Sunday 31 October 2010

Nikon D7000 sharpness

When i did the D7000 ISO test the other day i think i may have be a bit slap dash with the focusig when changing cameras and refocusing, I had a few comments about whether the D7000's images were softer then the D300 and whether Nikon had done what Canon has seemed to do with its latest camera range-i.e 7D,550D etc and that is blur the detail when using high ISO to keep the grain down, I shot a bird perch in the garden with both cameras-see below, I cropped them in to 100% just to see if detail is missing, The verdict is yes but very slightly, I personally think that the sensor has a thicker AA filter as i find that the D7000 takes a tad extra sharpening but after that the IQ is excellent and i don't think many people will find it a problem, I will be shooting garden birds this week and that where the real testing will be-in the feathers-watch this space
D7000 main image
D300 100% crop
D7000 100%  crop

These images show 2 things clearly-both images shot at ISO 800-The D7000 is much cleaner but the D300 images are defiantly sharper straight out of the camera, Images about are from the camera without any processing just resizing
P.S As a side note i will say that i haven't tried the AF fine tune to see if there is slight front or back focusing with the D7000, I have never had to fine tune any of my other Nikon's but this may be worth investigating on this occasion.

Saturday 30 October 2010

Big Butterfly Count - update

Back in August I posted my results from the Big Butterfly Count.  Well if you had reported your results you would have received an email back from the Butterfly Conservation people with the results of that count.

Looks like the Gatekeeper has come out tops across much of the UK.  This link will give the top ten species across the English regions so you can check out your areas in you are UK based.For the West Midlands, that pretty much mirrors my findings, although I was glad to get the Holly Blues when I did my count.

If you want to read more about the count, you can see the details here.

Don't forget to put your clocks back tonight if you are UK based - an extra hour in bed for you tonight.


Friday 29 October 2010

Nikon D300 V Nikon D7000 ISO Test

This morning i finally found time to put the D300 up against the new D7000 at my garden feeder, It shows what the images will be like in real world shooting i.e a plain background which is were i find the D300 to show noise at its worst, As i mentioned before i never shoot my D300 over ISO 400 as i find the noise too intrusive and the images would not be accepted by agencies so what's the use, I had high hopes on the new D7000 and Nikon claimed it to be the best ever cropped sensor where ISO is concerned, I never trusted Canons claims -just look at the 50D which is a very noisey camera when the ISO starts to climb but in this instance i put my faith in Nikon and bought one of the first batch to hit the shops, I see lots and lots of people comparing the D7000 to either the D700 or Canons 7D which i think is crazy, Its a totally different category to both, The D700 being full frame and the 7D being a class/category higher, If it should be compared to a Canon body then it should be the new 60D and if compared to a Nikon body then really it should be compared to the D90 which is really the replacement in Nikon's line up, As i have a D300 then that's what i have compared to to but only for ISO, The D300 stands head and shoulders above the D7000 in handling as far as i am concerned and i have yet to really test the AF which is all new, The D7000's IQ is very good, The colours really pop when viewing the NEF images against the D300, I like the fact that it has a true ISO 100 as well, You will see below images taken with both the D300 and D7000 at ISO's 400,800 and 1600,All images are unprocessed and unsharpened, The cameras were set to manual mode, High ISO NR turned off and white balance set to AWB, I also shot with the self timer for anybody interested, The D7000 images look a tad softer but i think that it just needs a touch more sharpening to bring the detail out compared to the D300-maybe the AA fliter is thicker, I would also add that i wasnt being critical on the focusing so some human error may come into play there as i was tight for time

D300 and D7000 at ISO 400-D300 on top
D300 and D7000 at ISO 800-D300 on top

D300 and D7000 at ISO1600-D300 on top

The images here are 100% crops of this image

The set up was using my 600VR at F5.6 set up a Gitzo 1548 with Wimberley head, Click on the images to make them larger, What it clearly shows is that the D7000 is indeed much cleaner than the D300 at all ISO's tested, The D7000 at ISO800 is nearly the same grain wise as the D300 at ISO 400,when viewed side by side in Breezebrowser (CTL Z) so almost a stop better throughout the ISO range tested, which is what i had hoped for when i purchased the body,See here, The D300 on top at ISO400 and the D7000 on the bottom at ISO 800

Hope this helps anybody out there thinking of getting a D7000, Now the question is would you sell your D300 and get a D7000, Only you can decide that, Personally if the body was bigger then maybe yes (dependant on the AF working well) but as it is i like a full size camera as i have large hands, But i can see the D7000 getting a lot if use at my bird feeder set up, The clean images and extra pixel make it a winner for that


Thursday 28 October 2010

Mini Trip Report - Part 5 - The 'White' Kite

As readers of this little mini series will know when I started it some time ago, I went to Gigrin Farm to see and photograph the Red Kites.  Now I knew some years ago of the 'White' Red Kite and was hoping to see it..

