Sunday, 24 May 2015

Brief Encounters

Encounter 1

It’s amazing what a difference five or ten minutes can make.  I had planned to to leave home a little earlier this morning to one of my favourite woodland spots, only to be delayed.  As I approached along the busy road that ran besides the woods, I saw a Roe Deer dodging the traffic to cross, presumably to get to the woodlands.  Once across it then went back, again dodging the traffic.  Then went back again only to return once again to the woodland side.  As I was walking towards it one way I could see a cyclist coming the other and I guessed between us we were blocking the only opening between the hedges that stood between it and the fields and woods.  Clearly it was getting distressed, so I turned around and went back, passed one of the openings it could take.  By the time I turned around it was gone.  I guessed it managed to find its way. 

Encounter 2

Ten minutes into the woods, walking along one of the paths between the now, finally growing undergrowth and I saw a Fox about fifteen metres in front following along the path in the same direction.  I don’t know if it had seen me and turned around or simply joined the path and was on it’s way, but I soon lost sight of it.

Encounter 3

Barely another ten minutes went by and another Roe Deer.  It definitely saw me first as by the time I had seen it, it was already off, barking an alarm call.

Encounter 4

Another fifteen minutes and yet another Roe, on the same path as me but coming towards me just from behind some trees.  This time I saw it first, so crouched down and got my camera and monopod in position.  By the time I was looking through the view finder I was expecting the Deer to have legged it as it had been barely twenty metres away.  Instead I could see this blurred image coming towards me and as the camera focused, I got the view below.  No sooner had I managed to take one photograph, it was off.  I was lucky to get that.  At 1/250th with a 500mm lens at f4.5 I was surprised to get a half decent image.  The f4.5 depth of field has barely left the head in focus.

Roe Deer

Soon after I reached my destination.  A location I like to sit and photograph Roe Deer on their way to their day time hold ups deeper within the woods.  I positioned myself, back against a tree, overlooking a couple of paths with an open view should a Roe cross.  Unfortunately it is the time of year when the Mosquitoes are out in force and although I had put on some repellent on, I hadn't tucked my shirt into the back of my trousers and they found another part of me to feast on much to my discomfort.

Encounter 5

After around 30 minutes without a sight of a Deer, I heard a rustling sound to my left and behind and as I turned my head, I saw a Fox trotting past me within metres, briefing turning it’s head to look at me as if to say ‘morning and continued on it’s merry way, totally indifferent to my presence.  Before I new it, it was in the grass in front of me and all I could see was glimpses of its reddish brown back strolling off into the distance and it was gone!


Encounter 6

I didn’t stay long after this and ended up going in the same direction as the Fox.  After a bit of wondering around I came across a male Pheasant which was clearly camera shy as it quickly moved behind a tree, only to every now and then, poke his head out to check on me.  I grabbed a few photos and moved on.  Clearly I wasn’t going to sneak up on this wily old bird.


Encounter 7

I decided time was getting late – at least with the chances of now seeing anything – so walked back the way I came and as I got to the spot I had previously sat, another two Roe Deer.  The nearest was staring at me as they do when they are trying to work out what you are.  I should have just stood motionless until it, hopefully decided I wasn’t a threat and carried on.  Unfortunately I crouched down which was enough for it to decide to go a different route.  Had I stayed put originally 30 minutes previously, both of them would have crossed the open area I had my lens trained on!

Encounter 8

As I continued my walk back, another pair of Roes in the distance but no chance of getting a photo due to the various foliage in the way, nor was there much of a chance of sneaking up on them due to the leaves and twigs on the woodland floor making it impossible even for a Ninja to be stealthy.  They did a bit of a u-turn but the best I could see was the example below.


Encounter 9 (Kind of)

After the Deer moved out of sight, I saw this little chap below scurrying along the ground.  I’ve managed to take plenty of photos of Grey Squirrels, but in this particular area it was disappointing to see one as it was one of the last strong holds of the Red Squirrels, of which it has been a few years since I last saw one, so perhaps this will now be a common sight.


I wonder what would have happened if I had left in the morning when I had planned, or arrived even later.  I would have missed all the above events, maybe seen nothing, maybe seen a completely different set of opportunities.  That’s the thing about looking and photographing wildlife.  You never know what if any, chances are going to come your way.


One final thing.  It’s nice to see that spring is really finally here.  Normally the growth you see below would be at this stage at the beginning of the month and in another couple of weeks these ferns will be waist high and seeing any Deer never mind Foxes, will be very difficult.


Sunday, 17 May 2015

Monday, 11 May 2015

Messing with Seascapes

It’s been a quiet year so far for photography.  Already it’s May and we’ve barely had two weeks of decent weather – and that fell during the week days and not at the week end!

I’ve been out only twice in the last month both times I wanted to experiment with taking seascapes and on the first occasion, as the forecast was for cloudy, misty weather, I thought it would make for some atmospheric images.  Up on location at the crack of dawn – blue skies and barely any clouds never mind any mist.  Not what I was hoping for but I thought I may as well made the most of it.

One thing I wanted to work on was to bracket my images – one over exposed, one under and one ‘correctly’ exposed.  I wanted to experiment with merging these images to create an image with more dynamic range without, hopefully, looking like HDR which I think looks awful for most landscapes.  Not sure how successful I was.  With the third image I also tried to give it a ‘film’ look with a more muted colours.  Other variations included long exposures and black and white conversion.