Sunday, 26 April 2009

On Bempton Cliffs (Part II)

The cliffs at Bempton were crammed with kittiwakes, gannets, razorbills and guillemots - yet the question on every one's lips seemed to be "have you seen any puffins?". Compared to the sheer numbers of other birds they were few and far between. And yet with a little bit of patience they were easy to spot - their orange feet making them easily visible both on the wing and perched. They are beautiful birds - very photogenic - but personally I think I was more impressed by the more understated beauty of the gannets.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

On Bempton Cliffs

This weekend I spent a happy (if cold!) day at the RSPB reserve at Bempton Cliffs - primarily as a reconnaissance to check out the photographic possibilities of England's only mainland gannet colony. The weather was not ideal but otherwise it was very entertaining. Bempton is a busy colony with in excess of 200,000 birds including gannets, kittiwakes, guillemots, razorbills and even the occasional puffin.

To start with I concentrated on the gannets. These large, elegant birds are relatively easy to photograph, They're not shy and they enjoy gliding sedately on the wind. Despite the lack of quality light I was able to get a number of decent shots including this one:

After that I moved on to more elusive targets. As well as gannets, there are razorbills and guillemots a-plenty at Bempton. Being smaller and faster they are, however, somewhat harder to catch on the wing. This was not helped by the fact that my recently bought 1D MkII has developed a rather frustrating fault and I'm temporarily back on the 20D whilst Canon take a look at it. I spent a long time at the top of the cliffs trying to get my camera to focus on the razorbills as they zipped by. More often than not I failed. However, I did make a few shots and of them this one was the most pleasing.

Monday, 6 April 2009

On the colours of spring

Over the past few weeks I have made a habit of wandering round the cemetery in Teddington at lunch-time. It has been interesting watching the transition of colours as spring unfolds. Starting with the understated whites of the snowdrop, moving on to the purples of the crocus and the yellows of the daffodils. Last week saw a beautiful eruption of cherry blossom pink, giving way to a purple haze of grape hyacinth. Today I did what I should have done ages ago and took my camera along with me.