This bird is not a specific sub species of Kites but actually is a'Leucistic' form. This term means that the subject is mostly white or very light.  It is very different to albino-ism in that a leucistic form wil retain normal eye colouration rather than pink as seen on albino subjects.

Leucistic birds rarely last long as they a not usually accepted by their own and easily predated or preyed on.  This bird showed signs of this by the actions of its feeding and by others  heckling it.

Typically, it would turn up at least after an hour or so when the general mayhem had calmed down and there were fewer birds around.  It would pack itself up in the trees and wait and watch, and when it was very quiet it would take to the air, making very few dives for food, and sometimes not at all, as if it knew it's place in the pecking order.

Anyway, if you do go, make sure you hang around while the birds are still there, and the majority of people have cleared off as you might be lucky enough to see it.

More information can be found here on the Gigrin website.

 Easy to see the differences

 Darker undersides

 Wing tags No 51. Very pale tail

 Sat in the apple tree in the Sunday sun

 Crappy light on Saturday

Back next time with a few Buzzards for you


Wednesday 27 October 2010

Back to Normality

12 Hours of decorating today and the weather has been wet for 2 days so no chance to get the cameras out, But these things need to be done so a wet day is the best time i guess, I have another 2 or 3 days and then its all done, Looks like we lost the house i really liked so its back to viewing which is a chore and time consuming but if i can fine 2 or 3 acres of woodland with a nice house attached then it will all be worth it in the long term,
I mentioned before that i was at Clingmans dome in the Smokys along with a lot of other togs so here are a couple of images showing why you need to get places early to get the best position
and after the sun had set just time for a grab shot

And rather than another sunset here is the moon rising on a beautiful evening

And another out of the box image, I was shooting a waterfall and whirl pool when i noticed the reflection of the trees in a puddle next to me

Tuesday 26 October 2010

Mini Trip Report - Part 5 - Poor Light

Sometimes, no matter what, and no matter how the light on the subject is always going to be crap.  It is at times like that that we really (usually) do know better and should go off and do something else.  When I took my recent trip to Gigrin to the Red Kites - see previous posts here , here and here.  the light on the first day was awful.  It wasn't likely to get better and I knew the images were going to be crap.

So why did I stay for a couple of hours in the cold and miserable weather?  Many reasons

1.   It was time to experiment!!

2.    It gave me the opportunity to check out my C1, C2 and C3 settings to make sure things were still in order.

3.   Have a crack at using the flash to infill

4.   To get some practice in for the next day when I hoped the weather was better.

5.   To study my subjects behaviour - how the flew, how they fed so I was better equipped for next time.

6.   Lastly and most importantly, I just love watching the wildlife - a picture is a bonus

So here are a couple of shots to demonstrate that you cannot make a sows purse from a pigs ear when the light is shite!!

Both with 7D, ISO1600, 500 f4L, 580EX flash head plus Better Beamer giving the 'steel eye' look.  I could have edited it out - but the images would still be poor.  So here for a demonstration for you.

What was clear to me though was that the 7D AF works well in poor light, and did when against a background where there was limited contrast.

Monday 25 October 2010

Fall in the Smokys 4

Its Sunday and we are home, Its been a good week away, We were a tad early for the colour in Tennessee and a bit late for the colour in Boone NC, You either have to live there or be extremely lucky to get it bang on but overall i am quite pleased with the images i got even if there werent any wildlife to speak of, The last 2 days we have been in and around the Boone area, We travelled the Blue Ridge Parkway taking shots at the over looks and visited a couple of waterfalls, One of which was described as strenuous and it was indeed-1 mile down into a deep gorge which meant a mile uphill walk on the way back, Our legs are still very stiff and achy, My much loved 24-70 died on me and will be shipped back to Nikon tomorrow for a repair as i need it back in a week or so, The Zoom ring has locked up although it still works at 35mm, The D7000 has been good, it has a couple of niggles, firstly the dial with the modes is easy to turn my accident, it happened a couple of times and the shutter is a hair trigger, just lightly touch it and bang you have taken a shot, apart from that it seems a good buy and this week i hope to get the opportunity to really test the ISO capabilities, The colours are nice and strong and side by side with the D300 images you can tell which are the D7000's, Just need to find some time to download and process the images,

