add a bit of interest to the road.


I didn’t have time to walk up to St. Anne’s Church, so I took a “small building big sky” approach by doing a vertical phone panorama. In Snapseed, I used the “pop” pre-set and then the brush feature to darken the bottom of the shot as the church was a bit over exposed.


Next is a group of autumn leaves looking over the railway bridge that once straddled the old Harcourt Street line – I liked the combination of the dark background with the additional leaves in the backgrounds. Editing was minimal with – automatic enhancement with a touch of “brilliance” added.


Finally, they say the shadow of the photographer should never appear in the shot . . .! Anyway, it’s clear that modern smartphones can take technically good shots in good light – especially if you work on angle, position and framing. As the reader, you will have to decide if you like them!


[email protected] (John Coveney Photography - People Places & Wildlife) co. dublin dun laoghaire rathdown iphone photography iphone se ireland john coveney john coveney photography panorama shankill smartphone photography smartphoneography snapseed vertical panorama Sat, 28 Oct 2017 20:37:58 GMT
Red-throated Pipit on Mizen Head - a good shot of an elusive bird I’m taking a weekend birding and shooting around Crookhaven and Mizen Head in Co. Cork and I was lucky enough to get a good shot of a Red-Throated Pipit Anthus cervinus (left) in the marsh at Lissigriffin Lake this morning. This relative of the common Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis (right) breeds in Arctic Russia and migrates to the Africa and the Middle East for the winter, with an occasional autumn vagrant getting to Ireland. This bird was found by Conor Foley earlier in the week and after a combined search this morning by Vanessa Dunne, John Cusack, Brian McCluskey and myself it popped up on a tuft for a few seconds. Normally they are impossible to see on the ground in their favoured marshy habitat. They are usually only seen in flight as they make their distinctive call – a  “fine, drawn out, squeaky pssiih” to quote the Collins Bird Guide.


I got this image at about 7-10m with my Canon 7D Mark II and 100-400mm Mark I lens using aperture priority and auto ISO. I also set the minimum shutter speed to 1/1,000th of a second – high shutter speeds are essential for small birds because they often seem to have a sort of a shudder that causes motion blur. With the aperture set to 5.6, the widest available at 400mm, the ISO automatically went to 1600. This may seem high, but it’s not a problem for modern DSLRs – and even 3200 or 6400 are worth it to get a sharp image. I recently become a convert to using Auto ISO because there’s no messing trying to change settings if the light changes. This especially important if I only get a few seconds to get a shot of rarity as was the case here. Today, the light was fairly flat and I was shooting at ground level, so I used evaluative metering – the camera’s automatic option. If I was shooting a small bird against the sky, I would use spot metering to ebsure the bird was not too dark. Finally, I used the smallest spot focus – the tiny box inside the small box in the viewfinder. This can be harder to get on your subject but with so much clutter from the surrounding vegetation, I needed to be sure I was getting a single focus point on the bird.

Before I got the shot of the Red-throated Pipit, we had a few false alarms with Meadow Pipits and this allowed me to get a comparison shot under similar conditions. The Meadow Pipit was a bit further away so I’ve cropped it to about 1/16th of the area of original versus about 1/8th for the Red-throated to make them look approximately equally in this comparison shot. In life, the Meadow Pipit is marginally larger but the difference is not likely to be noticeable in the field. The key point of the comparison, however, is to show the much more contrasty look of the Red-throated Pipit and the strong wedge-shaped mark on the lower side of the throat. The edges of the tertials, just visible on the birds lower back are also noticeable paler than on the Meadow Pipit. As is the case with so many first-year migrants, this bird does not show the eponymous red throat other than a hint of buff in the centre. Only adults show the full feature. To finish, I was well pleased to get good shots of a difficult bird that I’ve only ever seen in flight previously.

[email protected] (John Coveney Photography - People Places & Wildlife) anthus cervinus anthus pratensis aperture priority autoiso barleycove canon 100-400mm mark i canon 7d mark ii co. cork comparison elusive first-year ireland john coveney photography lissigriffin lake meadow pipit migration mizen head rare bird rarity red-throated pipit red-throated pipit comparison with meadow pipit vagrant Sat, 14 Oct 2017 16:05:01 GMT
SCAN Photography Series UPDATE 6 November 2017:- I've now completed the third article - this deals with editing your shots on your phone and provides a few more shooting tips. Check out the published versions of all articles to date here along with higher resolution versions of the shots and additional material that was not included in the print version for space reasons. You can also download a PDF version of the entire series here.

It was great to be asked recently to write a photography series for my local community magazine, the SCAN, or Shankill Community Association News. I've done two articles now - dealing mainly with phone photography because virtually everyone has a phone camera with them nowadays.  If you are not in the SCAN distribution area, you can read the articles and see my shots for them on my website here. It was also great to see my autumnal shot of the local Anglican church in Rathmichael from last November chosen as the cover shot of the current October issue of the SCAN.

I've also set up a new Facebook group, Shankill Photography, for local photographers of all levels to chat, ask questions and share shots. 


[email protected] (John Coveney Photography - People Places & Wildlife) co. dublin facebook group ireland john coveney photography local scan shankill Sun, 01 Oct 2017 21:35:34 GMT
Successful Journey to Hell & Back for my A Distinction Since 2014 I’ve been shooting thousands of images at the Hell and Back endurance events at the Killruddery Estate in Co. Wicklow. Today I submitted 15 of the best for my Associateship or “A” Distinction from the Irish Photographic Federation (IPF). I’d previously failed with a different panel so it was a nerve racking morning as several panels before me were judged. Happily, mine got through and I’m thrilled to achieve my A - the second highest distinction of the IPF. It made all the work worthwhile to hear the the judges say they loved the facial expressions in the shots and to hear my panel statement described as “superb”!

It was also great to see all the other panels, especially the successful Fellowship panels from Catherine & Scott MacBride - clearly the best photographic couple in Ireland! Sadly, two other panels from my club, Offshoot, did not make it through today but they were close enough that I’m sure they will do so next time.

I’d like to thank the following for help with my panel :-

  1. My family for giving me time, space and encouragement for photography.
  2. Steve Crozier of 360DPI and Offshoot for loads of advice and for mounting the prints to his ever-high standard.
  3. Sheldon Fine Art Papers from whom I bought my Epson R3000 printer, printer ink and Canson paper. I used Canson Photosatin for my test prints and Canson Baryta for the panel prints
  4. Fellow Offshoot members Matt O’Brien and Olive Gaughan for reviewing drafts of the panel as well as all the Offshooters for their encouragement over the last six or seven years.

I’d also like to thank all the IPF for running the distinctions process and Carlow Photographic Society for hosting today’s session

OK – enough of the tearful speeches! Here’s the statement and the panel shots.


01-Hell-and-Back-Final-A-Panel-LR-©-2017-John-Coveney01-Hell-and-Back-Final-A-Panel-LR-©-2017-John-Coveney 02-Hell-and-Back-Final-A-Panel-LR-©-2017-John-Coveney02-Hell-and-Back-Final-A-Panel-LR-©-2017-John-Coveney 03-Hell-and-Back-Final-A-Panel-LR-©-2017-John-Coveney03-Hell-and-Back-Final-A-Panel-LR-©-2017-John-Coveney 04-Hell-and-Back-Final-A-Panel-LR-©-2017-John-Coveney04-Hell-and-Back-Final-A-Panel-LR-©-2017-John-Coveney 05-Hell-and-Back-Final-A-Panel-LR-©-2017-John-Coveney05-Hell-and-Back-Final-A-Panel-LR-©-2017-John-Coveney 06-Hell-and-Back-Final-A-Panel-LR-©-2017-John-Coveney06-Hell-and-Back-Final-A-Panel-LR-©-2017-John-Coveney 07-Hell-and-Back-Final-A-Panel-LR-©-2017-John-Coveney07-Hell-and-Back-Final-A-Panel-LR-©-2017-John-Coveney 08-Hell-and-Back-Final-A-Panel-LR-©-2017-John-Coveney08-Hell-and-Back-Final-A-Panel-LR-©-2017-John-Coveney 09-Hell-and-Back-Final-A-Panel-LR-©-2017-John-Coveney09-Hell-and-Back-Final-A-Panel-LR-©-2017-John-Coveney 10-Hell-and-Back-Final-A-Panel-LR-©-2017-John-Coveney10-Hell-and-Back-Final-A-Panel-LR-©-2017-John-Coveney 11-Hell-and-Back-Final-A-Panel-LR-©-2017-John-Coveney11-Hell-and-Back-Final-A-Panel-LR-©-2017-John-Coveney 12-Hell-and-Back-Final-A-Panel-LR-©-2017-John-Coveney12-Hell-and-Back-Final-A-Panel-LR-©-2017-John-Coveney 13-Hell-and-Back-Final-A-Panel-LR-©-2017-John-Coveney13-Hell-and-Back-Final-A-Panel-LR-©-2017-John-Coveney 14-Hell-and-Back-Final-A-Panel-LR-©-2017-John-Coveney14-Hell-and-Back-Final-A-Panel-LR-©-2017-John-Coveney 15-Hell-and-Back-Final-A-Panel-LR-©-2017-John-Coveney15-Hell-and-Back-Final-A-Panel-LR-©-2017-John-Coveney

[email protected] (John Coveney Photography - People Places & Wildlife) a associate associateship black and white co. wicklow endurance hell and back ipf irish photographic federation john coveney john coveney photography killruddery monochrome muck mudlark nobody left behind obstacle course portrait sport swamp tunnel Sat, 23 Sep 2017 22:52:13 GMT
Liffey Lights but No Eclipse Shots Last Monday evening, I headed into town in the hope of getting a shot of Ireland's very partial view of the Great American Eclipse - check out some stunning shots of that here. I don't have any proper solar filters for sun photography so I hoped the clouds would do the job for me - as they did for my shot of the much larger partial eclipse we had back in March 2015. The Photographer's Ephemeris told me that, from Sir John Rogersons Quay, the sun would be behind the Samuel Becket Bridge at the eclipse's peak about 8pm (such as it was). Sadly, however, the sun was either too bright to shoot or totally obscured by cloud, so no joy for me.  In fact, there seems to very few shots at from Ireland - I could only find this one peeking through the clouds over the Curragh by Kieran Cummins.

I've been lucky enough to see a total eclipse previously - myself and herself took advantage of a fairly cheap Ryanair flight to Beauvais to catch the 1999 one over northern France - and a weekend in Paris didn't go amiss either! As I didn't have a decent camera then, I'll have to catch at least one more! Maybe, the next American one in April 2024 - and the American annular eclipse in October 2023 would also be spectacular. Closer to home, the next big dates for Europe are in Aug 2026 when a total eclipse will sweep over western Iceland and northern Spain - a good place to see this would on Majorca low in the evening sky where totality will be about 20 minutes before sunset. In August 2027, a monster eclipse will sweep over the extreme south of Spain, and continue through north Africa and Arabia. Over the Straits of Gibralter, it will last almost five minutes and a whopping 6 minutes and 22 seconds in Luxor in Egypt - the second longest of the 21st century. The longest was in 2009 was only 17 seconds longer and the longest ever eclipse will be in 2186 at 7 minutes and 39 seconds. Most eclipses last one to two minutes depending on how close you are to the centre line - and they are over far too quickly! Sadly, I'll be long gone before the next total eclipse in Ireland in 2090 - it will start about teatime on 23 September if you think you might catch it! Totality will clip the extreme south west of Cork & Kerry and last almost one and three quarter minutes at two of my favourite birding haunts at Mizen Head and on Cape Clear. Maybe my kids might live long enough to be there for me!


Anyway, when I realized there was going to be no eclipse shots, I saw there would be a nice blue hour panorama of the Samuel Becket Bridge and the Convention Centre - with still water in the river and no wind to shake the tripod. Although, I've shooting in Dublin's Docklands for years, I haven't previously done this shot.  Because it has been been done by so many others, I wanted to get a good one and I'm pretty happy with this blue hour effort with strong reflections sweeping from the bridge to the Convention Centre, onto the PWC buidling, and finishing at the Cill Airne restaurant boat. It's a Lightroom stitch of six vertical shots using the Canon EFS 10-22mm lens. Each was was exposed for 30 seconds on a tripod at f16, ISO 100 at 22mm. I cropped the resultant panorama to a 3:1 ratio, made some exposure adjustments to brighten it a bit and cloned out a few cranes. Email me at [email protected] if you would like to purchase a print.

[email protected] (John Coveney Photography - People Places & Wildlife) ireland "john coveney" "john coveney photography" light night peace reflection reflections "river liffey" " panorama" "samuel becket bridge" gloaming blue hour calm clouds convention centre dublin dusk mv cill airne Thu, 24 Aug 2017 21:19:47 GMT
Another Day - Another "Storm" Storm Doris was probably still blowing somewhere over Europe when news of her successor, Ewan started popping up in my feeds. Ewan's strongest winds tracked along the south coast of Ireland so it was just a windy Sunday in Dublin. With the wind direction from the south west and a high tide due around 11.30am - about the same time as the wind peaked - I knew there would be an opportunity to get some good shots at the Wooden Bridge between Clontarf and the Bull Island - and I wasn't disappointed!


I was happy enough to drive my ancient jeep through the sheets of salty spray in to get into position - but it never fails to amaze me how many people will drive their flash motors through such conditions - not to mention the numbers of walkers, cyclists and dogs willing to get soaked . . . actually, I suppose the dogs didn't have a choice! Just as I was setting up with the Canon 70-200mm lens - safely tucked up warm and dry in my jeep, a guy and his kid cycled across. It's probably just as well that I didn't get that shot as I would have had to decide if I should send it to social services :-)

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It wasn't all drama and waves though - the spray also made a fab low rainbow! 015-Storm-Ewan-Dublin--©2016-John-Coveney015-Storm-Ewan-Dublin--©2016-John-Coveney

[email protected] (John Coveney Photography - People Places & Wildlife) Bull Island Co. Dublin Dublin Dublin Bay Ireland John Coveney John Coveney Photography Storm Ewan Wooden Bridge gale rainbow storm Sun, 26 Feb 2017 21:49:11 GMT
Crescent Moon over The Muglins - Calm After Storm Doris After the drama of yesterday's Storm Doris, I was out early again this morning to capture the waning crescent Moon rising over The Muglins and the Forty-foot in Sandycove near Dun Laoghaire in Co. Dublin. Unlike yesterday's spur of the moment trip, today's shoot had been planned well in advance with The Photographers Ephemeris and it was facilitated by a brief period of calm clear weather between yesterday's gales and the weekend's rain. These moon shots are part of my long term moonscapes project - mainly around Dublin Bay - check out some previous posts here, here, here , here and here. However, the project has flagged a little recently, so this this spring I've reinvigorated it (translate: given myself a kick in the arse!) by doing it as a Shoot With Me project with a small group of fellow Offshoot members. If somebody else is going to be there, then you have to get out of the scratcher :-) Here are my two favourite images from the morning.

