Viewing entries tagged
Photography

Sea Air

There’s nothing like a bit of sea air to freshen up the day. The rain almost ruined it for me, with several trips back to the car, ready to pack it in, but I hung in there as I had a mission. I’ve had Turnstone on my photography list for quite some time, not just because they look great, but because they are often quite approachable when feeding. These birds can be found all over the British coastline, and they are becoming quite confiding in areas where their desired habitat comes into contact with regular human activity. England generally has better examples of this, but Barry and Porthcawl are becoming great places to observe this behaviour. They’re starting to feed amongst the Pigeons and Starlings, sometimes really close to people, even feeding between peoples feet as they sit on coastal benches. One thing they do not like though, and that’s Dogs, so timing my arrival early, I hoped to be there before the early Dog Walkers. That plan didn’t work as well as I thought, as by the time I located them feeding, there were lots of people around. I got in the car ready to go home quite a few times but glad I got back out for more, as my last sitting with them, laying on my belly, they came really close - Sometimes too close for the camera to even focus! Not much else going on the sea, besides some very distant ducks that I couldn’t even work out with the scope. Probably Scoter. Plenty of Rock Pipits though.

Before heading home, I thought i’d stop off at Margam Country Park. I’ve only been once before, having been introduced to the site by Mike Warburton. It was getting late in the day so only a few Fallow up on the peak, with most of the Reds tucked up in the lower levels.

Rainy Day at Wentwood Forest

Spent a dark hour at Wentwood today. Plenty of Crossbill, Redwing, Fieldfare and the odd Brambling within fairly large Chaffinch flocks. I usually time my visits to Wentwood for autumn / winter with the intent to find a Great Grey Shrike. No luck today, so my attention went to the forest floor, where I found lots of Deer Signs, Fungi and autumn colours to keep me happy.

Busy but Happy!

It's been a while since I blogged. So much has happened in this time of course, but not too much on the photography side of things. I am sporting a new Tripod however for my telephoto setup so looking forward to trying that out in the field soon. 

I've been working in Pembroke and Swansea for the last couple of weeks chasing wildlife for Iolo's new urban wildlife series for BBC Wales, It's been really tough trying to track down urban otters, so far without much luck, but it's not over yet. We still have autumn and winter to film and I'm absolutely loving my time there! The best part is having wildlife on my mind 100% of the time. Literally a dream Job come true, I still can't quite believe it. 

Below you'll notice a picture of a Nightjar from a session I had a couple weeks ago, thanks to a good friend Gary Howells. I'm so sad however to come back from Pembroke this week and to find out that the Nightjar spot has been set on fire. The very roosting perch you see in the photo is burnt to a crips. I've also come back to my neighbours cat killing everything that moves, with several dead animals in my garden, most of which are birds and amphibians from my pond. Refusing to put a bell collar on, this isn't over. I'm not prepared to watch this massacre, and then be on the beckon call every time they have an injured bird in their garden for me to look after. Enough is enough, things need to change, and people need to start taking responsibility for the destructive nature of their pets. Everything you see below will cease to exist if people turn a bind eye to problems like these. 

Anyway, without getting too depressive, enjoy the photo's! I'm trying to bring more colour into my portfolio, I hope you can notice this in my recent macro pictures. 

2017's Highlights

While photographs are a great way of showing you guys the things I see, they only show part of what it is that I experience when I'm outdoors. It's the 'being outdoors' bit that means more to me than any photograph can tell. Yes, I love taking the best images I can, but without wildlife and nature, it would mean nothing other than just clicking some buttons. I've spent little time with my sound recording gear this year but I'm hoping I find the time to change that this year. It's not just the visual elements that revitalise's us when we're exposed to nature, it's what we smell, touch and hear. I can't share smells with you, at-least not yet, maybe one day?, but I can share the sound's of our environment and bring the outdoors, in.

NatureHUB

This is the objective of my new business, and while I'm still un-decided on a name, I'm settling so far on 'NatureHUB', a place to purchase wildlife media and a place for wildlife walks, talks and training. I strongly believe that Nature is the best therapy for people experiencing stress in their busy, overcrowded, noisy lives. When was the last time you truly experienced silence? If it's been a long time, maybe that's something for the to-do list for 2018?. If I can help you experience nature and learn more about wildlife in the process, then I'd feel much more complete as a person. 

Sound Recording this year as been a poor effort but I did have this beautiful mimicking Song Thrush earlier in the year to save the day. During this song I could pick out at-least four difference species. There's probably even more than that but this was particularly special as it was mimicking a Green Woodpecker! Of all the beautiful sounding birds to mimick, why it choose the sound of a Green Woodpecker?.. I do not know.. lol. Either way, it seems to work well the way he does it. 

To wrap up this lengthy blog post, I hope you've all had a fabulous Christmas and have an even better New Year ahead of you. 

Glorious Ospreys

I've held this off for long enough now. What have I been doing the last couple months? Well, as far as photography is concerned, very little to be fair. I simply haven't found the time. However! after quite a few 5am starts with not one, but three! Ospreys at Llandegfedd, I set out to get a close up shot of these outstanding birds, but in a way that would leave the birds completely undisturbed, showing their natural behaviour, without them knowing I was there. 

I'm very lucky in that I got to observe these birds in and outside of work for the last month and a half, so got to learn a lot of their routine. All three birds are this years Juveniles, one of which was ringed in Scotland and the other two that stayed the longest which I believe may have been siblings due to their interaction and lack of rings. It was the two siblings that really put on the show for us as they appeared to be very much so beginners at catching fish. They would often fail to land on a perch while also trying to hold onto a wriggly, wet fish. They started off catching silver fish, like Roach and Rudd, likely because they are easier to see in the water but they did manage to get better in their time here. It was quite a proud moment watching them catch their first trout! some of which were quite big. There's lots more I learned about Ospreys thanks to these individuals and having them so late in the year was a bonus for us for sure, I just hope they manage to get to Africa in time and safely. They have all left now so fingers crossed for them. 

Photography Experiments

I spent a lot of today just walking around with little to show for it photography wise. The light in these locations were pretty poor, so today I decided to ignore all the rules and try some slow shutter photography, maintaining lower ISO settings and just accepting the challenges that poor light can give. The first picture below is a Leopard Slug on the largest Fungi I've ever seen, it was the size of a dinner plate! With no tripod at hand, I used my bag to rest my camera and 100-400mm telephoto lens on the floor and I was shooting over a period of 6 seconds to gain enough light in what was nearly complete darkness. I also used my built in camera flash to add a little uplift, though I'm not sure it made too much difference. 

Below is an arty shot, some would call it a 'failed shot' having had too slow of a shutter speed to freeze the action, but considering it was a Stock Dove, I thought, why not? I'm not in any rush to get flight shots of Stock Doves so I tried to experiment with lower ISO / Shutter Speed and to be honest, I really like this. I'll be experimenting with this more often I think. 

Pet Photoshoot?

I've done a few pet photoshoots now (3) haha but to be fair, it's actually quite entertaining, so if you would like some professional shots of your pets, let me know and we'll sort something out. I am however going to be charging in the new year to start paying back for all my camera gear. 

Testing out Flash

I've never really used flash, especially considering that most of my subjects are Birds and I don't exactly want to frighten them off. That said, flash is regularly used in wildlife photography and with great results (when used properly). There is a balance and skill required to get the most out of a flash, I certainly don't have that just yet but I'm going to practise. Even if it's only on ornamentals for the time being.