Saturday 31 December 2011

Happy to be back

We arrived back from NY last night, The journeys were a nightmare, We had torrential rain most of the way up and the normally 9 hour trip took over 14, At times there was 6'' plus of water on the roads which meant plenty of crashes and tail backs, The funeral was the most colourful i have ever been to with thousands of dollars worth of flowers, I was asked if i would take a few pictures which i would normally shy away from but the scene was so colourful and peaceful that i did not hesitate, There is a growing market here for funeral photograhers and i have personally been asked to do it and have always refused but of they were like this funeral with a beautiful wake and then pipers at the church which in itself was like the sistine chapel i could see that capturing the day tastefully would be worth doing, My wife's aunt was truly loved and around 400-500 people turned up at the wake and the police even supplied 8 cars to see us unstopped through the NY traffic, So a sad end to the year and we know of 3 people who passed over the Xmas period, I hope that 2012 is clear as far as funerals go as i seem to have at least 1 a year at the moment
I hope that you have a great and safe new years night and that 2012 is a good one both photographically and personally,
I can now get down to do some serious processing so that the next blogs can be somewhat more colourful


Friday 30 December 2011

More fave images from 2011 - Part 6

And so on to June, and it is a time of year for me when the 7D and 500 is given a bit of a rest, and the 5Dmk2 and 180 macro get busy, and this last year was no different. Taken either in my garden or on my local patch a couple of miles away, little Co2 was generated in the production of these images

Marbled White on Ox Eye Daisy in the garden

Pyramid Orchid (local patch)

A small group of Common Spotted Orchids

Bee Orchid on local pacth

Mating 5 spot burnet moths (local patch but also had them in the garden too)

Back next time with the last images from my recent day out


Thursday 29 December 2011

Some more from yesterday

Yesterday's trip started out in the Forest of Dean at a site where I was fortunate enough to photograph Crossbills in February 2010, and posted them on the blog at the time.

Well we went back and we did see them, half a dozen of them but sadly at too great a distance for any images. It was a delight to watch them through the binos though.

The first image was as close as I got, with a test image. It is a shame as the conifers where at a better height this year to get nice diffuse non sky backgrounds.

Male Crossbill from Feb 2010 from the archives
Female Crossbill from Feb 2010 from the archives

Moving on to the next location, this friendly Robin was not at all camera shy. I was after Nuthatch at the time, but you take what you are given and be happy

At a third location, I had been photographing Nuthatch and Pied Wagtail, which you will have to wait for a later blog, when this Buzzard flew quite close by, and was lit well with the early afternoon sun.


Wednesday 28 December 2011

Some photos at last !!!

As mentioned on yesterdays blog, Jac and I took a trip out to some old haunts today, and some new ones as well. The forecast was looking good, although with quite a strong breeze, of which more in later blogs.

So here are just a few images of one delightful little male Kestrel who was hovering nicely in the afternoon sun for me. The first is quite a large crop, but after the hover, or more of a wind hang than wing beat, it came closer to me so I was able to get the second and third shots. What a stunning falcon shape it demonstrates in the last image, definitely worth a click to enlarge - beautiful bird.

Tuesday 27 December 2011

Fave Images of the Year - Part 5

With thoughts and sympathies to Dave's wife Marian as they deal with family loss at this time of year.

Tonight's blog is just a quickie with a few images of mine from May of this year. Many are nothing special photographically and are mere record shots, but they were significant for me as many were firsts for me in knowingly seeing and recognising them.

Small Blue Butterfly (1st)

Green Hairstreak

Duke of Burgundy (1st)

Wood Tiger Moth (1st)

Mullein Moth Catepiller in the garden (1st)

Cinnabar Moth, first time in the garden

Common Spotted Orchid from the local patch, first one of the season

Burnet Moth Caterpiller

Brown Argus butterfly (1st)

All being well, if the weather behaves itself, I will be out with the cameras tomorrow and see if I can remember how to use them.


Monday 26 December 2011

A sad end to the year

We have had a call to say that a member of my wifes family passed away over Xmas and we need to shoot up to NYC for the funeral etc so i will be away from Tuesday until Saturday, i will not have any internet so i am afraid i will have to put the load onto Martin for a few days


Sunday 25 December 2011

And from me too

Hope you all had or a having a fab Christmas day. We are all totally stuffed out here after my marathon cooking session preparing our meals today. Great sighting this morning of the first flock of Redwings to drop into the garden while we were eating breakfast.


Merry Xmas

Just a quicky to say a very merry Xmas to all our readers, Hope that your holidays go very well and that Santa has been good to you this year


Saturday 24 December 2011

More Fave pics of the Year - Part 4

Just a few from April for you this evening.

At the end of the month, Jac and I spent a couple of chilly days over at Minsmere and had a great time watching the Bitterns, Marsh Harrier and various waders.

