Sunday, 22 March 2009

On the need for cooperation

Two weekends with great light and no photographs to show for it. Last weekend I made the strange decision not to take my camera on my walk. This weekend I was visiting family and had no time for photography. Well. Almost. I did pop my camera on the tripod and leave it by the window to try and photograph the sparrows in the hedge. Of course, typically this time there were no sparrows in the hedge. Every other time I visit there are scores of them. This weekend I saw two - both on the far side of a bush with twigs in front of them. And I did see on blackbird on the lawn but my only photograph of him is blurred. Never mind. There is always next weekend.

I wish British birds were more like Falklands birds. They were so curious that if you sat around for a few minutes they'd come to take a look at you. Like this Cobb's wren on the beach on Carcass Island

Saturday, 7 March 2009

On unexpected sunshine

Today the weather forecast was uniformly dull and grey, but I decided I needed some fresh air in my lungs so I headed down to St Aldhelm's Head (near Swanage in Dorset). The plan was to see if I could find any early guillemots or terns. Sadly there were none - although I saw plenty of gulls, fulmars and rock pippits. The highlight of the day, however, was this peregrine falcon.

I spotted it initially because it was being mobbed by a number of jackdaws. After that it made several passes along the cliff at a distance and then one very near flyby during which I managed this shot. Not the greatest peregrine photograph. Sadly its flying out of the sun so its head is in shadow - but it is the first time I've managed to get a camera on a wild peregrine so I'm reasonably pleased with it.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

On (not so new) cameras

Last September I wrote about my intention to upgrade to the Canon EOS50D (On Technology versus art). Four months later (was it really that long!?) I found myself going back on that decision. The 50D is a fine camera - of that there is little doubt; but the more I read the less convinced I was that it would address the main shortcomings I perceived with my existing setup (the EOS 20D).

The clincher was finding a second-hand EOS 1D Mark IIN in my local camera shop. I had read a lot about this body too - but once I tried it out I was hooked. It has the same pixel count as my 20D - but in almost every other respect it is better. Fast, reliable auto-focus and its impressive shooting speed were the main draw for me. Having made my mind up and bought it I have also been impressed with the colour rendition and the auto-white balance. On the downside it is bulkier and considerably heavier, but on the whole I am happy that this (now elderly) machine is a significant improvement on my existing camera. Now all I need to do is stick to my plan for the year and get out to take photos more often!