01-Sandycove-Crescent-Moon-©-2016-John-Coveney01-Sandycove-Crescent-Moon-©-2016-John-CoveneyCalm after Storm Doris - a crescent Moon in the dawn sky over The Forty-foot at Sandycove & The Muglins Light in Dun Laoghaire Rathdown in Co. Dublin 24 February 2017

Three of us met at 5.50 am on the East Pier in Dun Laoghaire just as the first hint of dawn was appearing in the eastern sky. The westerly gusts of yesterday had dropped to a moderate breeze but we were glad to use the top wall of the pier to shelter ourselves from the chill and to minimize the risk of tripod vibration. The crescent Moon was due to rise at 6.14am but the usual bank of cloud on Irish horizons meant it did not break through until about ten minutes later. We got several shots over the next half an hour or so, as it rose over The Muglins, the Forty-foot and the distinctive silhouette of Joyce's Tower & Museum in Sandycove. Then the sky brightened so much that the thin crescent was barely visible and that was it!

02-Sandycove-Crescent-Moon-©-2016-John-Coveney02-Sandycove-Crescent-Moon-©-2016-John-CoveneyCalm after Storm Doris - a crescent Moon in the dawn sky over The Forty-foot at Sandycove & The Muglins Light in Dun Laoghaire Rathdown in Co. Dublin 24 February 2017

Irish news site The used the second shot to illustrate its morning article on the aftermath of Storm Doris.


[email protected] (John Coveney Photography - People Places & Wildlife) 500 rule Co. Dublin Dun Laoghaire East Pier Dun Laoghaire Ireland John Coveney John Coveney Photography Joyce's Tower Sandycove Long exposure Moon Sandycove" Scotsmans Bay The Forty-foot The Muglins beacon crescent Moon dawn lighthouse waning crescent Moon Fri, 24 Feb 2017 21:32:35 GMT
Clearing Up Storm Doris Damage in Shankill & Bray It was a bit fresh early this morning as Storm Doris passed over Dublin so I headed into Dun Laoghaire hoping to get some surf shots - but there was not enough north in the wind direction for crashing waves on the seafront that I was hoping for. I'd no sooner arrived than I heard on the radio that there were trees down in my home village of Shankill so I headed straight back to get the first series of shots below near Crinken Church on the road from Shankill to Bray. Two of these were picked by RTE News here, while a phone shot was used by The Journal, here.

I then heard from the Dublin Bus guy at Crinken of tree down in Quinsborough Road so I headed down there for a the second series of shots.


Clear up of fallen trees at Crinken Church in Shankill

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Clear up of fallen trees and power lines on Quinsborough Road in Bray

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[email protected] (John Coveney Photography - People Places & Wildlife) Bray Co. Dublin Co. Wicklow Crinken Church ESB Networks Ireland John Coveney John Coveney Photography Johnson Tree Services King Tree Services Quinsborough Road Shankill Storm Doris fallen power lines fallen trees storm Thu, 23 Feb 2017 14:34:20 GMT
Horse Racing at Tinahely Point to Point Yesterday, Offshoot camera club went to a Point-to-Point in Tinahely in beautiful south Co. Wicklow. It was run by the Bray Harriers hunt. Point-to-point racing is the entry level of National Hunt racing - and, naturally,  like many of the best things,  it began in Co. Cork with a race from Buttevant to Doneraile  in 1752 -  according to this history of the sport. Unlike the big racecourse meetings with crowds, access restrictions and higher entry prices, Point-to-Points are a great way to photograph racehorses in action in an easy going setting. If you do try this though, please be sensible and stay well back from the racing line, don't use flash, and co-operate with the stewards to ensure that photographers continue to be welcome. There are several events each weekend around the country from September to June - here's the fixture list.


Riders approaching our chosen fence. 001-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney001-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney

Some of the Offshoot crew.


When we arrived, I was a bit worried about the the misty conditions but the neutral flat lighting was ideal to keep the focus on the action and to highlight the details of the horses and jockeys. I used my Canon 70-200mm  f4 lens mostly, from a prone position to get mostly sky in the background. ISO values were typically in the range 800 to 2500 to get shutter speeds in excess of 1/1000th of a second at f4.  As the bunch of horses pass in a few seconds, the high speed burst rate of 10 frames per second on my Canon 7D mark II shooting rate is a gift. I set the white balance to cloudy with a few minor tweaks afterwards in Lightroom. I then added contrast using the basic panel in Lightroom to adjust shadows, highlights and clipping, followed by some clarity and vibrance.

There were six races between 1 and 3.30pm with three circuits in each race - meaning I had eighteen chances to learn from my mistakes . . . ahem . . . not that I'm admitting to any such thing, of course! OK, OK, I had about one keeper in ten from the day :-). You can also check out Healy Racing's coverage of the day here.

A series of shots at a fence on the downhill run.

003-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney003-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney 004-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney004-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney 005-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney005-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney 006-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney006-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney 007-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney007-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney 008-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney008-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney 009-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney009-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney 010-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney010-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney 011-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney011-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney 012-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney012-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney 013-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney013-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney 014-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney014-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney 015-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney015-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney 016-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney016-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney 017-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney017-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney 018-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney018-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney 019-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney019-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney 020-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney020-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney 021-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney021-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney 022-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney022-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney


In the gaps between the races we chatted with and got a few shots of the stewards.

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A second series of shots at an uphill fence approaching the finish 028-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney028-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney 029-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney029-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney 030-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney030-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney 031-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney031-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney 032-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney032-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney 033-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney033-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney 034-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney034-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney 035-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney035-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney 036-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney036-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney 037-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney037-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney 038-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney038-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney 039-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney039-Tinahely-Point-to-Point-©-2016-John-Coveney

Trying a few panning shots

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A finally, a shot of the outing leader, Mike Smith with one of the steward's horses. Check out his take on the day on his Flickr stream. Thanks Mike.


[email protected] (John Coveney Photography - People Places & Wildlife) Bray Harriers Ireland John Coveney John Coveney Photography National Hunt Offshoot Offshoot Camera Offshoot Photography Society Tinahely horse racing jumping point-to-point steeplechasing Mon, 20 Feb 2017 13:11:38 GMT
Save Bulloch Harbour! Bulloch (or Bullock) Harbour between Dun Laoghaire and Dalkey is one of my favourite shooting locations so I'm upset by a planning application to replace the former Western Marine premises on the inner pier with a massive apartment and housing complex. There has been a big campaign against this proposal and I got my objection in last month with the following points:-

"I am not against the redevelopment of the site in principle but the nature and scale of the proposed development raises serious concerns for me as follows:

  1. It would interfere with the traditional boating and fishing activities and infrastructure of the harbour.
  2. It would interfere with the existing public access to the area – one of the few spots along this heavily developed coast where there is public access. On this point, I note the level of public access to the coast was considerably reduced with the loss of the Dalkey Island Hotel to apartments at Coliemore Harbour some years back. This public access is very important for families, walkers, swimmers, photographers, nature lovers etc.
  3. The scale of the development is much too large in the context of the existing building and uses.
  4. It would be exposed to north easterly gales and storms."

I illustrated my objection with photographs I've taken there over nearly ten years. Hopefully the planners in Dun Laoaghaire Rathdown Co. Council will bin this daft proposal - and the developers will replace it with something much smaller that fits into the existing scale of the Harbour. Given the Harbour is surrounded by dense suburbia, surely the traditional and public use of this small but stunning Harbour can be maintained. In any case, if there is an appeal to An Bord Pleanala, now that I have my objection in at the local level, I'll be able to have my say.


Sunset panoramic view of the Harbour on 3 Apr 2013 – showing the existing scale of the site.



Another View of the Harbour on 3 Apr 2013 – showing the existing scale of the site.



Gulls at the Harbour on a wet day on 16 Aug 2008



A Cormorant at the Harbour on 28 March 2009



If "Crabs Could Fly" the Irish Photographic Federation "Nature Photograph of the Year" in 2014 (taken 2 March 2011)



Grey Seals at Bulloch Harbour on 8 Nov 2010




Use of Bulloch Harbour by Boats on 16 Aug 2008



"Bringing in the Catch" at Bulloch Harbour on 11 Dec 2016.



“Saving the Boats” during a northeast gale at Bulloch Harbour on 30 Dec 2009


“Have a Seat” – during a northeast gale at Bulloch Harbour on 30 Dec 2009


"Pilot View” – during a northeast gale at Bulloch Harbour on 30 Dec 2009



 “Have a Seat 2” – during a northeast gale at Bulloch Harbour on 30 Dec 2009


Northeast gale at Bulloch Harbour on 9 Nov 2010



Northeast gale at Bulloch Harbour on 11 Mar 2013



Bulloch Harbour during the big snow on 24 Dec 2010



Hire boats at Bulloch Harbour during the big snow on 24 Dec 2010 (when they are not in use during the winter, they are stored on the pier).



The blue cottage at Bulloch Harbour during the big snow 24 Dec 2010. The sheds to the left are part of the former Western Marine premises. The cottage would be dwarfed by the proposed development.



Colourful scout and fishing sheds at Bulloch Harbour during the big snow 24 Dec 2010 - these would be lost if the proposed development goes ahead.



Nocturnal view of the Bulloch Harbour hire boats during the big snow on 20 Dec 2010.



“A Rock of a Man” at Bulloch Harbour 29 Aug 2016


[email protected] (John Coveney Photography - People Places & Wildlife) Bulloch Harbour Bullock Harbour Co. Dublin Dublin Dun Laoghaire If Crabs could Fly Ireland John Coveney John Coveney Photography Saving the Boats apartment complex development northeast gale objection public acess seal Mon, 06 Feb 2017 09:46:52 GMT
Gale at The Great South Wall in Poolbeg, in Co. Dublin It was a bit wild at the Great South Wall in Poolbeg in Co. Dublin during the southeasterly gale and 4.0m high tide this afternoon! Updated 9 Feb 2017



These shots taken from the shelter of the steps on the  north side of the blockhouse at the base of the pier - be prepared to get get VERY WET from spray on the way out  in these conditions!! I used my backup 17-85mm Canon lens and my old Canon 7D Mark1 - no way I was using my best gear in today! The settings were f5.6, ISO 1600 at focal lengths of 22-26mm in aperture priority. As the light varied as shower clouds came and went, the shutter speeds ranged from 1/640th to 1/3,200th of a second. Had I used f11 instead of f5.6 I might have got the lighthouse a bit sharper but I had the camera and lens wrapped up in a rain sleeve similar to this, and it was just too difficult in the conditions to be messing with settings! 03-Poolbeg-Gale-©-2016-John-Coveney03-Poolbeg-Gale-©-2016-John-Coveney

Calmer conditions in March 2012 with the 100-400mm at 250mm at f11 &ISO 200 on the tripod. 04-Poolbeg-Gale-©-2016-John-Coveney04-Poolbeg-Gale-©-2016-John-Coveney

Updated on 9 Feb 2017 with screenshots of press usage

RTE - here


The Journal - here.


Afloat - here


[email protected] (John Coveney Photography - People Places & Wildlife) Co. Dublin Dublin Dublin Bay Great South Wall Ireland John Coveney Photography breaking waves gale lighthouse pier red rocks sea spray storm Thu, 02 Feb 2017 21:31:48 GMT
Shooting the KBC Wedfest in The Chocolate Factory On Sun 22 January I was asked by Green Shoes Events to shoot the KBC Wedfest 2017 – Ireland’s biggest alternative wedding fair. It took place at The Chocolate Factory in the Williams & Woods building in Dublin.


The brief was to get shots of sponsors, stalls, stall holders . . . and people enjoying themselves!! So here goes with the story of the day in pictures. Check out lots more of my event photography at John Coveney Events, including high resolution versions of the days shots.

Here’s a panorama of the main space while it was being set up.


Event sponsors KBC Bank IrelandThe Bank of You - with vintage trio The Apple Blossoms.


And a few more shots of the KBC team hard at work


People arriving at the door and getting their goodie bags


The Benefit Cosmetic team working their magic


Kate Donohue, Allison Grace Saul and Kerry Ann Sheridan of the wedding band The Apple Blossoms entertained the crowd in vintage style

06-KBC-Wedfest-Blog-©-John-Coveney06-KBC-Wedfest-Blog-©-John-CoveneyThe Appple Blossoms vintage trio performing at the KBC-Wedfest at The Chocloate Factory in Dublin on Sunday 22 January 2017


Allice Halliday Couture  with customers & her partner


Sheena Power of Baglady-Designs


Caoimhe Ryan of BalloonsForYou


Barbara Burke of BBpapercuts


Catering provided by Blas Café on the ground floor of The Chocolate Factory


Tatty-anna Lanna of Bronte Photography


Shoe painter Rachel Martin of ConArtist – with her mum Susan


Super sweets with Derval Mellet of Delish Melish


Celebrant Deva O’Connor doing a practice wedding with a visiting couple


And another dry run from Deva with organizers Susan McDaid & Grainne O’Malley of Green Shoes Events


And here’s another one of The Apple Blossoms stepping up to the mark!


Raw oysters for the brave from Ciara O’Halloran of Flaggy Shore Oysters


Keri Ann & Allison from the The Apple Blossoms checking out The Hidden Gem


David McFadden of the Dough Kitchen (pizzas), Fred Peretti of LaLa Poutine (Gourmet Frites) and A Lovely Little Label with Sinead Starrs (wedding accessories & gifts)


Adam Traynor of Lovely Bubbly and the Mrs Frosters Candy Carts stand (candy & photo booth)


Nicky Coghlan DJ, Pieces of Heaven Treats (both top) and Project Party with Alana Talbot


Johnathon Marry of, School of Carving (top right) and Michelle Smyth of Rock Farm Slane


Bespoke hats, fascinators and hair pieces at Sophie Hunter Millinery


Emma Ni Lainne & Phoebe Laing of The Temple Wolf jewellers with Roger Young & Paul McPartlin


Claire & Bernadette of The Urban Florists


Wedding planning, styling & prop hire from Leanne of the Vintage Wedding Fairy


Green Shoes Events door team (Amy, David, Vicky, & Aidan; Keith & Leigh; Shanon & Jan;  . . . and your photographer getting on top of things! (Thanks to Celebrant Deva O’Connor for the shot).


