I was disappointed that my Field Trip to Castro Verde was cancelled, but as one person said in response, “The birds will be there next year”, of course. However, as the day was planned, I couldn’t resist taking 2 friends on a quick drive around the area.
I don’t normally do “walkabout shooting” (what I use to describe photography without a plan) except for when I walk the dogs, and as I was driving and it was a day off for me, I didn’t pick the camera up too much.
It was a fairly quiet day but we did get to see the following species worth noting
Black Kites (lots of them everywhere we went!)
Great Spotted Cuckoo
If you have been following me for a while you will know how lucky I am to have Kingfishers living on a stretch of the River Odelouca that runs through my land. Over the last few years, I have been lucky to bring you some beautiful photos of Common Kingfishers and I hope that the adults have successfully bred again this year.
To get everyone in the mood, here is a fresh, previously unpublished photo of a juvenile female from last year. I will soon be looking for some locations to shoot from.
This is an old photo from April 2019 that I discovered today whilst looking for other photos of these tiny Woodpeckers. I hadn’t processed for some reason so it just goes to show that sometimes looking through old photos can bring up a surprise. It is a male Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, identified by the red crown as the female doesn’t have it.
It was half in the sun and half hidden by a large branch of this Cork Oak it was making a nest in. Unfortunately, this old tree has since fallen down, it was already dead and it didn’t survive a strong storm.
This shot is one from the same session as last week. Trying to photograph birds in flight with a 500mm f/4 lens and 1.4x teleconverter is difficult at anytime, even more so when crouched on the floor amongst thick foliage covered with a camouflage net. It’s fair to say that the memory card had a lot of missed shots, but when you get a keeper like this, it makes it all the more worthwhile.
That’s that then. Well, no, not really. Let’s first talk about Motorsport, if you watch F1 and get excited about the thrill of the drivers balancing the physics of a finely tuned piece of engineering, does that mean that you can’t enjoy a Sunday drive through the countryside in a Ford Fiesta? Of course you can. For me it’s the same with photography.
I’m not going to pretend that shooting with Nikon’s fantastic D850 DSLR paired with a Nikon 500mm f/4 doesn’t make life much easier for me as a photographer, of course it does, but that doesn’t mean that you need this level of equipment to capture stunning photos. Anyone who has attended one of my Digital Photography Fundamentals Workshop will remember that I talk a lot about that although professional equipment offers superior quality, it doesn’t mean that you cannot shoot stunning photographs with level-entry equipment, far from it. I quite often get told “It’s easy for you with your camera”, yes, it’s easier, but doesn’t mean that photography is impossible without expensive equipment.
This morning, it got me thinking about this so I grabbed a Nikon D3100 that I use as a loan camera on my workshops and attached my Nikon 80-400mm lens to it. Yes, ok, some of you are going to spot that this is a professional grade lens, I don’t own a “long” telephoto lens that isn’t. However, it’ll still be possible to get great photos with a much cheaper lens attached.
The Nikon D3100 is a level-entry camera with just 14.2 megapixels and was released back in 2010. Ten years in the world of photography is a long-time!
It didn’t take long until a pair of juvenile Eurasian Nuthatches we have in the garden showed up on an old dead Oak Tree. So here you go, I think you’ll agree that these are quite nice shots of them.
If you work with good light, shoot at the correct angles and of course dial in the correct camera settings then great photography is available.
Currently, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, my “Open” Digital Photography Fundamentals Workshops are suspended, however, private sessions are available. These workshops are a great way to learn to take control of your camera.
If you feel like really getting your teeth into photography, a great way to go from beginner to great photographer is to book some Personal 3 Hour Photography Workshop Sessions. These sessions can take you right from the start through to post-processing in Adobe Lightroom at a pace that suits you and as many or little sessions as you wish, these can be done in the comfort of your own home!