Fall colours at Linville Falls

And something a little out of the box, I was driving back when i noticed the rising moon over a hill, I liked the way you could see the fir trees-what do you prefer, the moon sharp or the tree and i dont want any comments about ET

Taken with a D300 with 600+1.7x on tripod


Sunday 24 October 2010

Sunday Breakfast

Ironically, I just took some breakfast packaging out to the recycle bin this morning when out of the corner of my eye, I saw a brief movement, heard a clatter in the bushes and saw feathers rise to the air.

Looking across, I could see a mass of white feathers, and a very dead bird.  Initial first split second thought was a cat, but following a clear channel of a flight path, a Sparrowhawk flashed into view and turned quickly away from me.

Closer inspection revealed it to be a Collared Dove, stripped of feathers on the breast and with all of the breast meat eaten.  Plenty of undigested seeds evidence it's diet.

This is the second Collared Dove that has fallen to Sparrowhawk in the last six weeks in my garden


Saturday 23 October 2010

Fall in the Smokys 3

We have now left Tennessee and i must admit i am glad to be out of the hustle and bustle of the place, I think it will be sometime before i return, Its great for deer and wild turkeys and the landscapes are excellent but its so bloody frustrating that i wonder if its worth the increase in blood pressure,I did my last day in the tremont area and the road from Gatlinburg to Cades Cove, Its 20 miles of pure magic, You follow a stream the whole way and its full of bends,rocky areas and flat calm areas, I wanted to get some reflections or to be more specific colourful reflections so i needed calm water with fall colours in the distance to 'colour' the water, I must admit i am really enjoying doing some landscapes, Its certainly different to the wildlife and you can take you time and work an area so its very relaxing-dare i say easier-well you still need a good eye for composition and maybe thats why it takes me some time to get the best from an area. I found a couple of nice areas and set to work, the first area gave great coloured water from the tree folage and the second was a waterfall with a great rock that gave an eddy effect where the water went around and around, The eddy was full of foam so i threw some leaves into the foam to try and give some swirls from a long exposure, I would have liked to get in and get rid of the foam but as i nearly killed myself climbing down to the river i didnt want to drown trying to improve the image, I enjoyed the day and got some results and at the end of the day thats what its all about, I have been photographing for many years now and its great to have a calm and enjoyable day, This trip is all about landscapes and if i can get some wildlife in it so more the better but the Fall colours are the main concern and its sometimes difficult to change my mind to not let the wildlife get in the way, I have enjoyed shooting with the D3s, D300 and D7000 but at the end of the day the D3s is king and always my first choice, Its such a complete package from ergonomics to image quality, I love to work with it, The D300 is very similar in ergonomics and the D7000 well its just different, It seems very competant and the IQ is very good but its just too small for the kit i use, Stick it on a 200-400 or 600 amd it just looks wrong, I think even with a battery grip it still wont balance a big lens properly, Saying that its going to stay and will have a purpose in my kit bag, As a walk around camera with a wide angle it will take some beating, I used it tonight to get some landscapes with the Smoky Mountains and a bright moon rising and it worked very well, So we are now in Boone NC named after Scotsman Daniel Boone, Its somewhere i would not recommend staying as its a something and nothing place and the Scottish Inn is well worth a miss-its a shit whole and not worth the cost, Its an expensive area-much more than Tennessee, I would recommend staying up the road in Blowing Rock which is very nice more expensive but very nice, The Blue Ridge Parkway here is beautiful and the drive from roaring rock to Grandfather Mountain is stunning, I have to say the North Carolina side of the Smokys are more beautiful than the Tennessee side and has a lot more waterfalls to boot!! 

Friday 22 October 2010

Hardware and Software - Keeping us mobile

Well a year or so is a long time in hardware development and new bits of kit keep coming out all the time to tempt us to part with our hard earned cash.  Since this blog started we have seen a couple of generations of iPhone come and go, the iPad, stacks of Android smart phones and Netbooks galore as well.