Susan McDaid & Grainne O’Malley of Green Shoes Events who brought you all this. More wedding practice shots (top) and with attendees and The Apple Blossoms


Dancing to The Apple Blossoms




[email protected] (John Coveney Photography - People Places & Wildlife) A Lovely Little Label Adam Traynor Alana Talbot Allice Halliday Couture BBpapercuts Baglady-Designs BalloonsForYou Bank Barbara Burke Benefit Cosmetic Blas Café Bronte Photography Caoimhe Ryan Celebrant Ciara O'Halloran ConArtist David McFadden Delish Melish Derval Mellet Deva O'Connor Dough Kitchen Dublin." Emma Laing Flaggy Shore Oysters Fred Peretti Grainne O'Malley Green Shoes Events Ireland Ireland" Ireland's biggest alternative wedding fair John Coveney Photography Johnathon Marry KBC KBC Wedfest LaLa Poutine Lovely Bubbly Michelle Smyth Mrs Frosters Candy Carts Nicky Coghlan DJ Phoebe Laing Pieces of Heaven Treats Project Party Rachel Martin Rock Farm Slane School of Carving Sheena Power Shoe painter Sinead Starrs Sophie Hunter Millinery Susan McDaid The Apple Blossoms The Bank of You The Chocolate Factory The Hidden Gem The Temple Wolf The Urban Florists The Vintage Wedding Fairy Vintage Style Williams & Woods building fashion mock wedding practice wedding vintage Fri, 27 Jan 2017 10:45:52 GMT
Plunge Pics at Dublin's Christmas Swim & How I Shot Them As well as shooting the Goal Mile in Shanganagh Park on Christmas morning, I also went into to the Forty Foot in Sandycove to get some shots of the Christmas swim. It was a calm and exceptionally mild morning, so it was absolutely jammers when I arrived.

SAFETY WARNING: There are under surface rocks in parts of The Forty Foot that have caused serious injuries. Check the signs on site before jumping or diving, especially at low tide when the drop is much higher and the water is shallower. There are no lifeguards on duty at Christmas. Here's some good advice from the Irish Water Safety Council - in short, Get In, Get Out, & Get Warm.



I was able to get a perch on a wall for clear shots with the 100-40mm lens – mostly at about 200mm but 400mm was useful for getting the shock on peoples’ faces as they resurfaced! Typical settings in aperture priority were 1/1,000 to 1/2,000th of a second, f8 and ISO 800.  For the first series of shots, I used the Lightroom print module to compile collages – as I did previously for my post on how I shot Ladies Day at Navan Racecourse. In the second series, below, I got in much closer with my wide angle 10-22mm lens and composited them in Photoshop – more about that later in the post.

That brass monkey expression!


Here’s some detail on doing the collages with the Lightroom Print Module (Ctrl P). I typically start off with built-in templates such as Triptych or Custom 2 over 1. Using the Page Setup button on the bottom left, I usually select A4 and chose Landscape or Portrait as required. For the triptych option, the selected photos normally load automatically and you can tweak the layout with the Layout panel controls on the right hand side – using margins, page grid, cell spacing and cell size. You may also wish to de-tick the Keep Square box.  If you wish, you can watermark each shot in the layout in the Page Panel (I put a single water mark on the whole collage with my website's built in facilities). In the Print Job panel, select Print to: JPEG File and then 100ppi, Quality 85, and  sRGB for web outputs. Finally hit Print to File and select the destination for the files. A key tip is to use Ctrl Drag to re-position your images within their placeholders. Here’s quick tutorial on printing to file by Adobe’s Julieanne Kost.



The Custom 2 over 1 operates a little differently, but I’m not sure why. Anyway for this one, use F6 to open the filmstrip and then drag your shots into the place holders. The Layout panel is replaced by the Cells panel from where you can select and adjust each cell individually. Another useful tip for collages is to use Alt Drag to duplicate cells – e.g. to change the layout to 3 over 1. Once the layout is done, print it to file as before. If you think you will use these modified templates again, you can save them to the User folder in the Template Browser on the left hand side.

This is not going to be pleasant! 04-20151225-Xmas-Swim-Forty-Foot04-20151225-Xmas-Swim-Forty-Foot

Friends doing it together! 03-20151225-Xmas-Swim-Forty-Foot03-20151225-Xmas-Swim-Forty-Foot

Gravity assisted updo!  06-20151225-Xmas-Swim-Forty-Foot06-20151225-Xmas-Swim-Forty-Foot

Was this actually a good idea??


Here's a quick interlude of non-composites - the first one being the obligatory "tough guy selfie-taking" shot!


With all that salt water splashing around - protective eyewear was a must!


There were also good looking photographers there!


Once, I had enough long shots, I went in closer to try wide angle views in the 10 to 13mm range using my Canon EFS 10-22mm lens. As before, the settings were around 1/1,000 of a second, f8 and ISO 800.  After reviewing my initial bursts on the camera’s LCD, I realized that shooting at the camera’s low burst rate of three frames per second would allow me to composite the images in Photoshop. Using the high rate of 10 frames per second resulted in sequences where the images of the swimmers overlapped. While it is possible to use the high burst rate and then select every second or third image, this adds work. The other trick is to keep the camera as steady as possible so that the frames are approximately aligned – Photoshop then aligns them precisely later.

Of course I had to start with someone in a Santy Hat!


I managed to get the actual plunge here. No suggestion of him trying to impress the girls - of course!


Back in the office, I tweaked one of my images for exposure and contrast in Lightroom. I also did an auto transform to level the horizon and then I copied all these settings to the rest the images that would be composited. For individual sequences, I then used the Lightroom command Photo > Edit In > Open as Layers in Photoshop. For convenience, you need to have current versions of Lightroom and Photoshop to move images seamlessly between the programs. The first step in Photoshop was to select all the layers and chose Edit > Auto-align layers > Auto. This aligned the rock and the horizon but ignored the jumpers in the differing positions in the frames.

This guy got impressive lift on his jump!

004-Xmas-Forty-Foot-©2016-John-Coveney004-Xmas-Forty-Foot-©2016-John-Coveney Next chose which image you want as the base image – typically with a good background that is either not distracting or has a secondary point of interest. Move this to the bottom of the stack, then add a white layer mask to each of the remaining layers, and then hit the eye symbol to hide each masked layer. Next select and make the second layer visible, memorize the position of the swimmer, select the layer mask and change it to black with Ctrl I. A black mask hides the whole layer, so now chose a brush (B) with 0% hardness and with white in the foreground and black in the background. With the brush foreground selected, brush the person back in (you will see a white hole in the layer mask). Using 0% hardness gives a seamless blend of the components from the different layers. If you overdo it, press X to swop the brush to black and remove the bit you didn’t want. Repeat for each layer and then save back to Lightroom for final exposure tweaks and cropping.

Of course such a high jump into cold water is not for girls! 006-Xmas-Forty-Foot-©2016-John-Coveney006-Xmas-Forty-Foot-©2016-John-Coveney

Karumba!!!  005-Xmas-Forty-Foot-©2016-John-Coveney005-Xmas-Forty-Foot-©2016-John-Coveney

If the figures from the differing layers are very close to each other or even overlapping slightly, change the brush to 50-60% hardness and zoom in for final tweaking. If there are overlaps from different layers, I choose to bring elements from the later frames to the front. I did try Edit > Autoblend layers but this didn’t work well for me – the automatically generated masks were much more complicated and were applied to other parts of the image.

I kept shooting here until she resurfaced 007-Xmas-Forty-Foot-©2016-John-Coveney007-Xmas-Forty-Foot-©2016-John-Coveney

The quickest updo in town!  008-Xmas-Forty-Foot-©2016-John-Coveney008-Xmas-Forty-Foot-©2016-John-Coveney

Dive sequences were a bit more difficult due to overlap at the start - until gravity speeded things up!  009-Xmas-Forty-Foot-©2016-John-Coveney009-Xmas-Forty-Foot-©2016-John-Coveney

This guy got off his marks a bit quicker! 010-Xmas-Forty-Foot-©2016-John-Coveney010-Xmas-Forty-Foot-©2016-John-Coveney

It was much harder to get it right when there was more than one person - unless they synchronized well.  I was unable to get any groups of three to work. 011-Xmas-Forty-Foot-©2016-John-Coveney011-Xmas-Forty-Foot-©2016-John-Coveney

Finally, I was very happy with this duo - as well as catching the girl on the rock looking at me.  012-Xmas-Forty-Foot-©2016-John-Coveney012-Xmas-Forty-Foot-©2016-John-Coveney

So that’s it – once you try these compositing techniques,  they're much less complicated than they sound – although having a feel for layer masks in Photoshop is useful. And if I can do it, it can't be that hard!!



[email protected] (John Coveney Photography - People Places & Wildlife) Christmas Christmas Swim Co. Dublin Dublin Forty Foot Ireland Lightroom Lightroom Print Module Photoshop Sandycove cold water composite diving how I shot it jumping layer masks swimming Fri, 30 Dec 2016 10:17:23 GMT
DONATE to Goal Mile in Shanganagh Park One of Ireland’s best known Christmas charity events, the Goal Mile, was in Shanganagh Park in Shankill this Christmas Day - organized by Dom Horan of the Bray Runners. I went along to take a few shots and I’m making high resolution versions of these available HERE. The password to download them is donatetogoal. So, if you like the shots of you or yours, please donate to support Goal’s global mission covering emergency response, health, and protection of children & livelihoods. Any amount is welcome but can I suggest €5 or €10 per shot – or more if you can. Here’s a few of my faves – and you can see the full gallery HERE. And if there are no shots of you . . . well you could just donate to Goal anyway!

I’ve also uploaded a gallery of low res versions to Facebook – please share and tag these so that as many people as possible see the shots and donate to Goal. Did I mention that you can download the high res versions HERE to archive, print etc. – remember the password is donatetogoal. OK, I think you should have it by now! Happy New Year!! 158-Goal-Mile-by-John-Coveney158-Goal-Mile-by-John-Coveney


020-Goal-Mile-by-John-Coveney020-Goal-Mile-by-John-Coveney 035-Goal-Mile-by-John-Coveney035-Goal-Mile-by-John-Coveney 038-Goal-Mile-by-John-Coveney038-Goal-Mile-by-John-Coveney 040-Goal-Mile-by-John-Coveney040-Goal-Mile-by-John-Coveney 050-Goal-Mile-by-John-Coveney050-Goal-Mile-by-John-Coveney 053-Goal-Mile-by-John-Coveney053-Goal-Mile-by-John-Coveney 058-Goal-Mile-by-John-Coveney058-Goal-Mile-by-John-Coveney 066-Goal-Mile-by-John-Coveney066-Goal-Mile-by-John-Coveney 076-Goal-Mile-by-John-Coveney076-Goal-Mile-by-John-Coveney 081-Goal-Mile-by-John-Coveney081-Goal-Mile-by-John-Coveney 095-Goal-Mile-by-John-Coveney095-Goal-Mile-by-John-Coveney 111-Goal-Mile-by-John-Coveney111-Goal-Mile-by-John-Coveney 119-Goal-Mile-by-John-Coveney119-Goal-Mile-by-John-Coveney 127-Goal-Mile-by-John-Coveney127-Goal-Mile-by-John-Coveney 147-Goal-Mile-by-John-Coveney147-Goal-Mile-by-John-Coveney 156-Goal-Mile-by-John-Coveney156-Goal-Mile-by-John-Coveney

[email protected] (John Coveney Photography - People Places & Wildlife) Christmas Dublin Goal Mile Ireland John Coveney Photography Shanganagh Park Shankill donatetogoal jogging running Tue, 27 Dec 2016 09:16:23 GMT
Stunning Winter Solstice at Newgrange 19 December 2017: Updated with additional pictures from my second visit to Newgrange on 22 December 2016 and minor edits to the text and links.

Today, December 21st 2016, is the shortest day of the year,  the winter solstice, – and in Ireland, all eyes turn to Newgrange. This 5,200-year-old prehistoric monument is world famous because the interior chamber is illuminated for a few minutes around 9 AM as the rising sun clears hills to the southeast. As I write this, however, the radio is full of chatter because of new claims that the alignment actually dates from the reconstruction work in the 1960’s and 1970’s!! It will be interesting to see how this argument plays out*. Sadly, the radio is also reporting that cloud, yet again, spoiled this morning’s show.

(* See these pictures from the 1930's and 1950's and a statement from the Office of Public works stressing their view that the alignment of the roof box was in place before the reconstruction work. This post on the Shadows and Stone blog provides much more detail supporting the current alignment being the same as the ancient alignment.)

Anyway, I was oblivious to all this when I headed up there last Sunday, the 18th, to see the solstice celebrations for myself . . . hang on you say,  wasn’t I three days too early? Well . . . no, because the sunbeam shines in for several days around the solstice when the position of sunrise "stands still". Newgrange's visitor centre at Brú na Bóinne runs an annual lottery for places in the chamber from the 18th to the 23rd. It’s also probable that the chamber is partly illuminated for a few more days on either side of these dates but the site is not open at sunrise then.

Anyway on the 18th with clear skies forecast, and even without one of the precious lottery tickets, I thought there would be opportunities for good landscape and people shots. And, I wasn’t disappointed! There was wonderful colour in the sky when I arrived contrasting with the controversial 1970’s reconstruction of the quartz south face of the monument. You can see here what Newgrange looked like before that - at least during the last 300 years or so - nobody knows for sure what it looked like when it was built!

Red Sky at Newgrange

001-Newgrange-Solstice-©-2016-John-Coveney001-Newgrange-Solstice-©-2016-John-CoveneySunrise on the first day of the 2016 Winter Solstice at Newgrange

Visitors arriving.

002-Newgrange-Solstice-©-2016-John-Coveney002-Newgrange-Solstice-©-2016-John-CoveneyArriving for the first day of the 2016 Winter Solstice at Newgrange

The sun comes out!

003-Newgrange-Solstice-©-2016-John-Coveney003-Newgrange-Solstice-©-2016-John-CoveneyWaiting for sunrise at the first day of the 2016 Winter Solstice at Newgrange

This is going to be a good one!

004-Newgrange-Solstice-©-2016-John-Coveney004-Newgrange-Solstice-©-2016-John-CoveneyWaiting for sunrise at the first day of the 2016 Winter Solstice at Newgrange

Clouds in just in the right place!


