202/365 Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata


I always enjoy looking through past images… mostly because you can see how much improvement I have made over the years. Sometimes you come across images that stand out from the rest and using up to date processing technique brings them to life… thats exactly what I’ve done with this one. Its of a Spotted Flycatcher taken somewhere in Wales (it was that long ago I can’t remember!). When I looked at the exif data I had quite a shock… taken in July 2004 with a Canon 100-400mm and… wait for it…. a Canon EOS 300D!!

202/365 Spotted Flycatcher

173/365 Black-headed Gull feeding


Whilst down at the coast yesterday I decided to have a short mini project on Black headed Gulls.  I learnt a lot about their feeding behaviour and how to utilise this to gain better photographs.  It was putting the autofocus system of the 5D mk3 to the test and I can honestly say it coped extremely well.  It is certainly a project that I will be continuing. Here is one of the best from the day.  Not perfect but I like the way the water is trickling down from the bird as it rises from the water.

Black-headed Gull, Chroicocephalus ridibundus, Glamorgan, Wales, February, 2013.
Canon 5D mk3 with Canon 500mm f/4 L IS lens.

173/365 Black headed Gull

075/365 Sunset


Image no 075 is of a view you have from the Malvern Hills when looking west at sunset.  The main hill at the top of the image is Hay Bluff, part of the Black Mountain landscape in Wales.  It is approximately 60miles from the Malvern Hills.  On clear days it is a prominent feature on the horizon.

050/365 Red Kite


To end the weekend, image 050, shows a Red Kite in full stretch. Such a beautiful bird to watch and always a pleasure to photograph as they soar around massive expanses of blue sky. Photographing this individual in late evening light, I waited till the bird started to bank, and fired off a round of shots as it got into the perfect position.

Red Kite, Milvus milvus, Rhayader, Powys, Wales, January, 2011.
Canon 1D mkIV with Canon 500mm f/4.0 L IS lens.

005/365


Image 005 shows a diving Red Kite.  These birds are absolutely beautiful in the right light but when they start to dive they will test even the most advanced autofocus system. Studying their movements before hand will surely help get sharper results.

Red Kite, Milvus milvus.  Rhayader, Wales.
Canon 7D with Canon 500mm f/4.0 L IS 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.