When it comes to pretty much every skill in this life, there’s nothing quite like having a great mentor to steer you right.
Most have to settle for a distant hero, a poster on their wall, or a teacher who gave them the chance to shine in class.
When it came to 20-year-old Cian Cardiff and his passion for nature photographer, the Greystones lad went one better by having his inspiration and mentor in his life every single day. The fact that this particular hero is also Cian’s granddad helped ever so slightly on that front.
Step forward, the mighty Brian Keeley, a man whose photographs have become a daily fixture on the Guide for the past three years. And just as Brian never ceases to amaze us with those frozenmoments of natural beauty, so too has his grandson mastered the fine art of capturing the magic that’s all around us daily.
If we know just where to look. And we have the patience to wait for just that right moment, when the light is just so…
Every great artist knows there’s always a young buck coming up behind, ready to take their crown. We’re guessing that Brian Keeley is more proud than scared that this future king is kin…
In the meantime, we asked Cian to pick three of his own works, and three by others that have inspired him, along with, firstly, a little background as to how he got from there to here.
I first became interested in nature at a very young age and it developed as my grandfather and father began to show me a wide variety of birds, mainly around my hometown of Greystones. Watching birds around The Cove was where I saw my first wintering black redstart, and purple sandpipers. Seeing these species then gave me the encouragement that I needed to progress in the bird identification world, and be lucky enough to find the 7th Irish record of a very rare warbler. Which made for some very nice photos….
1. Song Thrush For once this week, I managed to get up relatively early! Luckily I did, because as I opened the curtains, I was greeted by this stunning song thrush having a morning snack.
2. Bearded Reedling Mr. Mustache, checking me out at the edge of the reeds. One of Ireland’s rarest breeding birds, we are lucky enough to have Bearded Reedlings in the garden county, even if their number is very small.
3. Whooper Swans A family of whooper swans arriving from a long journey from Iceland, to feed on our rich variety of crops, such as the sugar beat of the Wexford Wildfowl Reserve – where hundreds of these graceful birds can be seen. And all so close to home!
Without doubt, the person that has inspired me to take my photography to the next level is my grandfather. Mr. Brian Keeley, a well known man in Greystones! One of the town’s top photographers. Even though he is limited to the car for taking most of his pictures, he still pulls off some fantastic pieces of work. Which has always been a huge inspiration for me…
1. House Martin by Brian Keeley ” A species mainly found feeding on fly’s high in the sky. Yet my grandfathers determination to get up at silly O’Clock in the morning and get snapping has clearer paid off here!”
2. Waxing by Brian Keeley A rare wintering visitor from Scandanavia, this delightful fella was found on a dark, dull and all-round miserable day. That would put most photographer’s off going out into the wilderness – but, yet again, my grandfather took the soaking, sitting in the car with the window down, to get the perfect shot!
3. Brent Geese by Brian Keeley This picture just sums up bird migration and Greystones in a nutshell. A flock of brent flying towards Kilcoole marsh, to feed before their long journey back to Arctic Canada. This once again shows how my grandfather tries to open the eye of the Greystones community to wildlife on their doorstep…
We’ll be featuring lots more of Cian Cardiff’s magnificent nature shots over the coming years and adding them to his gallery here. In the meantime, you can check out his inspiration’s incredible work right about here. And here. And here.
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