Saturday, 22 December 2012

Winter Waxwings

My winter has been focused around 3 main subjects....Waxwings, Waders and Grey Seals, I planned to focus on seals and wading birds well in advance and got myself prepared in terms of high tide dates and booked accommodation in Lincolnshire for the seals. I didn't however bank on Waxwings being part of the winter period so when the birds began flooding into the UK I kept my eyes and ears open for them. 

I didn't really have any decent Waxwing images in my portfolio as all images were taken in the past with inferior kit so was keen to improve upon them but knew that being such a well photographed bird it was always going to be tricky to get something different, certainly these images were not going to be ground-breaking! However, I fancied the challenge and genuinely enjoy spending time around these birds so it wasn't a hardship to photograph them.

Soon news came of a large flock in Woburn, Bedfordshire, around 30mins from my house and a location they have visited before. I knew the site would be busy with other photographers but went with a composed feeling in my head, in the past I may have treated this situation with too much excitement chasing around the birds trying to rattle off as many images as possible but this time I knew in my head what sort of images I would prefer.

My main concerns were having too many images looking up at the birds, this never makes for a nice picture but tends to be the most popular type of Waxwing photo, images with blue skies as backgrounds are ok and inevitably I would get some like this but I didn't want these to be my only images. Ideally I wanted the birds to more on my level with different backgrounds and possibly some other interest in the images such as blurred foreground vegetation to frame the birds.

Upon arrival there was already a few people around and I could already see that they were doing all the things I didn't want to do, shooting into the light, standing right under the birds, following them every where they were going and blasting the shutter! I stood back across the road from the birds, watched them for a while and pin-pointed some favourite berry trees where the berries were eye level and the backgrounds were interesting, the best backgrounds seemed to be a brick red house and a dark green tree to waited for the birds to land on them. Staying across the road meant I was actually further away from the birds than others but knew that having them slightly smaller in the frame would yield more aesthetically pleasing images.

Anyways, enough of the boring chat! Essentially over a 2 day period, both stunning weather wise I achieved the images below, in my eyes they work and I am happy with the variety of them and the fact that not only did my more methodical approach pay off but I was prepared to try something different with Waxwing images than the norm. Hope you like them!