Sunday, 21 April 2013

A Walk in the Spring Sunshine

No plans on this day to take photographs of anything in particular, just wanted to get out and enjoy what was forecast to be a clear, sunny and warm day.  Packing my camera bag for the day, it felt a little bit light without the Sigma lens off to be repaired, so I added an additional camera to accompany my usual 1D Mk III – the Canon 5D – old by todays standards, I find it takes beautiful images when it comes to landscapes and managing to make best use of wide angle lenses.  Setting off just after six in the morning, I planned to make a day of it and visit a number of locations on what turned out to be a walk of around eight miles or so.

First stop one of the local ‘Nature Reserves’.  I use the term loosely as it more of a playground for dogs and their owners and sure enough, no sooner had I arrived at a nice tranquil looking sight just after seven am and started to taking some photographs of a swan on the small lake, a dog rushed up to me barking and growling which I promptly ignored.  Its owner then spent, what seemed an age, shouting and swearing at the dog to come to him (no apology from the owner of course).  With the mornings peaceful ambiance gone, I moved on.  Due the increased influx of dog walkers, there is little left here to see with those birds that used to breed on the lake, now gone.


Current life without the 500mm means I’m now shooting at 400mm and its surprising how much of a difference that extra hundred makes.  Small birds in particular now seem specs in the viewfinder even with the converter on.  Having the extra stops on the Sigma also makes a big difference especially in poor light, though early on during this day this was not an issue.  There was no shortage of birds to photograph as the mornings air was alive with the chorus of competing songs, its just most were far to distance and from my experience you can’t really stalk small birds the best action is to just stay put and let them come to you either on their own accord or by tempting them with food.  The warm weather meant the latter is becoming difficult so I just sat and enjoyed the warming sun rays and a few drifted within range.



One place I did want to stop off at was the various Rabbit warrens where I’ve had so much success in photographing in past years, but as with last year they were still abandoned (left) and, although some Rabbits were about, it was the odd one or two where as this time a couple of years ago you might see up to a dozen in any one of the same spots.  It looks like it will take a number of years to recover their numbers. 

Corresponding the number of Foxes here sighted has also dropped not surprising as I would imagine the Rabbit would have been the main source of prey for them.

The rest of the morning taken up with taking images of opportunity when it came to wildlife but as the morning progressed the promised wall to wall sunshine started to disappear and with it the warmth as the wind also picked up, so it was a case of keeping on the move to keep warm.


The increase cloud cover wasn’t all bad as it made it more conducive for taking landscapes, so I packed away the 1D and 400mm lens and out came the 5D and wide angle zoom.  After my recent reminiscing in my Rants & Musings section, I decided to go back to basics, switch off automatic exposure mode and get down and dirty and re-introduce myself with manual mode, tried multiple exposures, under and over exposed and multiple spot metering.  With the exception of the second photography which was two exposures sandwiched together on computer, the others were all done in camera (with the aid of a neutral graduate filter).  The first black & white image was converted on the computer and included some ‘burning’ in a similar way I once did in my film/darkroom days.

When I came across this view, it seemed ideal for a black & white conversion


Two exposures taken – one for the sky and one for the land – then merged


Balanced from two exposure readings and with a neutral graduate filter

Another manual exposure

1 comment:

  1. Although your camera is a little old by today's cameras your correct it does really take some lovely photos. also the photographer has a great deal to do with how good they turn out to. nice work.