Now regular readers will know that I not a convert of styling over substance products beginning with i.  The only i-thingy we have in the house is an iRON and it does a great job on my shirts even though I don't know how it works.

About 18 months ago, I bought my Netbook which is still a great little performer enabling to blog, email, Facebook, Tweet, LinkdIn and process my images.  I couldn't do all that a number of all those other bits of kit above.  With the exception of processing, I can do all the same on my Android phone.

Now with my change of job this year, I can now spend up to 90 minutes a day on the train, which gets pretty packed at the Birmingham end.  I have seen a couple of folks struggle in the crowded spaces with the iPads, while most others have the needs in their smartphones of one brand or other.  There are now a few with e readers and I am now one of them having bought the stunning Amazon Kindle - fabulous value for money, battery life of about a month and stacked full of books that I have bought and ploughing my way through. With a 6" screen it is very easy to use in a confined space, which sort of got me thinking a while back about how much more convenient the iPad would be if it were smaller and able to be used with one hand.

It was while browsing the web yesterday and came across a couple of stories that puts things into a bit of perspective.  A Steve Jobs rant about competition here which gave me a bit of a laugh and this story which would explain the first one.  So hang fire non i fans the answer is coming soon.  Meanwhile this story indicates that tablets have a long way to go yet in terms of sales.

For the time being, I remain very happy with Netbook, Kindle and phone - but who knows what next year brings.

While I am in thoughtful mode, I will share something tat made me laugh.  Possibly an epic marketing fail.  The new FIFA 11 console game has an image of two football players (thats soccer to you US types)  One of them is Wayne Rooney in a Manchester united shirt - how I laughed

Update:  Looks like Electronic Arts marketing dept can breathe a huge sigh of relief as Wayne does a nifty bit of footwork to U-turn since I wrote this last night

Right - thats enough off topic stoff. Back next time with some more pictures .


Thursday 21 October 2010

Fall in the Smokys 2

I decided to give Cades Cove another try so up and out at 5am and arrived just before 6am, I grabbed the dogs fllecy blanket and rolled it up and woke at 7.30am, Just as the gates were opening which was very fortunate and saved a very red face, There was a very heavy mist across the cove and i had to decide what i was going to shoot, I could stay in the Cove and go for some White Tailed Deer and some landscapes or turn right at the 2nd Baptist church and head up hill and out of the park but i would have great views over the park from a height and also a good chance to get the church in the fall coloured trees and mist, I decided to go high, Its a do or die as its one way and once you start you cant turn around, The road leads you over 20 miles out of the park so its game over once you start, I stopped at the over look and set up, i instantly had a feeling of being watched and kept a close eye out incase a bear was around, I could hear some strange noises in the nearby woodland and some twigs snapping, the birds were also upset at something, I must admit it was quite eerie up there but at least i was alone, I spent nearly 2 hours shooting there from heavy mist to clear, I went back in the late afternoon but again it was a circus in the cove and it took over 2 hours to get around and didnt take any images of note, The Cove can be a great place but at peak season like now its just way too frustrating to be worth the effort, The surrounding areas are fantastic though for landscapes so the area always has something to offer

Both images taken with the D3s and 200-400
I shot the D3s,D300 and D7000 side by side today, I couldnt understand why the D7000 needed a different shutter speed to get the same exposure but have since remembered that i had the active D lighting set, The results were not as expected with the D7000 looking worse than the D300 at ISO 800 but to get a proper test i need to turn the D lighting off and reshoot, I hope that will make a difference, We are about to leave Tennessee and move to Boone in North Carolina for a few days


Wednesday 20 October 2010

Mini Trip Report - Part 4 - Red Kites

OK I promised you Red Kites last time so here they are.

Not too much commentary - just a few pictures to share with you.


 Slow shutter speed for wing blur but sharp where it matters

 Carrying away the food

 Juvenile bird

Its worth clicking on the images to view in large. The shots of the Kites against a background were not possible with the 1Dmk3 - this is where the 7D has proved so great.  With the ability to click between C1 and C3 modes on the dial select, it was easily an instant change when going for either background or clear sky shots.  I wrote about that here

By the way, all these images were processed in Capture One with only the final crop and sharpen in CS5 - an expensive way to sharpen and crop perhaps.  but when you get the exposures well and you have a great RAW processor this is little else to do for these type of shots.  If you are wondering why the blues in the sky are not all the same - simple - the shots were taken over a couple of hours towards sunset, occasional bits of thin cloud came through and I was shooting at different angles to the sun.

