I hope everyone has had a wonderful time over the Christmas period. Personally, I think I’m still full from the Christmas dinner!
Well, it’s that time of year (again!) where we all start thinking about New Years’ resolutions and how we would like to move forward into 2016…
Before I do that I would like to show you 9 images that I have photographed over 2015 that have special memories for me.
May I taken this opportunity to wish everybody a very healthy and fun filled 2016 with lots of great photographic opportunities and wildlife encounters…
Images from left to right, top to bottom:
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) in display flight
Lesser Celendine (Ranunculus ficaria) flower
Drake Garganey (Anas querquedula) against sunrise
Pair of Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus) courtship display
Mountain Ringlet butterfly (Erebia epiphron)
Greenfinch (Carduelis chloris)
Close up image of Green-barred Swallowtail (Papilio palinurus) butterfly wing
A very cheeky European Pine Marten (Martes martes)
!!! HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE !!!
Last weekend was supposed to be a weekend of fast action and quick reflexes with a boat trip booked to photograph the diving gannets from the sea at Bempton Cliffs. Unfortunately, the 30mph westerly winds put a quick stop to that and the boat trip was cancelled for safety reasons. Up to the top of the cliffs it was then!
With Bempton Cliffs being an extremely popular location with photographers, I wanted to take some more unusual images and this is one I really liked of two Gannets in a courtship display against the rising sun.
Northern Gannet, Morus bassanus
Canon 1Dx with Canon 500mm f/4 L IS with Canon 1.4x converter.
1/4000s at f/8 at ISO200
Please click below for larger image.
We have lift off…
I had been watching this individual very carefully and following its movements. I knew i wanted an image of it in flight so increased my ISO to 3200 which gave me a shutter speed of 1/6400 which was enough to freeze the moment of take off. All that I needed then was to have the luck to capture a nice wing angle which this image does nicely.
Canon 5D3 with Canon 500mm f/4 L IS lens.
1/6400s at f/7.1, ISO3200
There’s a phrase in Hungary which is spelt ‘nem jó’, pronounced ‘nem yo’ and means ‘no good’. In this recent trip to Hungary I was it a lot when asked how the wryneck photography was going. I have never been so frustrated in all my photography years.
Wryneck in the UK are a regular passage migrant but you have to be very lucky to find one. With one or two breeding every few years in the UK, they are all but extinct as a UK breeder and are highly protected when they do so photography is out of the question.
To hear the news that a wryneck was nesting in the garden of where I was staying in Hungary you can imagine how excited I was. My imagination was running wild with all sorts of images I was going to achieve of this very elusive species. To cut a 7 day story short, the image I had in my head didn’t materialise. What I wanted to achieve was the image below but in much better light. This particular photograph was taken at 10.22, 5 hours after sunrise. The background light hitting a distant tree is extremely harsh even though the bird itself was shaded by a large vertical stump of the tree where the nest box was. The balance between bird and background was just too much. Had it had been overcast it may have worked better. I planned another 4 sessions in the morning and late afternoon but this male didn’t want to play fairly. I ended up getting on the plane with no images of this species in great light which should have been fairly easy given the circumstances. It has certainly been a learning curve and one that has left me inspired, although extremely frustrated at the time. Patience was certainly a virtue. Although I didn’t get the image I had planned it was fantastic to see such a beautiful bird every day and I’m glad that I achieved this image to show you all.
Canon 5D Mk3 with Canon 500mm f/4 L IS lens, 1/400s, f10, ISO1600, on remote setup (hence the ISO1600).
It’s always a great feeling when you see your images in print but even better when they are used as a front cover! The British Birds journal has used my Stonechat image for their May issue. This is such a great informative journal on all things avian and is a must read for any one with an interest. For more information on the contents of this issue click here: http://www.britishbirds.co.uk/article/british-birds-may-2015/
Please click on the image to view a larger version.
I’m in Hungary at the moment and as the weather is raining with 25mph winds I have stayed in to go through the images from the last few days of photography. On the first day I used the car as a hide and drove around the country lanes to see what i could find. Different birds react in varying ways when approached slowly by car but Corn Bunting are quite easy to get close to. This Corn Bunting was the first bird of the day and just minutes after the sun had appeared along the horizon. i like how the pink hues are still in the sky and the low sun is rim lighting the bird. Worthwhile getting up early for.
Canon 5D Mk3 with Canon 500mm f/4 L IS lens with Canon 1.4x III converter. Car as hide.
1/160s, f/5.6 @ ISO800.
Please click on image to enlarge.
Photographers often say that the best photographs are taken close to home and I have to agree with this.
I would really like to describe how I trekked miles in to a remote ancient woodland and fought off three bears for this image but it would be far from the truth as the location was in the garden. The garden is very wildlife friendly and a section of it in the spring is covered by a yellow carpet of Lesser Celandine. The celandine is from the Ranunculus family which holds around 600 species including the buttercups. I particularly liked this image with the composition and depth of field.
Canon 5D Mk3 and Sigma 150mm f/2.8 macro lens with angle finder.
Handheld. 1/250s, f/4 at ISO400.