Of course, no modern celebration is complete without selfie shots! Some grumble at this but why shouldn’t people enjoy themselves and capture their memories on a special day?

006-Newgrange-Solstice-©-2016-John-Coveney006-Newgrange-Solstice-©-2016-John-CoveneySelfie on the first day of the 2016 Winter Solstice at Newgrange

The sun is now blinding and people turn to look into the passageway to the chamber.


And get their phones out!


Lots of phones!

008-Newgrange-Solstice-©-2016-John-Coveney008-Newgrange-Solstice-©-2016-John-CoveneyWorshipping at the first day of the 2016 Winter Solstice at Newgrange

Even from the outside, it’s awe-inspiring to see the beam illuminating the passageway – and I’m hoping that, despite the naysayers, it was built this way five thousand years ago – and not fifty!


As the show finished, I was able to capture the joy on the faces of the lottery winners as they emerged.



And the hugs!


Once the lottery winners are out, the rest of the visitors queue to get into the chamber. Even after the sunbeam has moved on, the chamber is still relatively bright because the passage is facing the sunlight. And you can get in for FREE for an hour or so on solstice mornings!  An important TIP if you ever do visit Newgrange, is to wait until the end of the of the guide’s talk. After the rest of your group leaves, following the demonstration of the beam with electric lights, ask your guide nicely if you can lie down with your face on the floor and you will be able to see out through the roof-box. The access passage slopes upwards so that the floor of the chamber is level with the overhead roof-box at the exterior. It’s not as good as winning the solstice lottery, but it was still a magical experience to see my son’s face dimly illuminated on the floor during our family visit a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, photography is not normally allowed in the chamber*, so you just have to imagine this!

* Unlike the rest of the year, visitors to the site are allowed in for free on solstice mornings after the lottery winners leave and there is no restriction on photography - or at least there wasn't on 22 December 2016.

17-2016-Solstice-Newgrange-©-2017-John-Coveney17-2016-Solstice-Newgrange-©-2017-John-CoveneyThe roof of the central chamber at Newgrange in Ireland during 2016 Winter Solstice. 18-2016-Solstice-Newgrange-©-2017-John-Coveney18-2016-Solstice-Newgrange-©-2017-John-CoveneyOne of the side chambers at Newgrange in Ireland during 2016 Winter Solstice. 19-2016-Solstice-Newgrange-©-2017-John-Coveney19-2016-Solstice-Newgrange-©-2017-John-CoveneyOne of the side chambers at Newgrange in Ireland during 2016 Winter Solstice.

010-Newgrange-Solstice-©-2016-John-Coveney010-Newgrange-Solstice-©-2016-John-CoveneyThe sun performs the first day of the 2016 Winter Solstice at Newgrange

In the previous shot, I spotted lottery winners Micaela and Simeon from Alaska and I did a quick mini-shoot with them in the rapidly warming morning sun.

011-Newgrange-Solstice-©-2016-John-Coveney011-Newgrange-Solstice-©-2016-John-CoveneyLottery winners Michaela & Simeon from Alaska on the first day of the 2016 Winter Solstice at Newgrange 012-Newgrange-Solstice-©-2016-John-Coveney012-Newgrange-Solstice-©-2016-John-CoveneyLottery winner Michaela at the first day of the 2016 Winter Solstice at Newgrange

And some more visitors.


I was also fortunate to meet Anthony Murphy of Mythical Ireland shooting the passageway with his fisheye lens and then getting a shot of Michael Fox of the tour company


Here are the three of us having a chat . . . or if you want to be dramatic, posing as the shadows of our ancestors!

013-Newgrange-Solstice-©-2016-John-Coveney013-Newgrange-Solstice-©-2016-John-CoveneyShadows of the past at the first day of the 2016 Winter Solstice at Newgrange

Once everyone had left, I got to walk around the monument totally on my own before the first of the regular tours arrived at 11 AM. This structure to the rear is believed to a folly built in the early 1800’s from stones that slipped off the original monument.


The sun was still blinding as I came back around the west side.


Working on my leading lines!

016-Newgrange-Solstice-©-2016-John-Coveney016-Newgrange-Solstice-©-2016-John-CoveneyThe sun performs on the first day of the 2016 Winter Solstice at Newgrange

And my foreground interest.


The massive entrance stone in front of the passageway with the famous tri-spiral carvings.

019-Newgrange-Solstice-©-2016-John-Coveney019-Newgrange-Solstice-©-2016-John-CoveneyThe sun performs on the first day of the 2016 Winter Solstice at Newgrange

Here the shadows of two of the megaliths and yours truly are juxtaposed (great word that!) with three jet trails. What would our Neolithic ancestors have made of these?


And finally, another one showing how brilliant the light was.

25-2016-Solstice-Newgrange-©-2017-John-Coveney25-2016-Solstice-Newgrange-©-2017-John-CoveneyBrilliant sunshine during the 2016 Winter Solstice at Newgrange in Ireland.

I took most of these shots with my Canon 10-22mm lens – its wide angle of view was ideal for capturing the shape of Newgrange. I used my Canon 70-200mm f4 lens to get most of the shots of the access passage and of the lottery winners leaving. They were all processed in Lightroom – in particular, I used the program’s graduated filter tool to enhance the detail in the skies.

A lot more reading about the Newgrange complex here and on Ireland’s Ancient East.

[email protected] (John Coveney Photography - People Places & Wildlife) 5200 bc ancestors ancient astronomy archaeology bend of the boyne bru na boinne co. neath five thousand years ago heritage ireland irelands ancient east john coveney photography lightbox megalith mobile phone photography monument neolithic newgrange passage tomb roofbox royal county selfie shadows solstice solstice alignment sunbeam sunrise trispiral world heritage site Wed, 21 Dec 2016 12:55:57 GMT
Red Sky at Whiterock Landscape shots available here.

Last Sunday morning, I got out for my first landscape shoot in a while and I decided to keep it local by heading to White Rock at the north end of Killiney Beach in Co. Dublin. Although it’s only 5km from home, this was my first time doing a proper shoot at this popular landmark! And of course, a big advantage of landscape shoots on December mornings is that sunrise is not until about 8.30am :-)

Here’s the first shot as the red sky peaked about fifteen minutes before sunrise. It’s a 30 second exposure at ISO 100 and f11 using my Canon 10-22mm lens at 10mm. I used a Lee Little Stopper to get the exposure long enough to smooth the water, as well as 0.9ND hard graduated filter to balance the light in the sky sky with the land.


The next shot was 10 minutes later and you can see how the red has changed to orange as the sun rises. It’s a three element stitched panorama with the same settings as the previous shot, except the shutter speed was 20 seconds.


Next, it was a quick change to the 100-400mm lens at 400mm to catch the sun bisecting the horizon – it's not often clear enough in Ireland to see this! (f5.6, ISO 100 & 1/1,250th of a second)


The action continued as this paddle boarder passed by (f5.6, ISO 800 & 1/4,000th of a second, 100-400mm lens at 400mm)


As I headed up from the beach, I stopped for a breather on the footbridge over the DART line and realized that the still golden light was illuminating Sorrento Terrace nicely. (f10, ISO 400 & 1/800th of a second, on the 100-400mm lens at 100mm)


It was such a fine day that I wasn’t the only shooter there that morning! (f7.1, ISO 400 & 1/640th of a second, on the 100-400mm lens at 190mm).


The DART footbridge gives a very different perspective of White Rock – and I used my filters again to get this shot – the exposure settings were 13 seconds at f16 and ISO 100 at 56mm on the 17-85mm lens. This time however, I pushed the 0.9HD down to cover the whole of the front of the lens to get a “9-stopper”, three stops  from the grad and six from the Little Stopper. Without using the hard grad in this way, I would only have had a 1.5 second exposure with the Little Stopper - not enough to smooth water properly in the bright conditions.


Using the tripod on the footbridge didn't work well because it’s hard to get the camera out over the railing and because of the numbers of walkers passing – so I used my lightweight gorilla pod. This is only rated for lightweight cameras so it took time and care to get it steady and safe with my DSLR on it– don’t do this at home!!


Once I got it all set up though, I was able another version of the Sorrento Terrace shot (16, ISO 100 & 13 seconds, on the 17-85mm lens at 20mm).


As I shot, some of the passing walkers stopped to chat,  and I persuaded a few of them to pose on the rock when they got down.


 It’s a good landscape shoot when I get a single keeper – so I was well pleased with getting several from this morning’s work.


[email protected] (John Coveney Photography - People Places & Wildlife) Canon 10-20mm Co. Dublin Hahnel Combi TF trigger Ireland John Coveney Photography Killiney Bay Lee Filters Little Stopper Martello Tower Sorrento Terrace Whiterock area bathing dawn golden sky gorillapod graduated filter hotshoe spirit level landscape long exposure paddle boarder panorama people in shot photographer in shot red sky rock seascape shot of camera smooth water sun sky dawn dusk sunrise sunup wall Fri, 16 Dec 2016 17:48:38 GMT
How I Shoot Ladies Days at Navan Races On 27 Nov, I was delighted to be back again at Navan Racecourse to photograph their Winter Ladies Day. Shooting these events is always hectic, so good preparation is vital - and here's how I do it. You can see all of my previous shots from Navan  here,  and my previous blog posts about them are here, here, here and here - and they're not all fashion! 


Starting off with Brianán & Joanne - with & without racecard and handbag (all L to R).




Well in advance, a shoot plan is agreed with the client to make sure I get the shots they want. Typically, this includes:-

  • full length, three quarter length and head and shoulder shots of people’s outfits and hats, with and without race cards;
  • VIP and press release shots;
  • images of the fashion judges and the racecourse team talking to the best dressed people;
  •  pictures of the finalist selection and the announcement of the winner(s) – and later with judges, sponsors and logo backgrounds;
  •  mini-shoots of the winner(s), finalists and other eye-catching outfits in front of specific locations such as the parade ring, bookies stands, in the crowds, and from balconies.
  • As time allows, a few shots of other people, especially any “characters”, horses, jockeys etc.

The day before, I check and pack my gear – cameras, lenses, flashes and accessories such as my Demb flash bracket– as well as spares for everything. I charge batteries, format cards, dial in typical settings, and make sure lenses are set to autofocus with image stabilisation on, and flashes to E-TTL metering.


Mini-shoot with Aileen & Lisa - full length, three quarters, and with the crowd and the stand in the background - making sure tall hats are in the frame and clear of background clutter.




Here's some layouts of my favourite shots from the day, put together with Lightroom's print module followed by "printing" to file.



Individual shots of Erin, Colette, Danielle, Margaret (top row), and Julie-Anne, Thelma, Eimear & Katie - and I'm always thinking about the background as well as the subject.



For the rest of this post, I've interspersed a few tips on how I shoot these pictures. Firstly, it’s vital that people look happy and relaxed in their shots –after all, it is a fun day out! So I introduce myself, compliment people's outfits, and chat and joke with them - timing is then vital to catch the smiles. I also ask people out of the shot to crack jokes  – this is works best when they are just behind me so the subject looks at the camera. 


Double acts with Katie & Ann, Mags & Eimear, Colette & Rebecca (top row), Debbie & Bernie, Eilísh & Siobhán, and finally Judge Marietta Doran with best-dressed finalist Nan.


I also look at the weather forecast to see if I might need to plan for sheltered or indoor locations – big hats and wind don't mix well! I also decide how many layers I need myself – comfort allows me concentrate 100% on shooting.  I check the route and any possible delays or diversions due to traffic or roadworks. If I’m not already familiar with the site, I’ll check it out on Google and/or Bing Maps to work out shoot locations. If I am familiar with it, I do it again to look for new angles and locations.


A lady in red always catches the photographer's eye - here's Niamh with Ted, Maria and best-dressed finalist Paula



Next, a mini-shoot with sisters Eilís & Grace - close up, three-quarters, full length and finally with hot toddies and a jager photobomb :-)


On the morning, I re-check the weather forecast, the route, and traffic. I put my notebook, business cards, spare batteries and camera cards in my jacket pockets for quick access. I like to arrive at 60-90 minutes before the fashion judges to check in with at the Course office, get my pass,  set up the cameras and flashes, and make sure everything is working.


Fashion and crowds with Mary, Aileen, Lisa, Geraldine, Rebecca and Collette (below) - the first and third shots were taken with live view at arms length to get a higher angle.



As it's a winter Ladies Day, combining style & warmth is essential for Paula (best dressed finalist), Vanessa, Leah & Mary


My usual settings are around1/60th to 1/125th of a second (faster with longer lenses) at about f5.6 and whatever ISO I need to get a good exposure for the ambient light and and then gently fill with flash softened with my Lumiquest Quikbounce. For shots of individual , I may use wider apertures to blur the background - if I want to do that.

Once everything seems ready to go, I take quick wander around to see if there have been any changes to the location and get my first few shots to make sure the kit is actually working with people! It’s amazing how often something is not connected, flat or just being temperamental. From then on, it's non-stop until after the last race!


As well as fashionable visitors, here are glamour bookies, Mary & Marcella, as well as happy punters.



There are also couples and families - Niamh & Ted; Vanessa and family; Kay & Danielle; best dressed finalist Nan & her boys; and finally Erin & Claire with their partners


After the last race, it's straight home to check through the hundreds of shots and select and tweak the best of them for uploading to a Facebook gallery by the next day. That way, the Racecourse's visitors and their friends can quickly see and share all the glamour of the day. All to encourage them to come back next time . . . or visit for the first time!


Also vital to the event is the Ladies Day team - starting with Hannah getting some video footage, fashion blogger Serena Stack of Unrivalled Chic, judge Marietta Doran with Navan Racecourse's operation manager Amy Harding. In the last shot, the judges Marietta and Pat Mullaney of Navan Town Centre are about to pick the best dressed lady.



Before we get to the ladies winner though, we mustn't forget the guys who made the effort for Navan's first best dressed man prize sponsored by Tony McDonnell Menswear . Firstly we have Stephen Lynch;  then Amy Harding with an enthusiastic group; followed by Stephen Mackin, Coleman Doyle & Rob Geraghty; then best dressed man Aona Oliver Cowley with his uncle, and finally Aona again with Judges Marietta and Pat.



Here's best-dressed finalist Sarah with her friends Sinead and Ally and partners. Check out Sarah and Ally's new Fashion and Beauty Inspiration blog. 



Next is another best-dressed finalist Orla, a Navan regular, with Paul & Mark



And finally . . . here's the winner, Claire Anderson, who matched the racecourse to her outfit! She won a shopping spree at Navan Town Centre and a holiday from Travelmood. She's being congratulated by finalists Nan, Orla, Paula & Sarah;  then she's with Amy Harding, Marietta Doran & Pat Mullaney, next with with some young admirers - and last of all,  the goodbye shot!


