Spring Flowers
20th March 2011 - 0 comments
Spring has sprung, well just about. We are still getting some chilly mornings but the early spring bulbs are starting to bloom.
I took the opportunity to dust off the macro lens and get some photos this weekend.

Snowdrop - Galanthus nivalis
Canon 7D with Sigma 180mm Macro
1/6s @ f13 ISO 200

Crocus tommasinianus
Canon 7D with Sigma 180mm Macro.
1/15s @ f8 ISO 200

Crocus chrysanthus
Canon 7D with Sigma 180mm Macro.
1/10s @ f11 ISO 200
Red Squirrels
28th February 2011 - 0 comments
The Red Squirrel is the only species of squirrel native to the UK. Unfortunately the introduction of the North American Grey squirrel in Victorian times has had a detrimental impact on the populations of red squirrels due to competition and the spreading of squirrel pox.
One place to see Red Squirrels in the South of England is the Isle of Wight which I visited last week and was lucky enough to manage a few photographs although the weather wasn't really the best.

Red Squirrel - Sciurus vulgaris
Canon EOS 7D with 100-400 lens @ 400mm
1/160s @ f7.1 ISO 1600

Red Squirrel - Sciurus vulgaris
Canon EOS 7D with 100-400 lens @ 250mm
1/125s @ f6.3 ISO 1600

Red Squirrel - Sciurus vulgaris
Canon EOS 7D with 100-400 lens @ 400mm
1/250s @ f6.3 ISO 800

Red Squirrel - Sciurus vulgaris
Canon EOS 7D with 100-400 lens @ 400mm
1/125s @ f7.1 ISO 400
The Big Pond Thaw 2011
10th February 2011 - 0 comments
Pond Conservation are running a survey to try and assess the impact of the cold winter on pond life.

"As the icy weather draws to a close we are hearing reports of dead amphibians in garden ponds. Join in with our Big Pond Thaw survey, to help us build a fuller picture of what is happening in our ponds this winter"

If you have a pond please take the time to resond it only takes a few minutes:

Pond Conservation -Big Pond Thaw
RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch
29th January 2011 - 0 comments
I should have posted this earlier but this weekend is the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch, there is still a day left though!

The aim is to help the RSPB by counting the number of birds in your garden in a one hour period. This wil help them create a snapshot of bird numbers over the UK.

More information can be found on the website:

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch
Royal Photographic Society Distinction
19th January 2011 - 0 comments
I have just returned from Bath where a portfolio of ten of my images was under assessment for an application for a Licentiateship with the Royal Photographic Society.
The good news is that I was successful in being recomended for a Licentiateship.
Some more background can be found here in the previous post.
RPS Advisory Day
04th January 2011 - 0 comments
I visited the London Wetland Centre in Barnes on Sunday. At the start of the day the signs were hopeful for a sunny day, unfortunately it didn't take long before it clouded over.
Still it was a good day lots of birds to see and I even managed to photograph a few. I didn't manage to see a Bittern but there were plenty of ducks!

Male Shoveler - Anas clypeata
Canon EOS 7D with Canon 100-400 @ 400mm
1/125s @ f6.3 ISO 500

Female Shoveler - Anas clypeata
Canon EOS 7D with Canon 100-400 @ 400mm
1/125s @ f6.3 ISO 500

Male Teal - Anas crecca
Canon EOS 7D with Canon 100-400 @ 380mm
1/160s @ f7.1 ISO 500

Female Teal - Anas crecca
Canon EOS 7D with Canon 100-400 @ 380mm
1/200s @ f6.3 ISO 500

Male Gadwall - Anas strepera
Canon EOS 7D with Canon 100-400 @ 380mm
1/320s @ f6.3 ISO 500

Female Gadwall - Anas strepera
Canon EOS 7D with Canon 100-400 @ 400mm
1/250s @ f8 ISO 400
Wildlife in the Snow
06th December 2010 - 0 comments
As it was my Birthday i took the day off work. I was hoping to get to the WWT London Wetland Centre in Barnes, unfortunately due to the snow, public transport was not working particularly well. I decided to keep local and headed to South Norwood Country Park.

