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).
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.
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.
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
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Ian Butler Photography October 2014 Newsletter
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