Tuesday 30 June 2009

Insurance - Heads up

Back in March I posted this blogpost about camera insurance.

With reasonable levels of kit, it is always worth getting some bespoke insurance to cover losses that many house insurances don't cover.

One of the benefits is full new for old. Now that is fine while kit price is stable, but as we know we have seen kit prices particularly of both Canon and Nikon climb steeply this year.

So when my renewal note came through the door a couple of weeks ago, I checked the sums insured and scared myself.

Just about £3K light, courtesy of the recession and the exchange rates changes.

So if you have a similar type of insurance, check the sums insured, check the replacement values and make sure you are fully covered.


Monday 29 June 2009

Time to rant

I live in suburbia and next to the 'community' we have a farm-The community is built on farm land, Yesterday there was a message on the community website saying that a fox had been spotted in one of the gardens and that people should be aware in case any animals/kids/adults are attacked-A fox in somebodies garden-shock horror, I sent a message back saying that the foxes here are small grey foxes and i see them nightly and that they are extremely timid and the smallest noise and they disappear but was then sent a message back saying that i am a romantic which i find condescending and that animal control should be called-humans never fail to disappoint me, Its true that rabies exist in the USA and in North Carolina but there was no mention of the animal looking ill or acting strange, I have now sent a message back explaining that at this time of year foxes have cubs and that if animal control is called then the fox will probably be caught and destroyed which will leave the cubs to starve-lets hope that this will end the matter and that common sense prevails-we have taken over the foxes habitat after all and its the story of wildlife around the world, A couple of weeks ago there was a small snake in one of the gardens near to where the fox was seen-the fox will eat the snakes and rodents but of you kill the foxes there will be more snakes and mice around-what would you rather have in your gardens

Sunday 28 June 2009

200th Post - look back/look forward

Well this is our 200th post since Dave and I started the blog in early January this year

Just where the time has gone I have no idea.

But we would like to thank our regular readers and all those who have contributed with comments - we really do welcome feedback and interaction.

In the time since we have started, we have welcomed the views from 2,731 unique visitors, for a total of over 12,000 visits and almost 23,000 page views.

Visitors have come from 55 countries from all continents. We particularly welcome those visitors from some areas of the world where web censorship and access can be a problem so well done on finding us.

For the next 200 posts we will continue to give you more Tips and Techniques and Gear Reviews that you asked for when we did a poll a few months ago, but we will also keep sharing our images with you, an in particular bring notice of any deserving wildlife causes to your attention.

So thanks again - and please keep giving us your feedback


Pond Life

One of the problems of decorating in the house is the limits it places on getting out taking photos.

Well the pond I built last year is providing my rewards for effort spent. Here are a few images of some the species that are dropping by at the moment. Although the frog is very firmly resident along with numerous froglets, and Smooth Newts.

I had my first sighting of an Emperor dragonfly a week or so ago, although sadly not to photograph. A few more butterfly species are calling by as well with Speckled Wood, Small Tortoiseshell, Large White and Comma all seen in the last couple of days.

Blue Tailed, Blue and Large Red damsel flies are shown below, with a Common Frog as the last image.


Saturday 27 June 2009

Reviews-Sekonic L-358 Lightmeter

Lightmeters are not something you see many wildlife photographers use but they are a handy tool to have especially if you shoot in Manual mode, I have had my Sekonic L-358 hand held light meter for a few years and although i mainly use it in the studio it has come in handy when shooting close ups like macro work-They are easy to use and very accurate as they read the light falling onto the subject rather than reflected light off of the subject-fur can be very shiny and fool a cameras light meter as can light and dark subjects-These days having a histogram makes life a lot easier than it used to be but by taking a meter reading with a hand held meter you quickly have a guide to go by and small tweaks can be done after taking a test shot-Sekonic and Minolta seem to be the most popular makes but some basic ones can be picked up very cheaply


Friday 26 June 2009

Swifts - The RSPB need your help

I reported here how pleased I was to see the Swifts back in the skies over my house.

Well it seems that Swift numbers, like many other birds sadly, are significantly down as reported here. As a result, the RSPB are calling for reporting. So if you have any near to you, then send them the details here.

