Archives for category: Wildlife

Worked with this fella on a recent Macro workshop (with http://www.kaleelzibe.com/ ).  Fantastic little frogs, very calm and happy to sit around while you poke a camera at them.  Just need to make sure they are constantly kept wet (else they can burn in the sun), so don’t need much handling at all.

Milking It

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So another trip to Beamish wild and another attempt to capture birds of prey.  Ideally in flight but some of them are such fantastic creatures that you have to take shots as they bask in their glory.  For that I’d say check out the Sea Eagle.  Capturing any bird in flight is a task.  I have such admiration for those who seem to do this effortlessly.  In general I am shooting on continuous focus and spot.  The trouble usually seems to be that as they move so quick, the camera struggles to keep up.  I have also tried to manually focus on one spot and shoot in burst mode in the hope that as the bird passes through my spot I will capture it.  Other struggles are things like wanting to shoot with an aperture of around f/5.6 or less to blur out the background but that given even less room for error.  So, I’ve tried shooting at around f/11 for the increased depth.  It’s an ongoing battle but I’m slowly getting there!

Here are my picks from the visit (by the way, if you are from the north east I’d really suggest visiting Beamish Wild if you havent.  It’s a great day out, especially for kids where they can interact with the birds and learn about them).

Stellar Sea Eagle

 

Snowy Owl

Stellar Sea Eagle

Short Eared Owl

 

 

White Backed Vulture

Common Buzzard


Comes around once per year.  Happens to be just over the road from where I live.  Fantastic weather with the sun bleaching down of course leads to other problems with photography.  Mainly harsh shadows and when you are looking at a dark horse you get a very contrasting shot.  Here is a pick of the best shots from the day.  Overall I wasnt as happy as Id liked to have been given the opportunities.  But, a mix of strong sun and ideally should have had a different lens on (18-105mm would have been better not the 70-300mm).  I tried some panning shots but they didnt come out quite as Id liked.  With many of my animal shots now I’m trying to capture either movement or character.  Kinda took enough of the “oh another horse/dog/cat/bee etc”

Still, the coffee was nice!

 

 


Couple of images here taken while at Whitehouse Farm in Morpeth, Northumberland.  I’ll just copy the text as I wrote it on the Flickr page.  I’m lazy like that…

Like many places, Whitehouse Farm near Morpeth in Northumberland has a bird of prey centre. I’m not sure how I feel about these. Of course I like to get up close to them, but I find myself uncomfortable with any animal in captivity. Of course you can argue that they could fly away if this so wished. Well, could they? Are they free all day? Can they come and go as they please? Or are they just let off to fly when they are due to feed. Like most animals, when the wish to feed they will take the easiest route possible to do so. So, of course they will come back, notice how they are lured back with food?

This said, we have also protected many species of bird who without intervention may be no more. So I guess it’s finding the balance. Not a subject I know a large amount about admittedly.


I’ve tried and tried to get that macro shot.  They just don’t sit still do they!  Thing is with bees, they tend to move around more when it warm.  They won’t sit and one flower very long so you need to be pretty quick on the trigger.  Ideally I should focus first and use remote firing.  But typically with a macro the DOF is so shallow it will need some adjusting.  Anyway, I threw this method out of the window today and opted for  my telephoto, on burst mode, with a flash.  Just having a bit of fun really.  These were my best results.

At the end of the bees you’ll see a bird.  It was chirping away as I was shooting the bees so I had to take my chance to catch it peaking out.  It’s actually a housemartin in its nest in my garden.  They come each year to nest here.  Obviously feeding time!


See, told you I’d post some pictures.

Getting used to my extension tubes that I’ve added to my Macro lens.  Means focussing in manual only but thats standard with macro anyway.  I also have to use live view when doing macro.  I like to think I have good eyes, but I still struggle to see when something it in focus as Id like.  Doesnt help either with light reflecting on the screen and the odd gust of wind moving the subject.  The depth of field is so sensitive that it has to remain totally still.  I had tried to get at least one bee shot but they were just too quick.  I focussed on one part and waited but no sooner had I tried to re-focus and it was off again.  I set it up by guess work and had a half decent one but sadly was the wrong half.  Unless you like bee’s arses that is.  That was nicely in focus but not the thorax and head which I was after.  Ho hum.

So, 30 or so shot later and I picked out three.


Bit frustrating, but these are the birds I’ve attracted to the garden with offerings of seed, nut, table, water and cat.  Yeah, sorry about the cat but it’s not mine and he kinda just passes by.  Looking for birds probably. Anyway, mixed results, main issue being the sharpness.  I shot in manual at 1/320 or so and f/5.6.  I think perhaps I should increase the ISO, use a smaller aperture, maybe around f/11 and increase the shutter speed slightly.  I’d prefer the large open aperture though to keep the DoF tight.  Either way, more messing around needed but here they are.


During a recent camping trip to the lakes we paid a visit to this centre just outside of Keswick.  I’d highly recommend it!  Great practice for some wildlife photography.