Monday, 27 February 2012

A Northern Winter Part One: Red Grouse

Last week i spent 4 days in the Cairngorms National Park area of Scotland with Neil McIntyre of Scottish Wild Images as my guide and with the company of Daniel Trim and Edward Taylor, 2 guys i have spent alot of time in the field with including last years Morocco trip and 2 guys i'd never think twice about being my photography companions!

Day One was spent solo with Neil driving the moorland and shooting from the car window, with the mild weather many of the Red Grouse have already began pairing up for the spring, females sit tight in the heather with their male mates holding territory next to them often seeing off rival males. I have seen Red Grouse before in the Peak District but i simply couldn't believe the sheer numbers of Grouse in one area and how tame they were when the car was pulled alongside them slowly, the only major problem was if the females decided to move the males followed and you were simply left staring at 2 Grouse's arses moving away from you!

The weather was hit n' miss, as we began climbing higher and higher the mist was very apparent and we could hardly see anything but occasionally as we moved to lower ground there was breaks in the clouds and the sun even popped out, it was very tricky for photography in terms of exposure especially as the Grouse have a strange colour to them, they are quite shiny with bright white and red parts to them on an otherwise dark colouring but was enjoyable and to be honest i came away happy with my selection of images including this male with all the characteristics of a 'normal' Red Grouse but with a bright white head, it almost looks like he is trying to using some sort of camouflage in case it snows but the rest of his body has given up on that idea! Enjoy my images...

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Setting Sun and some Short Eared Owls

My 5th visit to my most local Short Eared Owl site finally yielded me with my best images to date, once again they aren't super close ups but in some way they pleased me more as they show the birds in their environment, something that isn't always shown. Hope you enjoy them!

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Happy Jays

2012 hasn't really got going in terms of Wildlife Photography for me, January was made up of many sporadic local trips resulting in hardly any images worth keeping let alone blogging. The first month of the year was a mixture of bad weather, bad light and myself not managing to find any real subjects to concentrate on so i put it behind me and on February 1st i took a trip to London with 3 targets in mind....Heron's collecting nesting material, Starlings bathing and images of Jays. The Jays were the biggest success of the day, there is at least 2 pairs in Hyde Park (probably lots more) and a few individuals have become accustomed to people and the food that is put out for them. They are still rather shy and take fleeting opportunities to grab the food before taking it well out of sight to eat but with a little patience you can take some really nice images of them in natural surroundings despite being in an busy inner city park.

I now use the Nikon 200-400 VRII lens and am very happy with it, with 400mm at F4 it works a treat and even with the 1.4 TC on to give me 550mm i am still happy with both the sharpness and autofocus speed. Here are some Jay images all taken using the lens and more from London will come soon. I should have a brand new website soon and have a number of specific "projects" this year to keep me focused so keep checking back! Cheers!