I will be sending my reports in later today


Thursday 25 June 2009


Adobe has just released updates for Lightroom and its Camera RAW engine, Lightroom 2.4 now covers new camera models from Nikon,Canon and Hasselblad and the full version of Camera RAW 5.4 available here:

Lightroom 2.4 for Windows

Lightroom 2.4 for Mac

Camera Raw 5.4 for Windows
Camera Raw 5.4 for Mac

Advances in the SD card makes me wonder if in the near future this will be the way to go for all Digital SLRs, Sandisk has announced the worlds fastest 32GB SD Card which will be released in August, I think these type of card are really designed for HD Video use but as all new cameras are coming out with this feature then i see all cameras will in the future have at least 1 SD card slot-Details here:


Wednesday 24 June 2009

Ospreys - A quick round up of this year so far

I was reading an article in an Environmental magazine that I get at work and came across a short story on the successful return of Ospreys to Northumberland in the UK. It seems a pair have settled on a man made nesting platform on Kielder Water that has been provide but have naturally colonised it. These sort of platforms are common place in the US and have started to find some favour over here to help nature on its way. The full story can be found here.

This years nesting is the first for 200 years in this part of England. In addition, there has also been recolonisation elsewhere in England in the Lake District in Cumbria to add to the reintroduction programme that has been going on for a number of years on Rutland Water. Webcam and excellent website here for the Lake District Ospreys and here for the Rutland Water site.

Further north in Scotland, the success story has been going on for many years. At the RSPB Loch Garten site, there is plenty to do and see on their site here. The diary is also worth a read to check out the progress there - a proper soap opera it seems to be there.

I was there a couple of years ago taking some photos of these magnificent birds. A great place to go is the Rothiemurchus Fish Farm in Aviemore late of an evening to get them as they come into fish.

These two images were taken there on my old 1Dmk2N and 500f4L lens. The first image shows a Male bird being attacked by a Herring Gull. It shows the size comparison well and is surprising how large the Gull is.

The second image shows the bird going back to the nest with supper for the kids.


Tuesday 23 June 2009

The 14 bit-12 bit debate

A few days ago on one of the forums that i visited there was a debate on image quality and the benefits of 14 bit processing over 12 bit processing, When i bought a Canon 1D MK3 i was blown away by the images that came from the camera-They had extra depth to the colours and needed less processing than the Canon 1D MK2, I put this down to the new 14 bit processing over the previous models 12 bit, Since changing over to Nikon i have changed my mind-why-well the Nikon D3 shoots 14 bit without slowing down the frames per second but the Nikon D300 is affected and goes from 8 FPS to 3FPS when going from 12bit to 14 bit so i always shoot the D300 in 12 bit-have i noticed any difference in IQ-NO, I now believe that the difference that i noticed with the Canon 1D3 was down to a better processor-Digic3 over the previous Digic2, The same with the Nikon, The images straight from the camera are punchy and have good depth to start with and need very little processing to bring any more out of them, There are mathematical equations as to why 14 bit has more colours than 12 bit and that you may get better shadow detail-if you pixel peep then that may be so and if your camera isn't affected by going from 12 bit to 14 bit like the Nikon D300 and D3X then i would advise you to carry on shooting 14 bit-for one thing the file sizes are slightly higher so in theory there should be more detail but put 2 images 12 and 14 bit side by side and tell me which is which-you cant
The top image is 14 bit and below the same image in 12 bit-images unprocessed apart from re size and a small amount of sharpening

Now 2 images as above but 100% crops

I had to shoot at F2.8 so the wheel in the second image is slightly OOF but its the shadow detail we are interested in
This is a real world example and how we tend to view things-with our eyes rather than under a microscope-Try it yourself and see if you can honestly see any difference


Monday 22 June 2009

Council Vandalism - Warwickshire

As promised on my Saturday post.

I went to my local site that has a good display of Common Spotted, Pyramid and Bee Orchids, a number of which I have already posted on previous blogposts.

I was there last Sunday evening and took the first two images of a group growing in a traffic island on the approach to a roundabout, so have set the image in the environment context.

