Archive for February, 2012

Great Crested Grebes displaying. Spring is in the air…

Monday, February 27th, 2012

I had a change of subject this weekend and went in search of Great Crested Grebes.

I have photographed this species before from a fixed hide which I found limited my options photographically. Not wanting to repeat this I made a few calls to some photographic friends and a couple of new sites were identified. On Saturday the light was not so good so I decided to visit one site, without my camera, accepting this was a research only trip. That turned out to be an error! Armed with binoculars I soon located the Grebes and found I was able to get relatively close. Within a short time I found myself just 10 metres away before a pair of mating Grebes performed their spectacular “reed dance”. A truly magical display of affection. Frustrated that I didn’t have my camera is an understatement. Despite the poor light I decided to head home, collect the camera and return optomistically to the same spot. Surprise surprise, they had gone.

On Sunday the light was a little better so I returned hoping to see the Grebes at close quarters. Again no sign. Finally I found some Grebes fairly well hidden in the bank. After some time they did venture out into the open and started to display to each other, however, without the reeds this time.

A Robin – flying backwards and upside down…

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

My current project – “Small birds in flight” has shown me some unusual positions and shapes that birds adopt during their travels.

The high shutter speeds needed for this type of photography effectively freezes the action. This enables me to see behaviour that my tired old eyes just cannot detect.

Here is a Robin as it decided suddenly, and without notice, to change direction. I didn’t know that they tuck their feet up tightly when they fly backwards and upside down…

A Great Tit – part of my Small Birds in Flight project.

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

Here is another image from my “Small Birds in Flight” project.

I have found that I need at least 1/2000 second shutter speed to ensure enough of the bird is acceptably sharp. The number of days this month that have afforded me that possibility have been very limited. Consequently I am only adding to my collection of small bird in flight images fairly infrequently. However, spring is on its way so hopefully I will get more time on this project during March.

Here is a Great Tit caught hovering mid air.

Small birds in flight, the latest challenge…

Sunday, February 12th, 2012

I have started a new project recently. The challenge is to record images of small birds in flight…

When I started photographing birds over four years ago, any “Bird in Flight” image was seen as a real achievement. Rightly or wrongly, BIF images as they became known, were perceived to be a far greater challenge than the more popular “Bird on a Stick” variety. With the development of digital cameras and faster automatic focussing lenses, the task of photographing medium and large sized birds in flight has definitely got easier. Don’t get me wrong, I am still very happy and proud to produce such BIF images, just take a look at my last half a dozen posts on this blog, however a new challenge was required.

So far I have managed to record some images of the more common woodland and garden birds. I am hoping to extend this early success into some of the less common species over time. Here is a Blue Tit to demonstrate my progress to date…

My best Short Eared Owl image so far?…

Monday, February 6th, 2012

Here is another Short Eared Owl image from last weekends session.

Having spent a couple of months now trying to photograph these wild Owls, the elements finally came together. Personally speaking, I feel that this image is my best Short Eared Owl picture to date. On this particular day there was little or no wind so the Owl was quite likely to be out hunting. The low winter sun was shining which helped me to get some light under the wings. By positioning myself carefully in the field, I was able to include complimentary tones in the background and when the Owl flew towards the sun, I took this picture, which lit up his eyes.

It doesn’t happen very often in nature photography but when the elements do all combine together it makes the two months of preparation seem all worthwhile.