[email protected] (John Coveney Photography - People Places & Wildlife) Aileen Campbell Ally McParland Amy Harding Ann Coyle Aona Oliver Cowley at the races bags Bernie Larrissey best dressed lady best dressed man Brianan Vesey Claire Anderson Co. Meath Coleman Doyle Colette McDonough Danielle Masterson Debbie Eivers Edward Jones Eilis Ryan Eilish Daly Eimear Hilliard Erin Lennon fashion Geraldine Shalvey Grace Ryan hats Heather Downey horse racing how I shot it James Jones Joanne Hogan John Coveney Photography Julie-Anne Katie Togher Kay Masterson ladies day Leah Denagher Lisa Smith Mags O'Brien Maguire" Marcella McCoy Margaret Connolly Maria Stack Marietta Doran Mark Lennon Mary Carty Mary O'Halloran Mary Tinnelly millinery Nan Jones Navan Navan Racecourse Neil Anderson Navan Town Centre Niamh Kenny Orla Lennon Pat Mullaney Paul Lennon Paula McCormack Proudstown Rebecca Quigley Rob Geraghty Rosemary Cogan Sarah McEvoy Serena Stack shoes Sinead Byrne Siobhan Daly Stephen Lynch Stephen Mackin Ted Lordan Thelma Keating Tony McDonell Menswear Travelmood Vanessa Donohoe Wed, 07 Dec 2016 15:16:52 GMT
Surfing the DART at Seapoint I’ve done a bit of daylight storm chasing in Co. Clare, here and here – and around my local patch in Dun Laoghaire. However, George Karbus’s iconic night time shot of Lahinch during the 2014 storms shows that the “daylight” bit just limits your thinking! So when yesterday’s sea area forecast predicted a north to northeast gale in Dublin Bay – coinciding with dusk and high tide – I knew exactly where I want to be – at the Martello Tower at Seapoint. My hope was to capture the DART* carrying on despite the power of the sea. As it was, it was not quite as dramatic as I had hoped – because the gale peaked in Co. Wexford and because the 3.5m high tide was about a metre less than a spring tide. Nonetheless I like contrast between a normally routine suburban landscape and natural world stirring itself.


Before I go any further, I want to stress that I took this these shots SAFELY from the shelter of the Martello Tower – shooting close to stormy seas is inherently dangerous because every so often there is a bigger wave than normal – traditionally every seventh wave – but more likely at random. Every year people are washed off rocks to their deaths so coastline photographers should constantly assess sea conditions before and DURING their shoot.


I knew it would be pretty dark when I got there about 5pm and that my Canon 85mm f1.8 lens would be the tool for the job – although it’s normally more used to the civilised environment of indoor events! Even so, I had to push the ISO up to 16,000 to get exposures of 1/60th to 1/80th of a second. The first shot is only 1/20th of a second as can be seen from the movement blur – but I like it anyway!


The processing in Lightroom was simple enough – given the high ISO values there’s no point in obsessing about technical quality – just get the story out! I set the white balance to auto to remove the orange glow of the street lighting, added contrast in the light areas by dropping the highlights to -100 and boosting whites to +62, and similarly in the dark areas with -49 on the blacks and +53 on the shadows. Clarity was +35, vibrance +14. Noise reduction was about +65 with the same for masking. I also added a subtle vignette to focus attention on the centre of the shots. Once I got one shot the way I liked, I simply copied the settings to the rest (Ctrl Shift S).  Finally I cropped my keepers according to whether I want just the trains and waves, or to include some of the background buildings. I experimented with B&W conversion but I though the loss of the colour of the railcars weakened the shots.

Roll on the next northeaster!


*Trains spotters will recognise that the last two shots are actually one of Irish Rail’s “Dublin Southern Commuter” service trains.


[email protected] (John Coveney Photography - People Places & Wildlife) Co. Dublin Dun Laoghaire Ireland Irish Rail John Coveney Photography Seapoint gale night storm waves Tue, 22 Nov 2016 12:45:17 GMT
Architectural Interiors at the Freemason's Hall in Dublin Recently, Offshoot’s got access to the Freemasons’ Hall in Molesworth Street in Dublin city centre. The building dates from the 1860’s and it has impressive interiors and a small group of us were given guided access to all of the halls in the building – with no restriction on our photography. You can see a selection of our group’s shots in the outing report, here. The interiors are so ornate that it took me a while to figure out how to shoot them and I didn’t get anything to do justice to the smaller chambers in the building.

As we headed to the upper levels, however, the stairs immediately caught my eye and, after some failed efforts, I got this two element composite by putting the centre arm of my tripod horizontal, like this, and then sticking the camera out over the banisters to look directly down. Of course, this meant the tripod was unbalanced – so I stabilised it by holding the other end of the centre arm. Even with the camera locked onto to the tripod head, I also kept a firm grip on the camera strap to eliminate any possibility of a three floor drop! The settings were 0.6 seconds as f8.0 at ISO 400 at 10mm using Canon’s EFS 10-22mm lens. Ideally, I would have used f11 for more depth of field and ISO 100 but this would have lengthened the exposure to about 4 seconds – and I was afraid I would cause camera shake holding the end of the centre arm for this long. Note to self:- if I’m doing interiors again - keep my camera bag with me for use as counterweight! The other problem was that one of my shoes and two of the tripod legs were unavoidably in the shot but quite a bit of fiddly cloning sorted that out. Finally stitching the shots, with so many items in the foreground and the background, proved a challenge for both Photoshop and Lightroom – the former was bit better but I had to do some tidying in one area – let me know in the comments if you can spot where I couldn't get it quite right!

001-Freemasons-stairs-panorama2-2-©-2016-John-Coveney001-Freemasons-stairs-panorama2-2-©-2016-John-Coveney The next three shots were all in the most impressive chamber -  the Grand Lodge Room.  The shot of the organ was another fiddly job to position the camera facing up from a kneeling position – it would be great if the 7D Mark II had an articulated LCD! Eventually, I got the organs pillars and the roof symmetrical – or near enough that I was able do final tweaks with Lightroom’s Auto Transform. I also made sure that the top centre pipe stayed below the gold border around the blue area. It’s a single shot and the settings are 4 seconds, f11, ISO 100 at 17mm – again with the 10-22mm lens. I white-balanced it off the ceiling. I was a bit dull out of the camera in the Adobe Standard Calibration but the  following Lightroom settings brought it up nicely:-+34 contrast, -100 highlights, +100 shadows,  +54 whites, -48 blacks, +35 clarity and +25 vibrance. I upped the saturation of orange, yellow, aqua and blue in the HSL panel by +15-20 and I added sharpening of 80 with masking of 71.


The final two shots are of the chamber itself with the organ to my back – again with the 10-22mm lens and at 10mm and ISO 100mm. The first is the far end of the room from the organ and it’s a four shot stitch – each for four seconds and f11. For such wide angle shots, the Lightroom cylindrical panorama option (Ctrl M), followed by an auto transform did a surprisingly good job of the stitching.   The sides were quite curved but I cropped these out – although the side pillars at the crop edge are still a bit curved  and the ceiling rectangle is not quite parallel to the edge of the shot.


Finally, I did another composite of the chamber from the organ end – this time there were five elements and the settings were 2.5 seconds and f11. The tone and saturation settings for both shots of the chamber were similar to those used for the organ. Again there is a little curvature of the nearest side columns but overall, I'm pretty pleased with my first serious  effort at architectural interiors without specialised tilt and shift lenses.


Many thanks to Emily Gallagher for organizing the outing and to our guides Lionel & Keith. Tours of the hall are available during the summer for the princely sum of €2 - or by appointment at other times.

[email protected] (John Coveney Photography - People Places & Wildlife) Dublin Freemason's Hall Grand Lodge of Ireland Ireland John Coveney Photography Molesworth Street Offshoot architecture interiors Sat, 19 Nov 2016 12:24:01 GMT
Winter Fashion at Navan Races – Nothing Else Like It! I’m delighted to be asked by Navan Racecourse to shoot their upcoming Ladies Day on Sunday November 27th.  As Horse Racing Ireland puts it in their ad – nothing else feels like winter racing!

J1582 Troystown Ladies Day Advert_A3_FinalAW - Copy (2)J1582 Troystown Ladies Day Advert_A3_FinalAW - Copy (2)

I was also there last November and I’ve compiled my favourite shots from the day - below. You can see all of the shots from the day - here. Of course, there’s a lot more to racing than fashion – check back next week for my favourite shots of lots of other people from last year.

Navan is the only November Ladies Day in Ireland so its a great occasion for fashionistas looking for a pre-Christmas day out. There’s fab prizes of a holiday and a shopping spree for the ladies and there will also be a new Best Dressed Gent competition.

So, onto to the pictures - we start with Aileen Campbell of Aileen’s Beauty Suite – followed by Milliner Mairead Traynor with celebrity judge, Marietta Doran who is also back again this year. They are on the balcony of the Arkle Bar.

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Next are two Ladies Day regulars looking cosy in red – Louise Allen and Linda Morrison.

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But for Tracy Duggan in blue, style was more important than the cold! And of course there are plenty of bars and restaurants on the course to warm up after parading in the style stakes.


Jane Allen wasn’t getting cold anywhere though!


Here’s Geraldine Shalvey enjoying the Course’s restaurant.


Next are Rebecca Finnegan & Elaine Sheridan heading for the Ladies Day Lounge.


Here’s Ciara Murphy and Elaine Bury of Style Goes Racing assessing the odds.


This is Shauna and Erin Lennon at the Ladies Day Lounge.

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Here’s the first of the best dressed finalists – Ciara again.


Veronica Marley in green was also a finalist – she went on to be the summer winner at Navan last June.


Shauna Carroll and Gráinne Ní Shuilleabháin were two more finalists.


Here’s two shots of all the finalists including Sabriana Callan – with judges Marietta Doran and Pat Mullaney of sponsor Navan Town Centre.

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And finally, here’s a few shots of the Best Dressed Lady Gráinne Ní Shuilleabháin

017-20151122_Navan-Ladies-Day_7390-©-2016-John-Coveney017-20151122_Navan-Ladies-Day_7390-©-2016-John-Coveney 018-20151122_Navan-Ladies-Day_7422-©-2016-John-Coveney018-20151122_Navan-Ladies-Day_7422-©-2016-John-Coveney 019-20151122_Navan-Ladies-Day_7398-©-2016-John-Coveney019-20151122_Navan-Ladies-Day_7398-©-2016-John-Coveney

[email protected] (John Coveney Photography - People Places & Wildlife) Aileen Campbell Best Dressed Lady Ciara Murphy Elaine Bury Elaine Sheridan Geraldine Shalvey Gráinne Ní Shuilleabháin Ireland Jane Allen John Coveney Photography Ladies Day Linda Morrison Louise Allen Mairead Traynor Marietta Doran Navan Navan Racecourse Navan Town Centre Orla Lennon Pat Mullaney Proudstown Rebecca Finnegan Sabrina Callan Shauna Carroll Style Goes Racing Tracey Duggan Veronica Marley at the races best dressed fashion hats millinery winter Fri, 11 Nov 2016 14:15:20 GMT
Birding in Barleycove I was in Cork recently when news broke of a Red-flanked Bluetail on Mizen Head. This Eurasian Taiga relative of the Robin  was only recorded in Ireland for the first time in 2009 - search with “Red-flanked Bluetail” on Irish Birding for a list of records. This was the sixth record, in quick succession to the fifth earlier in October at St. John’s Point in Co. Down. It was giving itself up for Fionn Moore on its second day on the 24th – but I couldn’t get there then!! Nonetheless, I was very hopeful early the following morning as I left Cork on the little-known “shortcut” to Dublin via Mizen Head! After missing out on trips to Dursey Island back in 2009, and to St. Johns Point recently – surely this would be third time lucky . . . ??

But to misquote Allen Saunders

“birding is what happens when you make other plans”

(John Lennon was just one of many copiers when he included a version of the quote in his Beautiful Boy song!)

So there wasn’t a sign of it for the whole morning until I had to leave at lunchtime. At least, it didn’t dig the knife in like the St. John’s Point bird which, after I spent most a day looking for it to no avail, turned up again the following day grrrr!

Despite all this, there are a lot worse places to spend a morning dipping, as you can see from this seven shot stitched panorama of Barleycove Beach – taken from the garden where the Bluetail . . . wasn’t. Still, it was good to make new birding friends and catch up with old ones.


I also spent a lot of time practising my long lens technique on the common birds in the area – and this shot of a Dunnock or European Accentor was the best of them. I say European Accentor, because its cousin, the Siberian Accentor, has had an unprecedented European irruption this autumn with over a 100 records in Europe and 12 in Britain – hopefully one will struggle through to Ireland and answer to prayers of many Irish birders before the autumn migration closes in the next few weeks!


The settings for this shot were 1/1000th of a second, f5.6, and ISO 3200 at 400mm on my Canon 100-400mm MkI lens. I get so many blurry shot bird shots that I sometimes I start doubting my kit – but when I get one like this, it reminds me that the weakest point in my setup is always . . . me!

Anyway, I was pleased at the quality of the image, despite the high ISO. This was actually set automatically by my Canon 7D Mark II because I was using Auto ISO in Manual Mode – check out Steve Perry’s great video on this technique. This is brilliant for birding shots where you are constantly switching from dark to bright conditions as birds move in and out of bushes. I set my aperture to 5.6 because that’s the widest I can get at 400mm - and my speed to 1/1000th of a second because I find that, even when small birds appear to be stationary,  they seem to have subtle tremors that you don’t see when you are shooting. The key point then, is that Auto ISO automatically changes to give you the correct exposure – unless it’s too dark even for the highest ISO (16000 on the 7DII) - and then your aperture or speed readings will start flashing in the viewfinder. You may end up with a noisy shot – but if it’s a good record shot of a rarity you want – noise can be dealt with later but lack of sharpness due to motion blur is fatal! I also use Spot Metering to get the correct exposure on a small bird in the frame – as well as the central focussing point set to  Spot AF mode. The latter  minimizes autofocus distractions from surrounding leaves and twigs – check out page 196 in Douglas J Klosterman’s excellent  “Canon 7D II Experience” for more on Spot AF and why it’s better than Single Point AF for these kind of shots.