Note the length of the grass - hardly needs cutting does it - not even for Health & Safety!!!!

I went back just two days later with a few other photographers from Stratford Photo Group to find what you see in the third image.

This was just plain vandalism on an official scale!!.

Now if this had been the first time, you could perhaps put it down to just plain incompetence. The sad thing is that this happened last year.

On a good note, one of the locals went out a put up a quick sign on one of the one of the other islands to prevent any more from this fate, and I am pleased to see they were doing well when I went there yesterday.

The final image again shows a single stem in the road context, and before it was turned to grass cuttings

All taken with the Canon 24-70 f2.8L lens and the 1Dmk111.


Sunday 21 June 2009

Canon Ink Prices

To wrap this issue up-yes Ink prices are ridiculously high-higher than gold-Especially in rip off Britain,However i did purchase a lot of ink direct from Canons web shop and it arrived post free 2 days later, I ordered a complete set of 8 inks for my Pro 9000($105+tax) and a set for my wife's printer-This came to around $200 hence the free postage, But i also received 400(yes 400) Sheets 6x4 photo paper plus glossy 2 and 10 sheets 13x19 photo paper pro free of charge so all in all i cant really complain here (anybody want to buy 400 sheets of 6x4) Check out Canons on line shop as well for special offers-The last time i ordered ink i noticed that they had 30% off their top of the range Platinum Pro Paper which is a very nice paper for your prints


Saturday 20 June 2009

Canon Ink Prices - Shock!!!! Take 2

I popped into the main Jessops store in Birmingham yesterday to have a quick look at Canon Ink Prices.


yes you read it right - £15 whole GB pounds - this really is quite scandalous, particularly when there are so many tanks.

Certainly makes our prices shown below even better.

Oh yes - and Canon - we still haven't heard from you yet. Come on - we know you read this blog.

Back with some more pics on my next posting to show you what the grass cutting idiots did to the Bee Orchids.


Friday 19 June 2009

D3 Update

I checked Nikon's site yesterday which showed that my D3 was still in the workshop, I rechecked this morning and it showed that the body had been shipped-10 Min's ago there was a knock at the door and Mr UPS handed me a small parcel-yep you've guessed it the D3-Now how impressive is that-Fantastic service from Nikon, The worksheet showed that some parts to the shutter mechanism had been changed and that it had had a general service and clean-Time will tell if this has cured the problem but my time with Nikon although only 9 months so far has been excellent as far as customer service goes


Filters-Singh Ray

Since living in the states i keep coming across this manufactures name-i had known of it when i lived in Europe but here in the states its very popular,Singh Ray make quality filters for your lenses-up there with Lee filters-top end,high spec,high priced, I have noticed that the current trend for landscape photographers is to use a heavy ND filter like a 10 stop to slow the shutter speed to minutes and give water that super milky effect-even in bright daylight conditions-The 10stop ND filter is black and impossible to see through so focusing and metering have to be done before the filter is applied-Singh Ray have a very clever ND filter that works on the same principle as a polarising filter-The more you turn it the deeper the ND becomes going from 2 stops all the way up to 8 stops,This means that if you want to use 8 stops but need to refocus you simply turn it down to 2 stops-focus/meter and turn it back up-simple,clever and bloody expensive but its all ND,s in one, They have some other nice and original filters like the blue/gold that are well worth a look


Thursday 18 June 2009

Canon Printer Ink Prices - Shock!!!!

It recently came to my notice on a thread on the EOS Network that Canon ink prices have gone through the roof.

I was well aware of what has happened with gear prices as a result of the poor exchange rate, with some gear prices having increased by up to about 40 to 50 % in many cases, but was seriously shocked by the rate of change of ink cartridges.

I used to use the Canon Pixma Pro9000 as Dave currently does. I have been using the 9500 since last November so have to use a different range of carts for that, and as a result of that changeover haven't had to buy any ink since before the prices went silly earlier this year.

I used to pay around £7 per tank for the CLI-8 range from places like 7dayshop or Inkraider but now see they are around £12 each.

