Saturday, 7 June 2014

At this time of year… past and present

I find it interesting to look back at previous years at the same time, to see what was about and what I was photographing at any one particular time.  It’s not only a record of what is about at any particular time of year, but how much as time goes by, nature changes as does my own ability to photograph it.  Every now and then I like to go back through my photographs and delete older ones as I improve, though I still like to keep some of the older ones just as a record of the past.  This collection goes back to 2006 when I moved into digital photography and I’ve tried to put together a couple of images from each of those past years at the same time of the year.

At the beginning of June should be a busy time – life is in full swing with animals bringing up offspring and plants in full growth – but I was surprised to find it hasn’t always the most productive time for me.



Most activity, as expected, seems to involve parents bringing up their young, birds sing loudly proclaiming their territory and insects are everywhere. Some of the images I achieved last year couldn’t be replicated.  It wasn’t as simple as going to the same place around the same time and see the same bird or animal performing the same behaviour and just goes to show nature is constantly changing.



Much the same as this year and, although my 500mm lens was being repaired, I don’t think it meant any missed opportunities as it seemed quite quiet considered the expected activity around.  The Reed Bunting encounter was perfect for me as I was able to get close without it being to bothered by my presence.  Mallards and Geese were a plenty with their young and again very approachable with just a 400mm lens.



I could find very little in the way of photographs taken this year, probably more down to my ability to get out as anything.  Warblers were the theme of the day.



Skylarks were in their numbers in the same place where today, they’ve been replaced by Reed Buntings.  Same activity though, busy feeding their young.  New camera this year – the Canon Mark III



The locations where I saw the birds in 2010, no longer have them in the same numbers or in the case of the Coots, they have gone completely due to dog owner irresponsibility at the small lake.  The Sand Martins are there but in much smaller numbers, more down to the naturally changing landscapes of their nesting sites where the sand banks have eroded making a less than ideal nesting location.  New lens this year, the Sigma 500mm taking over most of my wildlife photography though the Canon 400mm was still getting used as shown by the Sand Martin image below.



Not sure what happened this year, but I couldn’t find any images at all for June so just a Kingfisher from the following month.  This year also saw my taking the plunge into getting a ‘professional’ camera, the Canon Mk IIn.  This felt so much better to use than the 30D I was using and image quality also seemed an improvement.



Another slow time of year for 2008 and very few images to show for it, in fact this is the only wildlife one I could find.



To big steps in my photography this year.  The purchase of the 30D but mostly by getting the Canon 500mm f5.6.  What a difference that made both quality of images but also being able to get much closer to the wildlife, though the somewhat fierce looking Fox below was an exception in achieving that!  I also replaced the kit lens with the Canon 17-40 mm lens also making a big difference to my landscapes.



My reintroduction into photography and in this case, digital was through a Canon 350D, a Tamron 70-300mm lens and the standard ‘kit lens’.  The Tamron lens was awful – very slow and soft, the kit lens was ok but you had to use it in the right way, but I loved the 350D.  It gave me a love of photography all over again.  Prior to this my camera kit consisted of a couple of Olympus cameras and a statement of lenses, the longest being a 300mm mirror lens -  not recommended for wildlife unless you live in a very sunny place!


I like to think during these years, my photography has improved as certainly my knowledge of wildlife and nature has.  I feel my photography has had an impact too through various introductions – a professional body camera, the 400mm then 500mm lens. Also interesting to see the Damselflies differences.  The one taken in 2006 using the Tamron zoom and very soft in quality and the most recently taken one using the Sigma 105mm lens, technically much better.

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