As you know, I’m a bit of a space fan and watched in awe the launch of SpaceX Dragon Demo-2 this evening. For those that don’t know, this is the first manned flight to the ISS onboard the SpaceX Dragon, so a big deal for NASA to have launches back on US soil. I decided to go outside in hope to see Dragon fly over, I watched the ISS approach and 5 minutes later Dragon came flying across the sky. I wasn’t expecting it to be so bright so didn’t set a camera up. There was to be another flyby just before midnight, but haze and clouds had rolled in. I set the camera up and pointed in the direction I was expecting it to come. I just about saw the ISS as it approached and disappeared above the clouds. I triggered the camera on a timelapse to keep shooting and although I didn’t spot Dragon on the flyby, the camera did as I had increased the ISO to capture more light than I could make out.
Imagine my joy when I checked back and there was a trail! I successfully recorded a trail of SpaceX Dragon Demo-2, a little bit of history recorded!
Occasionally, I print some of my favoured and colourful work on Acrylic. This is an expensive process where the image is printed onto a piece of acrylic and then sealed at the back with white background. The effect is amazing as it allows light to enter the acrylic and make the photograph look like it’s back-lit.
I can now announce 4 new photographs in special edition 60x40cm Acrylic prints of Carvoeiro, Burgau, Praia de São Rafael and one of my best sellers, the Hazy Sunset at Arco de Albandeira.
These acrylics can be viewed at my Gallery Room by appointment near São Marcos da Serra or I can deliver or meet in the central Algarve area.
Click on each image to view in the online shop, the original photos are also shown below too.
I remember being in South Africa in 2010 and spotting my first ever Lilac Breasted Roller, a stunning bird, so you can imagine my excitement when I found out that the European Roller breeds in the Lower Alentejo, just 30 minutes from the Quinta.
Although I’ve now lived in Portugal for almost 4 years I have never planned to go and photograph them. They are not great around humans and they are certainly one species of bird that I don’t want to interfere with. Although worldwide they are successful, they are an endangered species here in Portugal. The Liga para a Protecção da Natureza (LPN) centre near Castro Verde has certainly helped with their survival and has a dedicated nesting building for them. The lower Alentejo region has many abandoned and ruined farm buildings which makes it perfect for these birds to nest. Many buildings have been equipped to help too. Where you find the European Roller, you often also spot Lesser Kestrels as they use the same buildings to nest.
They always remind me of a colourful Jackdaw as their size, stock and beak shape is very similar.
I have been monitoring them at a site on two occasions over the last few weeks and yesterday I decided to head to the location before sunrise. I arrived at 5:30am and everything apart from the distant noise of early morning Crows was silent. I headed to a spot I had planned which was in thick overgrown flowers and crop, crouched down under the a camo net and waited. They were soon flying around making their really loud Crow-like call. Soon enough I had the chance to photograph a few. As you can see in the first photo, I have named this one (difficult to determine the sex as they are both identical) Scruffy due to the lose feather. I assume this will fall out so won’t be able to ID it next time. It spent most of the time I was there chasing off the Lesser Kestrels. Even after just one session, I can already see some different characters.
As anyone following me for a while will know, part of the passion of photographing wildlife is getting up close with them to capture as much detail in my shots. I’ve been wanting to do this with the local Egyptian Mongoose so I set out a Trail Cam 2 days ago in an area where I had a close encounter with one 2 years ago. There was nothing on the first day but on checking the footage this morning, one came right up to the camera yesterday afternoon.
Not really what I was hoping for as I have the perfect angle and location here with the morning sun, but I will keep monitoring the area for a while to try and work out any patterns they may have and plan to hide and photograph them from a good vantage point.
For now, check the stunning but short footage. The bells you can hear in the background are some cattle and the random human voice is a lady who lives in the bottom of the valley. She is about 800 metres away, this camera really does pick up noise well.
This morning I was in the garden shooting backlit Honey Bees (another blog to follow later) and I heard a tapping noise in one of our Oak Trees. I thought it would be the usual Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers which are common in our area, however, when I looked I noticed 2 juvenile Eurasian Nuthatches. Here is a photo of one who briefly posed on top of the tree for me.