Monday, 31 October 2011
So taking a walk to the western end of the reserve to the Kingfisher hide (no Kingfishers ) I set about getting some images of common garden birds. Yes, the sort of thing I get regularly in my back garden.
I haven't put much time into these common little birds over the recent past, so I set about to rectify that.
Lots of sightings of various Tits, Finches and a delightful Reed Bunting, which sadly didn't pose in a suitable place for me.
But here are a few common birds, that always give me great pleasure to watch.
Sunday, 30 October 2011
I have to say that its great being in our new home, Its beautifully built and the setting is lovely, We had a nice welcome pack from the neighbours with wine and chocolates and a gift for our dog, So far so good,
Saturday, 29 October 2011
Nothing particularly special; but a few more images to share with you.
I have a few more common bird shots from this part of the reserve to come next time. Again, nothing special or rare, just some quite nice shots of common garden birds, a subject I have overlooked for much of this year.
I also had a cracking day at Wesonbirt Arboretum (home of the BBC Autumnwatch for the first four episodes this season, before they head off to Slimbridge next week) yesterday morning, with some really wonderful misty light, so I shall look forward to sharing some special shots from that visit on future blogs.
Friday, 28 October 2011
Last night my wife and i sat in the screened porch after a very long couple of days and popped open a bottle of bubbly, The dog gave a growl and we could see a large female white tailed deer in the garden going for the corn that i had put out, Its great to have that kind of wildlife so close,
The bird feeders have now gone out so time to sit back and await our first arrivals
Thursday, 27 October 2011
Firstly, the weather here in the UK. Just what the heck has been going on in our part of the world. Once again, unbelievably dry until today, when I have a day off work!! But a consequence of that has been the total lack of fungi this year in my favourite haunts. I was really hoping a few weeks ago that this would be a good year, but with the the very occasional show on one of two non descript fungi, it has been the poorest year that I can remember since I have had a photographic interest in them.
Maybe it the rain of today, and the cooler temperatures things might change.
I guess many of our UK readers will have seen the new BBC natural history series, Frozen Planet, that was on last night. Wow what a stunning HD spectacle it is. Reading through my twitter feed last night afterwards, it seems many were live tweeting the events, judging by the comments about the 'poor seal' that got dragged off the ice by Orca. The pack hunting of these creatures was stunning, and if you haven't seen it, then get it iPlayer. Some tough scenes and the tweets reflected that. I guess if Killer whales were called something a little less dramatic, they would get a better press. I certainly admired the resolute filming by the guys less than a metre away as they came through the ice hole.
While I am on about twitter, please let us know how many of you have a twitter id as it would be good to see your daily thoughts through that media. I know many people don't use it, but I find it invaluable for a lot of wildlife sightings and information. There are too many to id on hear, but check out who I follow here, and there are some good wildlife people and photographers on there. Our last guest photographer blog was by that route. My id is @martind01 . Leave us your id via the comments.
With the next few days off, I am hoping to get out with the camera a bit more so looking forward to sharing some of the recent material I have got plus some I am hoping for.
One final good news story I picked up yesterday was here with a wind farm planning application not being permitted due to Hen Harriers. Good to see these scars on the landscape being refused.
Best of luck to Dave today with his move. It can be a stressful time.
Back next time with some pictures.
Wednesday, 26 October 2011
My home internet gets turned off tonight as we finally pack up here, We move on Thursday and 99% of our gear will be packed up tomorrow, I am not sure when the new house will have internet so i will to pop into Starbucks to give updates
We met with the builder today and he said that there were 6 deer in the garden when he arrived this morning, I could hear a Kingfisher at the pond although i could not see it through the trees so all good signs
Tuesday, 25 October 2011
Dave turned up the night before and we had an evening out in Stratford before heading across to Wales early the following day for some photography of British birds of prey, captive in a controlled environment, and a run down to Gigrin Farm for the Red Kites on the day after that.
It was a fun weekend and we got some good images.
Here are a few from the archives that were taken with either my first original 5D and the 1Dmk3. Getting Red Kites in flight was a very fraught process for all five individuals that were using the 1Dmk3, which at that time was in its first set up, so we hadn't been through the multiple levels of firmware, and two recalls for hardware upgrades.
