Friday, May 31, 2013

Rolling waves and dancing ballerinas

Slow shutter - somewhat impressionistic

Every now and then I try to do something a little bit different and this is one of those times. There were some lovely rolling waves and no birds, so I had a play to see what I could do with the waves using the big lens. I was looking for that moment when the wave curls over on itself and splashes back down.
Slowish shutter - loving the roll of the way and the splash
 The image blow is one of the smaller waves but I liked the way the water and froth gave the impression of little dancing ballerinas along the top edge of the wave as it reached it's peak. Then there is the visible power of the rolling wave in the next image appealed because of the smooth lines in the curves, followed by the final image looking into the vortex of the wave.  It was an interesting 30 minutes spent trying something different.
Dainty ballerinas dancing along the edge of the wave
Demonstrating the power behind the wave

Looking into the vortex of the wave

Thursday, May 30, 2013

There's snow on them there hills...

We had a day of nasty weather dumping snow all over the country on Tuesday and then yesterday the skies cleared and the sun shone. It was brilliant! These images were shot from Scorching Bay where I went to see if the terns were about. They weren't but there was plenty to photograph regardless. I had lots of fun with a little black shag while he sat preening himself in the sunshine.

I loved the way the hills were coated in a fine layer of snow. The wind chill let you know there was snow about but until you actually see it, it is often hard to believe. Dan took a couple of panoramic shots with his little point and shoot and they turned out great!  I didn't have my wide angle lens with me so this is the best I could do at 150mm.  The ferry came in at just the right time.

I really wasn't ready when he took off but I like it all the same.

The waiting room...

I had several hours waiting yesterday while my husband underwent elective surgery. The waiting room didn't appeal and as the zoo was just a short trip up the road that is where I headed. One of my sons has a fairly new camera and is trying his hand at some photography so I thought it would be a good place for him to practice.

My son's point and shoot was able capture many images that my big lens just couldn't cope with, much to my frustration, however I am more than happy with what I did get. Wellington had put on some amazing sunshine for us and very little wind. It was a good day to be at the zoo and even better there was hardly anyone else there.

For once the tigers were fairly active with two out in the enclosure. I went looking for the lions but only found a tui there. The chimps were mostly hiding so they missed out, however my son spotted one through a pipe and has an awesome image to show for it.

We spent a couple of hours at the zoo before heading back to the hospital. Unfortunately I wasn't able to bring my husband home with me as planned, but I am heading in there shortly to do just that. I am sure he will be happy to be home despite the massive frost outside.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Helping each other out

I have spent many hours studying the behaviour and habits of the waxeyes in our garden. By doing so I am usually able to predict where they are going to go next and it allows me to capture the moment if I am quick enough.

Today, the wind was blowing, the rain coming down and it was cold!  So cold that I had the doors closed and when I saw the birds doing something different I had to shoot through the rain streaked glass to capture them. It was a new behaviour to me, I have not seen it before with the waxeyes.

They were grooming each other. One bird was busy grooming the one next to it then they would swap around and the other would take over. It was so cute to watch and I don't think the photos do it justice but I was so happy to be able to get a record of it.  Now I know they do this, it is something else I will look out for.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Changing my workflow

One area where I know I am lacking is my post processing. I know I can take good photos but I don't always display them at their best. Post processing has always been a bit of a mystery to me. I do what I know how to do and tend to bury my head in the sand about the possibility of being able to do more!  Well that is not going to happen any more.
I have been actively looking for easy tutorials that will show me exactly what I need to do to bring out the best in my bird photographs. I want the colours more vibrant, the details clearer and the amount of noise reduced. Today I found a couple of videos that seem to be a bit easier to understand than most so I am giving them a try.
It is going to be a bit of a learning curve as it involves processing my raw images in a different software package to what I am used to, and takes me out of my comfort zone in a big way. I am prepared to make mistakes and to get as frustrated as all hell but I also expect to learn in the process. By showing the images here I am inviting you to join me on my learning curve.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

I must be mad!

The sun was hiding behind the clouds, the wind was whipping at my feet and the other photographers had given up and gone home. Still I was sitting in my chair, camera in hand. As is usually the way, when the noise disappears, people go and things become very quiet, the kingfishers come out to play.

And play they did today. They struggled a bit with the wind, even getting blown off their perches a time or two. But wind or no wind they still have to eat so were busy getting their share of the crabs for dinner.

