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Image 015 is a pair of Shelduck flying against a very stormy background.  Dark clouds in the background and subjects in full sun are one of my favourite weather conditions to photograph in. It creates a high dynamic range to the image and also gives a lot of impact.  I like this image so much I have it as a large canvas in my office. 🙂

Shelduck, Tadorna tadorna, Gloucestershire, March, 2009.
Canon 40D with Canon 500mm lens.

Flight photography – Canon 800mm f/5.6


I had a few days off last week and had the chance to try out the new Canon 800mm f/5.6 L IS lens with my Canon 1D Mk4.   I’ve used it already photographing around my local areas but thought I would have to put it through its paces by taking it to Slimbridge WWT in Gloucestershire for flying wildfowl and Gigrin Farm in Powys at the Red Kite feeding station.   At Gigrin, with over 300 Red Kites in the air at once, there were no end of subjects to photograph and Slimbridge was equally effective with  small  flocks of Pintail, Mallard and swans filling up the airspace.
I can honestly say it is a fantastic piece of kit that I would love to have the money so I can add it to my equipment list (any offers out there!!?).  With an aperture of f/5.6, I was surprised at how quick the autofocus was at finding subjects.  It is very responsive (probably because the subjects are so large in the frame!!) and locks the subject in focus consistently.  It is even quicker when the range distances are correctly set on the lens.  I often found when photographing subjects at different distances it took a while for the lens to track from minimum focusing distance and then to infinity, but once focused on the subject it didn’t want to let go.  With the lens itself being 4.5kg in weight, on several occasions I found myself handholding this lens without any problems.  A big plus for those situations where tripods can’t be set up quickly enough. 
With mixed weather at both Slimbridge and Gigrin, the presence of dark snow clouds mixed with sunny intervals allowed me to get some interesting photographs with atmospheric results.  I love photographing in these conditions as photographs have an extra depth and edge to them compared to the usual all blue or white overcast skies that are usually present.
Below are some of the results from my trips.  Hope you enjoy.

When the light is too low for photography……


…..get artistic!!!

Spending part of the New Year period with some close friends in Somerset allowed me to visit some new places for photography.  New Years Day was going to be crisp and frosty which normally leads to a really stunning sunset so a visit to Sand Point was needed.  Walking to the end of the point allowed an uncluttered view over the estuary towards Flat Holm and Steep Holm.  The colours in the sky were really intense and was well worth the visit.  After getting the pictures I wanted of the sunset, I started to walk back in the near darkness watching the hues of the sunset just hinting above the horizon to what colours they were just half an hour before.  Knowing that the colours of the sky would still be picked out by the cameras sensitive sensor, but also knowing that it was too dark to get static pictures I started to get artistic! The results are below. What do you think? More images of this session will be appearing on ALAMY soon so please keep checking the link to the right.
If anybody wants to know how I captured the first two images (or any images for that matter) then please get in touch.

All of the images seen here (or on Alamy, or my website) can be purchased as prints or canvases.  Please get in touch for more details.