[email protected] (John Coveney Photography - People Places & Wildlife) Barleycove Dunnock Ireland John Coveney John Coveney Photography Mizen Head Prunella modularis auto ISO auto ISO plus manual beach bird photography birding is what happens when you make other plans dipping panorama twitching Sat, 05 Nov 2016 14:53:24 GMT
A Rock of a Man at Bulloch Harbour Contact me for prints.


A dusk shot taken on Offshoot's last summer meeting on 29 August - the topic was silhouettes at Bulloch Harbour. This guy went down to the water's edge to clean a few fish - you can see his bucket nearby. I asked him to stand very still for 25 seconds with his hands on his hips to make a strong shape. The other settings were f11 for good depth of field, ISO 100, and 17mm on the Canon EFS 17-55mm lens mounted on the Canon 7DII on a tripod. It  was taken thirty two minutes after sunset at 8.51pm - so the light levels were low enough for a long exposure that smoothed the water without using neutral density filters.

There are lot's more shots from other Club members here

[email protected] (John Coveney Photography - People Places & Wildlife) A Rock of a Man Bulloch Harbour Bullock Harbour Co. Dublin Ireland John Coveney Photography blog dusk photoblog rocks silhouette sunset Fri, 09 Sep 2016 17:13:01 GMT
Vintage Fashion & Motors Shoot at Shanganagh Castle

Contact me for debs, grads or any other events shots.  More pictures from this shoot here.


A while ago, I wanted to “produce” a shoot from start to finish to combine planning, location finding, wardrobe, props, model, hair, make-up, lighting . . . and of course a bit of photography as well! I’d long admired the vintage style of California based Dmitry V. Popov’s Drive Back in Time portfolio – so I asked fellow Offshoot member Tony Jobling if he would be interested in collaborating and using some of his superb collection of vintage cars – he also brought his camper van to use as a base on location. Tony had previously worked with Shaleen Chadha, so we asked her to model for us. Castlethorn Construction, the then owners of Shanganagh Castle in Shankill, allowed us to use it as backdrop. Local makeup artist, Lorraine Carraher of Hollywood Beauty did hair and makeup and Maeve Brady of Vertigo Vintage provided the outfits.

Lighting test shot of Shaleen in sunshine with curlers by Lorraine


Initial shots with Shaleen, Lorraine & Tony


Once the team was organized, there were two preparatory shoots – firstly to check possible sites at the location, and then one of Shaleen trying on outfits. We also checked the colours of the outfits against the cars – and confirmed that all the lights, triggers other gear was working. Now all we needed was the weather. The day started off bright and sunny, but we had no sooner set up our lights for sunshine and started test shots, when it clouded over  . . . and we had to change all our settings. The joys of location shooting!

Anyway, once we got everything right, Shaleen modelled the first outfit with a Daimler SP250 DART. Maeve of Vertigo Vintage describes it as follows:-

For the first outfit, the inspiration was rock star’s girlfriend very boho chic with an Edwardian camisole, 1960s skirt and 1970s crochet shawl and of course the Dart sports car works perfectly for this!  The lovely Shaleen would have fit right in at a party thrown by the Rolling Stones at a country pile!

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After lunch, Shaleen modelled a more formal 1950’s style sun dress. Here are two behind the scenes shots - firstly, with Lorraine doing the final check on the makeup and accessories – and then the obligatory selfie!

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Here are my favourites of the formal outfit. Most of them are with the Daimler 250 saloon but we finished up with a shot of Shaleen “leaving for her date” in the Dart.  Again, here’s Maeve’s description of the outfit:-

The second look is a more formal 1950s ensemble, very Hollywood starlet, with a 1980s sundress, and a 1950s stole and accessories.  Shaleen worked the two completely different looks to perfection and Lorraine’s hair and make-up were spot on for the two eras.

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As I said at the start, the theme for this shoot was inspired by Dmitry V. Popov’s Drive Back in Time portfolio. Much of his work is in black-and-white but he has some colour versions in his Flickr stream. Doing all of our shoot in B&W would not have shown the vibrant colours of the Vertigo Vintage outfits. I didn’t show any shots of the boho outfit in B&W because that was the era when we all started seeing colour on the tele! But I included a few B&W shots of the sundress, above to emphasise the dress's stripes and flowing shape.


Photographers: John Coveney Photography  & Tony Jobling - where you can see his selection from the shoot.

Model: Shaleen Chadha

Hair & Makeup: Lorraine Carraher of Hollywood Beauty.

Outfits: Maeve Brady of Vertigo Vintage.

Cars: Tony Jobling.

Location: Grounds of Shanganagh Castle, Shankill. Co. Dublin courtesy of Castlethorn Construction. Access courtesy of  Dun Laoghaire County Council via their avenue to the Castle.


[email protected] (John Coveney Photography - People Places & Wildlife) 1950's 1970's Co. Dublin Daimler 250 Saloon Daimler DART Hollywood Beauty Ireland John Coveney Photography Lorraine Carraher Maeve Brady Shaleen Chadha Shanganagh Castle Shankill Tony Jobling Vertigo Vintage boho fashion fashion shoot hats sundress vintage vintage fashion Wed, 24 Aug 2016 13:11:16 GMT
Spectacular Sunset over Bishopstown 001-Lenticular-Sunset-©2016-John-Coveney001-Lenticular-Sunset-©2016-John-Coveney


Spectacular "mackerel sky" at sunset over Bishopstown tonight.  I took this handheld panorama with my Panasonic LF1 pocket camera - 28mm, 1/60th of second, f5, ISO200. I used Lightroom to stitch nine shots taken in portrait mode - I then cropped this central portion covering about five of the shots. Processing was light - the sky really looked like this!


[email protected] (John Coveney Photography - People Places & Wildlife) Bishopstown Cork Ireland John Coveney Photography Panasonic LF1 mackerel sky panorama stitched panorama sunset Wed, 10 Aug 2016 21:51:32 GMT
Young Cuckoos, Poisonous Moths & Arctic Explorers UPDATE 2 AUG - lots of info on how Cuckoos can eat toxic moths on Brian Carruthers excellent video clip of  the Newcastle birds here

For the last week or so, crippling shots of recently fledged Cuckoos at the old Newcastle railway station on The Murrough in Co. Wicklow – notably from Eric Dempsey and Shay Connolly - have been annoy . . . ahem . . . inspiring me to find time to visit the area myself. I finally found time for a quick trip yesterday morning. As with any bird, there’s always the worry that it will be gone when you get there. So, when I arrived, it was good to see a report on Irish Birding that one had already been seen early on – whew! Irish Birding has more excellent shots of these birds from Brian Carruthers and Aidan Gilbert.  

The next question was - were they north or south along the coastal path between the railway line and the beach? Fortunately a quick scan from the level crossing showed a birder south of the old station house and, as I headed that way, I saw it was recently returned Arctic explorer Mark Carmody – and there was a Cuckoo on the fence between him and me as well!


For the next while, it flew back and forth along the railway fence hunting actively - and unbothered by the presence of speeding trains, passing walkers and bird photographers! Unfortunately, I was unable to get a shot with both a Cuckoo and a train in it.





With a bit of care it allowed close approach – close enough to see that it was feasting on  six-spot burnets that it caught easily by dropping into the grassy verges along the path.  This was a bit surprising because these brightly coloured and slow day-flying moths, and their caterpillars, are poisonous due to accumulating cyanide from their food plants. Some quick googling did not lead me to any information about the diet of Cuckoos, other than a  brief unreferenced statement in Wikipedia that they can eat hairy caterpillars that are distasteful to many birds – clearly this extends to poisonous species as well. If you know more about this, I’d be grateful to hear about it.


A moth is about to die!


Burnet a-la cyanide!

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Finishing it off! 010-Newcastle-Cuckoo-©-2016-John-Coveney010-Newcastle-Cuckoo-©-2016-John-Coveney

There's nothing like a bellyful of moths! It needs them for the amazing migration it will shortly begin to Africa, never having seen its parents! 011-Newcastle-Cuckoo-©-2016-John-Coveney011-Newcastle-Cuckoo-©-2016-John-Coveney

[email protected] (John Coveney Photography - People Places & Wildlife) Co. Wicklow Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus European Cuckoo Ireland John Coveney Photography Mark Carmody Newcastle Six-spot Burnet Zygaena filipendulae cuckoo cyanide poison Sun, 31 Jul 2016 13:49:24 GMT
Bray Air Display Day 2 - Another 100 Shots I was very pleased with my shots on the first day of the Bray Air Display - and they generated lots of interest here on my Blog and on social media. Thanks to all who viewed, liked and commented.  With better weather forecast for Day 2, I was keen to give it another go to see if I could better I could do in bright sunshine. And, not surprisingly, many of the shots are crisper and more colourful - although it could be a matter to taste if they are better!

The Day 2 programme was similar to Day 1 but there were a few additional displays, most notably the RAF's Red Arrows.  Both they and the Frecce Tricolori flew closer and did dramatic runs of the town. Apart from the flying, the main drama was a wildfire on Bray that generated a pall of smoke during most of the event. Fortunately, it did not affect the display planes, but there were no parachute displays - perhaps because the helicopter landing field at the bottom of the Head was too close to the smoke. 001-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney001-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney

On Day 2, I decided to shoot from the same spot on the beach in front of the VIP area, with the same lens, the Canon 100-400 MKI - to make it a fair comparison with Day 1. Additionally my spot on the outer edge of the breakwater a little hard to stand on - especially when leaning back to shoot directly overhead - so I didn't want to be encumbered by any additional gear.  Of course this meant that that I couldn't try wide angle or people shots - and there are lots of these on the #brayairdisplay hashtag on Twitter. Next year . . .!

I'll also update my Tips on Shooting the Bray Air Display in the near future. 

Finally, I also compiled my favourite shots from the two days here, where you can view a full screen slide show, buy downloads and order prints.

Finally thanks to all the display teams, the Bray Air Display crew, the the Irish Aviation Authority, the Irish Air Corp, and the sponsores for putting on a great show.


The Red Arrows Hawk aircraft. They put on a an extremely intensive display by splitting into two groups. No sooner had display finished than another was coming at us from a different direction. The stars of the event by a short head in front of the Breitling Wingwalkers and Frecce Tricolori. Despite their speed, I was very happy to get a few "crossing" shots.

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Two fine strong Wicklow Civil Defence guys! 027-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney027-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney

A few close ups of the Irish Coastguard Sikorsky - there was no lifeboat display on Day2. Followed by a few against Bray Head. 028-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney028-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney

Caption 1: "Put that phone AWAY!"

Caption 2: "If you drop that phone, we're NOT lowering you down to pick it up!!! 029-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney029-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 030-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney030-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 031-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney031-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 032-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney032-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney

Trig Aerobatic team flying Pitts Specials  033-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney033-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 034-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney034-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 035-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney035-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 036-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney036-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 037-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney037-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 038-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney038-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 039-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney039-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 040-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney040-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 041-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney041-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 042-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney042-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 043-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney043-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 044-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney044-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 045-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney045-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 046-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney046-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 047-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney047-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney

Aer Lingus Airbus A321.

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Breitling Wingwalkers - one of the displays of the event. Amazing to see what those women do out on the wings! 050-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney050-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 051-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney051-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 052-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney052-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 053-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney053-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 054-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney054-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 055-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney055-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 056-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney056-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 057-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney057-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 058-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney058-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 059-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney059-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 060-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney060-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 061-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney061-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 062-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney062-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 063-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney063-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 064-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney064-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 065-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney065-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney

My favourite shot from the event - I'm really happy with the level of detail here.  I was astonished to see the Wingwalkers perform some of their routines out of their harnesses, but if you look closely you can see she is attached by a safety cable - phew! 066-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney066-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 067-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney067-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 068-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney068-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 069-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney069-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 070-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney070-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney

CityJet's Superjet SSJ100  071-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney071-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 072-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney072-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney

Seafire and Spitfire (carrier version) - both privately owned.  

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De Havilland DH84 Dragon "Iolar" - Aer Lingus's first airliner in 1936 - flown by the Irish Historic Flight Foundation With a De Havilland  Chipmunk from the 1940's. 075-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney075-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney

Saab Draken - a Swedish military jet that was operational between the 1950's and the 1990's. It's now operated by Swedish Air Force Historic Flight, along with the SAAB Viggen that flew just beforehand. I'm not sure why, but my shots of the Draken were not as good as the rest of my shots. Yes, both it and the Viggen were further away and very fast but that doesn't explain why I failed to get a crisp focus. Of course, even good stills don't capture the one of the essentials of this military jets - the awesome noise! 076-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney076-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney

Any finally, here is Frecce Tricolori - Italian Airforce aerobatic team. I was impressed by their extremely close formation flying - even closer to my eye than the Red Arrows! And they knew how to get attention with green white and gold smoke trails - followed by Italian tricolor smoke trails to Nessun Dorma by Pavarotti. A fitting finale! 077-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney077-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 078-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney078-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 079-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney079-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 080-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney080-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 081-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney081-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 082-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney082-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 083-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney083-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 084-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney084-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 085-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney085-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 086-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney086-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 087-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney087-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 088-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney088-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 089-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney089-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 090-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney090-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 091-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney091-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 092-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney092-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 093-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney093-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 094-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney094-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 095-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney095-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 096-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney096-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 097-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney097-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 098-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney098-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 099-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney099-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney 100-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney100-Bray-Air-Display2-©-2016-John-Coveney

[email protected] (John Coveney Photography - People Places & Wildlife) Aeromacchi MB 339A Air Display Boeing Stearman Bray Breitling Wingwalkers De Havilland DH84 Dragon Fougas Frecce Tricolori Iolar Ireland Irish Army Air Corps Irish Aviation Authority Irish Coastguard John Coveney Photography Patroille Tranchant Red Arrows S--92Sikorsky Seafire Spitfire Superjet SSJ100 Trig Aerobatics parachuting Wed, 27 Jul 2016 19:01:10 GMT
100 Shots - Day 1 Bray Air Display - Updated Yesterday, I posted some tips for shooting the Bray Air Display based on my experience from the 2010 Display and the 2013 Dublin Flighfest. So how did I get on? Well, my 100 best shots from the day are posted below, culled from 1,410 taken! This eats a lot of time . . . especially when you add cropping, 100% zoom check for focus, and processing. Thank goodness for Lightroom’s ability to copy and paste edits!

And what did I learn?

