Archive for birds

Wildwood Trust

Posted in photography with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 31, 2009 by overread

Recently managed to find some time to revist a wildlife centre which I had previously been to several years before, though without a camera at the time; and not only did I have time to visit, but also attend with a great group of photographers from EPZ forums – got a chance to meet some faces from the site for the first time and take a few snaps along with them. But not only was it a great chance to meet some faces, but there was also a competition as well to be had. Each member got to select a single photo from their days shoot, the collected shots would then be judged by the staff from the centre. However there was a catch, the shot was not to be edited in any way, save for anything done in camera.

The day was bright and cool, though a little darker and cooler in the centre itself since it really is in the woods. Though we were lucky that many of the trees had not regained their leaves, the cool weather meant that many animals decided to hide up and sleep the day away, something that made getting shots a little tricky. Still there was more than enough wildlife moving around to be shot and even sleeping animals work well in a shot. So with many a camera and tripod we invaded the place!

Wildwood Trust website

Ephotozine (EPZ) website:

All photos taken with:
Canon 400D
Canon 70-200mm f2.8 IS L
Canon 1.4 teleconverter
Canon speedlite 580M2 + Lumiquest softbox — flash was used considerably over the whole day since lighting was often shaded and poor

Red Fox

Sleepy Fox
f5, ISO 200, 1/125sec

This little chap stayed in that very same spot all day! This shot was tricky, the inside had a decent view, but the glass was very dingy to shoot through, so this was taken outside. Now the pen was hidden by a bush and fence, so getting the shot required one to be higher – and a nice well placed bench allowed for that.

Arctic Fox

Sleepy Arctic Fox
f5.6, ISO 100, 1/100sec

Yep today was most certainly a day for foxes to be asleep. Shame that I could not get a little close to remove the building and such more from the shot and that he had decided to sleep on the building in the first place. Sometimes you just can’t hide the zoo from a zooshot.

Wolf

IMG_0151
f4, ISO 200, 1/200sec

Yep a very very sleepy day! One of my most favoured animals, but a very tricky subject to get a shot of here. Its either fighting with the fine bars over on one pen or the larger areas of the second pen which had many far off sections – where I sorly wished that I had a longer lens to get shots. The woods are also more dense for this area, so that is an added complication in getting shots, less light present to work with overall.

Deer

IMG_0098
f5, ISO 200, 1/500sec

The bread rather detractes from making this look like a wild shot and the angle is not perfect (Facing away from the camera) but I still rather like this shot for the depth of field over the deer, which has given a nice feeling of depth to the shot. These deer also had the advantage that they are more out in the open at the centre, and thus much more light reaches them.

Lynx

IMG_0182a
f5, ISO 400, 1/200sec

The lynx did not come out till late in the day, around feeding time, and so the lighting was weaker still (early in the year so shorter days), so one had to reach to a higher ISO. I also started using my flash a lot more for these shots, relying on it to give a bit more fill into my shots. An added complication here was that the bars of the pen started confusing my AF, being held back from them by a primary wooden barrier (so kids don’t lose fingers poking them into the pen) meant the bars were not only a pain to shoot through, but also at a distance outside of my minimum focusing distance, so my AF could very easily (and did) lock onto them at several occasions.

Robin and Chaffinch

IMG_0080
f5, ISO 200, 1/60sec

IMG_0090
f4, ISO 400, 1/200sec

As part of the setup they also have several bird feeding stations on the site which attract a wide range of small feeding birds. There was even an appearance by a red woodpecker on the day as well.

Stork

Storks Up!
f4, ISO 100, 1/640sec

Well I saved the best for last, the unedited version of this shot was the one I entered into the days competition, bagging myself 6th place in the runnings and a free bag as a prize! A most unexpected delight at the end of the long day, interestingly it was also one of the first shots I snapped off as well, and as the shutter speed shows, it was in a very well lit section of the centre.

