How I Took That Shot – Ray O’Connell

This shot by Ray O'Connell took 1st place in Grade B in our recent 'Black and White' projected competition. This is how it came about:

My entry of “Rider falling from a horse” was taken during the club shoot at the Point to Point in Carrigtwohill, Co. Cork on 3rd Feb. 2019. It was a mixed cloudy/bright day and I was lucky to get some moody clouds during my shot which cut down somewhat the danger from highlights in the sky. Shooting fast-moving animals / objects I tend to use Shutter Priority mode (TV on my Canon) and you need to set a very fast shutter speed to freeze the action which can mean compromising on the depth of field as you
need to open the lens up more (small f-stops numbers) but this also can have the effect of making your subject jump out against the background. I used 1/1250sec for this shot on my Canon EF 70-200mm f2.8 lens at 95mm, ISO 100 which gave me f3.2.

Positioning is very important so I stood on the track just past one of the jumps and side on to the approaching horses to catch them as they landed. Post-production in Lightroom I removed Chromatic Aberration / Enabled lens profile, increased blacks and shadows, brought down highlights and whites. After these changes, I then
converted the photo to B/W by using the Lightroom preset “B/W Low Contrast”. There was a rope extending from the pole to the edge of the photo behind the horse which I found distracting so removed this in Photoshop using the Spot healing brush.

 - Ray O'Connell


Saltee Island Shoot – June 2018

The Saltee Islands are a pair of small islands lying 5 km off the south-east coast of County Wexford in southern Ireland. Our photo shoot was to Great Saltee which is privately owned by the Neale family. It is recognised as a birdwatchers' paradise as well as a beautiful location for a day trip and picnic. It has the second most important nesting colony in Ireland for gannets but throughout the island, there are also significant numbers of other species such as puffins, cormorants, razorbills, manx shearwater, kittiwakes, guillemots and shags.

Day visitors are allowed on the island between 11.30am and 4.30pm. Our arranged trip, which takes 15 mins, left from Kilmore Quay and it is strongly advised to book in advance as the boats are restricted to 12 passengers. The disembarkation onto the island is rather scary as it can involve a jump on to wet rocks.

After a short 10 min stroll, you arrive at the impressive cliff faces, each populated by a different species of bird. There are great views of the birds as you walk safely along small trails close to the cliff face but take extreme care if you wish to venture closer to take a photo. An invigorating 25 min walk up a steep incline will bring you to an incredible vista of 1000’s of gannets who permit you to come close to the colony – an incredible experience!!

Click here to see a gallery of images from the shoot. Enjoy!

 - Ray O'Connell



ECCG ‘Festive’ Competition – 06/02/2018

Coming so quickly after Christmas, hopes were high that the 'Festive' theme would entice a good entry to our first internal competition of 2018 and we were not disappointed as twenty-nine entries were received. The image above by John Tait was the overall highest scoring image on the night and took first place in Grade A.

These were the 1, 2, 3s in each Grade:

Grade C saw Neil O'Carroll on the winner's podium for the first time with Ray O'Connell and Paul Stack in second and third respectively.

Noelle Lowney won Grade B by a comfortable 29 point margin from Keith Johnson in second followed by Denis O'Flynn in third.

Grade A was the real battleground in this competition with different competitors occupying the first, second and third berths at different times as the votes were recorded. In the end, though it was John Tait who took the top spot from Fidelma Read by a winning margin of only eleven points with Eileen Upton coming home in a very credible third place in her first outing in the Grade. The Grade A placings were replicated in the Overall first, second and third spots.

Well done to all our winners and everyone who entered, especially to those entering for the first time.

Click here to see a gallery of images from the competition. Enjoy!

See also:
How I took that Shot - John Tait
How I took that Shot - Noelle Lowney
How I took that Shot - Neil O'Carroll
Winners Presentation Photos
Competition Results and 2018 League Table

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