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A Quick Hunt For A Bluethroat Paid Off!

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This morning I was shooting some Real Estate photography (see my other venture FotoSul) and decided to make a long morning of photography. I was at Ferragudo before sunrise in the hope that the clouds would clear as promised, they didn’t (A blog coming later on this!) and I even ended up dodging the rain. I still had an hour to waste before meeting my Real Estate Agent client in Praia da Luz so I headed to the wetlands near Alvor in hope of finding a Bluethroat.

During the summer months, they are high up in the northern parts of the world and come south for the winter. In the Algarve, they can be spotted in many of the wetlands on the south coast.

I was driving down the very muddy track to the wetlands when I spotted a Bird of Prey, probably a Marsh Harrier, so I stopped the car and set the camera up. I was shooting in full Manual mode and was ready for an action shot when I noticed a Bluethroat around 20 meters away. Without time to adjust the camera, I quickly grabbed a shot before it flew. I was not expected a great shot, but considering how underexposed the shot is I got bit lucky.


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Underexpose not Overexpose!

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It was just after sunrise (remembering that due to the hills, our sunrise is slightly later than the official one!) and there was a Jay flying from a nearby Oak Tree with an Acorn.

I desperately wanted it to fly the other side of my position but it didn’t, so do I give up, or do I overexpose the shot to try and grab some detail? No, instead, I use the lack of light (in the right place) to my advantage and actually underexpose the shot to capture the back-light and sun shining through the thinner feathers.

This is something we discuss on my Digital Photography Fundamentals Workshop!

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Jay With An Acorn For Breakfast

Kingfisher Project Is Back On, Plus A Few Other Birds

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For those that Follow Me On Facebook will know that I have continued my Kingfisher Project due to the location of the autumn morning sun lighting a river pool. Whilst walking the dogs, we watched an adult female perched in amazing light on a tree branch, so can’t waste an opportunity like this. I positioned a perch and setup my popup hide yesterday and was at the river this morning. It didn’t quite go as planned as the Kingfisher didn’t use the perch. It seems as now the water level is so low, she prefers to perch higher up to be able to watch a larger area of water. I have now installed a high perch and will return tomorrow morning.

However, all was not lost, I was able to sit and watch this adult female diving and catching fish many times and on one occasion she came up with a Crayfish. I snapped these images. Notice the wet marks on the branch, this is where she was hitting the Crayfish to kill it before eating. I suspect this is “Princessa” that I photographed when she was a juvenile but as I can’t confirm this I am calling this girl Tufty due to her feathers on the back of her head sticking up. Not sure these are permanently like this or just because she was wet.


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The Local European Bee-Eater Colony Is Now Huge!

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Almost every evening (and early morning) the local European Bee-Eater colony come to feed in and around the Quinta.

This evening I sat on the side of a nearby banking, amongst the overgrowth but certainly not hidden and was given a spectacular display of acrobatics.

If I was to guess how many are now in this colony, I would say at least 50 if not more, it seems to have been a successful breeding year for them!

I love the colours on this back-lit shot with one changing direction to catch a Bee.

{Click image for a higher resolution}

📷 Nikon D850, AF-S 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR @ 400mm, 1/3200sec, f/8, ISO320

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Greater Flamingos At Ludo

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After a great week visiting, I dropped my sister and niece at Faro airport very early yesterday morning so used the opportunity to visit Ludo at sunrise to back-light the Greater Flamingos.

Rather than re-write information about these magnificent birds, you can read an article I wrote for the Algarve Resident last year (Read here…).

Currently there are a huge number of Greater Flamingos gathered at Ludo and after short wait a small group started to argue which gave the perfect scene directly into the sun.

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Face-off At Sunrise (Greater Flamingos)
📷 Nikon D850, AF-S 500mm f/4 @ 1/800sec, f/8, ISO560Continue reading >>

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