Dolphins. Little feckers.

They were right there, fewer than 10 metres off the bow of the boat. But would they come closer and put on a show for the camera? Would they, my general purpose seat. On previous shoots, I've had dolphins buzzing the bow of a boat like overeager puppies. It makes for terrific footage. But this time, when it would have made a client video sparkle? No. The stinking mackerel munchers kept their distance.

I was filming with Skellig Coast Discovery, who run marine tours around the Cork and Kerry coasts. We were out at the Bull Rock, filming the rock and a passage through the tunnel that runs from one side to the other.

In summer, the sun rises and the moon sets in line with the tunnel beneath the rock. Usually, the weather in Ireland makes it hard to plan a shoot to capture these phenomena. But the first half of our summer was remarkable for its prolonged spell (weeks on end) of stable, clear skies. The skies were so clear that the sun and moon weren't lost in the horizon haze either.

Threading the eye of the needle

Flying my drone just behind the boat through the tunnel was an experience. I was transfixed on my control screen, focussing on the shot and worrying about what would happen if the drone had a funny turn. Water below and surrounded by unforgiving walls. On top of that, the noise of the drone and the boat engine echoing off the walls of the tunnel was something else.

The key thing about that shot was the exposure. I wanted to make sure that the moon would be a distinct disc in the sky, and not burned out, when we emerged from underneath the rock.

The dolphins hadn't been part of the plan. But as they were there, we thought we could entice them into the video. In the end, we had to go to them. Such primadonnas.

Love photography? Want to learn how to produce images like this yourself? Check out my sister site, Elevation, where I list the photography tours and workshops that I organize.

I run trips within Ireland and abroad. Past destinations include Iceland, Greenland, Svalbard and the Faroe Islands.

Post your comment

Peter Cox Photography Ltd