After the disappointment of finding a destroyed Bee-Eater nest (see HERE) and of course, one dead and one rescued nestling, I took a look at another location where there are nests and watched a pair actively returning to the nest over and over with food for the young inside. Whilst the birds are digging their nests and mating, I (mostly) leave them alone as not to cause them to flee and abandon, but now they young to feed I will watch and shoot from a safe distance.
The great news is that it has a very natural hide for me courtesy of the river bank. I look forward over the next few days capturing some shots, although the very unseasonable cool and cloudy weather may put a stop to it!
Here is a shot I got of one of the parents leaving the nest.
This week’s featured print is also a new addition to the Shop, however, it was taken back in March 2016.
I spent many weeks photographing 2 Short-Eared Owls that were wintering in an area near the city of Derby in England, either arriving before sunrise or an hour before sunset. The were totally fine with my presence. Usually shooting with the 500mm f/4 lens with a 1.4x teleconverter attached I was able to get some close-ups, but also some great atmospheric shots when the Owls where at a distance. Of course, the sunrise and sunset colours always providing an incredible backdrop.
With this particular shot the Owl had spotted something on the ground and was just about to pounce. It did, but came back up empty!
I printed this photograph to put on display at last weekends International Algarve Fair and it looks amazing printed and mounted behind glass, so it is now available for purchase and of course, is this week’s featured print.
I was down at the river modifying and moving my Kingfisher perch and on the way back Wally spotted something in the long grass.
It was a Spanish Terrapin (often referred to as a Spanish Turtle). It was fairly large with its shell about 25cm long. As it was heading towards the road I decided to relocate it back to the river bank.
I picked it up and it let its bladder go, all over me and I know smell like rotten fish. I released it back at the river bank and it hurried into the water.
(Shot and edited using Lightroom on my Samsung Galaxy S9+)
You may think that I’ve gone a bit quiet on the local Bee-Eater colony, but I am still keeping an eye on them, however, I’m leaving them in peace to finish off their nesting tunnels before I spend more time amongst them.
This afternoon I was working on something new at “A Rocha”, an area on top of a large rocky lump that I leave to the wildlife. I have spotted some Rock Buntings and I’m planning some shots so was setting a nice scene around a small water pond I built some time ago. The Bee-Eaters were all around hunting and I wondered why they didn’t seem too bothered about my presence. I moved a little closer to a spot where I can over look a tree they usually rest on and they didn’t seem bothered at all that I was there. I was standing in direct view and they happily carried on with their activities. This is a great afternoon spot for watching and photographing them, so will plan a session here in the near future. I think they have almost finished their tunnels now and will soon be moving in and I’m looking forward to getting close up to them.
Although I was close, I was only armed with my 80-400mm so was a little short on reach, but at least I got these shots to show how great an angle it is!
During my SOS Algarve Animal Charity Event on Saturday my trusty Nikon AF-S 80-400mm suffered a problem. I love this lens for my Dogs-In-Nature Photo Shoots because I have the ability to be far enough away to allow natural behaviour but also be able to quickly open wider when they get closer. This lens is also the perfect walk-about lens for the same reason. It is reason number 1 (of 2) why I’d rather this lens to the Nikon AF-S 200-500mm even though it has less reach. This lens and almost all my other lenses have the “gold ring” on the end of the barrel which designates it as a professional build lens (see my Equipment List). This means that it is weather and dust sealed, which is reason number 2 why I’m not a fan of the 200-500mm as it doesn’t and in this incredibly dusty environment I think it’s life could be short lived. However, as the 80-400mm lens is a zoom lens, then there is always the possibility of dust and sand getting inside the zoom barrel and this is what I think happened during the shoot. Everything was going great until suddenly the zoom ring became extremely stiff, luckily, it didn’t seize and I was able to continue with the shoot, although I always have my Nikon AF-S 70-200mm waiting as a very good substitute.
I purchased this lens back in 2013 when it was released and although it has been used extensively throughout its life, I have always taken care to ensure no damage to any of the glass or workings. So, now the dilemma, do I send it off to Nikon for repair and pay what would probably be around €1000, do I even just invest in a new one, current prices are around €2000 or do I try to repair it myself??? WHAT DISMANTLE A LENS!!!!! I have never done this before and thought, why not, I have nothing to lose as I can always opt for the first two options. After watching a few YouTube videos, albeit other Nikon lenses, I started to remove the front elements.
Here is a shot of the front element removed, you can see the small pieces of what look like ground metal filings on the other elements from where the zoom barrel was grinding.
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