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Friday, 22 April 2011

A mixture of old and new

Today I've been working through some old macro shots from last year, to see whether they could be converted to monochrome. Here are a couple of examples of what I came up with.

This was taken on Bookham Common about this time last year.

...and this one is from Wicken Fen, taken in about May.

There are loads of jumping spiders in our garden at the moment. This one is tiny, just a few mm across.

Here's a shot of one, taken with my new Nikon 85mm DX VR in my back garden a few days ago. This light weight lens is coming with me on holiday to Jersey next week, where I'm hoping to take it rock pooling. It should travel well - it's only 350 grams, and is pretty diddy. It'll be coming to Africa later this year too.

Finally, today we went to Busbridge Lakes near Guildford, where I photographed some peacocks.

I'm really pleased with this last one. The colourful background is lichen on the sloped roof of a small shed. It was lucky enough that the peacock posed as it did!

Sunday, 10 April 2011

RSPB Havergate Island

Yesterday morning I visited Havergate Island, on a trip organised by the RSPB (, to see the Hares that live there.

It was a good trip, and very well organised too - I'm glad I could go after not being able to photograph Hares last year.

I've photographed hares more recently in Lincolnshire (see my post on Frieston Shore from a few weeks ago), and based on that experience I took with me the longest lens I have, a D300 and a couple of teleconverters. As it turned out, this was completely the wrong set up to have. The hares on Havergate island are extremely tame, as they have no predators there. It is easy to get within even a couple of feet of them - as long as you don't make any sudden movements, they are quite happy for you to sit down next to them.

Because of this, a huge unwieldy 500mm lens was not at all what I needed, I'll know better next time though! If you are planning to go on this trip and would like to get some pictures, I recommend something like a 70-200mm lens - that's all you should need. I was not the only photographer there to have made this mistake - I counted half a dozen 300mm f2.8s, a couple of 500mm f4s and even a 600mm f4 (the poor guy, he had no chance!). Despite this, I was able to get some shots that I liked, a few of these are posted below.

The weather was also not best for photography - extremely bright, mid-day sunshine. All the images below are in black and white for this reason (the high contrast works better in B&W, I think!).

Saturday, 2 April 2011

British Wildlife Center

The British Wildlife Center is only ten minutes down the road from us - we go there a few times a year. Spring is the best time to visit, and today we made our first trip for 2011.

The best animals there to photograph, I find, are the otters. They have a great enclosure, which allows for natural surroundings and backgrounds.

The red squirrels (which are kept in a walk through enclosure) were the most active we've ever seen them. They're incredibly tame, as they get dozens of people wandering through the enclosure every hour, and will run right past you (or over you) if you stand between them and where they are headed!

The Center also has Herons nesting in some of the trees there. I managed, for the first time, to see a Heron chick - here's a photo of the little fella: