Sunday, 31 October 2010

Autumn showers

The weather seems to be up to its old tricks again. Lovely while I'm at work or otherwise engaged. Overcast or raining when I get out with the camera. I had a fantastic walk in the Forest of Dean on Friday - the autumn leaves are looking spectacular - but the light was so dull it was pointless even getting the camera out.

And Saturday morning was glorious, but it rained as soon as I got to the park. On the plus side I managed a shot of a magpie in the car park. Okay, so a magpie is not that exciting really - I see them all the time. But surprisingly I think this is the first time I've actually managed to get a shot of one.


Sunday, 17 October 2010

Elmley Marshes RSPB - Lapwing

I think a need a manager. Or at the very least a navigator! I wasted a lot of time this weekend by being both disorganised and very lost. A sat-nav would not have helped much - as the location I was heading to was wrong in the first place. However, when I finally made it to Elmley Marshes RSPB reserve on the Isle of Sheppey I had a very good time. The replacement 400mm turned up on Thursday so I was eager to put it through its paces.

So far I am very pleased with it. I'm not sure I've quite got the 7D set up the way I had the previous one yet though. The morning was cold, dull and grey - but nevertheless afforded several shots of a lapwing (taken from the car on the drive in once I finally located the reserve!).

In the afternoon the wind got up and the sun came out. There were lots of waders on the mud flats. Most too far out for any decent shots, but it was great to see them and I enjoyed a happy afternoon watching them and the orbiting harriers. I got lost on the way home too, but that's a different story...

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Loan of a lens

Good news this week. The insurance company have paid out in full for my little accident in Pembrokeshire, so now I can start looking for my trusty EF400mm f5.6L. In the mean time a friend and I have swapped lenses. He's borrowed my 70-20mm and I've had use of his 100-400mm. This weekend I took it to the local park with me, and I must say that I'm impressed with the results. It is sharper than I would expect a zoom to be, and the IS is very nice. A shame I can't compare the two lenses side by side.

Grey Wagtail
On reflection, however, I think I may stick with my original decision and opt for a straight like for like replacement. The 100-400 has some advantages (closer minimum focusing distance, zoom, image stabilisation) which make it more versatile, but I had five good years out of the prime and it always delivered. It does the things I want it to extremely well. Its fast, reliable auto-focus is just what I need to shoot birds in flight. If I need the closer focusing distance for macro shots I can always use the 70-200.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Common Darter Dragonfly

It's been a bit of a mixed week. My replacement 7D turned up on Wednesday so I was looking forward to taking out for a spin on Friday. However, rain from dawn to dusk put paid to that. Today was a different story though. One of those almost painfully beautiful autumn days. The sun refracting through a hundred droplets left behind from yesterday's showers.

The dragonflies were out in force in the park. This one, a common darter, flirted with me for about ten minutes before finally settling long enough to afford me this shot.