The Abbey

As I mentioned in my last post’s comments I am going on a black and white binge.  I shot this panorama originally to be in colour but realised that the contrast between the different tones in the image would work in monochrome.

The panorama was a merge of eight raw images.I then converted it to monochrome in Perfect B&W, adjusted the exposure and contrast slightly in Lightroom and  then did a little dodging and burning of the foreground using Photoshop.

Olympus E-5, ISO200, 35mm, f/5.0, 1/2500

Olympus E-5, ISO200, 35mm, f/5.0, 1/2500

The Nectar Harvest

What’s was it that Joni Mitchell said about the spots on apples and leaving her with the birds and the bees? It’s not DDT now, but things have not changed much since  1970.

Bees are in trouble. The numbers declining steeply and it is becoming increasingly thought that the cause is the neonicotinoid insecticides, although the  chemical companies that produce them deny it.   Colony Collapse Disorder has led up to 50% of colonies being destroyed. This is bad news for us as the bees pollinate  the crops we eat. The neonicotinoids are also now being linked to the  decline in songbirds too.

 

Olympus E-5, ISO200, 35,mm, f/9.0, 1/250

Olympus E-5, ISO200, 35,mm, f/9.0, 1/250

 

 

Olympus E-5, ISO200, 35mm, f/9.0, 1/200

Olympus E-5, ISO200, 35mm, f/9.0, 1/200

 

 

 

 

 

The Old Home Town

Something a bit different from my usual posts. This is a photo of my old home town, Norwich, that I scanned from my Dad’s old photos. The original print was tiny and I have have enlarged it three times using onOne’s Perfect Resize,

Norwich Market

 

If you are familiar with Norwich,  this photo was taken from what is now WH Smiths on Gentleman’s Walk. the building on the left is now The Works book shop. This is looking across the market square and you can see the Guildhall on the right, as well as the building that is now Tesco Metro which, back at the turn of the 20th century was Chamberlain & Sons & Company. You can read about that on this blog.

Walking up Guildhall Hill is the Waterloo Tavern, long since gone.

There are lots of flags out in this picture and I wonder if there was something to celebrate.

 

The Fast and the Feathery

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I spent some of the time on the Farnes with the ISO wound up higher than I usually do. Higher ISOs mean higher shutter speeds are attainable. But the downside is more noise, Removing the noise from a photo can result in a softening of the image.

The other side of this is that when sharpening and reducing noise, we are looking at the image at 100%. Invariably, when we post images online they are far, far smaller than that and the pixel-peeping adjustments we made are not noticeable.

So here are some more puffins. All shot at ISO 800.

Although I got up close to these birds, my favourite shots are those where I have stood back or zoomed out a bit.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I have seen lots of photos like the one above with the frame filled by the puffin coming into land, they are great shots, technically perfect but a bit clichéd. For me, seeing where the bird is aiming to land makes it much more interesting and it isn’t the shot that as many photographers go for.

When the puffins came in with a catch the gulls would attack and try to steal their food. Just out of shot to the left is a great black backed gull that was homing in on this bird to take its catch.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Other Shots

(well some of them.)

I took rather too many photos on the Farnes. Here are a few more.

Olympus E-5, ISO640, 215mm, f5.1, 1/2500

Olympus E-5, ISO640, 215mm, f5.1, 1/2500

Olympus E-5, ISO640, f/4.5, 1/4000

Olympus E-5, ISO640, f/4.5, 1/4000

Arctic Tern

Olympus E-5, ISO 640, 215mm, f/5.1, 1/2000

Olympus E-5, ISO 640, 215mm, f/5.1, 1/2000

Olympus E-5, ISO640, 149mm, f/4.5,1/640

Olympus E-5, ISO640, 149mm, f/4.5,1/640

Arctic Tern

Olympus E-5, ISO 800, 263mm, f/7.1, 1/1250

Olympus E-5, ISO 400, 190mm, f/6.3, 1/320

Olympus E-5, ISO 400, 190mm, f/6.3, 1/320

Olympus E-5, ISO400, 190mm f/6.3, 1/320

Olympus E-5, ISO400, 190mm f/6.3, 1/320

Next time: seals

The Right Tools for the Job.

Although I am partially deaf, I could not help overhearing what people were talking about on the Farne Islands. What took me aback was the number of people who were having problems with their camera gear, and it was invariably really expensive camera  gear that they were having problems with. There were cameras not working and lenses not focusing. It must have been really disappointing for them to plan a trip and then not walk away with any shots. It seemed to be one particular brand that was having the problems, but my observation was not a scientific survey, so I won’t mention which make it was.

When I was there I put my camera away for a while just to take in the joy of being so close to such incredible wildlife.  Wildlife photography for me goes hand in hand with conservation and education and I like a bit of time away from the lens to find out a bit about the birds that I photograph.

Olympus E-5, ISO 400, 190mm, f5.6, 1/4000

Olympus E-5, ISO 400, 190mm, f5.6, 1/4000

This handsome little gull is a kittywake. Although the number of most of the birds on the Farne Islands is on the increase, this one is declining rapidly and the colony barely seems to be breeding this year. Elsewhere there has been speculation that the drop in numbers of sand eels is affecting the populations of these birds, but there are plenty of sand eels around the Farnes, so there must be another explanation. It is now thought that the numbers of zooplankton on which the sand eels feed are declining, due to climate change. This means that the quality of the eels as a food has dropped, and this had adversely affected the kittywakes ability to breed.

This one was unimpressed with it’s food.

Olympus -5, ISO200, 277mm, f/7.1, 1/640

Olympus -5, ISO200, 277mm, f/7.1, 1/640

For the entire trip I kept the same lens on my DSLR. My trusty 70-300 mm zoom was perfect for the photography..

Some people seemed to me to have taken the wrong kit.  I saw people with enormous lenses.  They were using these to take photos of birds that were sitting on the ground a few feet from them. They must have broken their wallets and backs with these huge bits of kit. I wonder if they realised the opportunities they missed. There is no way you can pan a flying puffin with a lens like that is 10″ in diameter and needs a  tripod to support it.

Olympus E-5, ISO 640, 215mm, f/5.1, 1/2500

Olympus E-5, ISO 640, 215mm, f/5.1, 1/2500

Olympus E-5, ISO 800, 125mm, f/5.6, 1/4000

Olympus E-5, ISO 800, 125mm, f/5.6, 1/4000

When a pair of territorial arctic tern are battling for aerial supremacy, then a smaller, lighter lens wins every time.

Olympus E-5, ISO 200, 89mm, f/9.0, 1/1250

Olympus E-5, ISO 200, 89mm, f/9.0, 1/125

(I haven’t used selective colouring in this image. The only colour was in the legs and beak of that bird.)

And, when a bird is sitting six feet in front of you flapping its wings then perhaps you don’t need a huge lens.

Olympus E-5, ISO200, 215mm, f/5.6, 1/640

Olympus E-5, ISO200, 215mm, f/5.6, 1/640

More birds to follow…