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.
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
Wildlife photography at best can be very frustrating and this was one of those times… Black Redstarts in Hungary are a very common bird but trying to get an image of one that matched the one in my head proved to be a bit more difficult.
With several pairs of Black Redstarts feeding young within a 200m radius of my perch I was expecting a lot of activity but the different pairs have very confirmed feeding boundaries. I did witness 2 individual males singing from the same chimney proclaiming territory so this must have been the boundary between the two territories.
Eventually my patient paid off with the male sitting on the perch and having a preening session. Using a slow shutter speed (which was due to low light conditions) I was able to get a few frames with the head sharp and the rest of the body blurred.
Black Redstart, Phoenicurus ochruros, Hungary, June, 2014.
Canon 5D3 with Canon 500mm f/4 L IS with Canon 1.4x III teleconverter., car as hide.
Please click for larger image.
For all those that have missed the previous post, I am running a great day photographing birds of prey at the Barn Owl Centre, Gloucestershire on Sunday 6th October.
Please see my previous post for the details here: BIRD OF PREY WORKSHOPS
If anyone is interested please get in touch with me.
A few days ago I posted about my new bird of prey photography workshops. For those who have expressed interest already here are the details. If you are interested in this great workshop please contact me using this link here: CONTACT IAN
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One from the archive when I was shooting on a 20D! Image 088 is of a Long tailed Tit. One of my favourite birds and one that I really need to point my lens at again.
Long tailed Tit, Aegithalos caudatus, Warwickshire, January, 2007.
Canon 20D with Canon 500mm f/4 L IS lens.