I’m certainly not in the school of thought that you should only post a blog if you have something specific to say or a technique to write about. Sometimes it’s just nice to see for yourself what you have taken over a period (as a set) and to show others, as opposed to randomly posting images on such social media as fecebook – as much as I enjoy doing so! It’s also important to remember, I think, that not everybody uses FB, so here’s a selection of my favourites from the last 6 weeks.
Mute swan incubating at sunset
With a new workshop in mind, I spent an evening capturing sunset over Camber Sands. I hadn’t been there for years and had quite forgotten what a wonderful location it is for landscape photography.
Camber sands at sunset
Nikon D300, 12-24mm @ 19mm, iso 200, f18, exposure blending.
A tip-off from a warden friend of mine led me to this wonderful plant which had flowered for the first time in 20 years at this reserve. Situated just a few metres from a seldom used footpath and keen not to give away its location, I would leave the path 20 or so metres before-hand so as not to leave a “path” leading directly to it that might otherwise have drawn attention to certain members of the public! In addition, I would shoot only at sunrise and sunset when no-one was around. Very covert! All the images, below, were taken in a single morning at sunrise where I had a window of just 10 minutes as the sun appeared between trees producing this golden light. A stunning flower and fingers crossed that it’ll be flowering there next year!
Nikon D300, 200-400 @ 360mm, iso 200, 1/200 sec. f5.
Kent’s largest area of acid heathland is situated just 35 minutes from me and it’s an area I have been working on (on and off) for the last 20 years. Aside from being the only location in Kent where you can see the Keeled skimmer dragonfly, it’s also home to an array of amazing plant life, including this – the common or round-leaved sundew.
Common or round-leaved sundew
Sundews are remarkable plants that, due to the lack of nutrients in its acidic habitat, digests insects that become trapped on the dew-like droplets on its tendrils. They’re also incredibly beautiful!
Common or round-leaved sundew
Nikon D300, 200mm Micro plus PN11 extension-tube and Nikon 5T 2-element close-up filter, iso 200, 1/20 sec. f4. Beanbag. Remote release plus mirror lock-up.
Cotton grass at sunset.
Until recently, the last couple of weeks have given us ideal conditions in which to shoot insects with clear nights and breathless mornings, coating everything in dew. I found this Common emerald damselfly on the Kent Marshes first thing in the morning.
Common emerald damselfly
After securing a number of portraits, I went for something a little different to give the viewer a sense of what I was experiencing – the sun penetrating the tangle of reeds and clubrush.
Common emerald damselfly
Nikon D300, 200mm Micro, iso 200, 1/50 sec. f4.
Having found a good location, I returned the following few mornings utilising the conditions as you just never know when it might turn!
Common darter dragonfly clinging to sea club-rush at sunrise.
Nikon D300, 200mm Micro, iso 200, 1/250 sec. f8.
The image below was taken at 6am which even though was around 45 minutes after sunrise, a thick mist had prolonged the sunrise and kept everything dew-laden for quite some time.
Common blue damselfly
Common blue butterfly at sunrise
Mute swan preening
Nikon D300, 200-400 at 400mm, iso 400, 1/1000 sec. f7.1.
I’ve been assistant warden of a local nature reserve for over 20 years now, and remember vividly the first time I went out searching and photographing glow worms many, many years ago. There’s only a small stretch of pathway that they can, fairly reliably, be found each spring and summer and this year, once again, they didn’t let me down! On one of my visits I was very lucky to witness and capture a pair mating. Males, as you can see, are significantly smaller and look an, almost, entirely different species!
Portraits of our wildlife are all well and good but, in my book, nothing beats recording behaviour! Aesthetics go out the window when your working in the pitch dark on a subject that’s an inch long and continually moving in and around leaves and twigs. It was, I think, worth the 8 (I counted) mozzie bites!
Glow worms mating
Nikon D300, 105mm Micro with PN-11 extension tube, iso 200, f22, SB800 off-camera flash.
Last week I spent the evening stood in a reedbed photographing my 2nd favourite bird (1st being the lapwing!), marsh harriers. This individual looks to be a fledgling which I didn’t quite expect to fly so close! I was well camouflaged and it passed by several times so close that I could hear the wind move through its wings. Priceless!
Juvenile marsh harrier
On the same evening and as the light dropped, I could see clouds forming in the west and so, thinking a decent sunset may be on the cards, I ventured to a nearby warren to try my luck at silhouettes. After 45 mins this inquisitive individual ran straight up to me and posed – quite nicely!
Rabbit at sunset
Nikon D300, 200-400, iso 400, 1/400 sec. f5, beanbag.
Tags: common blue damselfly
, common darter dragonfly
, common emerald damselfly
, common sundew
, cotton grass
, glow worm
, glow worms mating
, hothfield heathlands
, lizard oprchid
, marsh harrier
, minnis bay
, mute swan
, north kent marshes
, pyramidal orchid
, rabbit silhouette
, round-leaved sundew
, young marsh harrier