Sunday, 28 June 2009

Skomer (Part I): Puffin Portraits

Skomer was all that I had been led to believe (and more). It was busier than I had been expecting. On Tuesday I was too late to get a ticket for the ferry, so I went extra-early the next morning. It worked out well, because the light was much better and their was a stronger breeze too so it was cooler.

Puffins are amazing. After my previous encounter with puffins at Bempton it was wonderful to see so many in one place. For the first hour I just stood on top of the cliffs and took portrait shots. This is one of my favourites. The sea was a beautiful azure providing the perfect backdrop.

Most of the photographers present seemed intent on getting a shot of a puffin with a beak-full of sand-eels. It wasn't what I had set out to achieve - I was more after flight shots (of which more later!) - but having seen them coming with mouthfuls of fish it was hard to resist joining in! The combination of colours and textures is quite intense. This particular bird seems to have done very well; I count no less than eight eels in its mouth.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

BlogFocus 3: Chris Photo Nature

The third of my BlogFocus posts features the blog Chris Photo Nature. For me this is a fascinating blog, coming as it does, from Iceland - a country which I have not yet had the opportunity to visit. As such it regularly features photographs of birds I've not yet seen.

Slavonian Grebe by Chris

I'm particularly jealous of Chris recent posts regarding Golden Plover's.

Golden Plover by Chris

Chris is clearly an avid birder and his love of nature shows through in his commentary as well as his pictures. Chris is also a great blogger, posting regularly in English and French - and commenting copiously on other people's blogs too (Thanks Chris!). Definitely another blog which is well worth the visit (and the recent awards!).

Images in this post by Chris Nature Photo. Reproduced with permission

Friday, 19 June 2009

Reed Bunting

I've seen reed buntings on a number of occasions - but they've never been particularly cooperative. Either they're too far away, or they're deep within the reeds, making focussing almost impossible. So I was somewhat surprised to chance upon this male reed bunting sitting in a bush in full view at Lodmoor RSPB reserve in Weymouth. He seemed utterly relaxed with my presence, so I was able to take a number of pictures from different angles. This is one of my favourites because of the lovely glint in his eye.

Next week I'm off to South Wales - so, weather permmitting, I hope to pop across to Skomer and rendezvous with some Puffins...

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

BlogFocus 2: Kevin Du Rose

Welcome to the second in the series looking at the blogs of other wildlife photographers. This week is the turn of Du Rose's Digest, the blog of Kevin Du Rose. When I first stumbled across Kevin's blog I must admit my first thought was that I should just hang up my camera and stop trying. Kevin's photographs manage to capture everything I aspire to but rarely attain. A combination of great light, great subjects and interesting activity. Kevin really shows what a Canon 1Ds and 500mm lens are capable of achieving.

Perhaps my favoutite images from his blog are a series of short-eared owl photographs. This is a bird I have yet to see, let alone photograph. Kevin captures it perfectly.

Short-eared owl by Kevin Du Rose

Kevin's blog also showcases some magnificent flight photography.

Squacco Heron by Kevin Du Rose

With plenty more images like these, this is definitely a blog worth visiting!

Images in this post by Kevin Du Rose. Reproduced with permission

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Painted Lady

The other week I took my 70-200mm lens out for a change. I really should do it more often. Changing lenses forces you to view the world in a different way. Rather than going after small birds I needed more amenable targets. One thing I really appreciate with this lens is being able to get much closer to your subject. I particularly liked this picture of a painted lady butterfly. I love the way the light shines through its wings. And if you're thinking the sky looks dark - that's because its actually the Thames!

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

BlogFocus 1: Elliott Neep

Part of the fun of blogging is being part of a wider community or people with shared interests. Over the last few months I've really enjoyed reading the blogs of other wildlife photographers, so I've decided to do a series of 'BlogFocus' posts where I feature one of my favourite blogs.

First up is professional wildlife photographer Elliott Neep. Elliott's Blog is always an interesting read, and features some stunning images from his travels. Unlike many bloggers though, Elliott doesn't just give you the images - more often than not he retells the story of how he got them. A particular favourite of mine (for obvious reasons) is his account of photographing tigers in Bandhavgarh over two week period

Tiger by Elliot Neep

I also enjoyed his recent account of stalking otters on Mull. It's reassuring to know that even professionals don't always have an easy time of it.

Otter by Elliot Neep

As well as his blog, Elliot also has a fantastic wildlife photography website which is well worth a visit.

Images in this post by Elliot Neep. Reproduced with permission

Saturday, 6 June 2009

A surfeit of sparrows

Having spent a long while trying unsuccessfully to get some nice shots of sparrows in my parent's hedge it seems every where I go they're just begging to be photographed. Whilst I was wandering around the Lodmoor RSPB reserve in Dorset I came across several families of sparrows feeding up their young. Here are a handful of the many shots that I took.