This is quite frankly exceeding what is sensible from the exchange rate variation and think Canon UK or Canon Europe really need to sort this out. I know from the Analytics stats that you Canon guys in Stockley Park and Amstelveen read this blog - so how about it guys!!!

Let us know your thoughts and let us have your best defence - give us your feedback please and we will post it!!

Bet you don't!!

Anyway, the best prices I have found are shown below - so if you need some any that you buy through here goes to help support the site. All patronage is most welcomed.


Wednesday 17 June 2009

Nikon D3 repair

I mentioned last week that my Nikon D3 body had been sent in for repair after getting 'cd' error,I had a mail from Nikon on Monday confirming that they have received the body,They also sent me a code to use to track the work-excellent so after logging in my works page came up with a description of what the problem is and a code-mine was to say that minor parts would be used and an estimate-mine was $0 as its under warranty,So the normal procedure would be to OK the estimate and then it would appear- estimate verified,Then as today mines in the works for repair then works complete and shipped-along with shipping details,This way i don't have to contact Nikon asking whats going on as i can see myself-Great idea and i am wondering why certain other manufactures cant do the same


Tips and Techniques-To Flash or not to Flash

When i was in Colorado i had an opportunity to shoot the lovely Stellas Jay, Its a bird i have seen in California but one that i have never managed to get a good image of, In Colorado we found a very willing subject,Obviously used to people and landed in front of us seconds after getting out of the car, Stellas Jays can be very difficult to shoot as have a very dark head and a black eye,Unless you can get the light right the eye disappears into the dark head and the image is useless, So i decided that flash would be the way to bring the eye 'out' the other difficult part was that the blue feathers reflected the light but the dark head absorbed the light, If i used enough flash to bring the eye out the feathers on the body looked 'overflashed' I decided to shoot with the flash but have the camera in continuous high mode so if i took a couple of quick shots the first would have flash and the second shot wouldn't,That way i could choose which to use, Here both are usable but many i shot only the flashed image worked, The flash was used with a better beamer as i was shooting with the 600F4,The images are unprocessed except for a small amount of sharpening-The first image has the flash and the second doesn't

Tuesday 16 June 2009

Tips & Techniques - Lighting Control

A couple of nights ago I went to the Orchid site to get some more images. One of the things I wanted to do was to share the results of using full sunlight, with and without fill flash and diffused light, with and without flash.

For consistency I set the camera up on a tripod, with the 1Dmk111, used the Canon 100f2.8 macro in Av mode at f9.0, and the metering set in Evaluative mode. All images were set to -1/3 EV comp and the subject distance was 0.69m.

I have just straight processed the RAW file - no tweaks, and just resized to 600pixels, and one light stage of sharpening just for the web and the colour space converted to srgb. Camera was set to AWB and unchanged in the RAW conversion.

For the flash shots, I used the Canon MR14 ring flash, set to ETTL mode. For the diffuser I used a large circular Lastolite diffuser that was hand held over the subject.

Click on the image to enlarge to see in better detail, and then hit the back button to get back as the images don't open in a separate window unfortunately

Full sunlight - no flash

Full sunlight with fill flash set to minus 1 EV

Hand held Diffuser - no flash

Hand held Diffuser - fill flash set to zero EV compensation

Hand held Diffuser - fill flash set to minus 1 EV

It would be good to get your feedback and comments as to what you think provides the most pleasing and natural image, and why you think that.

So over to you.


Monday 15 June 2009

Purchasing Equipment

Its always good to hear when people are treated well with their equipment, both before and after sales service is very important, I had a letter from Nikon a couple of weeks ago about the possibilities of the 200-400 case being faulty and if there wasn't a 'T' on the base to fill in the on line details and they would replace the bag-well i filled the form in before my trip to Colorado and when i returned there was a prepaid box waiting for me, I sent it off on Tuesday and the new case arrived Friday-Top work from Nikon-very impressed
On the other hand i had a conversation with a Friend over the weekend who purchased a camera from Simply Electronics thinking that they were UK based,The camera took forever to arrive and then after taking some shots the images very extremely grainy(green grain on faces) in auto mode (compact camera) she had many conversations with the company via mail and they will not take the camera back-it seems that they are actually based in Hong Kong and she is now fighting with the credit card company to get the issue resolved-looks like she will be lumbered with a dodgy camera-so take note-only buy from a reputable company and steer well clear of this one-named and shamed


Sunday 14 June 2009

Local Patch - Damselflies

I mentioned that I had been seeing Large Red and Common Blue Damsels over my main pond a few posts back. I have also been watching Blue Tailed today and also saw my first Emperor Dragonfly over the garden too. Which brings me to the main part of today's post.

