224/365 Misty Knot Calidris canutus


Definitely a marmite shot for the viewers of my blog.  I wanted to capture the big flocks of Knot during the hide tides at Snettisham RSPB in Norfolk.  Setting the alarm for stupid o’clock in the morning I arrived on site to the sound of hundreds of thousands of Knot on the estuary.  I emphasise sound of Knots as I couldn’t see 20 metres in front of me because of a heavy sea fog that had enveloped the whole of the estuary.   Getting into position I knew the fog would lift eventually but not as soon as I would have liked. As the tide came in all those thousands of Knot, Oystercatcher, Godwits, Dunlin, all those fantastic birds I should have been photographing were pushed off the estuary where they were feeding to roost on the reserve, straight over the top of my head.  The only problem was the fog was still to thick to do anything with them.  After an hour or so, the sun started to burn off the fog and small shapes were starting to appear.  Even though you can’t make out what the birds are (unless you an expert in identifying birds’ silhouettes) I still liked the contrast and mystery of these images as the birds tried to find a place to roost.

Knot, Calidris canutus, Snettisham RSPB, Norfolk, September, 2013.
Canon 5DIII with Canon 500mm f/4 L IS lens.

224/365 Knot

207/365 BBC Wildlife Magazine published image


It is great to see one of my images almost full page in the November issue of the BBC Wildlife Magazine! Check it out on page 58.
The image is of a group of Sanderling on a very windswept beach on South Uist, Outer Hebrides taken in September last year.
The current issue is on sale now from all good newsagents. More information on the current issue can be found here:http://www.discoverwildlife.com/issue/november-2013
Here’s the image:

207/365 Sanderling

163/365 Gannet


An image from South Uist when I was photographing in a force 6 gale! These gannets were mesmerising to watch as they used different flying techniques to move over the ocean. The ‘shearwater’ technique of flying was most popular to get through the gales. I found a large boulder on the beach to hunker down behind to get out of the wind and spent at least 2 hours photographing their comings and goings. This image is one of the more abstract of the series and is actually a colour image. If you look very carefully you can still the yellow colour on the head of the gannet.

Gannet, Sula bassana, South Uist, Outer Hebrides, September, 2012.
Canon 5d Mk3 with Canon 500mm f/4 L IS lens and Canon 1.4x II converter.

161/365 Misty Tufted Duck


Following on from the previous post and not wanting to miss the first appearance of the Osprey I moved around to the opposite side of the reservoir.  The mist was still apparent but no where as thick as it was.  I noticed a female Tufted Duck bathing in the water and knew that she would flap her wings after she had finished.  Setting up, it was just a matter of waiting.  She was fairly distance so opted for a more minimalistic approach to the image.

Tufted Duck, Aythya fuligula, Upton Warren, Worcestershire, September, 2012.
Canon 5dMK3 with Canon 500mm f/4 L IS lens and 1.4x II converter.

160/365 Misty Mallard


Getting up early sometimes gives you the edge over images taken later in the day.  Wanting to photograph the osprey in one of the previous posts (here), I was on site about 20mins before sunrise.  Looking at the weather forecast the night before and expecting a clear blue sky (which it was), what I didn’t realise was that the reservoir was going to have a very thick layer of mist hanging over the top of it.  Within an hour this mist was gone, being burnt off by the heat of the sun.  Knowing that the best pictures would be taken through the mist towards the sun I positioned myself in the best spot and waited for the sun to come up over the horizon.   To say it was fantastic was an understatement.  I would have been more than happy just to watch this scene unfold in front of me with mysterious shapes and shadows dancing around in the mist being backlit by the rising sun.  Im just glad there was a fair bit of activity with gulls and ducks making fairly regular appearances and coming within camera range for a decent photograph.

Mallard, Anas platyrhynchos, Upton Warren, Worcestershire, September, 2012.
Canon 5d MK3 with Canon 500mm f/4 L IS lens.

 

156/365 Osprey


A migrant Osprey had decided to take a pit stop at Upton Warren NR in Worcestershire for over a week. Hearing about this from the local bird reports and never witnessed a fishing Osprey it was an opportunity to good to miss so I decided to set my alarm for 5.15 to be on site for just before the sun rise.  Having a fishing Osprey in front of you is an awesome site as it circles round looking for its next fish dinner and with a slight flick of its wings drops like a stone to hit the water like one, completely submerging itself in the process. It was great to witness and also fantastic to photograph.

Osprey, Pandion haliaetus, Upton Warren, Worcestershire, September, 2012.
Canon 5dMK3 with Canon 500mm f/4 L IS lens and 1.4x II converter.

123/365 Carrion Crow


Crows are probably the hardest to photograph as they are very intelligent and don’t really like being within close proximity to people.  I got lucky with this individual and managed to get a full frame photograph.  To bring out the most of a crows plumage overcast conditions are the best as it really shows off all of the feather details.

Carrion Crow, Corvus corone, Malvern Hills, Worcestershire, September, 2009.
Canon 40D with Canon 500mm f/4 L IS lens.