Sunday, March 31, 2013

More from Scorching Bay

Today is overcast and we even had a little bit of rain earlier, so the camera is probably not going to make it outside. Here are a few more images from yesterday's shoot at Scorching Bay.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Scorching Bay

This morning the mission was to visit a tern colony at Scorching Bay. These birds are so used to people being there due to the fact that the colony is within metres of a local cafe. This of course makes it the perfect spot for a photographer to stop for a coffee break.

So you can imagine our dismay when there were no tables free beach side. We trudged across the road to order some lunch and one of the staff starting joking about the size of our lenses, and asked if we needed the menu to be held way over the other side of the room for us to read it. To which my reply was "No thanks, but a table outside would be great!"

Before we could blink an eye, another table and two chairs were being bought out from a nearby shed and hey presto we were seated right by the terns. You certainly can't beat that for service! The food was pretty good too!

Instead of just concentrating on shots of terns in flight, I looked more for the interaction they had between each other, or other behaviour. I wanted something different to the norm and I hope I have succeeded with some of these images.  I will return to the terns again, if only to experience the excellent service at the cafe!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Castle Point

Neither my husband or I have been out to Castle Point before. It has always been on the 'to do' list but we just have never gotten round to going. Today it was overcast and dull in Wellington and a friend needed a ride home to the Wairarapa so we made a day of it and finally headed out to Castle Point where the weather was great!

I was thinking it is a beach there should be birds, but no - barely any when we arrived and after being there some time I only saw a few. I managed to photograph them from a distance to identify them but nothing worth sharing. Other than a couple of gulls, I saw a couple of gannets and one white fronted term.

I was way more drawn to the rock formations. Way back when I was at school I studied Geography in third form and thoroughly enjoyed it. Castle Point with all its interesting rock formations bought a lot of that back to me. I loved the lines and shapes and tried to show them in the images I made.

Being as the main focus of the beach is the light house I thought I should have at least one image with a lighthouse in it, so here it is - the obligatory Castle Point light house picture.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Second guessing

When I first started taking Nature images, there only a small handful of other photographers that I knew locally who had a similar interest and for the most part we were all at the beginning of that particular journey. Lately however, I have been meeting up with many Nature photographers that have been practicing their art for many years and are very skilled at it.

Most of them have huge expensive lenses attached to a variety of different cameras and I used to think they would be able to get a lot closer to the birds than I am until I realised that with those big lenses come lots of compromises. Many of them are manual focus only, so they miss out on the fun of panning with the birds in flight. A lot of them are using extenders so reducing the amount of light getting into the shot.

I am now happy with the equipment choices that I have made and am not so envious of the giant lenses any more. I doubt that I would be able to lift one of them let along carry it around from location to location, and if I need to get closer to my subject to get that 'wow' shot then I will just find a way to get closer!

Now that I am taking so many images of the same subject I know I am getting better at it and that I am starting to develop my own style of nature photography. I am my own worst critic; I need to stop second guessing what I am doing and just go with the gut decisions.  I appreciate all the bits of advice I have been given by all the people I meet up with but ultimately it is my image so I need to work out a way to achieve what I want in a way that works for me.

Unless otherwise stated, the images in each post on this blog were taken on the previous day. I am usually one day behind in my posting with weekends and holidays being the only exception. Much as I would like to be doing this every day I also have a full time job, so my photographic outings are usually in the late afternoon during the week.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Practice makes perfect

Practice makes perfect and I am a long way off perfect yet. My obsession with the kingfishers is pretty much starting over again now that I have the faster camera. It has opened up a whole new range of possibilities that weren't there before.

These images were taken last night on my second outing with the new camera. I expect I will be out there a lot while the weather is still playing nice, and when it isn't hopefully my new hide will have arrived and I will still be out there taking photos regardless of the weather.

Monday, March 25, 2013

New Camera

Of course you know that as soon as the battery was charged I was in the car and off to the inlet. I was hoping there were kingfishers about to try the new camera out on and I wasn't disappointed. I practiced on a few other birds first to make sure I had the settings where I wanted them, and I had to deal with clouds blocking out the sun but I think I got them mostly right.

The new camera has things in different places and that is going to take some getting used to. But that is just practice so I just need to take more photos to get it right. One of the things my obsession with the kingfishers has taught me, is that nothing is going to happen how I want it until  I have put in the hours to achieve it.

When I head out to the inlet now I do so with the intention of being there for at least two hours. Anything short of this doesn't really seem to work. I take a blanket in case it gets windy and it often does, and I take a good jacket as well. I have been caught out a few time and gone home shivering with cold when everyone else is hot. The wind chill factor coming off the water is always colder and if you are just sitting there it can chill you to the bone.

I am looking forward to my portable hide arriving because over winter I am hoping it will keep the wind off me a bit better and I will also be able to shoot the birds in the rain if they are out there. Yep I hear you, totally mad but very determined to put together a great portfolio of kingfisher images when I am done with them.

As we were heading off we rounded the bend and there were the spoonbills all tucked up for the night. I couldn't resist taking this shot, even though it meant deleting one of the kingfisher shots to make room on the card for it.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Been shopping!

I haven't been out with the camera yet today so thought I would post a few more from Friday night. The batteries are charging for the new camera (Canon 7D) but I only have one smallish card until the new ones arrive from Ascent on Tuesday. I am looking forward to trying it out as soon as the batteries are done!

There are a lot of scruffy looking kingfishers flying about at the moment. I look forward to them all finishing their moulting or whatever they are doing, as I know they will be way more impressive to photograph when they have their proper colours. Not that I am complaining, I love their scruffy looks too.

The white-faced herons never fail to put on a show for me when I am sitting at the beach. It is hard not to take yet another shot of them. Below is a speeding bullet on wings. These guys move so fast and you can see the determination on their faces that they WILL get their prey!

A short road trip

Some days everything works and I come home with great photos, others days - like yesterday - nothing seems to work for me. Naturally I am disappointed in what I achieved for the day but I did learn a few things about the sites that I chose. Tides are important and just how far out the tide is, is also important. Different areas require different timing so I can see a note book being written up so I don't forget this lesson.

Another thing I learned yesterday was my limitations regarding walking on sand and soft uneven ground. I have one of those unseen disabilities that can cause me a lot of pain if I push the limits. I did this yesterday. It just means I need to be better prepared and know exactly where I am going and how far I have to walk to get there.

So after yesterday's disappointing lot, I can think of only one thing to do. Retail therapy! I know exactly where I am going and how far I will have to walk. I am off to buy a new camera! 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

A great night for Kingfishers

Last night has to be my favourite kingfisher shoot. The weather, the tide, the light all worked well and the kingfishers were great too!  I am super happy with the images I have and won't bore you all with writing this time because I think the images speak for themselves!