I went back to the Orchid site that is about 3 miles from my house. I had planned to write a tutorial showing the different effects when shooting in bright light on the Bee Orchids, using diffusers and also fill flash, but have chosen to share these with you instead, as I was pleased to get these today.

I had been getting a few shots of Common Spotted Orchids and noticed an abundance of these, so on went the 180 macro.

Common Blue Damselfly - Immature Female

Common Damselfly - Male

Common Blue Damselfly - Male

So look out for the tips and techniques on the lighting at another time. Oh yes and by the way, there are downs of Bee Orchids out now - so I was very happy.

Plus a really useful link to a web resource here on Damsels and Dragonflies


Saturday 13 June 2009


The background of an image is just as important as the foreground-A messy background will spoil an image and a step to the left or right can make all the difference,Here are 2 images i took last week,I shot with a distant forest in the background giving a dark grey coloured background,Then with 2 paces to the left i shot with a close tree as a background,Both are fine and have very clean backgrounds but both give a totally feel to the image,When shooting some hummingbirds i had to set the tripod high and shoot on tip toes to get the background that i wanted-Take some time to get good backgrounds that don't detract the main subject


Friday 12 June 2009

Local Patch - Warwickshire & Worcestershire

As I mentioned here I have been following the progress of some of the orchids on my local patch.

The stems that I saw just emerging in the previous report were in fact Pyramidal Orchids. which are progressing well and about a week away from being in prime photographic condition. I had been hoping that they were something else so was disappointed when I checked them out last week.

But going back last night, I found what I have been hoping to see for quite a while - Bee Orchids. I very nearly didn't bother to take the camera, but decided to on the off chance and glad I did.

The breeze was a bit of a problem, and they are not quite there so I will be going back a few times yet to get better images as they progress.

The Common Spotteds are now in great condition to photograph, but were suffering in the wind so I didn't bother with those at that site, but I jumped in the car and went to another site not too far away on the borders of Worcestershire, and found more Pyramidal, and a few Common Spotted that were easier for photography as the wind had eased a little. The sun was setting so the colour temperature was exceptionally warm so I slid it back just a fraction in the RAW processing to neutralise it a little.

Bee Orchid

Bee Orchid

Common Spotted Orchid

Common Spotted Orchid


Thursday 11 June 2009

Lets Talk-Nikon

My Nikon gear has been better than perfect since i bought it but last week the D3 showed a 'cd' error twice and after a phone call to Nikon NY they said to send it in for a checkup,Whilst this is a pain it needs to be done,The 'cd' error is a problem with the card reader in the body and when the error occurs the camera locks up and you have to either remove and reinstall the CF cards or replace the CF cards with different cards which can cost you some shots and last week in freezing conditions was hard to do-It needs a sensor clean so at least this will be done at the same time,The D300 was faultless and has been since i bought it-to me its the best camera body on the market for the money,
Before i went to Colorado i had a mail from Nikon saying that the lens bag for the 200-400 would need replacing if it didn't have a 'T' on the bottom as there a chance of the base failing-mine didn't and after filling in an onlone form Nikon sent a prepaid box to send the old one back which i have now done and should have a new replacement one soon
When i was up in the mountains my lens hood for the 600F4 VR came loose and fell off and was blown over the mountain,I phoned Nikon to get a cost and they phoned Japan and came back with a cost of $350 and that was just for the 1 piece (the lens hood is in 2 pc's) so hardly a bargain but something that will need to be ordered-when it will arrive is anybodies guess as the lenses are like hens teeth
So it just goes to prove that nothing is perfect but at least Nikon have acted in a professional way towards the D3 problem and the 200-400 bag problem,The lens hood is a pain in the wallet to say the least but that's life
New images from my trip last week have started to appear on my website for those interested and more will be added over the next few days, I shot 100% manual mode last week as the weather condition gave constant light and used flash more than i normally do but with the birds it really enhanced the shots and gave nice catch lights in the eyes


Wednesday 10 June 2009

Corvids - In praise of the unloved

Rooks, Crows, Jackdaws get a bad press from all corners.

