Sunday, 14 November 2010

One year on…


…since starting this blog, with the original idea behind it partly being to motivate myself to get out a bit more as I was going through a bit of a slump, with work dominating much of my life.  One year on and this has worked as I’ve been out much more, unfortunately, I have had less success than the previous four years – opportunities have just not been there for some reason, at least with my three favourite subjects, Foxes, Deer and Kingfishers.  I could put it all down to bad luck but if I was being pragmatic then the reasons for my lack of success may a bit more tangible.  Fox numbers, like most animals, will fluctuate according to their food source – in this case Rabbits which help make up a large part of their diet, and I have seen fewer of these over the last year.  Having said that, I have seen quite a few Foxes over the past twelve months, just not where I have normally photographed them.

Most of my Roe Deer photographs come from one particular wood which gets little human disturbance making photographing this shy and very alert animal much easier, however I know that due to growing numbers and problems with rival males there was some form of cull planned so this might explain that.  As far as the Kingfishers are concerned, we had one of our worst winters for years this year with many of the water ways frozen over leaving just the coast for them to fish at.

Having now photographed wildlife for four years, I’m seeing patterns form at the locations I go to, changing year to year.  Some areas of water dry up at bit or become more overgrown, woodland change, some areas have more human disturbance, so it seem natural that animals are going to adjust accordingly as well as change their habits and territories. So I need to rethink my approach and also adjust.  It’s ironic that I have the best equipment now than I have ever had, with my main lens being the Sigma 500mm which could have made a big difference a few years ago when I needed the extra reach and stops it has over the 400mm I was using.

Anyway, with my first blog showing Kingfishers and with regular reports about Clara Vale having them visit, I decided to head off there.  I don’t like public hides at the best of times, but the this one can make me feel particularly uncomfortable as it is usually crowded with photographers who don’t tend to the quietest lot.

On this day a Kingfisher did make an appearance, in fact on and off for a couple of hours, but always at a distance and so I was only able to get some low quality images, still, I never get bored watching this entertaining little bird.


Initially, despite being a sunny morning, the lighting was poor as the sun was still low down and so had to use a ISO of 800 - 1600 for most of my images to get a decent shutter speed especially with the song birds which were constantly on the move, it was only in the last hour or so that the suns rays were finally reaching the areas I was trying to photograph.

One unusual bird to this area was a Water Rail, which, every time it made an appearance there was a sudden clamber of photographers moving to that side of the hide which then sounded more like a major press conference, the noise of continuous frames rattling off - it just lacked the flashes and questions! To be honest, although my 30D can do 5 fps and the 1D mk II 8.5, I rarely use this option unless I am trying to capture some quick action and then only if it isn’t going to have an adverse effect on the animal I am photographing. Someone commented that it didn’t stay out for very long, darting back for cover just as they were taking pictures…hmm, can’t understand that one! I think next week I will go back to a bit of solo therapy.



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