Happy Christmas to all

Swinford Camera Club would like to wish all our club members and everyone in the Swinford community a very happy and peaceful Christmas and a happy New Year. The camera club will be taking a break from meetings for the festive period and will resume on Wednesday the 20th of January. Perhaps you are planning on making some new year resolutions? How about taking up photography as new hobby, then why not join Swinford Camera Club in the New Year? New members are always welcome, especially beginners.

Surprise visitor on Christmas Eve

happy christmas santa clause and sleighSwinford camera club have learned recently that there will be a surprise visitor passing over the Mayo skies on Christmas eve! We got notification that Santa Clause has applied for permission to fly over the sky in Swinford early on Christmas eve. We believe that he will be checking if the children have been good, before he makes his delivery of presents later on that night.

Geminids meteor shower

Photo: Nasa

Santa Clause has been given permission to fly over Swinford to check on all the boys and girls at 5.19pm on Christmas eve. He will be flying over Swinford from the south west and going towards the south east, roughly from Foxford towards Kiltimagh direction. Rudolf’s nose will be shining bright white so as other planes and satellites can see them! Hopefully if the skies are clear we will be able to see Santa and his raindeer flying over for approximitly 2 minutes, and will look similar to a shooting star. We have our camera set up here and ready to get a photo of Santa Clause. Let us know if you manage to see him too!

Thu Dec 24, 5:19 PM 2 min 18° 18° above SSW 10° above SSE

camera set up for santa clause

Here’s some Christmas photography tips

Christmas is a great time for photo opportunities, so here are just a few Christmas photography tips for you to try out. It can however throw up some challenging conditions. Between all the Christmas lights giving different lighting conditions, to excited kids opening presents, it can prove challenging to get the shot you are looking for. However a little bit of pre-planning can make a huge difference to your photos. These tips apply anytime, not just at Christmas!

Photographing People

Portrait-Scene-Mode-iconYou will most likely be photographing people around the Christmas time. Whether its at your work Christmas party or of the family at Christmas dinner. There are a few handy ways to tell your camera that people are the priority you are photographing. On all cameras both compact and dslr, there are different camera “modes”. One of the handiest is the “Portrait” scene mode. On some of the newer compact and mobile phone cameras there will also be “face detection” mode. On touch screen cameras and phones you will also be able to touch on the persons face to focus!

scene modes symbols

Scene modes symbols

The other thing to be aware of is your shutter speed. For posed group shots you shouldn’t need something too high, although beware of your camera’s image stabilisation system which may cause the shutter speed to be lower than you want it for such an image. Generally, anything under 1/40sec should be avoided, so try to make sure your camera is set to something higher to suit the situation. For particularly animated children – or indeed, other livelier members of the family – think about increasing this further to make sure any movement is kept sharp, and if conditions are particularly challenging, consider using flash.

Get “Up Close”


Close up scene mode icon, may also look like a child.

Christmas is a great time to focus closer than you may otherwise, as there are plenty of smaller details typical of the season that deserve to be captured in their own right. Again you can use your scene mode to capture close up shots. A close-up of a bauble on the tree, a festive bow or a ribbon wrapped around a present; the holly on top of the Christmas pudding – all of these things say Christmas without you needing to contextualise them with other details.

It also pays to think about your camera’s colour mode or white balance here. While you may want to stick to standard or portrait options for more natural people shots, Christmas tree decorations and other festive embellishments can benefit from a more vibrant option to give images more impact. Play around and take the same shot but change the white balance to see the different results between daylight, shade, florescent and tungsten for example.


White balance display icons

Photographing Kids

Christmas is all about the kids, and what presents Santa has brought them, depending on how good or naughty they’ve been of course! Kids love Christmas so what better time to capture their expressions of joy and surprise? Getting down to their level can help you to take photos with more pleasing composition. No need to get too close, use your zoom lens so that you are not in their face and can keep back a bit. You can also use your high speed shooting or burst mode to give you a better chance of capturing that moment of joy as the presents are being ripped open. Take plenty of photos, you can always delete the excess ones later if you want!

Take Photos!

Of course you don’t always have the camera with you (I know my camera bag always seems to be left at home when I most want it!) but at least I always have my phone in my pocket! Even a basic mobile these days can take quite good photos. The best camera in the world, is the camera you have in your hand to get the photo. Christmas always gifts a few unexpected moments that you may want to relive, from granddad snoozing in front of the telly, the lighting of the Christmas pudding to the tree falling over or any other mishaps. Obviously make sure you have a camera to hand when opening presents too!