Monday, December 29, 2008

Bend it like Packham

Although I used to be quite good at learning things, I've never been much of a one for remembering. They're not the same thing. A lot of my life drifts into the past as a series of half-recalled vignettes, maybe remembering what was said, but not who said it, or vice versa. I have a recollection of watching Chris Packham on tv talking about trying to photograph a bird through grass. I think he was trying a camera, but that bit has gone. Anyway, the aim was a kind of arty, hazy shot with a veil of colour superimposed on the standard view. And ... yes it can be done - shooting through things that is. With a telephoto lens you can blur out structures in the foreground. How so? Well I also recall from distant physics lessons that light is wave-like when it wants to be, so in addition to whatever the focusing issues are I guess that plays a part, rather than the camera guessing what is there!
The reason I'm wittering about this is because of trip on Saturday to photograph a bearded tit that has been resident and showing off in South Wales for some weeks now. As it was the holiday season (good will to all men and that) Kay was coming too, so we set off on time ...... for the first day of the Next sale. Still it could have been worse, it might have been shopping at Tesco . Hang on, thinking about it that came later!
To the point. In between shops we met up with Chris Grady to find a sunny day, a co-operative bird and a wind. A gusty wind, which blew the reeds and the bird around like mad. The reeds bent spaghetti like, and stems and seedheads blew across the viewfinder with frustrating frequency and unpredictability, so it seemed that I would be taking Packhamesque snaps whether I liked it or not.
The other issue was focusing - so many shots were lost because the head wasn't in focus.
Or even in view!
This one combined an out of focus head with stems and a seedhead in the way (the dark shading at the top right aspect is the seedhead).
Eventually though I got a few I could live with. The first does have stems in the way, but I still like it and that's what counts. Just call it 'in the style of Packham'. The second and third shots are uncropped showing just how close the bird came at times. Should have taken the macro lens.
Still a good session. If you want to see Chris Grady's shots click HERE (and yes I am envious!).

Sunday saw a solo trip to brave the bitter cold in search of more waxwings, near the Forest of Dean. Again the power of the internet led to me to a single tree in the front garden of a house in the village of Littledean, and 3 waxwings. Sadly the light was even lower than the temperature, so the snaps are a bit rough, and lack the spark of my Lincoln shots. Given the shutter speed on some of these the fact they are in focus at all is actually quite surprising.
Still, better than shopping.
As always better quality shots on the web albums.
Click HERE and then on the 'latest pictures' album.

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