Well I quite like them - or least Jackdaws and Hooded Crows. These few images were taken on my recent trip to Mull.

Hooded Crows are found across the Highlands and remind me of Carrion Crows in Silver waistcoats - I think they look pretty cool. It is great to watch them for a while as they seem to be quite playful and have 'character'. They are not the easiest of birds to photograph, and have eluded me in terms of half decent images.

Jackdaws are not widespread on Mull - this image was taken on Iona. I had a great five minutes watching one on top of a fence post shouting at a black and cat that was sneaking up on some House Sparrows. The cat turned round and sat below the Jackdaw, being taunted very loudly. After a while the cat kept trying to jump up to shut the Jackdaw up, and as the cat jumped the Jackdaw just took off in a hover a couple of feet up and then back on to the post to resume shouting. It was a great cameo.

On the trip back south from Scotland, Dumbarton is usually where I see the last of the Hoodies, and a little sadness knowing that it will be another good few months before I am back to see them again.


Tuesday 9 June 2009

Breezebrowser Downloader Pro

Last week whilst shooting with Phil Shaw i noticed that he was using Breezebrowser Downloader pro so i took a look, I am a big fan of Breezesystems Breezebrowser Pro browser,The downloader pro works nicely in conjunction with this and at under $30 its a steal, Once you have plugged your card in for downloading you can set it to automactically add data as it downloads like your name and description/ITPC etc, You can also send it to a specific file and it recognises duplicate images and only downloads one, I was shooting both D3 and D300 and a couple of times i had duplicate file numbers-this wont happen with this programme-looks a good product and one i am about to purchase-more info here


Monday 8 June 2009

New - New Resource and Forum gone live

A quick heads up for a new resource and forum for Canon EOS users from a friend of Wildlife across the Water has now gone live. The EOS Network is a resource for all things EOS, covering a blog, training opportunities and a forum, under the tab Network.

There is also a gallery section for image posting too.


Sunday 7 June 2009

Time to reflect

Trips away always finish too quickly-just when you start to get the hang of the place you have to leave-it will be nice to be back in my own bed again i must admit, As i sit here in a motel in Colorado for the last night before flying back tomorrow i have time to reflect on the last week-it started slowly as the weather tried to defeat us,but with some travelling we managed to get some great images each day,The last 2 days we have managed to track down our main target-the Mountain Goat, The weather still gave us a hard time-high winds that tried to drag us off the side of the mountain along with wind chill that cracked the skin on our faces,Being at 14000 feet we suffered from UV rays and no amount of lotion stopped us getting burnt,The wind was soo strong that when i dropped my lens hood it was swept over the mountain side and never to be seen again-that was my 600 lens hood,The D3 gave grief twice and needed to be turned off and the CF cards needed replacing-imagine that high up with gloves on,so Nikon will be getting a call to get it sorted-it seems that its not an uncommon problem, But all in all we never got down hearted and kept bashing on from 4am until 7pm-i am well and truly knackered but have 3500 images to go through and i know that some are crackers and will be on my website next week, A big thank you to Phil Shaw who was excellent company over the week and look forward to the next time we shoot together again


Saturday 6 June 2009

News - Common Spotted Orchids

Now is the time to photograph these in England if you have any near you.

I have seen any number of these at three different locations on Thursday evening in Warwickshire and at another location on Friday and also in Dorset. They do not have a very long life span when all the flowers are in good condition, so if you want to get some images then you will need to get out there soon.

Some details on the species can be found here.


