Wednesday, 24 August 2011

I haven't posted for a couple of weeks mainly cos I've been away doing back to back surveys.  The first one we saw loads of Stormy's and a few Sooties but best of all was a mind blowing 400+ Basking Sharks, truly incredible numbers.  The second survey was on Orkney and Alison came with me so we could have a few days holiday.  We didn't see many birds but went and had a look at all the Neolithic standing stones and archaeology, some of it is really spectacular.  We managed to catch this stunning sunset at the stones of Stenness

I played around with exposures and some of the scene modes in the camera and found one that produces results very similar to the Hornsea sunset I messed about with in photoshop the other week.

On balance I think I prefer the first one but the vivid colours would certainly work in some shots.  After standing around getting bored by me taking a thousand shots Alison decided to take one with her iphone, I can't believe how well it turned's better than any of my camera shots!

I also took some shots here in the daytime and I've had a mess about with various effects such as levels in different areas and sharpening it.  I wish I'd got the grass right in the foreground more in focus then I could really go to town on sharpening it, but to be honest I'm pretty happy with this considering I'm a novice with landscapes.

It's that time of year again so on Friday I went to the Birdfair with the cus and Pete, we indulged in the usual game of trying to see which stand had the fittest women.  This year top prize had to go to the local TV presenter doing a piece to camera outside the In Focus tent, she were a bit of a peach!  All the rest were very distant seconds but best of the rest seemed to be the Sri Lanka stand and Viking Optical. 

I bought the new North Atlantic Seabirds multimedia guide.  The footage of White faced Stormy is very gripping and slightly vomit inducing if you watch it too many times on repeat!  Moving boat+moving bird+hand held camera=dizzyness and being sick in ones mouth!  I also took the plunge and bought a Remembird so hopefully when the Blyth's Pipit flies over me I'll nail it.

Whilst in the optics Marquee I got talking to one of the guys from Swarovski, very interesting!  As regular readers will know I went and had a butchers through all the 80mm+ scopes at Cley Spy earlier this year and found the Swaro to be the best.  I want a new big scope but had a slight niggle that the Swaro is the oldest of the bunch and is maybe due for replacement.  Well seems I might be right, although the guy said it was only his opinion and he didn't know any facts he thought there would be a new scope at next years birdfair and he thought it would be 90mm+ objective, that's gonna be bright and no doubt expensive.  Anyway it's made my mind up to wait and see what develops.

Managed my first visit to Spurn of the Autumn on Sunday and again today, didn't see the hoped for Greenish, they're all in Norfolk, and Northumberland!  really could have done with a bit more east in the wind to be good but did see a few Pied and Spotted Fly's and a Redstart, missed the Wryneck by a couple of minutes though.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Jeez the rain at Hornsea tonight was spectacular, almost as impressive as the Little Gulls, over 2000 tonight.

The rain also dropped a few interesting birds in 6 common, 2 green sand, a knot, a curlew and 2 oycs.  Also a Garganey present and I may have missed other stuff as I was sheltering/looking at Little Gulls a lot.

I'm amazed how few people come to see this spectacle, tonight I had literally hundreds of birds fly past me within five metres whilst on Kirkholme point (they stayed open til nearly 8pm tonight, a regular thing on Wed night in Aug) if I had a DSLR that worked I'd have incredible shots.

This was the best I managed before the rain came down

I really wanted to get great shots of adult summer birds and juvs.  There's still plenty of time for the juvs, in fact there's only a few about yet but the adults are rapidly losing their hoods!

Lawts has asked me what my set up is for these shots so here's a couple of pics of the centering device I've knocked up.

I covered it in tape cos it was very thin and flimsy but to be honest the only effect it's had is to make my fingers sticky every time I use it!

So how many of the birds on the montage in the background of these shots can you id?  I reckon there's about half a dozen that are id-able.

I also had a mess about with photoshop on a sunset from tonight after the rain had cleared,  I haven't a clue what the best adjustments/enhancements are for landscapes but this turned out quite striking.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

By the time I got to Hornsea this evening it had clouded over a lot and the light wasn't as good as I'd been hoping for.  Also there were very few Little Gulls present by the time I got kicked off Kirkholme point and then I got sidetracked looking for fields of Gulls following ploughs and looking at farm slurry ponds so didn't go back later on.  Wednesday night they stay open later at Kirkholme so I'm hoping for better light and more birds.

Here's my best effort tonight, they were a little distant and it was blustery

Been playing around with the S95 a bit more, I really surprised myself with these shots of flying Little Gulls.  OK so they're not brilliant but digiscoped flight shots are a new one on me and with better light/more practice I reckon I could get some good stuff.  This camera really seems to deliver much better images at low ISO setting and I had to use ISO800 to get these and have overdone it a bit with the sharpening so will try for better tonight as the light is really good at the moment.

There's a few waders starting to move through Hornsea and the southern edge and kirkholme point look good for something.  I've had Dunlin, Ringo, Ruff, Whimbrel, Common Sand (2) and Green Sand the last two days.

Here's a shot of the juv Ruff which dropped in close on Kirkholme this morning