Overall it was a great day out and a great chance to meet some fantastic photographers and people. Though the wildlife might not have been jumping around that is part of working with animals – sometimes they are not going to be that active, so one has to work with that or simply put down the camera and just watch and wait.

Marwell Zoo

Posted in photography with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 16, 2008 by overread

Well got another free weekend so decided to pay a trip to a place I have heard a lot about and seen a lot of great photos from – Marwell Zoo. I had also recently picked up a circular polarizer for my 70-200mm f2.8 IS lens and hoped to give this a try at reducing flare and reflections off zooglass; however the day I chose was not the best for photography, the sky was a thick mass of cloud and whilst the rain held off for the day lighting was drab and weak over most of the day. Whilst this avoided me problems with highlight overexposure it did create the problem of having to raise me ISO in order to get fast enough shutter speeds (and even then sometimes they were not fast enough). My own taste with my 400D is to have my ISO at 200 for a standard setting, lowering or raising as needed, but ISO 400 is my general upper limit for raising the ISO whilst still getting me images that I am happy with respect to noise. ISO 800 is for emergencies and any higher is just too much noise for my tastes. Being in a zoo I also experimented with using my flash to give me more light to work with – with variable results.
The zoo was also in that pre-season state where many grazing animals were not on show and kept in pens and the overall feel of the zoo was a bit dead (and I don’t just mean few visitors which I don’t mind, but dead on the zoo side of things as well). I am sure that when I get a chance to return in better weather and in a better season I will be back here complaining of there being too many people!

Anyway back to the photos – I am sorry to say I can’t note which ones I used the polarizer on and which I did not as I was changing back and forth with it all day – suffice to say I learnt some lessons with it at least.

All photos taken with:
Canon 400D
Canon 70-200mm f2.8 IS L
Canon 1.4 teleconverter

For flash shots following gear used in addition to the above:
Canon speedlite 580M2 + Lumiquest softbox

Circular polarizer used on some shots – noted where remembered, but not all are marked.

Cheetah

One of the first animals you see (well at least of the predators) and the first I headed for. Sad to say that whilst they have a smaller section of their pen which they like to rest in which is closer, that section is also not that wide so you tend to end up with bars affecting either the foreground of the shot or affecting the background (in the worst cases affecting the both ends of the shot!).


f4, ISO 200, 1/160sec

As you can see nice and close, but clear bars in the background and you can just see an out of focus bar cutting right through the right eye and part of the nose in a line. This is the downside to places where there is a barrier before the bars as it prevents you getting your lens close enough to easily shoot between the bars – seeing this effect in the LCD on a camera is very hard to impossible unless its a very bad effect so its harder to correct in the field if you get such shots.

IMG_2128 no noise no sharpen
f5, ISO 200, 1/125sec

Again the bars are affecting both sections of the shot – though in context I don’t mind the background as much, but the foreground is being damaged by the bars – some selective contrast and saturation boosting has hidden the effect a little, but its still clear to see sadly.

IMG_2082
f5.6, ISO 400, 1/200sec, flash used

This was not the shot I wanted – I was at the time moving to try and get behind the cat as much as possible and shoot with a view to showing the cat looking out over the large grass pen through the bars – this was a grabshot as I was heading round – sadly whilst the cat remained still for long enough the bars (which I was able to shoot over at this point in the pen) rose up to come to block me from clearly capturing a shot of the cat by the time I was in position. I was also forced further away from the cat, making it a smaller part of the shot – correctable compositionally, but not easy for me to do with the bars raising up to create a barrier of lined haze.