I will bring you another couple of posts from this trip at least yet.  We have Buzzards to come along with Kite behaviour, flash in poor light and finally the White Kite.  So keep dropping by.

Tuesday 19 October 2010

Fall in the Smokys

The weather here in the Mountains has been beautiful, 75 degrees and blue skies, Infact its been a bit too good, Not long after the sun rises the light goes very contrasty, I spent the first day looking around and visiting old haunts, One thing that is very noticeable is that the colours are much much better than last year, A couple of areas are stunning and the colours have peaked in some areas and will be peaking over the next week or so in others, The tops of the smokys are just about done and 1/3 to 2/3 up are at their best as well as around the streams, Another thing is that the rivers are very low and areas where i shot last year are not worth the effort this year, However there are still hundreds of lovely stream areas that really are worth some time and effort to get the best from, I decided to go to Cades Cove late yesterday (Sunday) morning after visiting the tremont area, I thought that the masses would have been and gone but i was wrong, 11am and there was still over 1/2 mile of traffic waiting to get into the place and it would take 2-3 hours to get around the 11 mile circuit-no way, The traffic around the area at the weekend can only be described as HELL and you would be mad to even consider trying to get in, Even if you did photography would be very difficult as every Tom Dick and Harry wants to shoot the same deer as you and will chase them off, I headed up to Clingmans dome for the sunset along with about 20 other photographers and about 500 other people-its a busy place, One thing i noted that out of about 20 photographers only 3 has Canon gear and i was Minolta,The balance being Nikon, I went to Cades today (Monday) and arrived at 6.02am, I was car number 4 and by the time the gate opened at 7.45 there were hundreds of cars waiting, It wasnt long before i came across a group of about 8 bucks locking antlers, I really should have carried on as the light was crap but i stopped and tried to get some shots as did another dozen photographers, I used the D3s as i was shooting at ISO 1600 but the bucks soon moved off and that left me in the middle of the pack, I left the Cove and headed back to Tremont to get some landscapes and found a couple of beautiful areas and spent a couple of hours alone there, To help combat the light i tried to shoot in shady areas and also used a poloriser and even a 10 stop Lee filter which gave me a shutter speed of over 2 minutes, I am back at Cades Cove early tomorrow and then back to do more landscapes, As a note i used the D7000 100% on day one and today i used the D3s as it suited the photography better,

Clingmans Dome with the D7000,70-200 and a 3 and 2 stop Lee Filters ND Grad

Tremont area with Nikon D3s

As above but with the 10 stop

The images are processed on my laptop so may be slightly off


Monday 18 October 2010

Local Patch - Reflections

I was going to get a load of my Red Kite images processed to share with you for Monday but after a wonderful walk out in my local patch this morning (I wrote this on Sunday) I wanted to share that experience while it was fresh in my memory.

After a very busy Saturday, a late night with lots of fine food and wine, I missed the first light slot so went out after the sun was well up.

It was cold and crisp after the first frost of the year.  The sky was sparkling blue and I was in two minds as to whether to take the 7D, 300f4 and 1.4 as my wildlife walkabout combo.  In the end, I just opted for binoculars and decided to just enjoy whatever we saw.

First up was a large flock 50+ of House Sparrows, followed by a couple of flocks of close by Long Tailed Tits.  We watched these for ages and had some fabulous views.  Away to one side, we could hear a Green Woodpecker taunting us with its calls.

It was a popular time for the dogwalkers to be out.  One guy and his two little poodles managed to flush out a Sparrowhawk up ahead of us.  He probably never even saw it, but it flew right by us - beautiful

A little further on, we saw a few Common Darters - one of them ironically landing on one of the reserves storyboard signs, right next a picture of.....?  Yes - A Common Darter - it was quite funny.

Overhead, a few Redwings, the odd Songthrush, Linnets, Goldfinches and Greenfinches flew by.  Tits foraged the hedgerows and Blackbirds sprung out in  cacophony of alarm calling.

