Sunday, October 21, 2018

Hope on the Horizon?

If you have followed this blog for a while you will know that we tend to have a trip to Florida each winter.  This year it has been in doubt but maybe just maybe we might make it again .....

Anyway given my usual backlog of doing something with my pictures it's time to catch up with 2017's trip to Naples.  We arrived a few weeks after Hurricane Irma to find most of the city OK but the hotel lake had some of the surrounding trees in it,

the pier was mostly closed and there was no direct access to our favourite beach.  Some harder to access beaches had more birds than people.

Still they say it's an ill wind that blows no good, and seeking another way to reach the beach I stumbled across a beachside osprey nest which the pair were doing their best to restore, with some BIG twigs as well as lashings of seaweed.

With the pier out of the equation dawn each day found me looking for birds in the blue and golden hour, then having an hour or 2 fishing from the beach before breakfast.

And more ospreys ……

Doesn't get much better.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Goldilocks photography

So why would anyone take 3 (or more) photographs of their alarm clock 15 minutes before midnight?
One too dark, one too bright and one 'just right'.

At one level the answer is Paul Hobson and his excellent book Wildlife Photography Field Skills and Techniques. At another the answer is this …….

Have you got it?  The phone picture is a glow worm larva, which I saw crossing one of the local roads back in May.  Scroll forward to July and on our usual late evening (post sunset) dog walk on a different track we saw a glow worm, and then a couple of nights later 4 glow worms, frustratingly all tucked well into clumps of grass, and not snappable without more environmental tinkering than I could justify for the sake of a picture.
Then I remembered the glow worm larva and nipped down to that site, to find another 4 shining away, 2 of which were in more open but less photogenic spots.  It was late and I had work the next day, but I headed home to grab the camera.  But how to snap them?  That's where Paul's book came in as I remembered a section on glow worms in that.  Bit of a practise on the alarm clock and down to the worms, where I again ended up doing the Goldilocks too dark, too bright and just right exposures.  

Not the best backgrounds but a chance to practise in the field - quickly.Still the best ones hidden down in the grass.

Over the next week I tried a few more times - still not great backgrounds and once the glow just wasn't working so well.  It was only later I realised that was because the females both had males attached!  These are long exposures (4-8 seconds) so a bit of blur on the male.  Over exposed to show the males.

Finally back on the original track I got a chance to try snaps with some more exposed worms on 'better' backgrounds.  The first shows how they hold their tails to shine the light skywards

and this last has had more post processing done, but gives an idea of just what the beetles look like.

All too soon the season was over, but next year I will have retired so no concern about work.  Mind you I wouldn't want to spend too long on any one individual - after all they are trying to mate.

And what's the recommended technique …………………. I suggest you buy Paul's book!  Available on Amazon or direct from Paul here.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Yellowstone 4 - the cool ones

It's a bit cooler today, but I feel in need of a bit of visual chilling, so time for another Yellowstone post.  In terms of the photo opportunities there's no doubt the stars of the trip were the coyotes, which were seen everywhere, usually in pairs, although it was the Lamar Valley area that provided the best experiences with some very confiding animals.  The 100-400 lens gave some extra freedom to go in tight or come out.  Even so it was hard to believe at times just how tolerant they could be as you slowly inched nearer.

I never imagined being able to take a full frame shot like this,

although for some reason this view really appeals.  Maybe it's because it is just completely ignoring the row of photographers pointing glass at it.