IMG_2136a
f5.6, ISO 200, 1/40sec

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f5.6, ISO 200, 1/50sec

Well exposure in both is nice, but these shots show one weakness of not getting good long lens skills – and that is letting ones shutter speed drop and then rely in on IS to hold up its end. It does so very well, but not if the subject is moving at the time! Motion blur in both shots just does not work as its not really conveying movement, just showing where I let my speed down too far to freeze the moving leg. I might also (and probably should have) used flash and a higher ISO in these two shots to improve my chances

IMG_1889
f4, ISO 200, 1/100sec

For once a good shot – but no legs nor full tail! I do like the autumnal colours in this shot and its come out well in that respect – but whilst framing has removed moving parts which were a problem before it has now introduced the problem that I am just not close enough to the cat to get a full and proper portrait (without cropping) and I am not far back enough to present the cat as a whole. A bit of creative cropping to remove the left hand side of the shot might help this shot a bit.

Suffice to say the cheetahs have taught me a lot already from this day about shooting in much poorer lighting conditions.

Otters

The otter pen (from what I remember) at Marwell was small! That was the first thing that hit me about it – I have got used to seeing the larger pen and full pond that the British Wildlife Centre otters have so it was rather a hit to see otters now in such a tiny pen and with a far smaller pool.
Something else that struck me was that unlike the European otters in the BWC, these otters (Asian short clawed) were in a much larger family group in a single pen.

IMG_1961
f5.6, ISO 400, 1/125sec

I didn’t pay him for that shot either (though I would have if I could have). I had this feeling that he was really expecting something from me and was rather disappointed that I didn’t have it! Might have been near feeding time or just him also not liking the dull day, however it does show well my feelings at least about the pen.

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f5.6, ISO 400, 1/100sec

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f5.6, ISO 400, 1/100sec

One of my favourite shots from the day – after not getting anything from me he goes for a quick drink from the pool.
And now for some happier shots of them:

IMG_1990
f5.6, ISO 400, 1/125sec

All those moving bodies its a pain to try and focus on just one key point – looking at it now the lower left otter is where the focus is needed – but its landed right in the middle on a patch of brown fur instead! In brighter weather a smaller aperture and deeper depth of field would probably have helped save such a shot by giving greater depth – but with limited light the focus really needs to be spot on.

IMG_2001
f5.6, ISO 200, 1/60sec

Risky slower speeds, but for a still moment its enough with IS as a backup. The yellows have also rather dominated this shot and I should re-edit to lower their saturation (especially in the shadows under his chin).

Leopards

The leopard pen, for bars, was sadly worse than I found the cheetah pen, for these cats were in a very strong wired pen and there was wire all over the place – made worse by the fact that the pen divided into two so as to allow a mother and child in one section and the father in the other. So I walked away sadly with quite a few shots that suffered horribly from bar effects or from glass reflection problems; for whilst the polarizer did work very well there was just not the light to use it as well as could be expected. I needed every stop I could get – and I was also quickly learning that flash (at least with big cats) was not going to help at all beyond a little bit of fill – beyond that and one gets cats eye reflections.

IMG_1918
f5.6, ISO 400, 1/40sec

Really really slow shutter speed, high ISO and not a single bit of flash in this shot (though it does look like it). You can tell there is no flash because the eyes are clear and there is no cats eye effect present. This is mostly a result of editing done to the shot.
Its a shot of the cub in the pen and despite the bars in the background its one of the shots I rather like from the day due to that intense impact that one gets from the stare of the cat.

IMG_2163
f4, ISO 800, 1/60sec

No flash again and me reaching for that “emergency” ISO gives you an idea of how dark the day was and how dark this shaded spot of the pen was. This I believe was the father who spent a lot of the day pacing around the pen. I was lucky with this shot working at all as I had learnt that flash was just not going to work for me in this case (it might work but I could not get it to work for me on the day) so a nice shot. Again we have that half way sort of look to the shot that I am starting to see as a pattern in my shooting where I go for a closer shot to the face (either to eliminate distracting cage parts from the shot or as a part of my general style of shooting – often both together), but lack the focal length needed so end up only halfway there.