It seemed that apart from the ducks who had congregated on the one part of the lake that wasn't iced over much of the smaller birds had taken cover or were foraging away from the normal places I find them.
I caught a glimpse of two Wrens foraging in an open field, they would duck into a break in the snow and hunt around and then pop back out before moving to the next patch.
I managed one quick shot, and then had a go at stalking them. I didn't do it for too long as I didn't want them to waste their energy avoiding me so the first shot was the only one I got.

Wren - Troglodytes troglodytes
Canon EOS 7D with Canon 100-400 @ 400mm
1/250s @ f5.6 ISO 500

After feeding the ducks (always a relaxing pastime) I headed home and decided to set up briefly in the garden to catch some garden visitors on snow laden branches. Again I didn;t stay long as I didn't want to stop them feeding (and it was pretty cold).

Goldfinch - Carduelis carduelis
Canon EOS 7D with Canon 100-400 @ 400mm
1/100s @ f6.3 ISO 640

Coal Tit - Periparus ater
Canon EOS 7D with Canon 100-400 @ 400mm
1/125s @ f5.6 ISO 640

Blue Tit - Cyanistes Caeruleus
Canon EOS 7D with Canon 100-400 @ 400mm
1/100s @ f6.3 ISO 640
Garden Birds
29th November 2010 - 0 comments
I have been a bit busy recently and haven't been able to get out with the camera as much as I would like. I took the opportunity over the last couple of weekends to hide in the garden shed and have another go at photographing some garden visitors.
Now that winter is starting to bite the leaves are pretty much gone from the tree which gives the birds less places to hide on their way to the feeders. Here are some of my favourite shots from the sessions.

Greenfinch - Carduelis chloris
Canon EOS 7D with Canon 100-400 and 1.4x extender @ 560mm
1/500s @ f11 ISO 400

Ring Necked Parakeet - Psittacula krameri
Canon EOS 7D with 300mm F4 and 1.4x extender
1/250s @ f5.6 ISO 640

Blackbird - Turdus merula
Canon EOS 7D with Canon 100-400 and 1.4x extender @ 475mm
1/320s @ f11 ISO 320
RPS Advisory Day
31st October 2010 - 0 comments
One of my projects this year has been to put together a body of work good enough to earn a distinction from the Royal Photographic Society. At this stage I have set my sights on a Licentiateship which is the first level of distinction awarded.
To be assessed an applicant is required to present ten images that work together as a set or in the case of digitally projected images as a sequence.
I decided to uses prints rather than digital images as I felt this gave me more control over the final image the judges will see. The following criteria are used to judge an application (taken from the RPS Distinction Handbook).

-Presentation: Overall Impression of Portfolio
-Technique: Camera Work
-Technique: Technical Quality
-Seeing: Visual Awareness
-Thinking: Communication

For more information on RPS Distinctions please visit - RPS Distinctions Introduction

Yesterday I attended a Distinction Advisory Day, this gave me an opportunity to have my work viewed by members of the RPS and to help me understand if my work was up to standard and was cohesive as a body of work. I took along ten 'spare' images to allow the advisors to chop and change if necessary.

In the end a few changes were made but it was felt my work was up to standard which was great to hear.

All in all it was a great day with some stunning photography on display, if you are considering applying for an RPS distinction I strongly recommend attending an advisory day.

My hanging plan for the application is shown below, the next step is the assessment day in January.

