Sunday, July 17, 2011

I like herons. We get 'm in two basic flavours. Tame, sometimes tame enough that if you go fishing somewhere it will sit next to you ready to snatch whatever you catch before you can get the hook out.


Then there's the more or less wild variety. A lot less used to humans and incline to take off if they think you get too close. This one didn't, judging by the beak it's so young it has not yet learned to act wild.

Herons have another advantage for us photographers, they're one of the few birds with a build-in grey card (you know, those cards with 18% grey you can get to really nail your exposure).

Holding Grey Card

It's true, meter on a grey area of the bird using spot metering and you will nail the exposure each and every time!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Grasshopper Warbler
Originally uploaded by j_wijnands.
Yesterday I got my first ever chance to photograph a grasshopper warbler. These are generally shy birds that are often heard but rarely seen. The characteristic sound is a very long rattle, almost like a rattle snake. I heard this one long before I got a chance to see it. This was an unusually tame bird, I got the chance to take 40 pics at a comfortable distance. Light wasn't from the best direction but this way it does work I think. While I was observing it I was stunned at how long such a tiny bird can make so much noise.

Here's the sound one of these makes:courtesy of wikimedia

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Six-spot Burnet
Originally uploaded by j_wijnands.
Anyone who's spend any time outdoors shooting wildlife and insects will sooner or later find that disruptions in a normal pattern are what catches your attention. The most common is, of course, movement, anything that moves catches your attention. But, it can also be shapes, some things draw your attention immediately because the shape does not fit what your subconscious expects to find. Somewhat trickier is colours. I noticed this burnet because the colour clashes with the pink plant it is sitting on. So I got down on hands and knees, mounted my trusty 100mm tokina and got out a flash and a cable. Some additional light from just on the left side and I got a dozen nice shots. I think this one is one of the nicest because it brings out the antenna but I still need to sort out the rest.