Sunday, 1 September 2013

Photos from Inverary

I'm back! If you're wondering where I've been, read on. If you just want to see some photos from Inverary, you can skip most of this and head straight down to the images!

So if you've been following this blog at all, you've probably noticed that things here have somewhat ground to a halt over the last three months and I have to admit it's entirely PhD-related. I'm coming up to the end of my 3rd year just now, and courtesy of a (really important) conference in June followed by two months working flat-out in an attempt to meet a self-imposed, unrealistic and unnecessary deadline, my stress levels have been creeping progressively higher for a while now. It's been more or less entirely self-inflicted too, but it's meant that I've not been going out to do the things that I find relaxing (like photography) because I've been feeling too guilty about not working. But then the stress gets higher and your work gets worse and all in all, it's a pretty bad place to be. It's fine when it's short-term, but not so great in the long run. I'm sure pretty much everyone has been there at some point.

Last week got to the point where the workplan clearly wasn't working, so I binned my deadline and went back to working the way that works for me (no Gannt charts!) and instantly felt better. This was also pretty much the point I noticed how crap the last 2-3 months have been, and when I also learned that if I don't want to go out with my camera to photograph wild things because of work, I'm probably working too much!

Anyway, this weekend I got the camera back out for wildlife for the first time since my last research cruise in April(!) and we headed up to Inverary (west coast of Scotland) for a day out with the dog. Since it was an an unusually sunny day the town was pretty busy, but there were still a few birds rummaging around the flats at low water when the dog wasn't charging around! I didn't get anything amazing, but here are a few of the better shots:

There were a LOT of jackdaws on the beach, which is a little unusual - most of the times I've been up that way it's been hooded crows everywhere.

These two had a brief fight over a patch of seaweed, which was over in about 5 seconds!

The bright sun didn't make for ideal shooting conditions without a polariser, but allowed for some nice silhouette shots. These are three redshanks and an oystercatcher feeding below the tide line.
Redshanks feeding along the shore.

Until the dog couldn't wait any longer to play in the sea and came to see what I was doing!

Most of the trips our dog gets to the seaside happen when I'm out to take photographs, so it was a pretty awesome day out for him too! Sonny's a rescue dog from the cat & dog home in Glasgow and can be pretty reactive around other dogs, so finding a quiet spot to let him off the lead and play is great!

Of course, if I'm taking photos I'm not the one who has to dog-sit. I'm not sure if Kevin had quite as good a day as Sonny and I did!

Heading home via the Loch Fyne brewery, we spotted this small herd of red deer on the hillside too.

So that was our trip out! I'm fully intending to do this more often from now on, so with a bit of luck the blog posts will pick back up again over the next few weeks. Until then, don't forget you can keep up to date with my news and various happenings in the marine world via my facebook page at