Monday, 30 April 2012

RSPB Frampton and Far ings

The alarm was set for 8:00, Destinatio Frampton for the long staying Black-Winged Stilt. I have only seen these briefly in Spain last year so would be a UK tick for myself and my dad. Arriving just after 10:00 in horribly conditions wind and rain ! A quick look in the visitor centre and see whats been seen. With the news we hoped for we walked down towards the wet grasslans further down. Arriving where the Stilt was last seen another birder told is the bird has moved to another field. So I scanned the field with 35 summer Black-tailed godwits in with them was 1 Whimbrel and 5 Ringed Plover ( Both year ticks ) So we walked back down the path heading for the 360 Hide and out of the corner of my eye I saw a black and white wader, It was the Black-winged Stilt ! Lifer 206 and 7th this year alone. After watching it for about 5 minutes the wind and rain numbing our faces we carried on to the 360 hide where it was coming and going often. Great-crested Grebe have nested close to the 360 hide and in the open as well these were seen mating and dancing first time I've seen this happen. Also Skylark, Ringed Plover, Yellow wagtail, White wagtail, Avocet, Ruff, Brent goose, Gargeney and Shoveler in the area. Moved onto the next hide where there wasnt much more except 2 Gadwall and 1 Swift. Back to the visitor centre to try for the Male scaup thats been around the reedbed when the Black-winged stilt came closest it has been all day, so off I trotted in with the rain battering my face I enjoyed photographing this bird for 15 minutes whilst keeping an eye on the scaup. Horrible day for the photography and birding, If it was a sunny day then I would have come home with some better pictures. 1 Lifer and 8 year Ticks Despite the weather a nice day :)

A Red-rumped Swallow was found on Saturday by one of my Birding friends Richard Dawkins, sadly I couldn't get there on saturday due to work and sunday working to ! So I tried for it on the Monday but no sighn if the bird sadly I did manage 2 year ticks in common sandpiper and Reed warbler. Was sunny for a change so good photography weather but not much came close.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Fill flash? My First attempt !

I have long pondered on wheather to try or even learn how to succesfully use fill flash in my wildlife photography. I only want to fill in the shadows not be the main source of light. After plenty of research I decided to give it a go the next opportunity I thought it suited. So after a while searching I stumbled on a female Pheasant that didn't budge (she wasnt on a nest) I took a couple of shots not very good shots but just a snap shot then on quick review I noticed a huge shadow on the breast of the bird so I popped up my built in flash set it to +0 and fired off a shot. This Time I used my built in flash but in the future I will be usin Canon Speedlite 580X II with a diffuser. Natural light is ALWAYS best!
This is the image with Fill flash. More frame filling as a took a couple of steps forward. Now in this image I think the Back of the bird is maybe a little over exposed but much better than the other image below. The Breast and head of the bird has lost the extreme shadows, still there is shadowing but I think it's an improvement. If I set the flash at +1 or +1 1/3 then the the back of the bird would have been over exposed and the breast would have been fine although I could have pumped up apperture to f.8. But changing appertures when using flash comes with all sorts of problems.

This is the image without fill flash. As you can see not an appealing photograph by any means. But in my opinon the back of the bird is a little underexposed. Also as you can see the breast of the bird has extreme shadows along with the head. I have A lot to learn on this matter and will carry on reading and playing with it in the field. I will keep my blog up to date with this and hopefully in weeks and months to come I will notice a improvment. Not all photographers like to use flashes on wildlife or at all but in situtions it will hopefully prove a session saver! Ambient light is ofcourse always the best! I wont be using Fill flash in all my images just drastic shadows like this situation. Anybody's thoughts, questions or even advice are very welcome. Thanks :)

Friday, 20 April 2012

Recent Outings

Once again I have got a little behind in uploading photos. God knows how havent bene out much lately, A lot of rain around. So here is a couple of images from recent outings.

Close up Female Pheasant No Crop


Pied Wagtail

Pied, Yellow, White Wagtails

Buff Ermine Caterpillar