200/365 Dunlin Calidris alpina

The small pools at Salthouse in Norfolk are a great place to photograph small wading birds at close range.  Last week was no different with a small group of juvenile Dunlin feeding between 3-10 metres away from where I was positioned. A great way to spend a morning.

200/365 Dunlin Calidris alpina

082/365 Avocet Recurvirosta avosetta

Todays image is completely different from yesterdays in terms of lighting. Yesterdays image was against a strong colourful backdrop producing a silhouette effect. Todays image of an Avocet was taken on a very dull, overcast day. Rather than having an image looking very flat and lifeless, I overexposed it massively to try and get a high key image and produce an image that was worthwhile keeping.

Avocet, Recurvirosta avosetta, Cley, Norfolk, September, 2008.
Canon 40D with Canon 500mm f/4 L IS lens with Canon 1.4x extender.

055/365 Spur winged Plover

Todays image, 055, is of a Spur winged Plover. We found a pair of these birds nesting near a small pool by our hotel. Due to the amount of human traffic around the pool, the male was constantly trying to push people away from the sitting female. It made for great flight shots of this species. You can see the ‘spurs’ on the wing, from where it gets its name.

Spur winged Plover, Vanellus miles, Red Sea, Egypt, April, 2009.
Canon 40D with Canon 500mm f/4 L IS.

051/365 Dunlin abstract

To start the week, image 051, is a slow shutter speed image of a small group of Dunlin whizzing along a coastal headland. I’m creating these abstract images more and more and prefer them to the static shots I would usually take. There are many ways to get a slower shutter speed with your camera. This was photographed at around 1/60th sec. I usually shoot in Av mode on my Canon camera, so reducing the ISO to 50 and increasing the aperture value allows me to shoot slow shutter quite easily, depending on the ambient light. The hardest part is panning in perfect speed with the birds flying in order to get their heads sharp and these birds are not exactly slow ūüėČ

Dunlin, Calidris alpina, Somerset. January, 2010.
Canon 1d MkIV with Canon 500mm f/4.0 L IS lens.

Cumbria break

Sorry for the lack of posts recently but its been pretty quiet for me photography wise as I’ve been completing orders from the studio and wedding work from over the winter period.¬†¬†I did however, manage to get a week long break in Cumbria around Barrow in Furness a fortnight ago.¬† Although researching¬†sites around here for certain subjects was quite difficult, it was a surprise to see the lack of waders around this side of Morecambe Bay.¬† Considering Morecambe Bay is one of the UK’s strongholds for wintering waders I would have thought opposite here would have been too.¬† Obviously not!
Walney Island Wildlife Trust Reserve was on the list of places to go and was a very nice place to visit.  Although the hides were well placed to see birds, they were too far away for bird photography.  6 Emporer Goose was an interesting find, although I read later on that these were from a captive pair that have bred succesfully in recent years! I did manage some Eider duck on the beach and a nice Little Egret with a rainbow in the background on the estuary.
Leighton Moss RSPB was also on the hit list, but very dissapointing to be honest.  I was told a visit to the Eric Morcambe hide at high tide was well worth it for the waders.  As high tide pushes the waders off the estuaries and coastline of Lancashire, some make their way to the pools around the reserve.  Even though I visited the hide at high tide and on a day where there wasnt a cloud in the sky (double bonus!!) there were about 10 Redshank around the pools.  The water levels of the pools had not been dropped so there was no shallow water for the waders to roost or feed in.  A few displaying Pintail and Shoveler made up for the loss but these were at a distance so no photographs were obtained.
On the last evening, the sunset spilled through the clouds meaning that I could capture a couple of wind turbines in very atmostpheric lighting . 

Photography will start to take off again in the coming weeks with a few trips planned so please check back for more info and more photos (hopefully!!!)