Friday 5 June 2009

Trip Report-Colorado day 3+4

The last couple of days have been very tough, We have been up to 14260 feet and down to 7500 feet, We have had 75 degrees and -20 windchill and a white out, We have had to be on the move and work hard to get results,But we have had results, The last couple of days we have had good broad tailed hummingbirds,Beautiful landscapes,Big horn sheep,Woodpeckers at the nest,Elk and lots more, I can honestly say its been some of the hardest conditions i have shot in and the most physical, I have shot totally in manual mode which is unusual for me and have used flash everyday,The D3 showed a error the other day and after swapping the extreme 4 for extreme 3 i havent had the problem back but will need to keep an eye on it, Here are a few images from the last 2 days


Thursday 4 June 2009

Local Patch - Another wander

......down to the local nature reserve on my doorstep, known as Bridgetown Meadows in Stratford upon Avon.

I shared a couple of images from there last weekend here, and also a male Broad Bodied Chaser from my garden and here.

Following that theme, I saw a number of Female Broad Bodied Chasers, about four in all, plus I got a nice underside view of another Painted Lady butterfly, and also a Green Veined White with some late evening side lighting on it.

All of these images were taken with the Canon 1Dmk11 and the Canon 180 f.35L macro. I supported the camera on a monopod with the Arca Swiss Ballhead. I find the monopod gives useful support, and maintains a more steady platform than if I were handholding. For these subjects, I find a tripod is far too time consuming and doesn't allow you to move easily towards the subject. I prefer to stand off, get an image and move slowly towards the subject. Shooting off another image and again moving. The monopod helps this technique far better than I can ever manage with a tripod. The support provided is useful given that the two Canon macro lenses of the 180 and the 100 do not have image stabilisation, so a steady hand would be required ordinarily.

This little reserve really is a gem just five minutes away and I am looking forward to a number of other photo opportunities presenting themselves there.

Female Broad Bodied Chaser

Painted Lady

Green Veined White


Wednesday 3 June 2009

Trip Report-Colorado day 2

Well today could not have been more different from yesterday and i am glad that we put soo much effort into the previous day, It consistantly rained all night but on the mountain it snowed and when we arrived at 5.30 this morning we were greeted with 4-5'' of fresh snow,The road is very narrow in places with sheer drops so careful slow driving was the order of the day,We managed to get to the area where we saw the goats the day before but it continued to snow and there was no way we could do anything else than decend,The road was closed shortly after and will be closed for another couple of days as the weather looks set to get worse, So tomorrow we head to the Rocky Mountain NP for a recce and will hopefully return here at the end of the week-weather permitting,It wasnt a complete wash out as we shot hundreds of Ruby throated Hummingbirds along with some scenics so not all bad
Here are a couple of images from yesterday


Tuesday 2 June 2009

News - A few stories

.......that caught my eye.

Great news - Great Bustard chicks hatched - the first for 177 years in the UK. Story here.

Worrying news - for the Ospreys at Loch Garten. Both adults troubled by fishing line. Story here.

Good news - loads of Painted Lady Butterflies have invaded the UK. One of the few migrants that we have. I have been watching these for a couple of weeks now and you will have seen the image here.

Bad news - the Red list numbers continue to increase for the UK bird species.

Finally - dubious news?? - I would welcome your views on this story about the re-introduction of beavers in the UK.

Personally, I am never happy about messing with nature. However, I compromise my own views there as I support the work with White Tailed Sea Eagles in Scotland - so a tricky one to rationalise.


Monday 1 June 2009

Trip Report-Colorado

Sorry for the late post-out at dawn and its now gone 6pm here and i have just returned-Knackered doesn't even come near-we were shooting past 14000 feet-yes that's right and the air was extremely thin-making each breathe a struggle and giving me a blinding headache-all part of altitude photography-we worked hard and walked as far as i could go without passing out-all in all a success, We managed to shoot a mountain goat along with Pica and Marmot of which there were a few-hoping to have some good stuff after i have downloaded them and will post some next time, the weather was great this morning but clouded over in the afternoon and we had some snow fall just to make life a little harder-i should certainly loose some weight this week-no comments please-its been a couple of years since i seriously did some mountain work and today it really showed