Wild boar

Wild boar have always been very hard to see in the Forest of Dean, but on the last two visits I have been able to photograph a small group quite well. The first day was far too sunny and the light in the woodland contrasty. So I returned a few days later when it was more overcast. All taken with the Olympus EM1 Mk2 and the 40-150mm lens.

Wild boar, Sus scrofa, by roadside, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, February 2018

Wild boar, Sus scrofa, single animal running, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, February 2018

Wild boar, Sus scrofa, single animal, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, February 2018

Wild boar, Sus scrofa, single animal, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, February 2018

Wild boar, Sus scrofa, single animal, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, February 2018

Wild boar, Sus scrofa, single animal, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, February 2018

Wild boar, Sus scrofa, single animal, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, February 2018

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Long-tailed tit

I have sold all my Canon camera bodies, but hung onto the lenses for now in the hope that Canon announce a top of the range mirrorless system in the spring. I do not want to use a DSLR every again. I have got too used to the wonderful advantages of a mirrorless camera. The Pro-capture feature is my favourite and I keep looking for the opportunity to use it. I have it set so it takes 14 pictures before I press the button and only 1 after. I get 15 pictures each time. This helps to reduce the editing time that would otherwise be very high at 60 frames per second.

I do like the Olympus for being small and light, but it is not the biggest draw for me. I can still cope with the heavier Canon gear and would like to see a full chipped mirrorless Canon body.

This long-tailed tit is flying towards a feeder and the camera manually prefocused in the flight path.

Long-tailed tit, Aegithalos caudatus, single bird in flight, Warwickshire, February 2018. Olympus EM1 MK2. 40-150mm lens. 1/8000th f7.1. 3200 iso. Using the pro-capture at 60 fps.

Hawfinch

There have been a lot in the country this year and several have been seen on the estate where I do most of my photography. This is the first one to pose in front of a hide at a feeding station.

 

Hawfinch, Coccothraustes coccothraustes, single bird on branch, Warwickshire, February 2018. Olympus EM1 MK2. 300mm lens with 1.4 extender. 1/800th at f5.6. 3200 iso.

Raven

Raven, Corvus corax, single bird on Red-legged partridge, January 2018. Olympus EM1 MK2 40-150mm zoom at 75mm. 3200 iso. 1/1000th at f4.

Oystercatcher

Oystercatcher, Haematopus ostralegus, single bird in flight, Slimbridge Gloucestershire, January 2018.

Taken with the Olympus Em1 Mk2, 300mm f4 lens plus 1.4 extender. 1/8000th at f5.6. 1600 iso. No crop.

I was using the Olympus Dot Sight Viewer. This is a small device that fits to the hot shoe of the camera. When powered on there is a red dot which you line up onto your subject. It needs calibrating in the same way as the sights on a rifle, but is simple to do.

Instead of looking through the camera viewfinder you use the viewer, which is clear, bright and flicker free to follow the bird in flight. It is much easier to follow fast flying birds. The downside is you can’t judge the image size and have to hope the AF is working well.

 

Tree sparrows

Tree sparrow, Passer montanus, group of birds on tree, South Korea, January 2018. Olympus Em1 Mk2 and the 300mm f4 lens. 3200 iso. 1/400th at F8.

Magpies and Tree sparrows were the commonest birds we saw in South Korea. Magpies in flocks of 100 birds and much larger flocks of Tree sparrows. Overall though the photography opportunities in South Korea during the winter were limited. I took my Canon gear as well as the Olympus micro four thirds camera, but hardly used the Canon. The Em1 has become my camera of choice almost every time.

Canada Geese

I have owned a Gopro Hero 2 for a number of years, but not taken many pictures with it as I was never happy with the image quality. However, I have now tried the Hero 6 and it is much better and with important controls over shutter speeds and ISO settings, which was not possible before. I am still learning the settings, but would like to get a set of bird images taken with it although I will start with the easy ones such as Canada geese and Mute swans.

Canada goose, Branta canadensis, birds by water, Staffordshire, December 2017. 3.1mm lens. 100 iso. f2.8 at about 1/1000th. The camera was running in time lapse mode at 2 frames per second and left sitting in the water. It runs for almost 2 hours before the battery goes flat.

 

Magpies

I have been feeding Magpies in a local park for some time, but they never became reliable or started to recognise me as a source of food. Eventually I gave up and tried another park and the results were almost instant. By just the third visit they had accepted me and seemed to be awaiting my arrival. I would like a shot of them flying head on towards me with tail and wings widespread. So far I hav enot got that sharp.

All taken with the Olympus Em1 Mk2 and the 300mm f4 Olympus lens. 3200 iso and at 18 fps. Shutter speeds usually around 1/4ooo th at f7.1.

 

Magpie, Pica pica, single bird in flight, Warwickshire, November 2017

Magpie, Pica pica, single bird in flight, Warwickshire, November 2017

Deer rut

The last time I visited Bradgate Park for the deer rut was 2010. Thirty years ago I would be there all by myself, but in 2010 there was about 30 photographers gathered pre-dawn by the small bridge over the river. This week I went along and judging by the numbers of vehicles in the car park an hour before sunrise I thought it would be even more crowded. However, when I reached the bridge there was nobody present, which was easily explained by the lack of deer in the field. This was for many years a favourite spot for deer and photographers.

I went off walking around the rest of the park and although there were plenty of photographers they were well spread out and I was able to photograph by myself mostly. The deer performed well and I enjoyed it more than I expected. I also enjoyed the fact that I was only carrying the lightweight Olympus MFT gear and not humping my heavy Canon gear around.

All taken with the Olympus EM1 Mk2 and a 300mm f4 lens.

Red deer, Cervus elaphus, single female backlit on ridge, Leciestershire, October 2017

Red deer, Cervus elaphus, single female backlit on ridge, Leciestershire, October 2017

Red deer, Cervus elaphus, single male on rocky outcrop, Leciestershire, October 2017

Red deer, Cervus elaphus, two males fighitng, Leciestershire, October 2017

Red deer, Cervus elaphus, single male, Leciestershire, October 2017

 

 

Brown hare

European Brown hare, Lepus europaeus, single hare backlit on field, Warwickshire, September 2017. Olympus Em1 Mk2. 300mm f4 lens. 800 iso. 1/8000th at f7.1.

Photography has been slow of late as I have been in painter and decorater mode and now that I have time for a bit of photography finding subjects seems harder than ever. I have done hares in this field many times. I lie on the ground just short of a ridge in the middle of the field. I can either do them with the sun behind me or backlit. Either way I time it so I am there for about two hours just after sunrise or before sunset. Two hours is long enough to lie on your stomach keeping still.