Sunday, 25 March 2012

First day of summertime! Bugs and Butterflys at last march 25 2012

Today is the first day of bst, clock went forword an hour, the sun was shining and it was Hot!!!!!!!!

So off i went , firstly to Moore nature reserve at Warrington .  hoping to see butterflies for first time this year, but just being out on such a wonderful day was enough!
first up, a Wolf spider!  i very rarely shoot these, dont know why as they are so interesting.  shot at x3 magnification with mpe-65 macro lens

I then soon afterwards spotted my first butterfly of the year, a Peacock , very ragged specimen so not worth shooting!   a single Speckled wood was seen also but didn't land !
Nothing else to be seen i made my way over to the second nature reserve,  Rixton clay pits which i knew would give more photo opportunities :)
15 minutes later i arrived and almost straight away saw 3 Peacocks Yay!    any way first image was to be a Fly, yes very common but at this time of year anything will do lol

and a zebra jumper, love shooting these , but so fast !

The resident pair of Buzzards were very active in the thermals today, fighting with the crows at one point!  managed this shot with my 300mm. not great though!

Any how, back to the bugs! 

an alder fly , not the greatest pic, but good to see different species at last after the winter!

I soon found loads of Peacocks feeding high up in the sallow catkins, great to get good colour into the background for a change on a butterfly shot :)  shot with 70-300 is   and cropped a bit .

          My first butterfly image of the year,:))))  very good condition for an overwintered butterfly!

in all i saw 21 Peacocks at Rixton, along with a single flying Brimstone. Love the light in this image!

On the wooden fence rail i found this tiny Weevil!  shot at x4.5 mag, 4 frames focus stacked to increase dof.

and finally another Peacock image to finish off a really great day!   Really enjoyed being out today in the sun.  Saw great crested newts, kestral,buzard,long tailed , coal , great tits, chaffinch and a lesser spotted woodpecker among other things:D

                               all images shot with canon 5d2, mpe-65 & 70-300 is f5.6

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Macro season starts 18 th march 2012

On Sunday it was a nice sunny morning , so in between gardening i got my mpe 65 macro lens dusted off , and found a few willing subjects to shoot :D
By my pond i have a Choisia tenata shrub, which gets all the morning sun and the yellow leaves really attract the bugs  Yay
First subject was a shield bug

and at higher magnification , the mpe-65 gives a magnification of between x1 - x5  life size

I also spotted three species of miner bee visiting the shrub but just could not get a shot of one!

But a nice tiny cranefly was obliging, this one was about 15 mm maximum length! shot at x5 mag and cropped!!!!!!

I found a few ladybirds also

and  my best bug shot of the day, a Fly  lol.   i am definitely rusty, will take a few sessions to get back to normal standard  haha.

and another shield bug :)

I finished of with a high mag 14 frames focus stack of the centre of a pansy flower!

So, the macro season has started at last, it is going to be a very busy season :D

but have a lot more birding trips to do before hand :)

all shot with canon 5d2 and mpe-65 macro lens handheld

Monday, 19 March 2012

Cym idwa & Llyn Bochlywd Waterfalls in the snow 4 march 2012

Having woken up at 8.50 on a Sunday morning and looking on the Snowdon cams at all the fresh snow that had fallen overnight!  i txt Pete  to say i was going!!!! hour and 20 mins later i was standing by this waterfall in the Ogwen valley :))

A classic view up the first waterfall section at the bottom of Idwal stream.

Pete had not arrived yet so i made my way up the falls to see what the conditions were like!   it was obviously very cold, and a mix of cloud and snow showers!  I shot this just before a blizzard of hail came down!  had to shelter beside a large boulder  haha

As soon as it cleared , blue sky appeared and i managed this shot of the devils kitchen.

Moments after this i climbed back down to the falls and another hail storm came down, Pete was sheltering a little further down the falls section  lol . getting all the seasons weather in a few short minutes this morning!

suns out down the nant francon valley :)

 I decided to show Pete the other falls that come from the second lake Llyn Bochlywd which is over to the left towards Tryfan.
After climbing over towards the waterfalls we came to the main path coming down from the lake where i shot this image, look at the difference in conditions!!!!!!

Here is a shot Pete took a few mins after this one with Lyn Ogwen down in the lower bottom right of image.

The falls are quite small but wind all over the place!  here are a few different views.

weather conditions constantly changing!

good views across to the mountains of the devils kitchen :)

I really enjoy being up here in the mountains, amazing views that are different every trip with everchanging weather conditions.  had everything today :)

and turning around shooting down towards the Ogwen valley:)

It was while shooting these falls that i LOST Pete, could not find him any where  lol
after looking for half an hour, hobbling on painful foot i gave up and made my way back to the bottom, where Pete was looking for me!  haha   he thought i had gone over to Cym idwal!!!

all images shot with canon 5d2 and 17-40 L

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Cannock Chase 2nd Bird shoot with Gillian 7th march 2012

After the success of my first trip to Cannock chase in Staffordshire , i decided meet GILL there for another shoot.  This was to be her first proper bird shoot also,  so after getting there half hour late due to traffic, and arriving in heavy rain to find the place deserted i was not happy :(     but did get the location i wanted and moments after setting up a feeding perch the blue tits were all over it,  before i had put any food out!!!!!!!!!  Amazing!

