Sunday, 28 June 2015

Lakenheath Wildlife

A couple of weeks ago, a small band of hardy nature photographers from the RPS headed out to the RSPB Reserve at Lakenheath Fen.  Being "Flaming June" the weather was cold, wet, cloudy and windy.  Perfect weather for photographing wildlife, in other words (not).

On the plus side, the conditions meant that there were lots of snails in evidence.

A longhorn beetle...

...and a couple more snails.

While the weather might not have been at its best for photography, we couldn't complain about the wildlife on show.  A couple of kingfishers were busy in the area where we based ourselves, and then someone spotted a bittern right at the other end of the lake.  It's a golden rule of bird photography that the subject is either too far away or moving too fast (or both) and this specimen was no exception.  The following sequence are virtually 100% crops of images taken with a 300/2.8 and 2x converter at around ISO 2000.

The bittern was minding its own business, having a good preen.

Although it had taken a while for us to spot the bittern, a swan saw it immediately and took exception to its presence, making a bee-line for its hiding place.

There followed a bit of a staring match...

...and then then the bittern decided that enough was enough.

Not great pictures, but an amazing piece of nature.

Speaking of "not great pictures", here's another rubbish shot of a kingfisher hovering.  Again, a 100% crop with the subject about half a mile away (well, that's what it felt like, anyway).

Slightly better, here is a female reed bunting on a stick (where else?).

Not a great day, photographically speaking, but definitely one of my better nature days having never seen a bittern before (always heard, never seen).

Saturday, 27 June 2015

A Grand Day Out to West Mersea

A couple of weeks ago, Chris Fell and I decided to have a Grand Day Out (TM) to West Mersea.  This was partly because the Essex coast was Chris's old stamping ground, partly to give Amber (aka The Dumb Blonde) a walk, and partly to test out some Fujinon lenses which had been very kindly lent to me.  All the pictures are taken on the Fuji X-T1, and the majority are with the 35/1.4 - a little lens which I fell in love with (and now own).

West Mersea has mud aplenty, and Amber lost no time in doing some serious investigation.

There's only one solution to muddy feet, and that is to go for a long swim in the sea.  Pure heaven for a labrador on a hot, sunny day.

A little terrier took exception to Amber swimming, and so decided to yap at her from the bank.  Amber ignored the upstart initially, but then decided to get her own back (after having a good shake, naturally).

As well as mud, West Mersea is known for its seafood - especially oysters - and there were plenty of shells littering the shore.  That lens is sharp - even at f/1.4!

Chris himself had recently acquired a new Olympus OMD, and so was putting it through its paces before going away on holiday.  Nice camera; pity about the legs.

Not much wildlife around on the beach, but I did find this rather wonderful specimen.

The X-T1 is an amazing device - especially when paired with prime lenses.  The quality is superb, and the handling is very similar to top notch film cameras (such as my old A1).  The feeling of nostalgia is palpable...

Friday, 26 June 2015

London Salon of Photography Exhibition

The main reason for my trip to London on June 6th was to attend the opening of the London Salon of Photography Exhibition.  It was also a chance to play with my new toy - a Fuji X-T1 - although a certain amount of head-scratching was in order when it came to using fill-flash for the first time!  So far I'm really impressed with the new camera, and I'll post more pictures from it in the near future.

Anne Sutcliffe and David Lowe did the honours when it came to giving a tribute to the late Trevor Fry and presenting medals to the award winners.  One lucky "Friend" of the London Salon (not me, sadly) won a gorgeous print of Iceland by Tim Rudman, but I have my name down for a copy of Tim's new book instead.

If you are in the vicinity of Smethwick Photographic Society between July 4th and 25th, it's well worth catching the exhibition which will be on show there.  There are some stunning prints which really have to be seen in the flesh.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

London Life

I have to go to London once a year, just to remind myself of how much I hate the crowds, dirt and noise.  An interesting place for photography, though...

It seems to be fashionable to get married somewhere obscure and then have the wedding pictures taken somewhere grand - in this case, St Paul's Cathedral.

Another St Paul's wedding, this time on the front steps.

Due to a clerical cock-up I managed to catch the wrong train back from Croydon, and ended up at Blackfriars Bridge rather than London Bridge.  It's not my fault that I find London confusing...

I'll finish with yet another wedding, this time outside Tate Modern.