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Young Kingfishers Are Now Out Of The Nests

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It’s taken a long-time this year to get these particular shots of the Kingfishers which started many months ago, originally with the adults.

I have been trying to get very dark backgrounds to create an almost studio-like image. I appreciate that these style of photographs are not to everyone’s taste, but the idea was to create a contrast to bring out the detail in the feathers.

The problem I have had this year is that every time I set the scene, the river has dried out before I manage to capture any shots. However, I found an area where the river has pooled and it seems to be a popular dive spot. This scene has been set for 3 days, however, every morning since has been cloudy. I was awake at 6am this morning and again, the skies were unseasonably cloudy. Slightly later, there seemed be a large gap in the cloud cover so I headed down to the river and got lucky before the cloud re-appeared.

There was a pair of juveniles at the spot, unfortunately, the female didn’t come out into the light, but the male was very happy on the perch. The light still wasn’t great, but good enough even though I was shooting with a slightly slower shutter speed to what I was hoping for. Luckily, he stayed still enough for long enough!

The big giveaway that this is a young male is the legs, you’ll notice that they are not bright coloured, adult Kingfishers have very bright coloured legs.

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Common Kingfisher (Juvenile Male) - Guarda-rios (juvenil macho) - Alcedo atthis
📷 Nikon D850, AF-S 500mm f/4 @ 1/640sec, f/8, ISO500Continue reading >>

Lovers At Sunset

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I’ve been thinking about this shot for a while, but if I’m honest, it was more to get a White Stork family with juveniles in the shot. However, when I arrived and pair were standing facing each other it worked even better.

The sun is directly behind the nest creating this amazing back-lit silhouette of the White Storks sitting on the nest. Standing a fair distance away and using a long lens (500mm) created the sun to be almost the same size as the nest. I love the way it looks like the streetlight is lit too, it wasn’t.

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Lovers At Sunset



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Morning Dog Walk: Usually Abundant But This Year A Rare Sight

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I take a camera along on my Dog Walks to bring you some of the sightings that I see on my morning walks, these photos are rarely going to be great quality as its hard enough keeping an energetic Dog entertained and get close enough to anything. They also help me identify where species are so that I can plan to return.

It was great to spot a Woodchat Shrike this morning perched on an electricity cable. Normally, the area is abundant with them, but this year its the first I’ve spotted since the beginning of Spring when they returned. It could just be that I’ve been in the wrong place at the wrong time and I guess they are happily all around me, but certainly great to spot one.


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Purposely Underexposing A Shot

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I’m a fan of underexposing shots for many different reasons and this was one of them.

You may remember my post from Friday with a Kingfisher watching me whilst I was scouting the river (Read Post). Well once I took the shot, I dialled in -3EV, yes, underexposed the shot by 3 stops.

It was to see if I could hide the messy background and also just expose the areas where late sun was reaching. Then a little bit of work in Lightroom to bring out those lighter spots and the resulting photo is a much nicer atmospheric shot.

Just to clarify, this is a technique I only use when I want to create something a little different. Normally, getting the exposure right to start with is a good plan, although I usually underexposed slightly to avoid highlight clipping.


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The Well Barn Swallows 2nd Brood

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You remember my posts a few weeks back regarding the Barn Swallows nesting down inside an old disused well (see HERE). As normal with Barn Swallows (sometimes they go for a 3rd!), they are now raising a 2nd brood, this time 5 chicks are in the nest.

This morning was amazing clear skies, so I headed to the old pump house and managed to eventually get the tripod and 500mm lens into position, it was a bit tight!


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Update On The Local European Bee-Eaters

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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!


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