IMG_2165a
f5.6, ISO 400, 1/15sec

Really pushing even the IS now – remember with a 1.4TC is a 280mm lens I am shooting with at the long end – though I did have my monopod with me on the day I still found myself handholding for most of the time – though I did use it at odd spot and might have used it for this shot (can’t recall – its not stored in EXIF ;)). Personally I find that in such an environment with a light lens like the 70-200mm f2.8 IS (light by wildlife lens standards at any rate) one just does not need that support for the weight much of the time – I am sure that if I were using a much heavier lens like a 300mm f2.8 IS I would be using that monopod gladly!

Penguins

Well the penguins make an interesting shooting experience at Marwell as there is a glass windowed underwater viewing point which (unlike a lot of others) is not fully underground – so there is a reasonable amount of light floating in from the open doors. Its not enough and I had to push to ISO 800, but it gives more light than in many others I have been in.

IMG_2085
f5.6, ISO 800, 1/60sec – polarizer used

IMG_2089
f5, ISO 800, 1/60sec – polarizer used

Well ok so I could have opened up a bit more with the aperture, but I wanted to be stopped down a little to try and preserve some details as well as to get some depth since I was shooting as close as I could with the lens (limited space inside). The polarizer has helped some areas and lost any reflects from light on the glass, but its again taken away more light – if I had had time I should have removed the teleconverter from the setup.
The other tricky part was he was mostly diving for fingers – children’s fingers on the glass to be exact so every time he was there so too were the kids right up to the glass – made shooting a bit tricky. Still whilst not fantastic they are pleasing and very different shots.

IMG_2087
f5, ISO 200, 1/160sec

This is one of my favourite exposures from the day – I really like it – but what I hate is the composition. set like it is we are focused on the backend and there is no empty space for him to look into – its too close a shot in the wrong place which is a great shame as the shot technically came out well. I should also crop out the out of focus head appearing on the left side.

IMG_2249
f5, ISO 200, 1/80sec

IMG_2252
f5, ISO 200, 1/100sec

These last two shots were taken right at the end of the day, when the sun decided to make a token appearance – however the last shot shows that I was not thinking sunny and the whites have been rather blown out as the meter got confused – though there is some details still in there and I think using tone mapping one could get more details out of the whites on the second shot. However what I should have done was to stick with ISO 400 and gone for a smaller aperture – there beaks are very long!

Yellow Mongoose

IMG_1975
ISO 400, 1/125sec – data corrupted partly on the aperture (unless I managed f0.5!!)

IMG_1981
f5.6, ISO 400, 1/125sec

I think I might have used the polarizer for these shots as they were through glass – though they were also inside so I might not have. Anyway me being a little more compositional with my work – came out rather well I feel in both shots.

Meerkats (with contrast mask experiments)

What follows is a series of shots of meerkats where I have used a contrast mask (as mentioned in a previous post) to adjust the lighting in them.

IMG_2018

Contrast mask edition
IMG_2018contrast mask
f5, ISO 400, 1/125sec

At first glance the contrast mask is a lot darker than the regular version and the light also appears flatter. However details are now showing up clearer in the eye, ear and also some of the fur areas where before the brightness was hiding them. I think that if I used a contrast mask to remove (either fully or partially) the contrast mask effect on key areas like the main body of its back I should be able to restore some of the depth of light without losing the gains that the mask has given me.

IMG_2029

Contrast mask edition
IMG_2029contrast mask
f4, ISO 400, 1/200sec

Again we see the contrast mask doing similar to before – though the shot is not as dark as before there is still a noticeable difference. There is also the messy cloning of the background area where I have tried to hide up the large white patch – I still need to get to grips with the clone tool and its effective use!

IMG_2009

Contrast mask edition
IMG_2009contrast mask
f5.6, ISO 400, 1/100sec

And for a third time we see that darkening effect, though this time I don’t think it would need further selective removal and rather covers the kat well. Again we also have the key areas like the eye now being shown in greater detail and clarity.

