You Beauty !

05th March 2010
Several months ago I lost the remote control for my camera. I often use slow shutter speeds and therefore would use the remote to trigger the camera. I have missed it on many occasions when I have wanted to use shutter speeds of longer then 30seconds, as that is the longest shutter speed I can set in my camera without a cable release or remote control. I regularly use the self timer on the camera as an alternative so as to avoid camera shake. Usually when photographing landscapes I use a small aperture, this means a slow shutter speed and therefore I use the self timer with its ten second delay to trigger the camera.

This morning I was up before the sun and went to Kinlooey Lough to try and capture the sunrise. It is about two months since I was there for a sunrise and I had not allowed for the fact that the sunrise would now appear at a different point, this meant a dash back to the car to drive around the lough for a better vantage point. I just about made the sunrise, and was sorry I had not arrived ten minutes earlier.

Once the sun actually came up I started to take pictures of the other side of the Lough I had my camera set up when from behind me I heard the call of a swan as it came in to land, I looked over my shoulder and saw two swans about to hit the water, it was a spectacular sight and I grabbed at my camera which was on a tipod but of course I just fumbled and missed the shot. Never mind I thought and went back to my landscape. I set the camera to manual focus, and manual controls, using a polariser to enrich the colours I had set the camera to 1/5th of a second at f22.

As I double checked everything I heard the call of the swan again from over my right shoulder, this time I did not need to turn around to see what it was, I simply grabbed the camera off the tripod, put the polarizer in my pocket, switched on the auto focus, switched the camera to aperture priority , set the aperture to 5.6 and set it to overexpose by one stop. All this was done in the blink of an eye! I now turned and as I put the camera to my eye I saw five, yes five, swans falling out of the sky, the lighting was magical, the sun was low and partly behind them there was mist on the water and they were coming in a formation the red arrows would have been proud of! This was a career making shot! I locked focus on the leader waited a further second or so for the right moment, as it approached, I was heard to say “YOU BEAUTY “ and I pressed the shutter button on my Nikon, my Nikon responded by saying “ beep beep beep ” for 10 whole seconds!!!! The self timer was still on!! The camera fired as the fifth swan hit the water!

I just had to laugh at myself, I thought I had thought of everything and had demonstrated such speed and more then a little agility!! Of course I was disappointed but the adrenalin rush was incredible, I still feel I witnessed something really special and of course I can keep replaying it in my mind I just cant share it with you. I was back in the Gallery at 8.30 to sort a few things before heading off to Cork for a couple of days. The first thing I did on arriving in Cork was to buy a new remote control for the camera !

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