I left just as the rain started. I might be mad enough to sit in the wind and the cold but rain will chase me away every time.

Back to the Kingfishers!

It's been a couple of weeks but finally I got back to the Kingfishers at Pauatahanui.  I wasn't alone, there was already one die-hard photographer set up when I got there. He told me he had spent the entire day there the day before as well.  Alas I had to work so couldn't take advantage of the fantastic weather we had on Friday.

But I did make the most of yesterday and intend to head back out there shortly so be warned, there's more Kingfishers to come!  There were so many out there yesterday and for the most part they stayed just out of reach of the camera, but every now and then we were treated to a show off or two.
I always thought that all Kingfishers looked the same but it is starting to show that indeed they don't. Each one is slightly different in it's own way. Some of them are easily recognisable now and it's good to see them returning time and time again.

There were other birds at the inlet yesterday, a flock of Royal Spoonbills, a bunch of gulls etc. At one point a flock of something flew overhead. I didn't get to see what they were hidden away as I was but the Kingfisher made sure to have a good look at what was going on overhead.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Reflections and flight

Not having any time to get out the camera today I decided to have a quick look back at some previous shoots.  Often I will get so excited about the close ups that I will forget to process anything else. These images were taken on the 4th of May and were initially overlooked.
I love the reflections in the water when it is not so windy. I probably should look back over more of the older files, I suspect I have some really good stuff sitting on my drive that has never even been up on the screen.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Bring back Summer!

It has been almost two weeks since I have had a chance to get down to the inlet to the kingfishers and I am starting to suffer from withdrawal. It's all very well having the waxeyes to amuse myself with but they are not and never will be kingfishers! I have noticed that the waxeye numbers are increasing daily and if I don't have the camera in my hand there is always at least half a dozen more out there than normal. It is like they all take great pleasure in coming out to play when I have no way to photograph them.
The short daylight hours of winter are really starting to annoy me, bring back summer and long sunny evenings where I can come home from work and head out to the beach. I miss the warmth of the sun, the quiet sound of the waves slowly retreating to low tide, and the sound of the kingfishers bashing their prey against the rocks and logs to subdue them.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Not everyone's cup of tea!

Since stepping into the area of nature photography, I have found myself more able to experiment with my camera, more confident about trying different settings and more frustrated when the results don't work out as I had planned. But the key point is that I only have myself to please. I am my own worst critic, I like to challenge myself and I like to see improvement in my photography.

Taking the step from nature in general to birds in particular has been one of the biggest challenges for me. I thought weddings were hard but they are nothing compared to getting the ultimate shot of a specific bird doing a particular behaviour. Birds are fast! They don't care if you get the shot or not and it takes patience rather than speed to get the money shot.

I understand that photographing birds could be boring for many photographers - they are not everyone's cup of tea, but those photographers I know that do photograph birds are generally all as passionate and obsessive about what they do as I am. Birds are addictive! Birds are expensive! Birds are the most frustrating subjects but also the most rewarding when you achieve the goals you set for yourself.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Blogs, forums and publications...

It has been just over four years since I started this blog. My first post was April 27, 2009.  I can't believe I have stuck at it so long. Ok so may there have been some quiet times through the years where not alot was posted but I am still here and still going.  Still only got 14 followers too! The stats on this site are a little confusing so I really have no idea how many people actually read the posts.

The numbers really don't matter to me that much as it is the enjoyment of the creation that is important. I love getting out there to take the photos, indeed I am totally addicted to that part of the process. I love to share my photos here on the blog, to be able to look at them and remember what I went through to achieve the image. Each photo tells its own story and while many of them are similar they are each different.
I guess the big thing is that I take all these photos and if I don't have somewhere to show them off, what is the point? Sharing the photos and hearing feedback is fun. I also share some of my images on a couple of forums, one of them being the hellophoto forum run by D-Photo Magazine. A week or so ago I received an email from the editor of the D-Photo, he wanted to put one of my kingfisher shots in their next issue. I was stoked to be asked and of course said yes!

So if you pick up a copy of the current issue of D-Photo (on sale today), and look for the page about the hellophoto forum you will see a small photo of a kingfisher accompanied with a small bit of text that I was also asked for.  It's a start... a full page spread is the next goal!  Who knows... dreams are free.