And now for a normal meerkat shot:
IMG_2039
f5.6, ISO 400, 1/100sec

Once I master the clone tool I do want to come back to this shot and lose that white line along the top of it.
Also I should point out that I think flash was used for many of these meerkat shots, however for some reason Photoshop elements 6 is not registering the flash info in the EXIF data – its normally good at noting it down, but not this times and yet I am sure I used flash on the meerkats.

Tigers

Though they had a larger pen than the other big cats (far larger) the tigers did like to rest on the platforms or pace the edges – so again I was met with a lot of bar problems again – this time though the cats were generally far enough back that the foreground was safe, so its just background areas that were affected.

IMG_1927
f5.6, ISO 400, 1/160sec

Should have used that polarizer for this shot! I think the sun just peeked out for this shot and its times like this I wish I had spot focusing so that I could really nail those white patches on the cat rather than have them blowout!

IMG_2047
f5.6, ISO 400, 1/200sec

IMG_2056a
f5.,6 ISO 800, 1/125sec

Being cats some decided to spend the whole day in bed! Really glad that I got a shot of the eye looking right at me! Also I am sure that first shot is another where flash is not being exif reported in my elements 6!

IMG_2204
f5.,6 ISO 200, 1/80sec

IMG_2208s
f4, ISO 200, 1/125sec

In both of these last two shots I used the circular polarizer to help keep my sky from blowing out – however doing so also preserved the haze of the wire in those areas. So during editing I used curves to deliberately blow out those upper sky areas (and layer masked off the lower white areas so that the curves would not affect them and blow them out more as well). The result is that the sky is now blown, but the wires in the background are lost. I am sure that some editing to blur the background could have been used instead, but I was not sure of a method that would give me the effect I wanted without looking fake as well.

Wild Birds

Well around the zoo there were a small score of garden birds darting around – often near the tiger pens – so I managed a few proper wildlife shots!

IMG_1930
f5.6, ISO 400, 1/500sec

Best shutter speed of the whole day!

IMG_2048
f5.6, ISO 400, 1/125sec

Those last two shots are pretty heavy crops from the originals so a little less fine details in them, but still decent shots for tiny birds!

IMG_1937
f5.6, ISO 400, 1/500sec

And that was not a crop – full sized – he was a bolder bird by far (and must be that is the tigers pen he is standing on).

MISC

Totally forgot to get a shot of this little fellas name – and now can’t recall what he was but here he is

IMG_2113
f4, ISO 200, 1/50sec

Nice little portrait of him – very centred – but still rather nice.

And that is it from the day, it was dull day, but not a total washout, though I do wish for one of those higher end cameras with better high ISO noise control — still my composition and framing will be the same till I change!
I also learnt quite a lot about lower light shooting as well as getting reacquainted with bars and all the problems they can bring – sometimes one has to put the camera down and just enjoy watching rather than shoot away all the time.

So its goodbye to Marwell for now – but I will return – even if some of the residents don’t want their photo taken

IMG_2236

Home Birds – the pheasants 2

Posted in photography, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on March 12, 2008 by overread

Right back to the caged birdies again, and again time was against me, preventing me from sitting out in the cages for the more flighty birds. Getting the lighting right was also tricky, as some pens would not let be get the light behind.

All taken with:
Cannon EOS 400D
Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG Macro lens
Tripod
For settings save pic to pc and review properties

Within the pens


I increased the darkness of shadows in this one to counter the glare off his white feathers


Great one of the female, but such a shame her tail is missing – they were just a little too close to my camera to get all of the bird into the shot at the time.

Well this one was taken in a pen, but the angle of the pen meant that I could not move round and get the bird with the light fully behind me and thus shining on him.
OUSIDE the pens
HIMALAYAN MONAL – male

A crop of a larger shot, this focusing on his head. This has to be my most favoured picture to date – wonderful colouring on the bird and great sharpness to him. Taken through the bars – but such that the bars have no effect on the shot — wonderful!

The full bird – wonderful colours all over this one.
LADY AMHERST – male

The full bird, but infortunatly to get him all in the bars had to appear as well!