In the distance, a Buzzard soared lazily, Woodpigeons clattered in and out of the trees and a solitary Cormorant crossed the azure skies.
Working back on a long open ride in prime Green Woodpecker territory, we checked the grasses and fencepost's.  We were not disappointed - there it was about 100 metres ahead of us.  Using the hedgerows to avoid breaking the silhouette - we slowly worked to within 50 metres.  It was grubbing around for food in the wet grass, before it hopped up onto the posts for a better lookout.

We watched it for a while, edging ever closer before we were sprung and it cleared off ahead of us.  Towards the top of the ride, in much longer grass that seemed out of character we got within 5 metres, until it burst away, yaffling loudly.  I am not sure who was more surprised - us or the Woodpecker.

The final wonderful sight of the day was a small flock of Starlings on top of a heavily berry laden Hawthorn bush.  With strong sunlight on them, they looked wonderful through the binoculars with their iridescent greens, purples and spots.

It was a wonderful walk, and totally invigorated me for the morning.  I was not upset that I didn't take the camera, I don't think there were any particularly show stopping images that I would have got, and was just thrilled to watch it all through the binoculars.

OK next post will be the Red Kites -  I promise


Sunday 17 October 2010

Nikon D7000 First impressions

I picked up the D7000 on Saturday morning but life is very hectic at the moment, We have decided to move and have found a very nice house with 2.5 acres of land and it has a stream and a private lake which i can use so perfect, The problem is that i need to sell my current house and have had agents etc through the door and i am in the middle of decorating it as well, Not enough hours in the day, So Saturday i basically charged the battery and went through a few custom functions and had to read the manual to see how to change the AF points as there is a new button for AF features and to top it off i am still crippled with pain in my lower body, I took a couple if snaps indoors with the 18-105 kit lens which were pretty crap, The viewfinder seemed very dark and the AF was slow but after changing to a better lens things picked up, I will need to have a better test of that lens but first impressions of it were not good and it didnt seem to be as good as the 18-55VR kit lens that comes with the D5000, As i say it was a quick play but it did seem obvious that the lens is either faulty or crap, I have never seen such a dark viewfinder, I couldnt even see good enough to manual focus, I arrived in the Smokys late today (Saturday) after a long drive and i didnt bother to bring the kit lens with me, I put on my 24-70F2.8 and took a few more snaps in the motel room of Alfie my dog just to see what the grain looks like at highish ISO, The D7000 will replace the D90 which is Nikons best selling camera so this new kid needs to be bloody good, The specs are very good with 16MP and 39 AF points and a new processor, The D90 is a small camera and the D7000 is the same, Barely bigger than the tiny D5000 but with a nice quality feel to it, It will be the perfect body for a travelling photographer, I dont have a battery grip yet but if i decide to keep it i will get one, The live view and video button is very nicely positioned and easy to use, The video has AF which is a cool feature, I had a quick play and that all seemed to work ok although in very low light it did hunt a bit but again it could be the kit lens, It doesnt have a dedicated AF ON button on the back which i feel is a bad thing but i have programmed the AE-L/AF-L button to do the job and that works fine, One thing that is noticable is that its very quiet and the quiet mode is very very very quiet which is excellent for my needs,The grip is a bit small for me and there is a programmable button at the base of the grip and i have accidentally hit that a few time, I will start to use it in anger Sunday and will shoot with it side by side with my D300 to get a proper comparison, The few images i have taken so far at ISO 800 and 1600 are encouraging at least on the laptop and as you know i do not shoot the D300 over ISO 400 so fingers crossed that the D7000 will have at least 1 stop better ISO performance that the D300 and with the added bonus of a few more pixels, An 8 bit Tiff is about 48 MB so should be right up an agencies street so to speak

Heres Alfie taken at ISO 1600 with the pop up flash and a 24-70F2.8

Here he is in natural light at ISO 800 and with the 18-105 kit lens which does seem sharp enough

And again with the 24-70 and pop up flash at ISO 800

The images here dont show much as i really need to show 100% crops but they are pretty clean even the ISO 1600, I will do some crops when i put it up against the D300, All images are unprocessed just resized and sharpened, One of the problems with getting the first of a new camera is that you are waiting for the software boys like Adobe to bring out an upgrade so that you process them properly, Here i have opened the images in View NX2 and then converted to Tiff and then opened them in PS4 which works but is not ideal


Saturday 16 October 2010

MIni trip report - Part 3 - Ravens

I like Ravens.  I like their sounds, I like theeir skillful flying and and like the interactions that go on between Ravens, and also with other birds.