Any how, Gill arrived about 40 mins later , after really bad congestion in Birmingham!

For the first hour or so it rained on & off !  but had low,but really lovely light and managed these 2 shots with rain adding to the image :)

                                            a coal tit , love the light and rain slashes in this :)

and a blue tit

The rain eventually stopped , but  the light levels continued to be quite low all day , except for a few sunny periods!  i found it very difficult get get sharp images and was having to shoot at iso 500-800 for most of the day!

Loose sunflower hearts on the ground attracted Chaffinch and Bullfinches, along with loads of Robins !

A female Chaffinch and Bullfinch

 They are so proud looking birds these Bullfinch , and eventually a beautiful male came down for a feed but just didn't settle , but managed this very nice image of him in the tree!

At one point there must have been about 40 Great,Coal, and Blue tits in the large bush on our left all appearing to be watching us!  an  Amazing site!

A beautifully perched Blue tit!

Eventually at about midday, the " Poppits " arrived , my name for LongTailed tits , i love watching this species, so comical with their long tails waving around in the air :)

                                                     And a beautifully perched Robin :)

                      Later in the afternoon the sun started coming out and back came the Poppits :D
                                                           Sooo Cuteeeeeeeeeeeee 

The light was constantly changing all day, dont think i have ever had to change iso so much in one day!!!!!!!
        The birds were coming so close we both tried shooting with our 100mmL macro lens's

                                                                    and Gillians Great tit shot

                                                                       A Pair of  "Poppits" :)

After shooting this pair we had been told of a place to see Nuthatches , so we went for a walk to find a large fallen tree, in which we then hid peanuts for the Nuthatches to search for!   and it did not take very long!!!!!!  unfortunately they were very fast and at 4.30 the light levels where getting quite low so had to shoot at iso 1000

     they really are magnificent species!    always appear to be different colour as the light changes!

We then went back to original perch area to finish off the last half hour of what turned out to be a really great day!
The Coal,Longtails  and Blue tits were still happy to perch for us :)  they really enjoyed perching on the teasel :D

                                       We do have so much fun on our trips, so special :))))))))
                                                                Thank you Gillian :)

                         all shot with canon 5d2, 70-300is , 300mmL +1.4 x tel & 100mmL macro

Monday, 5 March 2012

Cannock chase - First Ever Birding Shoot 26th Feb 2012

I have never really shot birds before , just the odd photo now and again.  but a flickr contact Julie encouraged me to have a go :).   so a trip to Cannock Chase in staffordshire was arranged where she said it would be a good place to see quite a few species.
When we arrived , a few other bird shooters were already there with perches already set up, John who i already knew from butterfly shooting was there and offered to lend me his canon 100-400L which was a real help as my 70-300 is a bit short on the full frame 5d2 body.  I also shot with my 450d crop sensor body with both 100-400L and my 70-300is.
The perch set ups consisted different branches and feeding pots to encourage the birds down into the area, and Julie had brought along peanut butter, which the long tailed tits in particular find irresistible! lol.

So starting with the 100-400 i was shooting hand held at iso800 & 640 with a aperture f5.6 - 6.3, but later on i managed to go down to iso 320 in the brighter conditions.

The first species to appear were the Blue Tits , always love to see these in the garden :)

I found it quite difficult relying on auto focus, as i very rarely use it in macro and landscape shooting!    and trying to get a focus point on the tiny birds eye was quite a challenge! 
A long tailed tit next image,  i call these  Poppits :D

One bird i always wanted to shoot made a brief appearance for just a few minutes, the Nuthatch , and i managed a few good shots :)

There was also a Teasel seed head set up, which Julie put a small amount of peanut butter on the reverse side to attract the birds :)     Coal tits and Long tailed tits loved it!!

Really like the light i got on this coal tit image :)

and a Blue tit taken around the same time with similar light

Later on a few birds were perching in a bush on the left of the feeders, this is a  Great tit .

A few times a bullfinch had been spotted flying around and he came down for a few minutes, and i luckily managed this single frame!  

In the early afternoon the light was getting alot brighter and the feeding activity increased , especially on the teasels,  here are a few really nice shots , the clean backgrounds really set the birds of nicely :D

                                                           "Poppits" are Sooo Cute:))))

a Blue Tit

Then a Chafinch appeared on the ground , and was displaying a threat pose!!!!!

"Come Back!!!  That's Mine! " 

a coal tit steals a blue tits  nut!!! Haha

Everyones favourite bird!  the ROBIN!  there must have been at least a dozen of them , constantly fighting with each other!  lol

Late in the afternoon, when the light was at its brightest , i tried shooting some bird in flight shots, which was extremely difficult, i just could not get them in focus Arghhhhhhhh
shooting on a tripod, in continuous mode, with all nine focus points activated!  and pressing the shutter as i watched the birds coming in to land!

they always seemed to be flying towards me, instead of flying in sideways to land on the teasel, but eventually i managed a decent shot, but it wasn't until i looked on pc screen that i realised how good an image  i had actually shot!!!!!!!!!!!!

My best shot of an incredible first ever bird shoot !!!!!!!!!!!

That was the end of a superb day, in which i learned alot!  i  need to have another try at shooting these soon:)

                                    Shots taken with Canon 5d2,450d, 100-400L & 70-300is