Monday, May 31, 2010

Confusion on Warblers - Solved!!

A Bank Holiday walk around Paxton Pits this afternoon was rewarded with these great images of a warbler feeding its nestlings with a great variety of flying insects. I was sure that it was a Willow Warbler but everyone who looked said eye-stripe therefore Sedge Warbler. However, I am not convinced as there is no streaking on back or breast. I will post it on the bird ID Forum that I subscribe to so more to follow.
It is a Willow Warbler - identified on the Bird ID site.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Man Orchid

The Man Orchids are at their best locally though they are very short.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Archive Images

Two images from Ecuador trip and one from London. As it was too wet to garden, decided to sort through a few back images, delete those I will never work on and share the one I particularly like. I wonder where the owner of the icecream went!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Broad-bodied Chaser

Further tests with the 25mm extension tube. The first is taken at f18 and the tips of wing and abdomen are not quite in focus.
The second has the maximum aperture setting f40 and is now just about all in focus - the shutterspeed at ISO 640 is now 1/20 sec so only one out of six pictures didn't have some movement.

Photographing damselflies

There were several pairs of red damselflies laying their eggs in the pond this morning. I tried a method that I used last year to get closer to the insects - a 25mm extension tube with the 400m end of the 100-400mm. The first picture is just about full frame. The main problem is depth of field. With the bright sunlight, I could use f40 to give maximum depth.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Year Ago

During the recent hot spell, I looked back at some images taken at the end of May last year at Hunstanton. It was a beautifully clear and warm evening.

I love the orange sandstone cliffs reflected on the wet sands.
These two dogs were having a lot of fun racing around on the beach below the cliffs

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Damselfies emerge

Along with recording the early wildflower species in my garden, I am trying to keep a record of the damselflies and dragonflies this year. The first two species appeared a couple of days ago and are the Large Red Damselfly and the Azure Damselfly (has black marking on the 9th segment whereas Common Blue has plain blue 9th segment). I didn't realise until I cropped into the coupled pair that there is also a larval exuvia on the leaf.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Garden Flowers by Infrared

The flowers varied very much as to how they recorded in Infrared. These were the best of half a dozen attempts. The Centaurea (middle picture) is all the same blue but some central parts obviously emit very little infrared

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Kings College

A few infrared photos of King's College Chapel taken with the 'plastic' 1.8 50mm lens - seems to be the best one for the digital infrared as doesn't give a 'hot spot'

Friday, May 21, 2010

Moth to be identified please

I have put the moth trap out during a few nights over the last month and have caught virtually no moths probably because it has been very cold with frosts on several nights. Last night I tried again and found lots of moths in the morning. I photographed quite a few before they took off and identified most (see my separate Moth blog) but haven't yet found this one - any ideas

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Beechwoods Wandlebury

Last year I visited the beechwoods at Wandlebury around this time to photograph the White Helleborines and I wanted to try again this year with a different lens. Unfortunately they are not quite out and they are also very small this year, maybe because of the dry conditions. I spent time photography the trees both with my infrared camera and in colour. I converted the colour image to monochrome using maximum green channel to attempt a digital infrared. However, with these bright dappled conditions and the green treetrunks, the result is not very pleasing.

The image taken with the infrared camera is much more striking - the lichen on the bark does not emit as much infrared as the foliage so you get a good separation of trunks and leaves.
Interestingly, an autumn picture taken in the same location converts well to a infrared look alike by using full orange and yellow filtration in a Lightroom conversion to greyscale.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Swiss Garden at Shuttleworth

As well as photographing the birds and airplanes, we also took a walk round the Swiss garden. This was created in 1820 by Lord Ongley for his Swiss wife and is an outstanding example of Swiss picturesque archtiecture with Chalet, grott0 and fernery.

The fish-eye gave some interesting images from inside this fine maple tree

I liked the echo of the leaf pattern in the shadow behind.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Experiments in Shutterspeed.

We spent yesterday afternoon and evening at the Shuttleworth Collection, photographing birds of prey in the afternoon and then switching to veteran airplanes in the evening. I experimented with different shutterspeeds for the photographs and it has reinforced my puzzlement as to why we have such rigid and different conventions for the two subjects.
With birds in flight, it is generally thought that the shutterspeed should be such that all motion is stopped and everything is sharp. Hence in the first Kite picture, 1/1000sec is too slow for the wing tip motion. The second kite image at 1/1600 is sharp throughout as is the Saker Falcon at 1/1250.

With airplanes (and cars etc), the opposite holds in that there should be some motion in the propeller (or wheels). Hence the image taken at 1/1000sec although very sharp isnot acceptable as the prop motion has been frozen. I tried at both 1/250 and 1/400 but found that, as I was using my camera on a tripod, I didn't manage to follow through sufficiently well with the panning so ended up images that were not sharp. My best images were a compromise at 1/800 sec

Friday, May 14, 2010

Photographing Nightingales

Continuing the theme of why I like to photograph, here is a series of Nightingale pictures taken this year on subsequent visits to Paxton. The first image has appeared on the Blog before in the Dawn Chorus entry - it was the best shot I could get that day in dull conditions and not knowing the best locations for photography.

On a second quick visit one evening when returning home down the A1, I found a very good area for photographing where the bird perched to sing very much in the open. The evening light was beautiful but did create a harsh shadow across the tail so another visit was required!

By the next visit a few days later, the number of singing birds had diminshed and they were singing less often but I did manage a sharp image in mottled sunlight.

The final (?) visit yesterday to the same area produced some wonderful views - still not perfect as there are branches across the tail in one and a rather bland background in the other. Perhaps another visit is required - so photography becomes an excuse to return several times and experience the wonderful song of this amazing bird.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Amazing Dandelion

One of the things I like best about photography is that it makes me look more closely at seemingly common subjects. Last year I noted that the Dandelion has evolved a truly amazing mechanism to ensure that the flowers have the best chance of pollination and the subsequent seeds of dispersal.

The flower is borne on an upright stem above the leaves to attract insects. When pollination has occurred the stem grows/bends downward so that the dead flowerhead with the developing seeds is now at ground level below the flowers. When the seeds are ripe and ready for dispersal, some growth or turgidity mechanism causes the seed head to be lifted above the flowers and leaves for dispersal of the parachute seeds by the wind.

I would love to know what physiological processes are involved if there are any botanists out there.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

In Your Dreams

This is Marmite and what he imagines himself to be. Actually he is quite a cowardly cat!

Ann Miles Photography - My Favourite Images of the Past10 years or so