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

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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.

Hooded crow

This is one of my favourite images from a recent trip to Romania. It is taken from an improvised lie down hide at the waters edge. Canon EOS 1dx. 800mm lens. 800 iso. 1/25ooth at f5.6

The birds were surprisingly daring, hovering just above the water to try and grab a mussle being washed in on the surf.

Hooded crow, Corvus corone cornix, single bird feeding on mussels in water, Romania, July 2017

House sparrow

House sparrow, Passer domesticus, single young bird flying from a cherry branch, Warwickshire, June 2017

Olympus Em1-Mk2. 300mm f4. 3200 iso. 1/4000th f5. From a hide and again using the Pro capture mode at 60 fps, else it would have been a picture of cherrys only.

Sand martins

Sand martin, Riparia riparia, two birds mating, Worcestershire, June 2017. From a portable hide.

Olympus EM1 Mk2. 300mm f4 lens. 1/4000th at f6.3. 1600 iso.
Taken using the Pro-capture mode at 60 fps. This means holding the release button half way down so the camera is taking pictures at 60 fps, but not writting them to the SD card. When the button is fully depressed it starts writting to the card and includes the 14 images prior to you pressing the button. Means you can sleep on the job and still get the moment.

 

 

 

 

Reed bunting

Common reed bunting, Emberiza schoeniclus, single male singing, on reed, Warwickshire, June 2017

One of the easist birds to do in song. In this wet meadow there are no high bushes. They can only sing from low vegetation and if you see a Reed bunting on a perch singing three times then put up a hide and within minutes it will be back and ignore the hide. I choose a two tone backgrownd as I prefer two colours to one. Canon 1dx. 800mm lens. 800 iso/ 1/800th at f9. Hide and tripod.

Brown hare

European brown hare, Lepus europaeus, single hare running, Warwickshire, June 2017

 

I have tried the hares backlit before on the same field and always enjoy doing so. Canon 1dx. 800mm. 1/2500th at f14. 800 iso.

With the Canon gear they do react to the sound of the shutter and turn away from me. I am sitting on a stool in the open, but with my back against long grass. When I use the Olympus Em1 Mk2 they come much closer as it is totally silent. So far with the Olympus I have always been flat on the floor and am amazed how close they will come.

European brown hare, Lepus europaeus, single hare on field, Warwickshire, May 2017. Olympus Em1 MK2. 1600 iso/ 1/250th at f6.3. 300mm f4 lens.

I have been lying down from 18:00 hours to 20:00 hours in my favourite hare field. The field has little vegetation growing as it was recently harrowed and has a nice ridge in the middle of it that the hares often run along. When you lie flat on the ground they take no notice of you and come very close. It is just very uncomfortable and two hours is my limit unless I am in a hide and can turn onto my back from time to time.

 

 

Avocet

Avocet, Recurvirostra avosetta, Single bird in water, Bulgaria, April 2017

Canon EOS 1DX, 800mm lens 1/3200th at f13. 800 iso

No need for a hide in the Burgas wetlands of Bulgaria. The Avocets are tame enough to just lie down at the waters edge and they come close enough along with other waders.