Gigrin is a great place to see them as there are lots there.

They are one of the first birds into the feeding arena as with the other Corvids as they are not shy and want to make sure they get their fill early on.

However, being all black birds they are very difficult to photograph well.  I will share a couple of images, not because they are particularly good pohotos - I dont think they are.  But as record shots showing the typical flying, chatting as they go, and also into a typical environmental 'in an Oak Tree in Wales' kind of way.  They can be even more difficult when the light is flat and crap, without even a decent catchlight.

If you click on large, you will still see a fair bit of detail retained.  The 7D does a pretty good job of getting the detail out of a diffcult subject  Both at ISO800.

Kites to come soon - so many to review and process!!


Friday 15 October 2010

D7000 update

Ok after re reading my blog this morning i now realise its best not to write after a bottle of wine at midnight!!!, Best buys are similar to the UK's Dixon chain and i got my 600F4 VR from Wolf camera which is similar to Jessops-So anyway i did take a trip to Best Buys at Crabtree Mall in Raleigh and sure enough they showed 3 in stock and after much search through cabinets we found them and i bought one,But not until i played my trump card of showing a coupon that i had downloaded off of the internet for 12% discount for silver card members of which i am not, The girl still took the coupon and i did get the discount so in effect ended up getting it locally and paying 4% less than i would have done from B+H, The battery is now in charge and it will get a good work out this coming week in the smokys where i can shoot it side by side with the D300 and D3s


Nikon D7000 now shipping

The new and long awaited Nikon D7000 has started to ship, The big boys like Amazon have been telling customers that shipping has been put back to mid Nov and BH and Adorama cant give a date just a preorder and will ship when i stock, Then out of the blue Best Buys have some in stock across the USA, Now Best Buys are similar to UK chain Jessops, i have little time for them but they came through when i needed a 600F4 VR and even Nikon themselves said that it was impossible go get one best buys found 3, So the point of my blog is dont always go straight to the big boys who will probably be sold out for months, Give your local store a call and give them a chance, The difference here in the USA is that if i buy on line i save 8% in tax, Now Martin and myself have always advised in leaving new kit a few months for prices to come down and for glitches to be sorted but i am going to give my local Best Buys a visit tomorrow and have a look at the D7000, Its offers 16mp and is said to have the best high ISO of any cropped sensor camera, I may get one if they have one in stock and give it a work out when i am in the Smokys Saturday onwards for a week, I am hoping that ISO 800 will be as good or better than ISO 400 on my D300,If it is then the D300 will be up for sale and if it isnt then the wifes D5000 will go and the D7000 will stay-a win win situation, More to come in the coming days


Thursday 14 October 2010

Mini Trip Report - Part 2 - Gigrin Farm

In this part of the trip report, I am just going to do a short piece on the location and share some pcitures of the the hides, and in particular the new photo hide.

Now there is absolutely stacks of information on their website so you can browse this for hours.

It is located in just about the centre of Wales just half of a mile outside Rhayader on the A470 to the south east - ignore the red blob on the link.  If you zoom in on the OS map you will see it.

I went there just about three years ago with a number of other photographers and we block booked both of their then new photographic hides.  One at ground level and one raised known as the Tower Hide.

They have since added to this with the Big Tower hide, which as the name suggests is even bigger and gives a more impressive view.

Rates vary from £10 to £20 dependant on which hide you choose to take.  This last weekend we used the Big Tower on both occasions.  They can get booked up so it is worth a call to check availability before you go

View of the hides from the Big Tower Hide

 View out from the Big Tower

In the Big Tower Hide - plenty of room

All these images were taken with the little Panasonic P & S camera on the crappy weather Saturday!!

And in a first for me on the blog a few movie clips.  Now these are really quite poor and straight out of the Panasonic again the first one taken on the poorly lit Saturday, but it gives you an idea of the sort of activity that you can see andd the type of flying by the birds.  You will see lots of corvids and you can also feeel sorry for the Buzzard.  This is fairly typical for them getting hammered by the Kites

In my next part I will share some of the better Kite images that I got on the sunny Sunday, which I hope you will agree when you see then are much better than the video.