  1. Start Time: -The show doesn’t start at Noon – it starts at 2pm! That’s when it’s licenced by the Irish Aviation Authority BUT  if you want to be there on time GET THERE EARLY and USE PUBLIC TRANSPORT! Or cycle as I did! It’s likely to be a lot busier today.
  2. Breaks: Given the shorter schedule, the breaks between acts are quite short.
  3. Weather: The forecast is for sunnier weather today- after this morning’s cloud. Hopefully it’s right – it’s hard getting really crisp shots in dull conditions – I used lots of Lightroom’s Dehaze feature - 20 or even 30% to add a bit of drama.
  4. Location: The centre of the beach in front of the VIP area. I was just north of the blocked off area but if you want to get good shots of the parachutists coming in, it may be better to be just south of it to have the light behind you. Either way, this is the best place to get “peak stunts”. I had thought of going up on Bray Head but other photographers told me they had tried this in previous years and it too far away for the small planes. So, much and all as I would like to get an airliner low, over Bray Harbour, it’s not worth it for the rest of the show.
  5. Distance: Some of the planes stay a bit far out – for safety reasons I presume. These seem to be the faster, less manoeuvrable and older planes.
  6. Shutter Speeds: it’s very difficult to get two planes flying towards each other sharp, especially jets. Today, I will try 1/8000th of a second – and even this may not work 100%. Of course this will mean that propellers will be frozen. The other option is to slow down your shutter speed so that the plane you are following is sharp and the other one in blurred to convey the action. I’ll be experimenting with this today.
  7. Anticipation: To catch planes passing each other, you have to start shooting BEFORE you see them pass in the frame. If you shoot in RAW you need to judge this unless you have a top end camera that can shoot RAW continuously such as a Canon 1DX . On my Canon 7D Mark II, the buffer locks up after a second or so of 10 frames/second. Or switch to JPEGs, where you will get a much longer burst – I think my camera will shoot JPEGs until the card fills!

That’s it – time to get ready for today’s show! And if you have read this far, you will see I lied – it’s actually 101 shots. After culling out 1,309 shots I thought I was due a break!

27 July - I updated this post with the names of and links to the flying teams.

Defences Forces Black Knights parachute team.



Fougas of the Patrouille Tranchant team from Brittany

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Air Corps Pilatus PC-9M trainers.

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Air Corps Cessana surveillance planes.

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Trig Aerobatic team flying Pitts Specials 014-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney014-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 015-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney015-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 016-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney016-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 017-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney017-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 018-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney018-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 019-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney019-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 020-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney020-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 021-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney021-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 022-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney022-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney

Team Raven flying home built RV4 & RV8.  023-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney023-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 024-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney024-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 025-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney025-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 026-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney026-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 027-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney027-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 028-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney028-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 029-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney029-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 030-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney030-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 031-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney031-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 032-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney032-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 033-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney033-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 034-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney034-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 035-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney035-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 036-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney036-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 037-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney037-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 038-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney038-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 039-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney039-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney

De Havilland DH84 Dragon "Iolar" - Aer Lingus's first airliner in 1936 - flown by the Irish Historic Flight Foundation. 040-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney040-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney

Irish Coastguard Sikorsky S-92 Rescue helicopter with RNLI lifeboat. 041-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney041-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 042-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney042-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 043-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney043-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 044-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney044-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 045-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney045-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 046-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney046-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 047-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney047-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 048-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney048-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney

Breitling Wingwalkers049-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney049-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 050-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney050-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 051-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney051-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 052-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney052-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 053-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney053-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 054-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney054-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 055-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney055-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 056-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney056-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 057-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney057-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 058-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney058-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 059-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney059-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 060-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney060-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 061-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney061-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 062-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney062-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 063-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney063-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 064-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney064-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 065-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney065-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 066-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney066-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney

Irish Parachute Club.

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CityJet's Superjet SSJ100 069-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney069-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney

Spitfire and Seafire (carrier version).  070-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney070-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 071-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney071-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 072-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney072-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 073-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney073-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 074-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney074-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 075-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney075-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 076-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney076-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 077-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney077-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney

Frecce Tricolori - Italian Airforce aerobatic team.  078-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney078-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 079-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney079-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 080-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney080-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 081-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney081-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 082-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney082-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 083-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney083-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 084-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney084-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 085-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney085-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 086-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney086-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 087-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney087-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 088-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney088-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 089-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney089-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 090-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney090-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 091-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney091-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 092-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney092-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 093-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney093-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 094-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney094-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 095-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney095-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 096-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney096-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 097-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney097-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 098-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney098-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 099-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney099-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 101-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney101-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 100-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney100-20160723-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney

[email protected] (John Coveney Photography - People Places & Wildlife) , Seafire, , Spitfire, "Superjet SSJ100", "Team Raven Aerobatics", "Trig Aerobatics", aerobatics, helicopter, "irish Coastguard", parachuting, Aeromacchi MB 339A Air Display Black Knights Boeing Stearman Bray Breitling Wingwalkers Cessna FR172H Reims Rocket Cityjet Co. Wicklow DH84 De Dragon" Fougas Frecce Tricolori Havilland Iolar Ireland Irish Army Air Corps Irish Aviation Authority John Coveney Photography Patroille Tranchant Pilatus PC-9M, RV4 RV8 S-92 Sikorsky Sun, 24 Jul 2016 10:07:37 GMT
Tips for Shooting the Bray Airshow Shooting Bray Air Show

With the Bray Air Display on this weekend, I blogged about the best of my shots from Dublin’s Flightfest yesterday. Today, I went back and re-edited my shots from the 2010 Bray Air Display. These are special for me because the last shot was part of my successful IPF Licentiate Panel. After yesterday’s post, someone also asked me if I had any tips. As with any photographic topic these days, a quick Google search give loads of guidance – mostly from American air shows where there is also access to the aircraft and crew on the ground. Bray is different in that the aircraft fly in from a different air field. Four of its strong features are that it’s FREE, the seafront location, the lack of restrictions you might have in a military base, and the presence of Bray Head. The latter gives a great background and alternative high viewpoint - so I plan to shoot from ground level one day and from the Head on the other day.

Anyway here are a few of my tips – as well as a few links to other articles. Digital Photography School (for beginners), Digital Camera Review, Photo Stack Exchange, School of Digital Photography,  Picture Correct,

  1. Preparation – check the event’s website for timing and access as well as the weather forecast – happily it looks good for Bray on both days during show times.
  2. Preparation – the show runs for five hours and there are likely to be gaps so bring food, water, sunscreen etc. During the intervals, relax and review your images for mistakes so you can get it right on the next run. Photograph people or just chat to them! Perhaps move to a different location.
  3. Preparation: Travel light, especially if you are going to move around.  Take only the gear you are likely to use in a small camera bag – this is not the day for a big backpack! Make sure your gear is ready, batteries are charged, cards are empty, and lenses are set to autofocus with image stabilisation on (easy to forget after a tripod shoot – and leave the tripod at home for this shoot!)
  4. Visualization – think in advance about what kind of shots you want and what settings you might need to get them – don’t just spray and pray! Look at airshow shots on the internet for ideas!
  5. Observation and practice – each group of aircraft usually makes a few runs, so get a feel for their routine on the first pass. Equally though, watch out for something special on the last run – but of course you won’t know which run is the last run! If there are announcements, listen to them!
  6. Perseverance – if you have not done this before – stick with it. There will be a high proportion of duds. Take lots of pictures and cull them ruthlessly afterwards.
  7. Camera(s) – a DSLR or high quality bridge or pocket camera with a zoom is best. Phone cameras will only work for the largest aircraft – and even then they will be small in the frame. They’re good for context shots though and instant posting to social media!
  8. Lenses - a long zoom for aircraft (and people!) close-ups. A standard or wide angle for context and background shots. I use my Canon 100-400mm lens as my primary lens for events like these.
  9. Positioning – shooting in the centre of the flypast may bring you closer to the peak display routines for VIPs on viewing stands. Shooting at the ends of the run can be good to capture aircraft turning in and out of display runs.
  10. Direction – the aircraft pass over the sea so you will normally be facing between NE & SE from the seafront. Perhaps go out onto one of the Harbour piers if you want to get directly under aircraft. However, some aircraft may not pass over the Pier.
  11. Lighting – the Bray Air Display runs from noon until 5pm so side lighting from the evening sun will a bit better in the afternoon but the sun will still be quite high in the sky.  
  12. Metering – ideally, you want to correctly expose both the sky and the aircraft. If you are shooting against a light sky, you could overexpose by 1-2 stops in evaluative mode to correctly expose the aircraft, or use spot metering if you have it. However, this may blow out detail and colour in the sky. If you shoot in RAW, you can afford to under expose the aircraft by 1-2 stops and bring out the shadows later in Lightroom.  During intervals, check your exposure using the blinkies - letting the brightest spots in the clouds over expose  a little is about right in RAW.
  13. Shutter speeds - greater than 1/1,000th of a second for jets. About 1/100th of a second to 1/250th of a second is good to show propellers and helicopter rotors. For these experiment in this range to get the aircraft sharp and a good blur of the moving parts.
  14. Shooting Mode & Settings: For jet shots - use Aperture Priority with the aperture wide open for maximum shutter speed – crank up the ISO if necessary – 1600 or even 3200 can work well on modern DSLRs. To blur propellers and rotors use shutter priority. If you want to include backgrounds, use a small aperture to blur it or a high aperture to keep them sharp – in the latter case you may need to crank up the ISO. A high burst rate is good as well – but shoot in short bursts to avoid filling up your cards.
  15. Focusing: Use Servo mode to track moving aircraft. If you can, move your focussing spot to one side of the frame for better composition. It’s hard to focus and recompose on aircraft moving at high speed. Either way, practice the composition during initial runs. If your lens goes way out of focus, use Bray Head to get it approximately right before trying to pick up a small or distant aircraft.
  16. Photograph people as well. If you have a wide angle lens try and get people and aircraft in the same shot – although aircraft will be very small in these shots.

Oh . . .  AND HAVE FUN!!


B52 bomber - terrifying!


Irish Air Corps CASA fisheries patrol aircraft.


Coastguard Rescue Helicopter 003-2010-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney003-2010-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 004-2010-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney004-2010-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 005-2010-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney005-2010-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney



Black Knights parachute display.


Aerobatics. 008-2010-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney008-2010-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 009-2010-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney009-2010-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 010-2010-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney010-2010-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 011-2010-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney011-2010-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 012-2010-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney012-2010-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 013-2010-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney013-2010-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 014-2010-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney014-2010-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 015-2010-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney015-2010-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 016-2010-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney016-2010-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney 017-2010-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney017-2010-Bray-Air-Display-©-2016-John-Coveney

[email protected] (John Coveney Photography - People Places & Wildlife) Air Display B52 Bray CASA Co. Wicklow Ireland John Coveney Photography Red Bull aerobatics bomber helicopter parachuting Sat, 23 Jul 2016 10:00:43 GMT
Dublin's 2013 Flightfest I’m planning to get to the Bray Air Display this weekend for the first time since 2010, so I decided to finally finish editing my shots from the Dublin Flightfest back in 2013.  As I write this, I can hear the planes doing their scouting runs over Shankill. On the day before last year’s show, I was working away in the office and I had forgotten all about it until I had the shi  . . . ahem living daylights . . . scared out of me when military jets did an ear-splitting rooftop run over the area. For a few seconds I was cowering under the desk thinking . . .  WTF??? . . . am I really going to shuffle off this mortal coil because a plane crashes on my house??? Of course I felt a bit foolish when the penny dropped – I’m glad I didn’t let off a rant to the Irish Aviation Authority!

Anyway back to the Flightfest. Like most other people, I started on the quays and like everyone else, I was getting shots mostly from directly below the aircraft.   I did manage a few side on views as they turned away from the Liffey over the Southside. Here are the best of these starting off with an A320, I think, from Aer Lingus.

001-2013-Flightfest-Dublin-©-2016-John-Coveney001-2013-Flightfest-Dublin-©-2016-John-Coveney 002-2013-Flightfest-Dublin-©-2016-John-Coveney002-2013-Flightfest-Dublin-©-2016-John-Coveney

Next  the Air Corp’s helicopters.

003-2013-Flightfest-Dublin-©-2016-John-Coveney003-2013-Flightfest-Dublin-©-2016-John-Coveney 004-2013-Flightfest-Dublin-©-2016-John-Coveney004-2013-Flightfest-Dublin-©-2016-John-Coveney



Most of the Irish Air Force!


CASA fisheries protection plane.


City Jet’s four-engined commuter aircraft the BAE-146 “Whisperjet”.


One of DHL’s delivery jets. 

006-2013-Flightfest-Dublin-©-2016-John-Coveney006-2013-Flightfest-Dublin-©-2016-John-Coveney 007-2013-Flightfest-Dublin-©-2016-John-Coveney007-2013-Flightfest-Dublin-©-2016-John-Coveney

Hercules L100-30 Oil spill response plane.

008-2013-Flightfest-Dublin-©-2016-John-Coveney008-2013-Flightfest-Dublin-©-2016-John-Coveney 009-2013-Flightfest-Dublin-©-2016-John-Coveney009-2013-Flightfest-Dublin-©-2016-John-Coveney

Not sure who these lads are!


As I said earlier, I wasn’t so keen on looking up the planes bums, so I walked towards Ringsend and the Grand Canal Docks for some side on views. Here’s Ryanair over Ringsend Church – followed by the Coastguard rescue helicopter.

011-2013-Flightfest-Dublin-©-2016-John-Coveney011-2013-Flightfest-Dublin-©-2016-John-Coveney 012-2013-Flightfest-Dublin-©-2016-John-Coveney012-2013-Flightfest-Dublin-©-2016-John-Coveney

PBY-5A Catalina - Miss Pickup – built in 1943! 013-2013-Flightfest-Dublin-©-2016-John-Coveney013-2013-Flightfest-Dublin-©-2016-John-Coveney

Sally B Flying Fortress from 1945 - check out the pilot's face!


