Thursday, 28 February 2019

Low ISO Photography

My last blog post was titled "High ISO Photography" due to the grey and dismal weather we were enduring. This post is the complete opposite with the past two weeks spent in sunshine and the bright warm weather allowing for the ISO dial on the camera to be cranked the other way resulting in  images a lot easier to manage when processing. The downside of the good weather is finding any space in the east Kent countryside with everyone else wanting to get out and enjoy the unseasonably warm spell. A trip to Sandwich bay where my attention was diverted away from three Short-eared Owls hunting along the Ancient Highway by several vociferous Skylark's that were displaying under a cloudless blue sky. 

I  also have had the pleasure of watching a few Peregrine 
Falcons along the east Kent coastline, their exact locations with held due to obvious reasons.

Leaving it a little later this year and missing the photographers (it can get a little hectic by the fallen log) I had my first trip of the year to the Blean woodland complex where I was able to get a few images of the common woodland birds expected at the venue. Blue and Great Tits were plentiful.

A Robin posed nicely, all it needed was a little snow (which we had this time last year) for that classic Christmas card image and there were a few Coal Tits but these seemed a lot lower in numbers than in previous years that I have visited.

A woodland favourite of mine has to be the Nuthatch and are great to watch as they are enticed down to feed, great characters and a bird I never tire of watching.

I have done a couple of circuits at Stodmarsh but to be honest it's been hard work. Not much in the way of photo opportunities, if I did a year list I could add Pochard and Shelduck to it but I don't so I won't. (Not sure if won't is a proper word) I did manage a photo of a Little Grebe in front of the Feast hide on Monday 25th in glorious sunshine

and also what is possibly the same bird, taken this afternoon, again from the Feast hide, but it looks like our two weeks of highly appreciated  hot weather is over. It was great whilst it lasted (well by me it was) and will very soon be Spring.

Sunday, 10 February 2019

High ISO Photography

Last Monday (4th) with the weather being poor, (wet, dull and very windy) I tried my luck at Stodmarsh, spending an hour and a half in the Reed bed hide. Weather conditions were totally against photography and I never saw another soul during my stay. Whether the reserve being so quiet was the reason I do not know but there were at least 400 Teal in the bay in front of the hide, probably nearer 600 but i was not in the mood to count them. I have never seen so many in front of the hide here and the only disturbance was from the two resident Marsh Harriers that spooked them on several occasions, sending them off out over the main lake before returning back to the weedy margins around the Reed bed pool. Although the light was abysmal, it was a nice opportunity to experiment with in flight photography under these conditions, so cranking the ISO setting up to 1600 to get a shutter speed fast enough to cope and over exposing a full stop to combat the dull light, a few images were taken. Not as colourful as images taken under the sun but the camera coped fairly well with low light tracking and a few reasonable results for my troubles.

Well, it's better than working anyway.

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Sunshine and Sanderling's

The last day of January and a bright sunny morning with next to no wind was too good an opportunity to miss so coinciding with a late morning high tide and with me finishing work at eleven in Thanet, I parked my lorry at Minnis Bay on the way home (plenty of parking for a lorry there) and having my camera and binoculars with me (sounds like a plan was hatched before I left home that morning) I walked the tide line up to Plum Pudding Island. Plenty of public out enjoying the morning and stood behind a groyne for cover, I used the dog walkers to my advantage, the mutts continually flushing the feeding Waders that were arriving to take advantage of the new wet sand left by the ebbing tide line. There was probably a couple of hundred Sanderling present and were easy targets as they continually flew past me, first east then flushed back west. This was the story for the hour that I stayed.

Other waders noted were several large flocks of Oyster-catchers flying east towards Margate, numerous Redshank but surprisingly only one Turnstone. There were over 300 Brent Geese out on the sea and not long now before they depart back North to their breeding grounds. All in all a pleasant hour under the winter sun.


Brent Geese