The result was that the Red Kite images were taken with the 5d, with its apparent backward AF system. Well at least it did AF accurately unlike the mark3 at that time.
Here are just a few from that weekend. We also photographed a beautiful Goshawk, Barn Owl and a Tawny Owl at the Mid Wales Falconry Centre.
PS - Just two months or 61 sleeps to Christmas. Time to get shopping ladies, and 60 days left for the guys
Monday, 24 October 2011
I went to a friends wedding on Saturday and i have to say not only was it my first American wedding, it was one of the best i have been to, Very enjoyable-especially the free bar, The weather was great although the ceremony which was outdoors was against the light, The photography inside was in a dark room so all in all it was challenging-glad that i wasnt the official photographer, Talking of whom was a Canon user-50D to be precise, I will be interested to see his results, He had a multi flash set up in the main room which was a great idea and would help to keep his ISO down, I shot a lot of the indoor stuff at ISO 1600 with flash and the shutter speeds were still low, I doubt he would have wanted to have used such a high ISO as the 50D is not a nice camera as those speeds, All in all i was quite happy with the results considering the alcohol intake at the time, The official tog told me that he used to be a Nikon user although i did not ask why he changed, but the flash guns he used were Nikon's which were triggered by Pocket wizards, He told me that he just could not get on with the Canon guns and i have to say they are one thing that really shine after using Canon gear,
I had a quick play with the presets in Capture One to get an older look and feel to the image
All images using Nikon D3s with Nikon 24-70 and SB900
Sunday, 23 October 2011
Saturday, 22 October 2011
Taken with 7D, + 500f4 IS L (mark1)
Back next time with some birds from Slimbridge
Friday, 21 October 2011
When i was at the house yesterday i put out some corn and dog food at various places around the garden and today i will stick a bird feeder up, The sooner birds and mammals start feeding there on a regular basis the better, I am at a wedding tomorrow and will be taking the camera, Although only as a guest thank god its good to shoot and to shoot in different circumstances.
Heres some Osprey from Falls Lake taken a couple of years ago
Thursday, 20 October 2011
Wednesday, 19 October 2011
Following on from our Canon 1DX blogs, seems like the UK starting price is going to be £5299 at the moment, although it wont be available until next March. So at least it is the right side of 6K, but still very high nevertheless. If you want to wait for the silly entry price to drop, as it ineveitably will, then you are looking at about a years time. It will be interesting to see where the price gets to. In any case, I will not be moving away from the 7D/5mk2 body combo for the time being as that comfortably meets my needs against what I am prepared to spend.
Meanwhile the Nikonistas are eagerly awaiting their D4 announcement.
The other thing to mention is that we have a great guest blog post tomorrow on Hares, so make sure you check in after 5AM UK time tomorrow
So Canon rumours came through and the 1DX was announced , I have spent a lot of the day reading specs and forums and i must admit to be somewhat bemused, I think Canon have spent the last few months reading Dpreviews thread on what Nikon owners want in the upcoming D4, There is good and bad as far as i can see, I think somethings may change before the camera is released next spring-first strange thing is that Canon are announcing gear way ahead-Then theres that horrible price will hopefully drop if preorders are low (Do not be silly and pre order), There is an all new AF system so that would need to be tested in the real world before i would hand over any lolly-once bitten etc, The one thing that i cant see is that by combining the 1D and 1DS you will satisfy everybody, The wildlifers are not happy at loosing the crop factor and the landscapers will not be happy with loosing pixels, 1D owners will not be happy at paying basically 1DS prices either, I think maybe Canon marketers lead the way again(highest frame rate,highest ISO and most focus points) by wanting more speed and stupidly high ISO-204K come on, Saying that the 1D4 has 104k ISO and i have to say over ISO 800 grain is noticeable and with careful use of NR you can get good results up to say 3200 max,In the press statement Canon stated this to be the best EOS for high ISO-Not the best of any camera just the best EOS which i thought strange, If its aimed at landscapers then high ISO is not in there vocabulary, I am guessing that the new 5D3 will take care of the landscapers but that still does not make the 1D4 a wildlife photographers dream camera, Maybe a wedding photographers and maybe press/sports but the price is just so high, I said before that if the 1DX is FF then Canon need a good cropped sensor camera to make a wildlifers kit complete and i dont think that they yet have that not even with the 7D, I think Nikon will go the same way and offer the D4 as a combined D3s and D3x model but at least they have a the D7000 which is good at 800 and 1600 and the D400 will be out soon which you can only hope will be as good, I wonder now looking at the pricing structure if there will be a new model out between the 1DX and the 7D that will bridge the gap and i am not talking about the 5D3,Anyway its a long time until anybody gets their grubby little mitts on a 1DX so we will see, I like the idea of having an ethernet connection which means that you could have your camera connected to your laptop 100m away, I can see the benefit in that but then Canon have taken a huge step backwards and stopped AF over F5.6-yes thats right, Stick a 2x on a F4 lens and its manual focus-same when putting a 1.4x on a 800 F5.6, Thats another reason why its a no no for a wildlife photographer, As i said at the start i am perplexed, If i were a Canon 1D4 photographer i think i would either grab another 1D4 or a 1DS3/5D2.
