Jack the Stag 2

Here is another shot from my recent visit to the South West Deer Centre.  It is a more classic Stag profile shot, so I thought that I would share it, even though I think I still prefer the image in my post titled Jack the Stag.

Big Jack 2
Jack, the Red Deer Stag at Wayford Deer Centre.

Thank you to anyone who has taken a look.  Please keep an eye out for more to come.

Jack the Stag

This evening we were privileged to be able to walk, with other Camera Club members, around the South West Deer Centre, run by Mike Gage, at Wayford, on the Somerset/Dorset border.  We were able to get up close and personal with a variety of rescued deer.  I took a lot of photos, which I haven’t yet had time to sort through, but I wanted to post one while the visit was still fresh in mind.

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Peacock

Last night, I was reading this post by Adrian Lewis (aka FATman Photos), where he featured some lovely images of a Peacock Butterfly.  At that time, I hadn’t photographed a Peacock this summer.  Imagine my pleasure this morning, when I glanced out of the kitchen window whilst preparing breakfast, to see a fluttering amongst the plant pots.  Closer inspection showed it to be a Peacock Butterfly.

I dashed off to grab my camera, fit the 70-300 mm lens favoured for butterflies, and rushed outside, hoping that my colourful friend would have waited for me.  There it was, happily sunning itself on a Hosta flower.  Finding a suitable viewpoint was slightly tricky as the Hosta was behind another plant and there was only a fairly narrow angle of view without casting a shadow, which would have spoiled the shot as well as almost certainly frightening the subject away.

It did, however, allow me to take a few shots before fluttering away.  Here is one.

Peacock Butterfly
Peacock Butterfly on Hosta flower in garden

What would I have done differently, had I not been in such a hurry?  I would have tried a shot with the ISO doubled to 400, which might have improved the sharpness by overcoming any excitable camera shake.  If it had stayed put, I might have gone for my 50mm macro lens, since this is very sharp.  Could I have got close enough?  That is the question.  Adrian’s shots are both sharper and more varied, so please take a look at them.

Bluebells Revisited

My post, ‘Bluebell Potential?‘, raised the subject of photographing Bluebells>  It questioned whether, for me, it was worth the effort since I often ended up disappointed with the results.  Well, five days later, I did revisit the woodland on which I had stumbled and had a closer look.  I think that I was still a little early for the best display, but the weather forecast was dreadful for my next opportunity so I took a look anyway,  The display had certainly moved forward and a few snaps were duly taken.  More importantly, I was able to explore the extent of this woodland more fully, and it proved to be a really rewarding walk, even though the weather was not very ‘spring like’.

Here are a couple of shots to show how the flowers and ferns had come on.

Bluebells Revisited
Bluebells Revisited
Bluebells Revisited

It probably was worth waiting for, so I revisited again a few more days later.  I’ll post some more from both this visit and the later one soon.

Bluebell Potential?

Around this time of year, usually a bit earlier, photographers seem to get obsessed with searching out photos of bluebells.  Often, at least for me, the results are disappointing.  Last year failed for me because although I found some good locations, the bluebells seemed to bloom is a bit of a ‘trickle’.  No doubt I can blame the weather for that.

This year, I decided not to even bother with bluebell photographs.  The weather this year has made them bloom late.  Will this, however, mean that their sudden rush to reproduce will result in some bumper displays?  Although I decided not to bother with them this year, a couple of days ago I stumbled on a copse of trees, where there seemed to be some potential for bluebell photos in a few days time.  They were just starting to come out, and they were interspersed with ferns, which I thought might add to the display.

Springtime Woodland
Potential bluebell shot in the near future

I’ve just posted one shot.  Will it be worth going back in a few days, with more intent on composition?  I guess we will have to wait and see.

Any ideas on how many days to give them?

Freeport Funghi

While we were visiting the Granddaughters in the US earlier this month, we went to watch the 7 year old twins playing in a football match, sorry, soccer match.  While we were waiting for the game to start, I was quite taken by the number of toadstools growing in the rather wet grass around the pitch.

I chose this little group for a photo.

Funghi

Unexpected Visitor

I was in the garden today, when an unexpected visitor turned up and landed on a Clematis.  It then moved and settled in a sunnier spot and looked as if it was going to stay for a while, so I decided to pop into the house for a camera.  Here are a couple of shots of my visitor, which I think is a Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta), at least that was the best match in my ‘little book’ of British Wildlife.

Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta)

Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta)

This Dragonfly was quite happy for me to shoot away from close range for as long as I liked.  In the end, I got bored and went for lunch.

Olympus E-520, 50mm prime lens.  Because I grabbed the camera in a hurry, I forgot to check the ISO, which unfortunately had been left at 400.  Still, this helped to keep the shutter speed up and as the Clematis was blowing around in the wind a bit, this may have been useful.  At least that is what I’m telling myself.

Dragonflies are a great subject and my ambition is to get a reasonable shot of one in flight.  I suspect, however, that I may never achieve this.  In the meantime I have to settle for photographing them when ‘perched’, and some of these images from Botswana can be found here, here, here and here. 

Before they fall

Knowing that it was going to rain on the next day, and boy did it throw it down, we decided to pop out to Barrington Court to see what the gardens were looking like in mid August.  Many of the flowers were past their best, but these gardens are always worth a visit, whatever the season.

Flower photography was a challenge because of the fairly strong breeze but I had a go anyway.  This was one of photos which I quite liked, grabbed during a lull in the breeze and before these petals also fell off.

Before they fall

Olympus E-520, 70-300 mm lens at 169 mm, 1/1000 at f9, ISO400.

I recently needed to return this lens for repair of the focus mechanism and since then, I haven’t been entirely happy with it.  I think this may have been because of the circumstances in which I was using it, because I am reasonably content with this shot.  It might have been better with my 50 mm macro lens, but this would have necessitated trampling on the flower bed, which wouldn’t have been popular with the gardeners.

Sutton Bingham Reservoir Walk

Last night, a group from the camera club took a guided walk around part of the shore of Sutton Bingham Reservoir.  The weather was dry but breezy and initially I thought the light was not great, though this did improve towards the end of the evening.  There was a good turnout for the walk, almost certainly because the weather was so much better than we have had for a while.  Those that wore boots definitely benefitted from them since there were a few damp and muddy patches. Continue reading