This page will act as a photographic journal. What I'm using, why I like various bits of kit, how I set up certain shots. Stuff that on the whole would act as a massive turn-off for anyone not interested in wildlife photography. 

Florida Gulls and Terns

July 18, 2015  •  1 Comment

Surprisingly there were very few Gulls and Terns in Florida, and in the limited time I had there I was more interested in other things, but I still found time to point the camera at a few when they walked into my field of view. I have to say that Laughing Gull is a pretty smart beast, if you can set aside for amount the fact it's a Larid. The following were all taken on a short session that had been devoted to feeding Willet, on Fort Myers beach right next to a mass of deckchairs and with streams of early morning joggers and shell collectors going past. It's a very busy place but for the most part it didn't seem to matter - in fact I can only think of one occasion where a careful approach was ruined by someone who just didn't notice me.

The above photo is an American Herring Gull, which I found eating a rancid fish on Sandibel Island, right in the middle of a sea of beach-goers. The background was such that I couldn't get a position where I could get the whole bird so went for a tight head crop instead. Below is a Lesser Black-backed Gull, something of a surprise but which I learned is pretty regular here.

Below are a couple of Royal Terns, with the whites right on the limit. I've tried to bring them down but the first image was having none of it!


Osprey

July 18, 2015  •  1 Comment

I could barely believe how common Osprey was in Florida. I can go years, even visiting Scotland, without seeing one in the UK but in Florida they were the commonest Raptor by far, and fairly photogenic too. They were not a main target, typically I would be doing something else when one cruised by, but I found a few that posed, and managed a few flight shots too. The final image shows an Osprey seeing off a Bald Eagle that had the temerity to fly near its territory.


More Florida Herons

June 09, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Apologies for the short break, it has been a busy period, but let's go back to Florida for a while before we get to Washington. So, it was all about Waders and Egrets and in that respect it did not disappoint. After the Reddish Egret and Tricolored Heron, there were also Green Heron, Great Blue and Little Blue Heron, Snowy Egret and a pile more. Here's a few more photos of some of the others, generally taken at the same coastal locations. Most were as tame as you like, if anything they came too close at times, and now that I don't have an intermediate telephoto (oh for my 300mm!!) it was actually harder than you might think! First up a Green Heron, actually the only one I saw the entire trip, fishing from the bowline of a moored yacht, which made finding an angle next to impossible. The athleticism of this bird was amazing, it was able to hang like a bat upside down, gripping the rope with its legs to stretch down and pluck a fish from the water - I spent as much time marvelling at what it could do as I did trying to get photos! If I'm honest, I didn't do as well with these other species as I did with the first ones. And I didn't do as well with Egrets as a whole as I did with waders. Tall and leggy birds I just seem to find more difficult to get the kind of images I like - generally the background will always include elements of the horizon for instance, which is why I've gone for head crops and that kind of thing. I'm not sure how to address this - scour the web for ideas on what other photographers do I expect - there is always tons you can learn from looking at other peoples' photos.

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-rYnrO7Xivp8/VRxXb6iLZAI/AAAAAAAAtHI/uvj6sI2BUDY/w596-h893-no/IMG_9159%2BGreen%2BHeron%252C%2BPlacida%252C%2BFlorida%2Bcopywtmk.jpg

The following images are of Great Blue Heron, one of which recently turned up on Scilly. After having seen countless in Florida it was difficult to motivate myself for that particular trip! Always good value for close study, these were perhaps less approachable than the others, but being so massive that is less of a problem.

Next, American White Ibis. I didn't manage to get up close and personal with a full blood-red adult, but these are still pretty smart. 

Finally, two white Egrets, Snowy and Great White (known in the US simply as Great Egret - a [precocious] young birder I met in Central Park later in the trip was at pains to tell me how Great White Heron was a bird but Great White Egret was not...)


Tricolored Heron

April 28, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

This bird was also at Little Estero Lagoon early one morning, fishing rapidly along the edges of one of the shallow pools. I couldn't quite keep up with it, and wondered if wading into the lagoon might be the answer. Chickened out, maybe I should have done. Didn't get too many images of this bird as a result, but I'm pleased with the few that I have kept. Florida is quite incredible for being able to get pretty close to a number of species, and being America, is very simple logistically as well as being comfortable and safe. I am hoping to back a lot in the coming years. Kit used was the 500mm, most often bare at f4.


Reddish Egret

April 28, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

I hadn't realised how rare Reddish Egret is in the US, so to find a more-or-less tame bird at Little Estero Lagoon didn't mean quite so much at the time - all the birds were tame. This bird, performing its skipping dancing fish-chasing routine, came too close at times, and in any event a series of stills cannot capture the crazy motions, the back and forth, the running, the pausing, the spearing. It was quite superb, but you needed to have been there really. These do not do the bird justice, but as stills they're ok.

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