108/365 Mallard under willow tree


I’ve been editing some images recently and came across this one I took last autumn.  I really like this image as its so rich in textures and colours. Its of a drake Mallard and is very chilled out sitting underneath this over hanging Willow tree.

Mallard, Anas platyrhynchos, Gloucestershire. 2011.
Canon 1d MkIV with Canon 500mm f/4  L IS lens.

As always, please click on the image to enlarge.

106/365 Eider macro


Today’s image is of a close up of a female Eider duck. This is one example where you can use a super telephoto in place of a macro lens. I’d noticed this Eider duck sleeping so decided rather than to shoot a standard portrait with my 500mm I would try and get as close as possible and fill the frame. In order to this, I had to put a 25mm extension tube between my lens and camera to reduce the minimum focus distance of the lens. What results is a frame filling abstract image of a sleeping bird.

Eider, Somateria mollissima, Gloucestershire, June, 2008.
Canon 40D with Canon 500mm f/4 L IS lens and Canon 25mm extension tube.

018/365


Image 018 is of a flying Shelduck.  Its great to get the right lighting on these species as it really shows off their bottle green head and the irridescent green patch on their wing.

Sheduck, Tadorna tadorna, Gloucestershire, January, 2012.
Canon 1D mkIV 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.