230/365 Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus

One from the weekend at a falconry centre where a green background just didn’t cut it.  I decided to use a grey barn door behind the Peregrine Falcon as it acted as a very effective stormy cloud backdrop.

Canon 5D Mk3 with Canon 500mm f/4 L IS and Canon 1.4x III teleconverter.

230 365 Peregrine Falcon

Article: How to photograph Black Redstart

I have just finished an article on how I photographed a pair of Black Redstarts in a Hungarian garden in June.  Lots of information and details included for those who are interesting in setting something like this up from start to finish.

The pdf can be downloaded by following this link to my website:

How to photograph Black Redstart

Black Redstart

Little Owl Athene noctua

Whilst waiting for bee-eaters to land on a perch in front of the hide, a Little Owl surprised me by landing on it instead. A little squeak from myself got it looking straight down the barrel of my lens, but it soon lost interest when it realised I wasn’t food. Great to see it at short range. 
Little Owl, Athena noctua, Hungary, July, 2013
Canon 5D3 with Canon 500mm f/4 L IS with 1.4xIII converter. 1/250s at f/5.6 at ISO1250.

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188/365 Little Owl

051/365 Dunlin abstract

To start the week, image 051, is a slow shutter speed image of a small group of Dunlin whizzing along a coastal headland. I’m creating these abstract images more and more and prefer them to the static shots I would usually take. There are many ways to get a slower shutter speed with your camera. This was photographed at around 1/60th sec. I usually shoot in Av mode on my Canon camera, so reducing the ISO to 50 and increasing the aperture value allows me to shoot slow shutter quite easily, depending on the ambient light. The hardest part is panning in perfect speed with the birds flying in order to get their heads sharp and these birds are not exactly slow 😉

Dunlin, Calidris alpina, Somerset. January, 2010.
Canon 1d MkIV with Canon 500mm f/4.0 L IS lens.

050/365 Red Kite

To end the weekend, image 050, shows a Red Kite in full stretch. Such a beautiful bird to watch and always a pleasure to photograph as they soar around massive expanses of blue sky. Photographing this individual in late evening light, I waited till the bird started to bank, and fired off a round of shots as it got into the perfect position.

Red Kite, Milvus milvus, Rhayader, Powys, Wales, January, 2011.
Canon 1D mkIV with Canon 500mm f/4.0 L IS lens.


Image 005 shows a diving Red Kite.  These birds are absolutely beautiful in the right light but when they start to dive they will test even the most advanced autofocus system. Studying their movements before hand will surely help get sharper results.

Red Kite, Milvus milvus.  Rhayader, Wales.
Canon 7D with Canon 500mm f/4.0 L IS lens.


Target practise…

When at any coast, I always strive to photograph waders of some variety, whether it be an Oystercatcher flying along the beach, a Ringed Plover hesitatantly searching for food, with its stop-start behaviour, or the Sanderling, as they constantly run along the shoreline, with their little legs whirring and feet hardly touching the ground.  Waders rank second in my list of favourite bird families to photograph, just behind birds of prey, and just in front of ducks and geese.  When photographing waders on the ground, they provide wonderful entertainment as they forage along the shoreline.   In flight, they are even more spectacular.  Zipping past at lightning speed, these Dunlin were hard to keep track of with a 500mm lens.  More often than not I would just get a head or a tail in the frame.  They definately can put the speed on when they need to .  These are worthy birds to get sharp photographs of as they twist in and out of each other and providing havoc for the auto focus trying to lock on to them.   
Leaving their high tide roost I was fortunate enough to get lots of small flocks (and some considerably larger flocks) flying past a position where the sun was directly behind me.  Trying different shutter speeds, apertures and panning speeds gave me the results below.  Panning along side them with slower shutter speeds gave varied results and often produces more throw aways than keepers. 
If you do have the wonderful opportunity to photograph any sort of waders or any bird for that matter, make sure you take the time to just put the camera down for 5 minutes and watch them.  Its all too common for photographers to take pictures 100% of the time and miss the spectacle that is happening in front of them through their own eyes.