Saturday, 31 December 2011

Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus)

Posted because I think the colours and light work well.

Canon 1Ds MkII, Canon 100-400mm IS USM, 1/200th sec, f/5.6, 400mm at ISO 400

Friday, 30 December 2011

Coal Tit (Periparus ater)

After lots of fabulous family time over Christmas, I got into the garden today and managed an hour's photography before the grey clouds came over. I've posted this shot because I like the the shallow depth of field, the subtle tonal values and the bird's fierce eyes.

Canon 1Ds MkII, Canon 100-400mm IS USM, 1/250th sec, f/5.6, 400mm at ISO 640

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Greenfinch (Carduelis chloris)

Another obliging individual.

Canon 1Ds MkII, Canon 100-400mm L IS USM, 1/800th sec, f/5.6, 400mm at ISO 640

Friday, 9 December 2011

Herring Gull (Larus argentatus)

Going through unedited files, I found this shot of a herring gull closing in on something unseen below the water. The focus being tight on the eye despite an aperture of f/4 was a bonus, as were the water droplets, captured at a whopping 5,300th of a second.

Canon 1Ds MkII, Canon 70-200mm L, 1/5,300th sec, f/4, 200mm at ISO 200

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Eye on the prize




This image of the eye of a European Eagle Owl, with the reflection of a human figure in the pupil, has been voted a category winner in the 2011 Canon Essentials of Photography Competition, in association with Yahoo. The shot won in the Getting in Close category and with the award comes the prize of a Canon 60mm f/2.8 macro lens. I must now wait to see if I win the overall first prize of an African safari for two (there's no harm in hoping…)


For more on the competition, click here

Chaffinch & Coal Tit

A couple of simple but pleasing shots from the weekend.

Canon 1Ds MkII, Canon 100-400mm L IS USM, 1/60th sec, f/9, 400mm at ISO 640


Canon 1Ds MkII, Canon 100-400mm L IS USM, 1/160th sec, f/8, 400mm at ISO 640

Monday, 5 December 2011

Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)

Dappled sunshine can really make an image, bringing out subtle highlights while not destroying shadows.

Canon 1Ds MkII, Canon 100-400mm L IS USM, 1/320th sec, f/9, 400mm at ISO 500

Greenfinch (Carduelis chloris)

A familiar but no less attractive bird, its plumage seems to me like a patchwork quilt in perfectly themed colours. This shot, like the one before, is made I think by the clarity of composition and the sympathetic shades of the background.

Canon 1Ds MkII, Canon 100-400mm L IS USM, 1/250th sec, f/5.6, 400mm at ISO 640

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus)

Everything came together beautifully for this shot – perfect light, the chance of a clean composition and an attractive pose from an obliging subject.

Canon 1Ds MkII, Canon 100-400mm L IS USM, 1/160th sec, f/9, 400mm at ISO 640

Friday, 2 December 2011

Viewing point

This Blue Tit found the perfect viewing point from which to study what was going on in the garden. It's an image I love, but feel it almost deserves a title. Anyone have any ideas? (Be kind...)

Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus)

Canon 1Ds MkII, Canon 100-400mm L IS USM, 1/125th sec, f/8, 400mm at ISO 640

Injured Blue Tit

At lunchtime today this individual was the most frequent visitor to the feeding station despite (or perhaps because of) an injured or deformed right leg. The problem appeared not to trouble the bird too greatly – it would land on the one good leg, balance perfectly well and feed normally. I can't help but wonder, however, whether its overall scruffy appearance is down to the fact that in other ways it is struggling rather. I made one other interesting observation today – the local birds in my garden have 'learned' that activity around the feeders often means the chance a fresh supply of food. I watched from a distance for a while and saw there were few birds in the immediate vicinity, even though the feeders were all pretty much full. I then added even more peanuts to the tray pictured here and almost immediately the branches above and around the feeders filled again. And it's not a matter of food being added; more the perception that some has. To prove this, when I'm hidden with my camera and activity is low, I often simply step out and very obviously change things a little, perhaps by moving a feeder or just agitating the peanuts in one of the trays. Almost invariably, this brings about a significant increase in bird activity. I'd love to hear whether others have also witnessed this.
Canon 1Ds MkII, Canon 100-400mm L IS USM, 1/125th sec, f/8, 400mm at ISO 640

Cock Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus)

A real feel of autumn in this shot, I think.

Canon 1Ds MkII, Canon 100-400mm L IS USM lens, 1/160th sec, f/7, 400mm at ISO 800

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Grey Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis)

A simple enough shot – the key was exposing correctly for the squirrel in the face of a bright background – but it has, I think, a nice sense of habitat and behaviour.