Etihad Airbus A350. 015-2013-Flightfest-Dublin-©-2016-John-Coveney015-2013-Flightfest-Dublin-©-2016-John-Coveney 016-2013-Flightfest-Dublin-©-2016-John-Coveney016-2013-Flightfest-Dublin-©-2016-John-Coveney

And finally here’s Airbus’s giant A380 double decker. Despite its fame as the world’s biggest airliner, its commercial viability is on a knife edge. This is due to mechanical problems, the higher costs of four-engined versus increasingly reliable twin-engined aircraft, and the preference of customers for higher frequencies of flights on a route that are best served by smaller jets. 017-2013-Flightfest-Dublin-©-2016-John-Coveney017-2013-Flightfest-Dublin-©-2016-John-Coveney 018-2013-Flightfest-Dublin-©-2016-John-Coveney018-2013-Flightfest-Dublin-©-2016-John-Coveney

The pale dot in the rear cockpit window is a face! 019-2013-Flightfest-Dublin-©-2016-John-Coveney019-2013-Flightfest-Dublin-©-2016-John-Coveney

Heading into the sunset?


[email protected] (John Coveney Photography - People Places & Wildlife) A380 CASA Dublin Dublin Docklands Flightfest Grand Canal Dock Ireland John Coveney Photography Ringsend air display air force aircraft flying helicopter jets Fri, 22 Jul 2016 12:07:16 GMT
Sunset at Seapoint after Showers On Monday 11th June, Offshoot had its second summer outdoor meeting at the Martello Tower at Seapoint, led by Matt O’Brien. Despite a good weather forecast, it was bucketing when we arrived – and continued as we chatted and waited. Eventually quite a few people left, but having made the effort to get there, I decided to stick with it until sunset at about 9.50pm. I tried a few other shots including one of a rainbow over the West Pier while it continued to drizzle, but it faded before I was ready – check out Matt getting that one right here.

As I pottered around, mentally sticking pins in Met Eireann, the curve of the seawall leading to the Poolbeg chimneys slowly penetrated my consciousness as the sunset broke through and the rain cleared. I realised there might be a good panorama shot to be had, especially with the wet flagstones, so I quickly set up the camera and the tripod on the wall as the red and gold colours ramped up. Next, I levelled the tripod head so that the individual elements of the stitch would not be offset. There was just time to get three shots off to capture the expanse between the sea front houses and the seawall – and then the colours began to fade.


For those interested, here’d a quick run through on how I pulled together the final panorama. The original exposure was for one second at ISO 100, f16, and 17mm using the EFS 17-55mm on the Canon 7DII – in landscape orientation. I used f16 to get front to back sharpness and to lengthen the exposure to smooth the water – I hadn’t time to get filters on the camera. My other goal was to ensure that I didn’t blow out the brightest part of the sky – using the highlight alerts or blinkies in live view. My rule of thumb is that when a few small bright areas are flashing it's OK because the LCD image is based on the camera’s JPEG - and these slightly blown areas can be recovered in the raw file. (However, when I am doing portraits, I make sure skin areas NEVER show blinkies because it’s virtually impossible to recover over exposed skin tones – a black and white conversion is the only rescue then!)  As always, I checked focus by zooming to 10x in Live View. Next, I checked horizon with the camera’s built in level and with a spirit level in the hot shoe - the latter doesn't clutter the LCD and is always on! Finally, I used a cable release to avoid camera shake – especially as the whole set up on the wall was a bit precarious anyway! Here's one of the panorama elements as seen in the camera using the standard picture style.


Once I got the shots on the computer, the first step was to use Lightroom’s relatively new panorama photo merge (Ctrl M). This left a few gaps along the bottom. I could have dealt with these using the auto crop option but that would have cut off the tip of the central diamond – so I waited until I was in Photoshop (below). As you can see, the stitched panorama is much more contrasty than the original shot. The beauty of Lightroom’s panorama feature is that it generates a DNG raw file that can be fully edited as a unit – rather than having to copy settings from one of the individual files to the other panorama elements.

002-Sunset-after-Showers-at-Seapoint-©-2016-John-Coveney002-Sunset-after-Showers-at-Seapoint-©-2016-John-Coveney Once the stitch was done, the next step, was to set the DNG’s white balance to daylight. I know this brings a slightly blue tinge to the flagstones but as David Noton asks when discussing white balance for landscapes, “Who Am I to interfere with Mother Nature?” Next I played with the exposure, contrast, highlights, shadows, whites and blacks in the Basic Panel to develop the image, especially to bring out the contrast of the still wet flagstones. When I had pushed the shadows slider to 100%, I did a little more contrast work with the Tone Curve panel. I also added some clarity (11%) and vibrance (25%). I finished off the colour and tones adjustment with a graduated filter to bring out more of the drama in the sky.

Now that I was happy with the look of the shot, what to do with the street furniture that local authorities clutter so many public areas with? These may be necessary in high use areas, but they spoil the look of so many urban landscapes! Anyway, one choice was to take the easy option and crop the left hand side of the shot. However, I felt that the seafront houses balanced the rocks on the right hand side, so I decided it was worth doing a lot of content aware filling (tutorials here and here) and detailed cloning. I swapped into Photoshop - a simple Ctrl E from Lightroom – if you have Photoshop set as your default external editor in Lightroom’s preferences. However, there was a problem with the content aware fills on the smooth gradients of the skies. This is because they generated unnatural stepping and patchy effects in the middle of the fills where parts of the sky with different tones were brought together.

Sky-fill-step-©John-Coveney-2016Sky-fill-step-©John-Coveney-2016 I solved this by doing low opacity cloning from other parts of the sky to smooth these effects. I also used this trick to deal with a bright patch of sky at the top of the image – I didn’t want it leading viewers’ eyes out of the image.

Next I used content aware filling to deal with the gaps along the bottom, along with a bit of touching up to tidy up flagstone boundaries in the fill areas. Once all the filling and cloning was complete, the final step was to flatten the image and save it back to Lightroom and add a subtle post-crop vignette in the effects panel.

I know all this manipulation is not to everyone’s taste but I thought it was worth it for this image. It just goes to show that, SOMETIMES – the old saying about the best shots coming from the worst weather is true! Check out more shots from the evening on the Offshoot gallery, here

[email protected] (John Coveney Photography - People Places & Wildlife) Co. Dublin Ireland John Coveney Photography Lightroom Offshoot Photoshop Poolbeg Seapoint Sunset chimneys cloning content aware fill daylight white balance low opacity cloning panorama settings showers Wed, 20 Jul 2016 12:25:19 GMT
If you go down in the woods today . . . . !! One evening recently, I was minding my own business taking a quiet walk through a wooded corner of Killiney Hill  until I was set upon by these sword wielding Valkyries. . . . . 


. . . .OK,  OK it was actually an Offshoot location shoot - the first of the Club's Monday evening summer outdoor meets. Gary & Isabel from the Dublin Living History Society came along and performed viciously, under Steve's lights, much to the enjoyment of about 20 members .


Here are a few more of my own shots. You can see lots more shots from other members in the Offshoot gallery here.

Mr & Mrs Viking!


A fine figure of a Viking!




Back to back against them pestilential photographers! 005-Offshoot-Vikings-©-2016-John-Coveney005-Offshoot-Vikings-©-2016-John-Coveney



[email protected] (John Coveney Photography - People Places & Wildlife) Dublin Ireland John Coveney Photography Killiney Hill Viking medieval warriors Sat, 09 Jul 2016 19:32:52 GMT
People at Cuala Mini-All-Ireland I've previously posted the best of my shots from the Cuala Mini-All-Ireland parade and players - and here's the final post of the series - my favourite shots of the people at the event. As always, all the shots from the day are available here.


For this post, my goals were two-fold. Firstly I want to show people enjoying themselves - usually using my standard zoom lens the 17-55mm. Secondly, at half-time and in between matches I scanned around for long distance portraits with the 100-400mm lens to get natural unposed looks against a highly blurred background. Of course this approach often catches people with odd expressions on their faces, so I only post those that look well!

Did I mention that Cuala is the "Best Sports Club in Ireland"?

002-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-people-©-2016-John-Coveney002-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-people-©-2016-John-Coveney Making sure everyone's energy levels are kept up!


Sponsor & organisation team.


Minister for Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation, Mary Mitchell O'Connor TD with Chairman of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Co. Council, Cllr Cormac Devlin


The serious business of having fun! 006-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-people-©-2016-John-Coveney006-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-people-©-2016-John-Coveney 007-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-people-©-2016-John-Coveney007-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-people-©-2016-John-Coveney

Cuala people. 008-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-people-©-2016-John-Coveney008-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-people-©-2016-John-Coveney

Group shots 009-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-people-©-2016-John-Coveney009-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-people-©-2016-John-Coveney 010-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-people-©-2016-John-Coveney010-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-people-©-2016-John-Coveney 011-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-people-©-2016-John-Coveney011-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-people-©-2016-John-Coveney 012-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-people-©-2016-John-Coveney012-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-people-©-2016-John-Coveney 013-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-people-©-2016-John-Coveney013-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-people-©-2016-John-Coveney 014-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-people-©-2016-John-Coveney014-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-people-©-2016-John-Coveney

There's no place like Mom & Dad! 015-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-people-©-2016-John-Coveney015-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-people-©-2016-John-Coveney 016-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-people-©-2016-John-Coveney016-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-people-©-2016-John-Coveney 017-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-people-©-2016-John-Coveney017-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-people-©-2016-John-Coveney

More Cuala people. 018-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-people-©-2016-John-Coveney018-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-people-©-2016-John-Coveney

Individual portraits 019-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-people-©-2016-John-Coveney019-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-people-©-2016-John-Coveney 020-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-people-©-2016-John-Coveney020-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-people-©-2016-John-Coveney 021-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-people-©-2016-John-Coveney021-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-people-©-2016-John-Coveney 022-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-people-©-2016-John-Coveney022-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-people-©-2016-John-Coveney 023-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-people-©-2016-John-Coveney023-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-people-©-2016-John-Coveney 024-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-people-©-2016-John-Coveney024-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-people-©-2016-John-Coveney 025-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-people-©-2016-John-Coveney025-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-people-©-2016-John-Coveney 026-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-people-©-2016-John-Coveney026-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-people-©-2016-John-Coveney 027-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-people-©-2016-John-Coveney027-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-people-©-2016-John-Coveney 028-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-people-©-2016-John-Coveney028-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-people-©-2016-John-Coveney 029-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-people-©-2016-John-Coveney029-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-people-©-2016-John-Coveney 030-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-people-©-2016-John-Coveney030-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-people-©-2016-John-Coveney 031-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-people-©-2016-John-Coveney031-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-people-©-2016-John-Coveney 032-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-people-©-2016-John-Coveney032-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-people-©-2016-John-Coveney 033-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-people-©-2016-John-Coveney033-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-people-©-2016-John-Coveney


[email protected] (John Coveney Photography - People Places & Wildlife) Co. Dublin Cuala Dalkey Dublin GAA Ireland John Coveney Photography Mini-All-Ireland portraits Wed, 06 Jul 2016 16:40:29 GMT
Players at Cuala Mini-all-Ireland Last Friday, I posted the first of three blog posts on Cuala's 2016 Mini-All-Ireland - the parade through Dalkey Village. Today, I'm posting the second installment - my favourite shots from the matches - and tomorrow I'll post the best of the people shots.  All the shots from the day and previous Cuala events can be seen here - from where high resolution files can be downloaded.

Let's start off with a stitched panorama of Hyde Park with the Mini-All-Ireland in full swing. 001-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney001-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney

Here's Fergal "Hooters" McGuinness getting the matches going.


The kids in the Cuala Academy range in age from about six to nine years old. Initially I used my standard 17-55mm zoom lens as I did a walk around of some of the matches. As the pitches are small it works well but when the players are really close, the high viewpoint is not ideal.

003-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney003-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney 004-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney004-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney 005-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney005-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney 006-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney006-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney 007-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney007-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney

Once I pick out a match that I want to spend a bit more time with, I switch to my "big gun" the 100-400mm and, crucially, I break out my low folding chair. This means I can get really close to the action at HEAD HEIGHT. From an adult point view, they may be kids getting to grips with game but this angle captures the action and drama from the players' perspective. 008-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney008-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney 009-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney009-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney 010-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney010-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney

Goaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaal!! - but of course it sounds much better from Guomundur Benediktsson in Icelandic! 011-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney011-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney

Talking tactics . . . and have fun!  012-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney012-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney 013-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney013-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney

Getting a bit more serious!  014-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney014-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney

Things can get a bit quiet when you are the goalie on a team doing well! Even when I am mainly shooting with the long lens, I keep the standard zoom handy on the second camera body for moments like this.


The greatest field sport on Earth - and of course the Irish are totally unbiased in that view! 016-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney016-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney 017-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney017-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney 018-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney018-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney 019-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney019-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney 020-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney020-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney

The "clash of the ash".  021-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney021-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney 022-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney022-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney

Team talk! 023-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney023-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney Girl power!

  024-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney024-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney 025-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney025-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney 026-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney026-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney 027-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney027-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney 028-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney028-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney 029-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney029-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney 030-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney030-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney 031-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney031-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney 032-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney032-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney

Back to the lads! 033-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney033-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney 034-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney034-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney

Determination!  035-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney035-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney 036-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney036-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney 037-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney037-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney

And a bit of encouragement . . .   038-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney038-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney 039-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney039-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney

. . . reaps rewards! 040-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney040-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney

The nine year olds taking it pretty seriously . . . in this attempted blockdown. 

041-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney041-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney 042-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney042-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney

The joy of victory! 043-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney043-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney

What goes on the field stays on the field.  044-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney044-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney

 Thanks to all the refs for running the matches. 045-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney045-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-matches-©-2016-John-Coveney

[email protected] (John Coveney Photography - People Places & Wildlife) Co. Dublin Cuala Dalkey Dublin GAA Gaelic Footbal John Coveney Photography Mini-All-Ireland hurling Mon, 04 Jul 2016 12:30:48 GMT
Cuala Mini-All-Ireland Parade It was great to be asked by Cuala GAA - the best sports club in Ireland according to the Irish Times - to photograph their annual Mini-All-Ireland on 25 June last. The Mini-All-Ireland is the end of season tournament for their Academy players between five and eight years old.  The day starts with a parade from the Sue Ryder Foundation through Dalkey's Castle street and finishes as the Club's grounds at Hyde Park. The shots in this post give a flavour of the parade and the the following two posts will focus on the players, and then the people at the event. All my shots from the day and previous Cuala events can be seen here.


It was great to have a fine day as everyone assembled in their teams and age groups at the start point.

001-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-parade-©-2016-John-Coveney001-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-parade-©-2016-John-Coveney 002-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-parade-©-2016-John-Coveney002-Blog-Cuala-MAI2016-parade-©-2016-Jo