This is a shot that I have played around with quite a bit and I will put up a separate blog for this one – as it deserves a little bit more space (and writing time!)

Lessons learnt
1) White birds really are a pain to shoot (don’t read that in the wrong context!!!)
2) Sometimes the best shots appear when you least expect them to

Seagulls and lunch

Posted in photography, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on March 12, 2008 by overread

Well family decided to go out and have fish and chips down in Aldebrough and so I decided that as well as my fish and chips I would try to get some seagulls on the wing. Now the first problem with this trip was that it was a grey day – which meant boring grey skies and a boring grey sea. Those problems aside I decided that the practice would do me good; and I had the perfect bait — the remains of my fish and chips!
So birds baited with the remains of fish I used not my tripod, but a railing for support – it worked well:

All Taken with
Cannon EOS 400D
Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG Macro lens
metal railing!!
For settings save pic to pc and review properties

Seagulls!

IMG_0074
Probably the best shot I got that day of a bird in flight.

IMG_0123 (2) IMG_0123_filteredb
I like the angle of flight in this one, different from the usually seen angles – so I made a crop, getting rid of the empty skies

IMG_0067

I have seen other shots like this and as with those the limited depth of field leave the bird looking unatural and strange –

IMG_0114
Defending his right to my former lunch (that orangey thing in the corner).

Calling

IMG_0137 IMG_0136 IMG_0135
I added more saturation to the last of these three and I really like the added light and colour that it adds to the pic – really makes it stand out a little more in the grim light – but with the sky showing overcast it’s a little fake looking if one looks closely!

Lessons learnt:
1) dim lighting makes getting fast shots tricky – better lighting would make it easier to shoot with a quicker shutter speed
2) however then I have to deal with the glare off the wings – I think were I to try these again in better light I would either have to go during the magic hours or use a polarizer on the lens to eliminate the glare
3) increasing saturation works well at countering a lack of light – but if the sky is showing overcast in the pic then the effect is lost a little!

Home Birds – the waterfowel 2

Posted in duck, photography, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on March 12, 2008 by overread

Well my second trip to the pond – this time I learnt from my last trip – I checked the settings on the camera and I also got the light behind me as I shot away:

Page now edited with new re-edited versions of all the shots and a new shot from the same trip – I have come a long way with editing since these were origanly taken

All Taken with:
Cannon EOS 400D
Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG Macro lens
Tripod
For settings save pic to pc and review properties

(note I am just the photographer, not the keeper -so breed names will have to be edited in once I know them!)

DUCK PROFILE SHOTS

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IMG_0341IMG_0345 IMG_0379 IMG_0473 IMG_0385

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These chaps were hiding away on land last time – I was very glad from them to be on the water – even though they were only on for a short time. Though there is only one in this shot there were 3 males on the water at once!

LIVING ACTION SHOTS

IMG_0386 IMG_0403
When its bath time for one, its bath time for all! Several ducks started bathing, and here are two of the best of them doing just that – water everywhere

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Bath time over, time for a preen – I really like the calm look in this one’s closed eye

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AUSTRALIAN SHELL DUCK (male and female)
I forget which is which, but I think the one in the foreground is the male. I really really like this one for the sense of life it has – though I would have liked to have had a little greater depth of field to get both ducks in focus.

Lessons learnt:
1) again more practice at looking at the whole picture – not just the duck
2) try to get the ducks in more lively motions rather than just sitting there
3) get down just a little lower – the water level if possible

Home Birds – the pheasants

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on March 12, 2008 by overread

Well like the waterfowl, I was on a timer here, only a really short amount of time, so I could not get into the cages as I wished – to capture them in film without bars. So it was a few quick shots through the bars with my camera – again using a tripod.
All taken with:
Cannon EOS 400D
Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG Macro lens
Tripod
For settings save pic to pc and review properties

TEMMINCK’S TRAGOPAN
smallv
well less than perfect, but nice lighting and if I can get some closer – none barred shots — this is a wonderful bird.