Canon 1Ds MkII, Canon 100-400mm L IS USM lens, 1/250th sec, f/5.6, 400mm at ISO 400

Monday, 28 November 2011

Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)

Such a familiar bird that it's easy to forget just how pretty it is. A jacket playing the role of a bean bag made this late afternoon shot possible at a very low shutter speed.

Canon 1Ds MkII, Canon 100-400mm L IS USM lens, 1/85th sec, f/5.6, 400mm at ISO 500

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)

The light was poor and I cursed myself later for not having framed in all of the bird's tail feathers, but I still like the feel of the shot. The Lapwing's petrol green plumage seems perfectly in keeping with the background and the milky reflection is wonderful.

Canon 1Ds MkII, Canon 100-400mm L IS USM lens, 1/60th sec, f/5.6, 400mm at ISO 800

Friday, 25 November 2011

Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)

I had my lens trained on a Long-tailed Tit for the last few shots of today when this Sparrowhawk attempted to take a Blue Tit on a neighbouring branch. It missed, but obligingly stayed for a few seconds, no doubt cursing its luck. The light was failing badly, so the image is no keeper, but it's still a handsome bird of prey and I feel privileged to have witnessed it hunting at close quarters.

Canon 1Ds MkII, Canon 100-400mm L IS USM lens, 1/160th sec, f/5.6, 400mm at ISO 500

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus)

Another from lunchtime today. The shot's strength, I think, is the bird's quiet dignity and the muted tones of the sympathetic background.

Canon 1Ds MkII, Canon 100-400mm L IS USM lens, 1/200th sec, f/5.6, 400mm at ISO 500

Another Coal Tit

Too gloomy today to get anything with much detail, but this shot of a Coal Tit (Periparus ater) taken at lunchtime just about makes the grade, principally because I like the simplicity of the composition.

Canon 1Ds MkII, Canon 100-400mm L IS USM lens, 1/640th sec, f/5.6, 400mm at ISO 1,000

Egyptian Geese (in a tree)

I knew that here in North Norfolk you can find the highest concentrations in the UK of Egyptian Geese (Alopochen aegypticus), which were introduced to Britain 300 years ago. I also knew that they are comfortable perching and even roosting in trees. Still, on the school run this morning, the sight of this pair perched high in a tree quite some distance from the nearest meaningful water is not what I expected to see. A goose in a tree. It's not right…


Monday, 21 November 2011

Coal Tit

Another from the weekend. The architectural lines of the ring feeder are surprisingly photogenic.

Canon 1Ds MkII, Canon 100-400mm L IS USM lens, 1/100th sec, f/8, 400mm at ISO 500

Coal Tit

Simply no chance to get out today, so here's a shot of a Coal Tit from the weekend. I love the way the bird appears to be guarding the mealworm trapped under its right foot and the background – so beautifully linking to the shade of the sunflower seeds – was an added bonus.

Canon 1Ds MkII, Canon 100-400mm L IS USM lens, 1/100th sec, f/8, 400mm at ISO 500

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Blue Tit

A pleasing composition and today's milky sunshine in North Norfolk lent this shot a delicious feel.
Canon 1Ds MkII, Canon 100-400mm L IS USM lens, 1/60th sec, f/9, 400mm at ISO 640

Robin (Erithacus rubecula)

The Long-tailed Tits chaotically descended on the garden for a few minutes (they always noisily announce their arrival with a choral 'chuck-chuck') and I managed to capture no decent shots. Then, as I was cursing my luck, this beautiful Robin loitered obligingly on the bird table for just long enough to get a nice study.
Canon 1Ds MkII, Canon 100-400mm L IS USM lens, 1/60th sec, f/8, 400mm at ISO 800

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Great Tit

I was desperate for this shot to be sharp when I previewed it on the camera. I was disappointed, though, to find that the bird's head is far from in. I have included the picture here, however, because I love the late afternoon light coming through the tit's wing feathers and – despite its overall softness – the image does, I think, have a great feel to it.

Canon 1Ds MkII, Canon 100-400mm L IS USM lens, 1/100th sec, f/7, 400mm at ISO 1,000

Robin (Erithacus rubecula)

Canon 1Ds MkII, Canon 100-400mm L IS USM lens, 1/60th sec, f/9, 400mm at ISO 1600

Coal Tits

In contrast to the last few days, today was beautiful and time in the garden was rewarded with some interesting shots, including these images of Coal Tits – one at the bird table, trying to decide between a peanut and a mealworm, and the other with a cherished sunflower seed.

Canon 1Ds MkII, Canon 100-400mm L IS USM lens, 1/160th sec, f/5.6, 400mm at ISO 800



Friday, 11 November 2011

Coal Tit (Periparus ater)

A selection of shots taken in the garden this lunchtime on what was a horribly overcast day with ISO settings well into four figures.


Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Female Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)

There is, I think, a charming serenity in this shot. I am also drawn to the contrast between the delicacy of the bird's plumage and the harsh reality of the haw thorns and the cold efficiency of the bird's feet.

Canon 1Ds MkII, Canon 100-400mm L IS USM lens, 1/85th sec, f/5.6, 400mm at ISO 500

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Coal Tit (Periparus ater)

This little chap seems so pleased with his sunflower seed find, almost smiling.

Canon 1Ds MkII, Canon 100-400mm L IS USM lens, 1/320th sec, f/6.3, 400mm at ISO 640

Friday, 4 November 2011

Resting Blue Tit

Another low-light shot, but it does have a certain atmosphere.

Canon 1Ds MkII, Canon 100-400mm L IS USM lens, 1/400th sec, f/5.6, 400mm at ISO 1,250

Out of the dark

More gloomy weather during my lunch break in the garden today, with these two the only half decent captures.

Canon 1Ds Mk II, Canon 100-400mm L IS USM lens, 1/125th sec, f/10, 400mm at ISO 640






















Canon 1Ds Mk II, Canon 100-400mm L IS USM lens, 1/60th sec, f/10, 400mm at ISO 640

Rare Elephant-nosed Blue Tit (Beakus giganticus)

I feel privileged to have captured this shot of the very rare Elephant-nosed Blue Tit. Photographing much more familiar garden birds, the camera was trained on a particular branch when this rarity landed, with a freshly grabbed sunflower seed. You will see immediately why the bird got its name – that beak is quite extraordinary. In a moment, of course, it was gone, but the vision of this never before seen visitor will last in the memory for ever.



Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Great Tit (Parus major)

Another day of poor light in the corner of the garden where the feeders are, but with this shot the combination of an ISO of 640 and image stabillization on the camera managed to capture just enough detail to make it worthwhile.

Canon 1Ds MkII, Canon 100-400mm L IS USM lens, 1/50th sec, f/8, 400mm at ISO 640

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

One of our geese is missing…

A shot taken as part of an advertising campaign, but presented here because it still makes me smile.

Canon 1Ds MkII, Canon L 24-70mm lens, 1/100th sec, f/8, 70mm at ISO 200

Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus)

In terribly gloomy light, this beauty seemed to come out of the dark.



Canon 1Ds MkII, Canon 100-400mm L IS USM lens, 1/60th sec, f/8, 400mm at ISO 1,000

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus)

One of the few successes in the garden today, where bad light stopped almost all play. On the plus side, the Long-tailed Tits are back – always such good value.

Canon 1Ds MkII, Canon 100-400mm L IS USM lens, 1/100th sec, f/9, 400mm at ISO 640

Red Kite

A very busy period work-wise and a quiet one on the nature photography front, so here's a majestic Red Kite (Milvus milvus) shot in The Chilterns earlier in the year.

Canon 1Ds MkII, 1/1,600th sec, f/8, 400mm at ISO 400

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Eagle Owl eye (abstract)

When I first saw the full-frame file of this image I was drawn to the silhouette of a man in the centre of the bird's eye. The cropping is designed to bring out this detail, while the image manipulation is intended to lend the shot the feel of a predator in its natural environment – hunting on a moonlit night.

Canon 1Ds MkII, Canon 100-400mm L IS USM lens, 1/1,000th sec, f/11, 400mm at ISO 500. Editing process: image duplicated twice in Photoshop CS3. Image 1 = correct exposure; image 2 = overexposed by 1 stop; image 3 = underexposed by 1 stop. All three images layered using Photomatix. Low-pass blue filter added. Selected areas with warming filter. Shadows and highlights accentuated. Total of five layers then flattened

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Great Tit (Parus major)

This chap seemed perfectly content on this branch, showing little interest in anything else going on around him, allowing me time to crop the shot nicely.

Canon 1Ds MkII, Canon 100-400mm L IS USM lens, 1/320th sec, f/6.4, 400mm at ISO 800

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus)

Simply because I love the smokey background contrasting against the sharpness of detail in the bird itself.

Canon 1Ds MkII, Canon 100-400mm L IS USM lens, 1/320th sec, f/6.4, 400mm at ISO 500

Robin (Erithacus rubecula)

Another shot grabbed at in gloomy conditions, but I liked the composition and the highlights through the foliage in the background.

Canon 1Ds MkII, Canon 100-400mm L IS USM lens, 1/200th sec, f/6.4, 400mm at ISO 1600

Friday, 21 October 2011

Blue Tit and Peanut

Difficult light (in the gloom the ISO was bumped up to 1,250), but I think it just about works. I particularly like the hint of red on the bird's breast reflected from the peanuts below.

Canon 1Ds MkII, Canon 100-400mm L IS USM lens, 1/400th sec, f/5.6, 400mm at ISO 1,250