France has Sunflowers….

With the Tour de France only a few weeks away I thought this images was almost appropriate. Ok so the cyclists were hardly from the Tour de France (One day perhaps?) and the yellow flowers were buttercups rather than sunflowers but you get the idea.

I don’t think I’ve seen such a fantastic display of buttercups, as I write this I’m not entirely sure that is what the flowers are buttercups (although according to Wiki there are over 500 separate species so they probably are.)

One of the many false claims made about photography is that the camera never lies. This is true but photographers do and modern digital technology is a co conspirator in many such falsehoods. The poppy bed where I have captured the red poppies over the past few days would like to pretend that it is in the middle of the countryside and I have helped this misrepresentation.

In fact the bed is next to one of the main roads into the city of Leicester. Such is life.

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In my previous post I claimed that I was hand holding a 600 mm lenses and it was crazy that I could do that. Well it turns out things just got a whole more crazy as I had set the sensor to APS-c or super 35 depending on your tastes. This means that the effective length of the lens was now c960 mm! I don’t think crazy covers that!

As to why the camera had been set onto to the APS-c setting I haven’t really got any idea other than human error! Not much of an excuse I know but I that is the truth.

Does this setting help? As with most things it is not that clear cut so I guess the answer is yes and no depending on what you are trying to achieve.

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Is it Me ?….

I have to say I would make a really really bad wildlife photographer. I just don’t have application to really a go of it. I found this out a while ago and since then I haven’t really bothered. Of course time moves on and I find myself stuck in the house and garden for most of this year (Let’s be honest there are worse places to lockdown in so not too many tears!) which has meant my attention has been drawn back to the wildlife around me. Now if I had the application I would rig up a hide and set out to capture all the fauna as it passes through. Great plan – just not me.

Instead my approach has been to plonk down on one of the benches, have a cup of tea and see what happens. Once the tea has been drunk or my bum is numb I go in doors and get on with something else. Simple and no real hasle.

Which is why it has taken me so long to capture some half descent images of my resident Wren. He’s been buzzing around me over the past few days and I’ve never quite got the shot. Today he finally obliged and here are some of the results. He wasn’t the only bird to take a shine to this tree either.

There is nothing like a clear blue sky to enable the focusing system on the camera work at its most efficient – let alone the IBIS on the camera and the OSS on the lens – sharpe images from a 600mm handheld is frankly ridiculous!

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Strange Old Day….

Most of the day I’ve been trying to capture the resident Wren singing and failing spectacularly! I know this sounds paranoid but I could swear they little bugger is doing it on purpose…in fact I write this I can hear him outside singing his heart out. One day Perhaps…One day!

I was watching YouTube video the other day where the presenter was discussing whether it was time for DSLR wildlife photographers to move to mirrorless cameras. It had a slightly surreal feel to it because it was an American discussing the best way forward in the same manor that I have seen other Americans discussing which is the best assault rifle to buy. I know I am being wholly unfair to the YouTuber because, to me, his advice was making a lot of sense but I felt he was downplaying the importance of good kit when trying to make wildlife photographs.

Most, if not all, of the photographs of birds in my garden this year where captured with a 200mm – 600m zoom on a Sony A7R mk 3. Great kit but the more you use it the more you realise that the camera has some drawbacks for this type of work, which can be shot around but drawbacks nonetheless. Would I be able to capture better photographs? Yes and no but there is always an arms race with wildlife gear which I don’t really like and this was one of the reasons why I stopped making these types of photographs several years ago. Fortunately I am older and wiser (?) now and accept what I can capture with the gear I’ve got. Still, all the gear in the world won’t get that blasted Wren just to land in the position I want when I’m there!

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There Goes the Neighbourhood….

Perhaps they’re a happy family – it’s just that they’re so loud! Or perhaps they’re a right pain in the neck with the kids tuning on the adults. Either way you know it when a family of Starlings descend on your bird feeder.

Other birds are elbowed out of the way and they just have to look on as each member of the Starling family battle for dominance: Its loud and not very pretty but I guess that is just the way that Starlings do things.

However, the real noisy neighbour sits mostly hidden in the trees yet its song cuts through the cacophony that the Starlings kick up. As one the the smallest birds in the British garden the Wren proves that small packages can still pack a punch.

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Something Strange in the Neighbourhood….

So there I was sitting in the garden on this glorious first day of summer waiting to see what birds might come along when I looked up and noticed something strange – a jet aircraft on a very unusual flight path. Normally, the planes that fly over head either are on a NW/SE heading or E/W heading. The military planes we get are usually USAF out of Mildenhall or Lakenheath – these are are either C17s or F18s. The RAF come from the south out of Brize Norton and are either transport planes or refueling aircraft. This one was different it was out of the SW and very high up – there was no noise at it flew over. What could it be? So there was nothing for it but to take a few shots and low and behold it was a U2. Now these fly out of Fairford which is the direction it was coming from. Goodness only knows where it was going and what its mission was but it was fascinating to see it silently fly by.

Other than that our resident field mouse is getting very cocky and hardly bothers that I am there whilst it raids the ground feeder….Sublime to the Ridiculous – you decide which is which.

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Last Day of Spring….

As the last day of spring draws a close to this year’s collection of crazy weather it seems I am transferring my interest to different fauna in the garden.

‘Tis the season to pollinate….

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Life Does Tend to Throw You a Curve Ball From Time to Time…

Well this has been a bit of an interesting weekend! Fortunately, the weather has changed and it is nice again to sit out in the garden.

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Busy Busy Time!…..

Last week i felt a bit becalmed – not quite sure which way to move next. Now I’m rushed off of my feet – just too much to do. Why is that? In part it is because the spring is slowly morphing into early summer, although you wouldn’t believe it given the recent weather! What this means is that the garden is now growing at a rate that is remarkable and new opportunities to capture photographs keep present themselves.

On top of the flora enjoying the longer days the fauna is keeping pace. We have now got a resident wren family building anes in the garden and so that will add to my workload. I don’t think I can cope!

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Out of Practice….

Didn’t we have wonderful time – the time we went to Cambridge…As the song nearly said. Today was my first day out of the the closed cocoon I’ve been inhabiting in since November last year. We visited the Alfred Wallis exhibition and it didn’t really matter whether it was any good or not (it was very good) it was a day out.

Walking around Cambridge was really strange as there was something missing. For a while we couldn’t work out what it was but then it struck us – no foreign tourists. Instead the town was full of university staff, academics and of course students. It was rather peaceful. (I know technically we were tourists but somehow an hour and half drive doesn’t really doesn’t feel like tourism – look its my blog so I make the rules!) It does make one wonder what central London is like?

Hopefully this is the start of the recovery but I really don’t things will ever be quite the same again. Only time will tell.

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