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.
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.
From an early age I think most parents have told their children not to play with their food… I’m glad I’m old enough to break the rules..
Setting the home studio up I had a ‘play’ day where I was testing the limits of my flash duration on my studio lights for future projects. Throwing objects into a tank of water was a great way of testing the flashes to see if i could freeze the motion of both the falling object and the splashes that they created. It was lots of fun but not without its’ problems.
If anybody wants to know how to shoot these type of images please drop me a line.
Heres one of my favourites.
…i now just need to find out where I put the goldfish…
Canon 5D Mk3 with Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II. 1/160s @ f10 at ISO640.
After wasting 15 minutes trying to find the latest downloads to Canon EOS Digital Photo Professional and the EOS Utility I have finally found them so I thought I would post the link here so people can go straight to them if they are searching google and Canon like I was. The links are through Canon Europe and for a Canon 5D Mk3 but it will work for all your Canon cameras (apart from the 7DII which i will presume they will release an update soon).
Here is the link to the software:
Just choose your operating system and language and all the latest software and updates will magically appear below.
After having a quick look at the DPP software it looks a massive improvement on the old one so I’m looking forward to seeing the details when I get round to having a play.
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
Photographing in local towns and cities is something I tend not to do on a regular basis. Sometimes though, a particular scene catches your eye and you think, giving the right situations, the possibility for a special image is there. Most major cities will have their own local colony of Lesser Black backed Gulls. This is the same for Worcester. Passing the River that runs parallel to Worcester on several occasions I noticed that at certain times of day some of these gulls would have their daily preening session. I’d also noticed the reflections of the buildings on the opposite side of the river. I planned the photography to be done during the best weather conditions to make the most of the situation. The image below is one of my favourites from the session. Its definitely a place I will be going again as there are plenty of possibilities to be had here.
Juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull, Larus fuscus, Worcester, Worcestershire.
Canon 40D with Canon 500mm F/4 L IS lens.