At last the garden started to come alive at the end of the month too, and I had a great time with the Damsels emerging from the pond

Christmas greetings will be posted tomorrow


Friday 23 December 2011

Florida day 3

Although we were in Sarasota i fancied a small trip up the coast to the famous Fort De Soto, I have been there a couple of times, In the spring its totally amazing as birds land and walk near your feet, I went this time last year when it was very cold and miserable and it was devoid of anything at all, The weather here has been great and as soon as we neared the island we could see lots of birds including rosette spoonbills, I didnt have much time as we are with friends but i did manage to wander off and get some waders and terns, I used the D7000 with the 600 to get decent reach without having to use a 1.4x although i will say that the birds will wander close enough if you are still not to need such a big lens, The D7000/600 combo is a good one, The D7000 really is very good with good glass, The AF was quick as you can see with the willet landing, I followed it in getting shots along the way all of which were sharp, Most of the shots were taken early afternoon in bright sun which isnt the best but it was basically all the time i had, The oyster catcher was early evening and i had to use some fill flash to lighten the dark back, Overall a good result from limited time


Thursday 22 December 2011

Thursday Night Late Quickie

Well my Christmas holiday period started today, only in the sense that I didn't go to my place of work.

With the start of a number of family visits, seemingly never ending Tesco runs, house tidying, cleaning, cooking and other chores have been the order of the day, and it was a pleasure to sit down with a fine glass of Jura Malt Whisky a few minutes ago.

Which is why it is a late and quick one tonight.

In a story that caught my eye a couple of days ago was about a number of birds that 'crash landed' into a car park in Utah,

The story here tells of the death of about 1500 Eared Grebes. In the UK we know them as Black Necked Grebes. I am not sure what resident or migratory populations we get in the UK, and neither is the BTO, but it probably isn't as high as that. Although as a global status they are not threatened.

But nevertheless, what a terrible and unbelievable tragedy for these beautiful little birds.

And while I wont need to remind the enlightened readers of our blogs about the dangers of Christmas food for our birds, this story is worth reminding so that you can tell well meaning friends and family who otherwise don't know.

Right, it is time for another Jura and relax


Wednesday 21 December 2011

Florida day 2

The first day we spent in Kings springs at the Crystal river, I had asked the captain if we could go there as it was Sunday and would be very busy, Although Kings Spring has a green water its deep, Around 10 feet which would mean that people could not stand and kick silt up, There are normally many more manatees there as well and so it was, Monday would mean less people although at this time of year it would still be busy it would be much less so than the weekend so i asked to visit 3 sisters springs which is very shallow (you can stand in most of it) but the water really is crystal clear-think gin or vodka clear, I was surprised to see people in the water when we got there just after 7am and a boat right behind me however i quickly swam straight past the group and went to the bottom spring which was like a graveyard of sleeping manatees, Lots and lots and lots of manatees, There were a couple of playful manatees keeping the group happy but i stayed with the sleepers in the cristal clear water and managed to get both playful and normal manatee images in nice clear water, I did have my friends with me and one that was not comfortable in water but at the end of the day she was happily playing with manatees and will have memories to treasure for life, Truly amazed at how the gentle giants made here feel and you could sense the elation,It was indeed a triumph all round and as usual an almost spiritual experience, I could do this forever,It was not all plain sailing though as i quickly filled 24 gigs worth of memory and had to go back to the boat to reload, I could not have sealed the bag 100% and an hour later i got out only to find quite a bit of water in the camera bag but luckily everything seems fine, I used auto ISO for the first time-i am a bit slow- and it worked great,Every image sharp and well exposed shooting from ISO 3200 down to around 400 as the light came up, We went to the beach in the afternoon where there was a good group of birds when we arrived but before i could get the gear out some fuckers-opps sorry lovely young children-chased them away leaving gulls for the whole time that we were there, We did however enjoy the warm 70+ weather,We left the Crystal river after lunch and headed south to Sarasota which was a new area to me and finally time to relax.

Here is my friend Judy how is having fun with a manatee that wants its tummy rubbed whilst behind her 2 more manatees sleep on the river floor

Tuesday 20 December 2011

More fave pics of the Year - Part 3

While Dave brings you some new pics from his current trip, with the dark and dreary days of winter here, and being chained to a work desk, new images have been very rare for me, but if you allow me to indulge, I will share a few more of my favourites of the year in a look back.

March was a good month for me in more ways than one.

Firstly, it was fantastic to get married to my lovely Jacqui in Scotland and then to spend a couple of days in Dorset afterwards and grab a few images.

POrtland Bill lighthouse at sunset with 10x ND to 'slow' the water

Sunrise at the Bill looking east

Red Breasted Merganser with Shore Crab

Hoope at the Bill

End of teh day - Pulpit Rock, sunset at the Bill

Frogs from my garden

Hooded Merganser, a long term resident living in the wrong part of the world at RSPB Radipole

Spoonbill at RSPB Lodmoor

Jac n me on our special day

Shortest day for those of us in the Northern hemisphere tommorrow. Always a significant day in my mind, as for me it signifies that Spring isn't far away, even though we are not long into winter