I popped down to the state fair grounds to see if i could get some ferris wheel images without having to pay so i had to set up on the side of the road and be ready to move if one of the hundreds of state troopers came over, Luckily for me the moment i set up the heavens opened so it was a quick session with little success, I think i will have to pay the $10 to pay and $8 entrance and get close with a wide angle to get a decent image
Tuesday, 18 October 2011
As I mentioned recently, the rumours were doing the rounds of a new Canon body. Well here it is for all you specnofreeks. And an impressive look it has too.
I shall watch for all the usual nonsense to find its way on to the forums, predictably.
At 6800 USD, we can expect a similar GBP price ratio of 1:1, so it will be a very expensive proposition by any stretch of the imagination our wallet.
Monday, 17 October 2011
Anyway back to the blog, As you can tell the cameras have gone back into hibernation although we did go and waste money at the state fair yesterday to try and get away from it all, All i can say is that if you like being ripped off and eat deep fried cheesecake,mars bars,pizza and bubblegum-yes all deep fried then this is the place for you, There was a Ferris wheel that i hoped to go and get a shot of after dark but ti was soo busy i couldn't get near, I will go back and shoot from the road later this week, Here is one shot i took with my wifes compact that sums it all up
Sunday, 16 October 2011
Saturday, 15 October 2011
Friday, 14 October 2011
Hopefully, I should be out with cameras this weekend, which will make a pleasant change, so watch this space for the outcomes.
However, it is a very interesting time for bird movements in the UK. With the traditional Scilly season, lots of interesting rarities have been turning up the, as they have at the top of the country, judging by the tweets I pick up from those parts of the world. More locally the winter wildfowl is starting to pour into Slimbridge.
Locally over our garden last weekend we saw the last of the Swallows, House martins and the first of the Redwings on the same day. The garden birds are starting to return and it is great to see the flocks of Long tailed tits again.
As an aside, I had to take to a trip to Hampshire on business and had some great raptor sightings. First bird of the day was a Peregrine, followed by totals of 6 Kestrels, 1 Sparrowhawk, 11 Buzzards and a total of 47 Red Kite. Impressive, particularly the one that swooped onto the hard shoulder just a short distance in front of me.
Enjoy your weekend, I am just going to sit down with a glass of red wine and watch Autumnwatch.
Update: Forgot to mention my first local Siskin of the Autumn along with a dozen or so Goldcrests when we went walking on Sunday
Thursday, 13 October 2011
Canon on the other hand have like to have a 1.3 crop in the 1D series and i have heard a lot of people say that they want to keep that rather than go full frame, Well having a D3s i can honestly say that FF cameras are a revelation when it comes to light gathering and the D3s has opened up lots of new possibilities, Now i don't know if a Canon FF 16-18mp body would be as good-it should be, If you are a nature photographer then yes get the new 1D FF body but you will also want a cropped body as well-i do and cant see that changing, The other thing that i think strange about the Canon rumour is that they are quoting 16-18mp when the 1D4 is already 16mp, I would have thought that going FF and having around 24mp they could have a similar ISO capability to the existing 1D, Now if the 1D5 does come out what ever happened to the 1DS4?, I am guessing that that series may be dropped as the ever popular 5D2 bastardized the 1DS sales and i am sure that we will see a high MP 5D3 out sooner rather than later-36mp anybody?
