Tree Creeper

Time ticks on doesn’t it. It feels like weeks since I wrote a blog post.  What have I been up to?  Well, I’m currently getting to grips with an Open University course on photography, which of course is great fun but time consuming.  I never have enough time to read all that I would like to, but I think that is the problem of an enquiring, education is a life long journey, eclectic kind of mind.  There have been almost continuous daily jaunts to our local wild life reserve which hubby and I find very satisfying.  For me it gives me everything soothing in life that I need, coupled with a goodly amount of exercise and a passionate response to learning in the photography and wildlife/birds department, along with enjoying mucky clothes and boots and finding new friends  who are nearly as crazy as I am – it’s a heady combination and I am loving it completely.  I think hubby just likes the peace and quiet and the satisfaction of getting the shot, oh and the cake, all home made from the very good cafe.   It is a real buzz, who would have thought it.  Mind you, it was always there wasn’t it, the trips to the zoo and wildlife parks, the feeding of the birds, the photography, the allotment with all the wildlife, some welcome, some not!  It was all just a build up wasn’t it, to becoming a full time birder.

There has been no crafting of any degree, the only crafting is taking place in trying to learn more about the art of photography, with varying degrees of success, mainly they are just snaps still, but happy snaps and I really don’t mind. I have the sparks of a longing to take a sock to knit to the hide one day, but its just so busy at the moment with all the birds starting to pair up and nest and then I have the woodland walks planned just as soon as my mono pod comes, which is tomorrow..  maybe I’ll tuck a sock in my kit and do a fast ten minute knit while I have my lunch.

Today I saw a Tree Creeper, not just a Tree Creeper, but a Tree Creeper with nesting material in its beak.  I have wanted to observe a Tree Creeper for so long and they are practically impossible to see.  Fortunately I have very good new found friends who are both knowledgable and don’t mind sharing information and are quite capable of telling me to shut up as I come bounding up the path – I would never have seen this beautiful bird without help.

Enjoy. 

Seagulls playing catch.

Even land locked as I am I’ve always adored seagulls and love watching their acrobatics in the air. I’ve watched them drop mussels to crack the shells on stony beaches but had forgotten about that behaviour, its not often I get to a stony beach that also has the combination of an abundance of mussels.  So as I was watching these seagulls a couple of weeks ago and had noticed that they were dropping things a fellow photographer told me they actually catch the stone/mussel in mid air.. Catch!  Of course they immediately stopped performing and I didn’t witness the behaviour.

Until yesterday. 

I managed to get lots of shots of seagulls carrying stone/mussels and dropping them but not an actual sequence… until I eventually did get a sequence..

Before I show you there are two different breeds of seagulls that I saw doing this, so they must have taught each other and they fly up and perform it with such gusto, that they are obviously enjoying the game.  They drop catch, drop, catch, drop catch several times before coming down for a breather.  Who knew seagulls enjoyed games…

Enjoy. 

‘Well caught!’

Long-tailed Tits.

I was in my usual happy trance like state as I was bird watching, sat in a hide, sun on my face entranced by the gorgeous shovel ducks sifting through the mud when I occasionally noticed a flutter to my left.

so I had a look. Do you see anything?Now do you see anything?

A pair of Long-tailed tits bringing moss to make their nest deep in the middle of hedge, in a few days when the leaves sprout, you may well not even see this.  They were very amusing to watching bringing in nesting material of moss and other delicate objects, I think the last photo might be the tastiest of grubs to give to a mate. 

And the pair are very fastidious as to how the moss should be arranged, a great deal of effort is spent rearranging the moss.

They were almost impossible to photograph being so quick. I’ve learn’t to back button focus to try and capture these beautiful little birds.

I’ll keep trying, I’d love to get a nice clean shot of one of these little beauties.

Focussing

In line with equipping ourselves for our retirement hobby hubby treated me to a new lens recently.  One we had lusted after for quite some time and then we just thought, you know what, you can’t take it with you, so we bought it.  When it arrived we both just stared at the box, looked at each other and I managed to say, ‘what have we done?!’ and hubby replied with something along the lines of ‘I know’ and then we managed to quickly get over the shock of what we had done and ripped the box open, carefully of course.

We took the lens out a few times and I loved the reach the lens was getting but was just a little bit grumpy about the focus, but kept thinking it was user error.  Then I managed to photograph the Goldcrest a few days ago and noticed that the lens was not quite in focus. Thanks for all the lovely comments btw, it was amazing to get that shot and I wouldn’t expect you to notice and at the time I still thought it was me, but the niggle in the back of my mind was getting louder.  One of my photography club said, its not quite in focus you know… and I thought I do know.

So I bought a piece of equipment to see where the lens was actually focussing. After much trial and error we think (we will need to test it again to make sure) the lens was front focussing by 12 points, which is considerable.  So we adjusted the lens, Nikon have this all set up in the camera, its not a problem and took the lens out again this evening about 4.00 p.m.

So as usual the light is fading and these are taken some distance away from the birds but even then with a tight crop I think you can see the difference – well I can.. Oyster Catcher, this one is just a small dot in the middle of the photo, so enlarged considerably. A great Crested Grebe.

And the light is started to fade so the ISO is starting to ramp up.

I can see the details though and am so much happier.

A little Street photography.

At the moment my days seem to be spent completely embraced in all things photographic. Today I just started a ten week course from the Open University/Royal Photographic Society on Digital Photography.  Yesterday I spent the day with my photography club doing Street photography so today has been spent processing a couple of images and starting my Open University course.  One of my fellow photographers very kindly sent me some information on his work flow in Lightroom, so I must read through all that as I desperately need to improve my system and he has kindly taken the time to write down 35 of the great and good photographers.  I am so happy he went to that trouble.  I have lots of homework to do now, as I will research them and make up an A3 book with them and their photographs, shades of sticking and gluing at college.  Sometimes the old fashioned ways of learning are the best, well they are for me. If I have to take the trouble to do that, it will go into the grey matter.  He is also going to write me a book list too – does happy dance.

Last week I completed a Photoshop course, I must find the time to practise, last week was also spent mostly sat in a hide and along with that we had a wonderful talk by Jeremy Walker a renowned Nikon Ambassador and I’ve also sorted out a photo for a UK Wildlife competition and my Still Life competition entry is well in hand.

So you’ll have to excuse me if all the blog gets is a quick pic of whatever I was photographing that week – trust me I’m having a blast.

Now I must get to bed as I believe hubby wants to go Otter hunting tomorrow and we have to get up nice and early for that. strong-contrast-steps-1-3Strong Contrast Steps.