Birds at the feeder
18th October 2010 - 0 comments
Yesterday I set up a 'hide' in the garden shed hoping to photograph the regular visitors to the garden as they arrive to make use of the feeders.
The aim was to photograph them in the surrounding trees, unfortunately as is often the way no one told the birds and they made dashes to the feeder fro the deepest darkest regions of the trees.
In the end I photographed them on the feeder so I didn't come away with nothing! The majority of the visitors were greenfinches and fortunately they looked to be in good health.
I cannot stress enough the importance of feeder hygiene, the disease Trichomonosis is a real threat to finches and other birds and you can help reduce the spread by regularly cleaning any garden feeders.

For more information please visit the RSPB website

Here are my favourites of the photos taken all are of Greenfinches.

Canon 2x Extender
12th September 2010 - 0 comments
One of the problems of bird photography is having a lens long enough to get a nice close up of your subject without having to approach too close.
The obvious option is a telephoto lens, but once you get to a certain level these go from being expensive to being very expensive!
The lens I currently use is a Cannon 300mm f4 L, more often than not I pair this up with a 1.4x extender to give a 420mm f5.6. However on occasion I would like more reach (especially doing hide photography on nature reserves).
So for that reason I thought I would chance a 2x extender to give me a 600mm f8 lens. I have been in the garden today 'playing' with this combination and I have to say I am pleasantly surprised by the results; From reading various reviews I was expecting most of the images to be soft but in all honesty they are coming out reasonably sharp and respond well to post processing.
On non 1 series Canon bodies autofocus won't work unless the maximum aperture is f5.6 or less, so as the 2x extender makes the f4 lens an f8 AF doesn't work, unless you use live view and rely on the 'live' AF. Although it's not the quickest it did prove itself to be accurate.
The images below were taken today, the lens was mounted on a tripod and the shutter was fired using a remote release.

Blue Tit - Cyanistes caeruleus
Canon EOS 7D with 300mm L and 2x Extender
1/500s @ f11 ISO 400

This is a 100% crop from the above image with no sharpening applied.

Great Tit - Parus Major
Canon EOS 7D with 300mm L and 2x Extender
1/100s @ f11 ISO 400

I am very pleased with this combination and the 2x extender is something I will definitely be using in the future.
Updates complete
05th September 2010 - 0 comments
I have completed my site updates. Thank you to the fellow WAB forum members who visited this site and gave some valuable feedback.
I have added some information in the 'About' section on the equipment I use and I have also included shooting information with each image.
Eye to Eye with a dragonfly
03rd September 2010 - 0 comments
I took a trip to the London Wetland Centre today, my hope for the day was to get a photo of a Dragonfly and a Common Lizard.
Although I did find a Common Lizard it wasn't in a photogenic setting so I just had to admire it and move on.
Although there quite a few dragonflies flying the sunny weather seemd to mean they didn't need to rest so much. I did try to photograph them in flight but the less said about that the better!
I spotted one dragonfly alighting on a log, it flew away and a few minutes later it returned. As it seemed I had found it's 'favourite' spot I got my tripod set up and settled in to wait. I decided to use the 300mm f4 L with a 1.4x extender as this works well for dragonflies at it's minimum focussing distance of 1.5m. I decided on an aperture of f18 to give a reasonable depth of field but still give a nice out of focus background.
The 'session' lasted about 45 minutes with the dragonfly returning periodically, this was my favourite shot from the session.

Common Darter - Sympetrum striolatum
Canon EOS 7D, Canon 300mm L with 1.4x extender
1/50 @ f18 ISO 200
Canon 7D Custom Functions
01st September 2010 - 0 comments
I found a really useful article on the Canon Professional Network. It details the 7D custom functions and explains what they do and what the settings mean.
I found it invaluable as there are lots of ways fine tuning the 7D.

The EOS 7D’s Custom Functions explained
Site redesign
30th August 2010 - 0 comments
I am currently in the process of redesigning the web site, the main change is to the colour scheme.
I will also be reviewing the gallery images and re-uploading images in a larger size to make all of the images consistent. While this work is ongoing you may find empty galleries or images with strange titles.
I should be completed in a few days, in the meantime I apologise for any inconvenience.