We have been fairly lucky with the weather here the past week or so and we’ve had some lovely sunny days – great dolphin spotting weather! So last week was the first chance that I’ve had to practice with the pier watch equipment whilst there have been dolphins close to the harbour wall. I am relatively new to using DSLR camera equipment but am familiar with all the various settings but this was a whole new experience as I have not had much practice with manual focus. It is hard enough to get decent photos of such a mobile animal when you have a fast autofocus let alone when you have to use manual. As you can see below I have some room to improve!
This particular mother and calf pair were spotted at 15:50 about 100m from New Quay pier. They were in the area for around 45 minutes and were displaying feeding behaviour. Feeding behaviour often involves swimming in various directions, some splashes and long dives as well as the occasional leap or tail slap among other behaviours.
There were certainly lots of fish around to attract the dolphins along with the abundant local sea bird population. Several schools of fish were seen jumping over the surface of the water and some were washed onto the rocks by the waves. As you can imagine it was something of an all you can buffet for the seagulls
The mother and calf stayed a fair bit out from the pier for a while so to practice with the manual focus and moving animals I tried taking some shots of flying birds which I think worked out well for a beginner with the digiscope.
The photo below shows what can be achieved when you have a bit more practice with the digiscope and when the dolphins come in closer
By Louise Russell