BLUE EARED PHEASANT
smally

smallx

Well this chap is so tame and trusting that he came right up to the bars, jumped on his little house and stared back = probably hoping for food. This let me get these close shots looking up at him and this one:

smallw
Even with the bars in the view I really like this close up detailed shot of his head – just managed to get him all in, beak and all 🙂

PHEASANT
smallu
Call them “common” if you will, but there is no calling them ugly! Just missed his eye – which is a shame – but got the colours nicely – the sun being in a better position for these shots.

Lessons learnt:
1) Some pheasants might just get too close to the camera when in the pens – take a lens hood!!
2) Bars are nasty to try and shoot round

Home Birds – the waterfowel

Posted in duck, photography, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 11, 2008 by overread

Right this marks several big changes to my photography methods;
1) This is the first time that I went out and purposefullyaimed shot using manual focusing the entire time = however an accident with settings meant that my manual efforts were ruined, so I went back and shot some autofocus shots
2) As I was shooting home birds in our collection I was not forced to be far from them as I have been before – so I could get right up close to them!

Well the day started out well and though I was shooting in late morning (missing the golden hour!) I was in full spirits. The pond was covered in part with a thin layer of ice (appears in some shots) and the ducks were all about the pond. In fact I found it difficult to get the birds on their own and not as part of a group, which often comprised of several difference species.
However in my eagerness to shoot I made one fatal flaw! I was shooting in the sun so dismissed the bright look of the images on the LCD – major mistake for I had switched into full manual mode rather than apature priority mode; and overexposed all the shots. After noticing and with both time and the battery against me I went out and took some more, but this time for speed using the centre auto focusing sensor – it was that or miss my train!

Taken with:

Cannon EOS 400D
Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG Macro lens
Tripod
For settings save pic to pc and review properties
The results of the day:
the first lot – overexposed!

Red Shoveller Drake
smallh

Ring Teal
smallg smallo smalln

Phillipine Duck
smalll

Well there ends the best of the overexposed shots – a shame many were decent barring the single camera setting – but its one important lesson well learned – check the camera settings before shooting!
Following there is a selection of those images that were not so damaged by the setting and others taken in the quick burst before the train!

Carolina Wood Duck
smallr
great coming at you shot – I just wish that at the time I had got his eyes and not his chest in focus – that and the lighting!

smallp IMG_0608abs smallk
Well this little guy was a pain to try and capture – he was zooming all over the pond – made for some interesting angles though. In retrospect some of the above could certainly look better with some more detailed cropping. Most of the crops were removing other birds from the shot.

Hottentot Teal
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I really like the smooth nature of this picture – though the background detracts from the overall appearance, the duck and soft water I liked

Blond Burmudan Pintail
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Puna Teal
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ITS NOT A RUDDY DUCK! Yep its really not —
Another that I liked the look of, a shame about the lighting not being quiet right for this kind of shot

Pintail – female
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I had several pics like this one = really good overall, but with the last sections of the tail just missing – a real shame and a lesson in taking a better look at what I am shooting and not just shooting for shootings sake

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Red Shoveller Duck
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two busy shots here, just an example of the number of ducks that can try to push in to get within the cameras eye — showy little devils!

Phillipine Duck
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I liked the lighting on this one, though I would now prefer a little more on the right-hand side.

Australian Shell Duck – female

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This first image I went out and tried to get his head in better light by changing the lighting settings in photoshop, but the difference between his head and the rest of the pic made it impossible without running the effect of the rest of the photo. So I went and used the selection brush and highlighted only his head – I think it came out well

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Well not too much to say about this chap – certainly a pain to try and capture in this lighting – his dark feathers blurring into a basic lump of black.

Lessons learnt:

1) Do check the camera settings more than once!

2) Lighting works best when the light source is behind you (and your shadow is not in the pic;))

3) Watch all of the bird to make sure it all gets in

4) Take more care with the backgrounds – concrete and destroyed bird houses are not attractive