Published on October 11, 2009, by Mark
Over the past few months I’ve been very busy and had little spare time for photography, however I took a week off work mainly to celebrate my son’s birthday, but I did manage to get out for a couple of days photography at Snettisham in Norfolk and Bradgate Park in Leicestershire. I had hoped to get shots of the wader flocks and Red Deer each place was respectively famous for.
Snettisham definitely lived up to it’s billing – I’m still trawling through over 800 images. Bradgate Park was quieter on the Red Deer front than previous years and the weather wasn’t great but after most of the other photographers had gone I did get some good bird shots, so definitely not a wasted journey.
Published on October 8, 2009, by Mark
As a Nikon user I have never had to experience Canon customer service, I know of a few photographers that have not had the best experiences, I met another one last weekend, he had enough problems that he switched to Nikon. I now know how he feels, I bought a Canon video camera 18 months ago it has since developed a battery problem which has blown the power supply/battery charger. OK stuff happens even when used lightly. I guess this is how Canon plan to make their money as a replacement battery and charger cost £120, over half the price of the camera, needless to say, I won’t be buying Canon again.
Published on August 1, 2009, by Mark
Photography, particularly wildlife photography, appears to have taken off in a big way. Unfortunately or fortunately if you’re a pro trying to make a living, some of these “photographers” don’t consider mounting their lens on a stable platform. I recently sold a Wimberley gimbal head on eBay and one of the many questions I received asked if it would fit a specific type of tripod, upon investigation I found out that the tripod was not designed to support his current lens and body let alone the aditional weight of the head.
Another encounter confirmed my thought that the support you give your camera and lens is often undrestermated, in this case “machine gun man” (don’t get me started on that one!) came equiped with two camera bodies and promptly mounted one on a contraption consisting of a pocket tripod and a tube grip with a tiny lens mount on top. I cannot image he got any shots that were sharp.
I purchased my first big glass 4 years ago, a Tokina 300mm f2.8, knowing that I needed to improve on my birdwatching tripod and head, I ended up spending just as much on a tripod, ball head and gimbal attachment as I did on the lens. I’ve since invested in a 600mm lens and even with my current setup it requires the right technique to get sharp shots at low shutter speeds.
Published on October 11, 2008, by Mark
I got talking to the warden at Snettisham RSPB reserve earlier this week, famed for its huge flocks of waders that congregate in and around the pools when there is a spring tide. For years the RSPB have hired out a dedicated photographic hide with a lower perspective than the public hides, from this hide many award winning and inspirational photos have been taken, well this is about to end. Next week, the last ten or so photographers will get their chance as after this the RSPB have decided to remove it because of excessive disturbance. In some respects I’m not surprised, there does seem to be an element within the wildlife photography community which appears to have very little regard for their subjects.
I spent a couple of mornings at Bradgate Park as it’s the rutting season once again, and what a contrast, the first day was wonderful with mist, great light and even vapour from the deer’s breath. The second day was not as good, it was considerably warmer, therefore no mist or vapour especially as there was also a lack of deer (in the right place). However, I was compensated by getting some Pied Wagtail shots that I’m proud of.
Published on August 29, 2008, by Mark
There’s something magical about a Kingfisher, the most common view of these magical birds is a flash of blue and orange as they whizz by.
I’m quite lucky, I live near a nature reserve which has a healthy population and a hide which over looks a pool with some nearby perches. I know a number of photographers who have already travelled quite a distance to see these particular birds and came away with some good shots, but while I was there today I found out that some people were coming from as far away as Norfolk specifically to photograph the Kingfishers, I was amazed, it’s usually me heading in the opposite direction to the bird mecca that is Norfolk.
Published on June 19, 2008, by Mark
Over the last few days I have spent some time at my local nature reserve trying to delve into the world of insect photography something I hadn’t been successful at before. This time I used a Nikon 300mm f/4 AF-S and sometimes with a 1.4x TC and/or 36mm of extension tubes all mounted on a tripod fitted with a Wimberley Sidekick. I found this setup really easy to use, I was also able to keep a good distance away from my subjects so not to disturb them. This setup was recommended by Danny Green an award winning wildlife photographer and a master at dragonfly photography. I’ve not quite reached his standard yet, but I am very happy with the results, so much so that I will probably sell my redundant 105mm Macro lens to fund some other piece of camera equipment.
The only downside to this type of photography is the number of nettle stings and mosquito bites I seem to be scratching at.
Published on May 26, 2008, by Mark
Over the past few months I’ve been tinkering with different methods of showcasing my photo’s on the internet. I already had a website, but it was quite time consuming to keep up-to-date and therefore often got neglected for months on end. I also had a blog, but I couldn’t create a gallery. I then found weebly.com a completely web based website creation tool, very easy to use and you could set up a blog and a photo gallery, unfortunately, I felt the gallery module had its limitations, it was OK for holiday snaps but didn’t satisfy my needs for the detail required in wildlife photography.
I then discovered iWeb a Mac based program that had been sitting on my hard drive all the time, I’ve not used it due to my belief that you could only export the finished site to a .Mac account, a £60 a year web service that apple provide, but you can export it to a file which you can then upload using an FTP application. It’s incredibly easy to use and there are so many different templates and different ways you can make the website look like your very own design.
If you’re wondering why the picture of the Puffin, it’s just a favourite that I’ve found deep in the archives.
Published on January 8, 2008, by Mark
I took myself over to Norfolk at the weekend and it seems I was not the only one, I arrived at Salthouse at first light with no one else around, but within an hour there must have been 15 other photographers as well as an increasing number of birders arriving mainly to see/photograph the Lapland and Snow buntings that have been there for a few weeks now.
I must be turning into a grumpy old man as I really didn’t enjoy this experience as much as I have previously when there have been only one or two others, maybe it’s the thought that everyone else will have the same shots as me. So trying to be different I thought I would have a go at some flight shots using my D2X’s High Speed Crop mode, something I hadn’t tried before.
Published on December 2, 2007, by Mark
Winter has arrived and it looks as though we’re set for plenty of wind and rain over the next week or so, I’m just hoping it’ll change before I break up for christmas in a couple of weeks. Here’s a picture of a Blue Tit from a week ago at Draycote Water, my local reservoir. On the calmest of days this place is often blowing a gale, so there are only a few select days when the water is calm enough for good photography, unfortunately it was not one of those days, so I chose to sit in the only hide and see what turned up at the feeders.
With the light quickly disappearing I managed to real off over 300 images of Blue Tits, Great tits, Chaffinches, Greenfinches and the odd friendly Robin before the warden came calling and told me I’ve got 10 minutes to leave and not to drive my car around the 10km track again as it is now banned, apparently it’s OK for fishermen to drive around because they have a lot of equipment, have they tried lugging a 600mm F4 around!
Published on November 17, 2007, by Mark
I live and have only lived in the midlands, previously when I headed for the coast I inevitably forget to check when high or low tide is, this lead to a few wasted journeys, like arriving at Titchwell to photograph waders just as the tide is going out. So, now I’ve got into the habit of checking the tides before leaving, you can check websites for the next 7 days, but for some reason tidal information in the UK is copyright and you have to pay to get it!
After a bit of searching I found a fantastic piece of software for the Mac called Mr. Tides 3 you can get tidal information for many locations around the world for anytime in the future, very useful if you want to book the photography hide at Snettisham next year.