What we know for sure is that they are still only rumours so there is a possibility that nothing will be announced, The prices will be high and they will be rarer than a Canon 200-400 for a long time, If they do come out the forums will be a wash with people saying they have
A. Too many pixels
B. Too few pixels
C. Focusing problems
D, Leaving Nikon for Canon,Pentax,Sony and Vise Versa
Either way it gives people something to talk about and after all the problems in Japan and Thailand this year i hope that Nikon and Canon do manage to bring us some new Xmas presents and that are huge sellers
p.s The house is now full steam ahead, All the paperwork has been ok'd and its now a rush to the finish line-i.e 27th so only 2 weeks
Wednesday, 12 October 2011
So it is worth constantly tracking prices as firstly you don't want to be paying much, and the only way that is going to happen is if you have relatively cheap lenses and lots of brand new bodies.
If like me you have a number of lenses that cost you a significant amount of money (I say that as a relative thing for me - significant is whatever your financial pain threshold is) that you got sometime ago, it is likely that the replacement cost is significantly greater. I got a hell of a shock about two years back after the round of massive price hikes in early 2009 filtered their way through.
It seems like we are back in the same place, what with plunging exchange rates, 20% VAT now and manufacturers whacking up their prices.
So check your gear replacement prices out, and here is as good as anywhere, and make sure that you have the right level of cover for your precious gear.
Neil - thanks for your comment on Saturdays blog - the points you raised, are of course, quite valid, but I still believe that even on a like for like basis, and considering the other variables that you allude to that Canon have taken a conscious decision to whack up their prices and grab margin
OK grump over
Tuesday, 11 October 2011
I put the Singh Ray gold and blue filter on and took images at the goldest and bluest but you can turn it anywhere in between
I dont think that they really work in this instance and think that very grey days will be best, I now put on a 2 stop ND on its own
Nothing much different to the original-just a slight slowing down of the water so i add the 3 stop ND as well to give 5 stops
OK so now we are getting somewhere, the water is getting smooth so i add the poloriser to add 2 more stops and take some glare off of the water, I also set the aperture to F16 giving a 2.5 second shutter speed
Very nice, Now remove the 2 and 3 stop NDs and replace them with the 10 stop Lee filter, This with the poloriser gives 12 stops and a shutter speed of 76 seconds-yep you read that right so i had to set the camera to Bulb which is the last shutter speed setting when you have the camera in manual, In Bulb you hold the shutter button down and it will stay open until you release it-best use a remote cord for this
The Lee 10 stop big stopper does give a very blue colour cast, I have removed that but i think it still has a slight green cast to it but for the blog it gives you the idea, The very long shutter speed combined with the poloriser has given a very flat even water and the water flowing over the weir is very milky-nice
After setting up a Mexican family along with baby Rottweiler decided to fish and play in the water right next to us which pissed me off somewhat, The best bit was when the dog shit next to where the were sitting and instead of picking it up they allowed their son to tread in it and then the dog rolled in it, The wife then picked up her fishing rod and whacked the water and then managed to pick whatever it was out with the rod and placing it carefully on a rack beat the hell out of it, I went over and saw a young Northern water snake (harmless) on the rock, It was belly up and looked dead, 10 minutes later i went back and it was still there, I turned it over using a stick and noticed a small movement with its tail and the tint body flattened, I think it was playing dead like a European Grass snake does, A few minutes later i went back and as my shadow passed over it moved with the speed of light, The water snake looks similar to the venamous water moccasin but as the moccasin is a viper it has a totally different eye, The water snake has a round pupil whereas the moccasin is a slit, We packed up and left but i would have really liked to have thrown the women in and beat her with the fishing rod