Category Archives: Uncategorized

Northern wheatear

I spent a few days in Wales, but on the way pulled my calf muscle. Never would believe how incapacitating such a thing could be. I was not able to get more than a few yards from the car and spent my time either sitting on a stool or lying on the floor. Walking was impossible. Lying on the floor does allow the wildlife to come so much closer and this female wheatear took little notice of me. To her I guess I was no more a threat than a fallen log.

Northern wheatear, Oenanthe oenanthe, single female on grass, Wales, May 2018. Olympus Em1. 300mm plus 1.4 extender. 1/800th at f8. 400 iso.

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Red-legged partridge

Red-legged partridge, Alectoris rufa, single bird on post, Warwickshire, May 2018. Olympus Em1 Mk2. 300mm f4 plus 1.4 extender. 1/400th at F5.6. 1600 iso.

When Red-legged partridges start to call they do not open their bills at all. The throat feathers vibrate a little, which is the only sign they are calling, but after a few minutes they become more intense and the bill does open as the volume of the calls increases. Right at the end they stretch their necks and the whole body vibrates with the effort.

Spoonbill

I started off shooting this bird from the car window, but when it went behind some reeds ran down to the waters edge to lie down. No hide or scim netting. Amazing how a low profile allows birds to come so close. It is taken in the Coto Donana NP in Southern Spain, but around the Bonanza area where you can get good access to the birds. Most of th epark is very restricted.

Spoonbill, Platalea leucorodia, single bird in water, Spain, May 2018. Olympus Em1 Mk2. 300mm f4 lens. 1/2000th at f5.6. 800 iso.

Yellow-legged gulls

Yellow-legged gull, Larus cachinnans, two birds mating, Morocco, March 2018. Olympus EM1 Mk2. 300mm f4 lens plus 1.4 extender. 400 iso. 1/3200th at f5.6. This is my second trip to Morocco and neither has been great for photography. It is all car window photography and you can go many hours between photo opportunities. I did enjoy using the Olympus gear from the car as it is so much more manoeuvrable. Even better was the ease of getting my gear through the airport. I was below the weight limit for once.

Song thrush V Blackbird

Song thrush, Turdus philomelos, bird in snow fighting with Blackbird, Warwickshire, March 2018. Olympus Em1 Mk2. 40-150mm lens at 150mm. 1/4000th at f2.8. 3200 iso. Over exposed by 1.7 stops.

 

The last fall of snow did not last nearly long enough and I did not get as many images in it as I would have liked. This is my favourite. Two thrushes fighting over apples. The light was very dull, so I needed to overexpose by 1.7 stops and use the 40-150mm lens at f28. From a canvas hide.

I will probably buy a second 1.4 extender soon. I would like to have one fitted to both the 40-150mm and the 300mm lens.

 

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

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.