Wednesday, April 20, 2016


That there are badgers in the area is obvious. In the fields and the woods we have found dung pits at various times.

In the woodland there are also obvious tracks through the anemones and celandine, the fallen tree slightly worn where claws and bellies have sanded the bark away.

Over a few months I had got a few badgers coming to a spot on a regular basis by scattering around a few peanuts.  We had seen them occasionally in the fading light, and then I worked on getting them to accept a bit of artificial light.  I only get out on some weekend nights so it has been a bit of a protracted process.  Very dim white light was OK, but a brighter light seemed to put them off.  Some red film over the lights, start again from a dim light and I had at least one (and the odd fox) coming out eventually into light enough to focus by.

Finally the night came to try a snap.  I resisted the temptation to take the fox - these wild ones are always a bit twitchy - but once the badger appeared and had been munching for a while I took a shot.  The badger looked up briefly, then it was head down again.

Before I started I thought I'd probably prefer some darker, moodier shots reflecting the night conditions, but now I'm not so sure.  The tree and flowers in the light behind look better than I envisaged.

I now have a second (cheap!) flash unit for a bit of a better balance and might try softening the light as well, so hopefully not too long before I get a chance to try again.  We have once seen three out, so would be good to catch a couple sometime.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Gold and silver (well, chrome)

The goldfinch numbers actually increased further, peaking at 15.  That meant a couple more teasel heads, and eventually the plan came together with the classic grumpy finch shot.

In the woods the celandine and anemones are in full flow, bluebells nearly there and the early purple orchids shouldn't be far behind.  As I have said before I'm a big fan of the macro snappers who produce those dreamy shots of flowers, maybe not even in focus, impressionistic shots.  I am determined to get the knack, but I just can't stop focusing!!  I'll keep trying........

A decomposing mudguard from a dead motorbike was a bit more photogenic than the rotting pallet truck - so nice to live near 'ancient' woodland.

Friday, April 01, 2016

Charm offensive

In recent weeks the numbers of goldfinches visiting the garden has been creeping up.  We've never reached the heights of Kay's parents who get them in the tens, but still a reliable and frequent visitor.  There are some snaps that are kind of staples for every bird photographers gallery, and the goldfinch on teasel is one of those.
So it was out with a bank stick and clamp, a teasel stem, some nijer seed for 'sprinkles', plant the prop near the feeders and keep an eye on the birds.  By day 2 there were fairly regular if not frequent visits, and some shots in the bag. 

Background might be better a bit more uniform, but I couldn't bring myself to start hanging up backgrounds in the garden.  I haven't actually posted my favourite as the subtlety will be lost on blogger.