Monday, 8 December 2014

15mm Sigma F2.8 EX diagonal fisheye

Don't worry this isn't a technical blog post, but as a way of kick starting my blog again I thought I'd do a few blogs leading up to Christmas about what I've been up to since the last post.
I wanted a lens that would allow me to have the subject big in frame but also allow some of the environment in the picture as well. Having a close focusing distance of 15cm this lens allows you to have the subject almost touching the front of the lens while still in focus meaning that small subjects like dragonflies can almost fill the frame. It's all well and good getting up to cold insects first thing in the morning before they've had a chance to warm up (although you do have to be aware of your shadow with this lens), But for birds and mammals I've found it best to use either a remote control or an infra red camera trap to fire the camera. Heres a few shots taken with the lens this year. As you can hopefully see this lens had added something different to a bog standard wildlife picture.
 This is a Golden Ringed dragonfly resting early in the morning after a cold night, the dragonfly was almost touching the front of the lens enabling the subject to be large in frame and still show the environment. It isn't a wonky skyline our land does slope like this, the joys of North Wales.
The above 2 pictures show a Spotted flycatcher nesting in the side of our stables. I'd noticed them attempting to build a nest but the materials kept falling out due to the pipe sloping downwards. I wedged the piece of wood you can see under the nest to form a lip, replacing the fallen nest material. At the same time I positioned supports for the camera and a couple of flashes. I was delighted to see the flycatchers carry on with building the nest and only when the chicks were well developed did I take a few pictures, I'm pleased to say all 3 chicks fledged successfully. The camera was fired via a remote control while I hid behind the wood shed to the left of the picture.
Another picture fired by a remote control. I placed my camera inside a McDonalds bag and arranged the left overs from a breakfast meal for this urban fox. First attempt resulted in the fox running off with the bag and although I'd have liked the fox closer I'm quite fond of this picture.
This picture was taken with an infra red trip to fire the camera and flashes. My mum is lucky enough to have badgers visit her garden in Bedfordshire, while on a visit I decided to try and get a few pictures of them raiding the greenhouse for food. Using the 15mm lens allowed me to add some of the environment to the picture in a very cramped space.
Finally another hand held shot. We're luck enough to have a healthy population of hedgehogs around the property, when out foraging they tend not to be overly concerned by having their picture taken, especially when bribed with a few discrete meal worm.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Foxes part 1

I'm getting a bit behind with these blog post's, spring is always a busy time of year. These shot's were taken a few weeks ago on a visit back to Bedfordshire to see family and friends.
My good friend Ben Andrew discovered a wonderful venue to photograph wild foxes, having seen the pictures he has taken there I  was more than happy to accept an invitation to pay the venue a visit with him. For now I'm just going to post some close up's, I think you'll agree wild foxes don't get much better looking.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

More reptiles

I thought I'd put up a few images of the other reptiles I've photographed this spring. First up is the Common lizard, these were photographed in our garden, for two years running they bask on wooden fencing when they first emerge from hibernation for a couple of days and then completely disappear.
The other subject so far this year has been the Adder, these were photographed at a couple of sites in Bedfordshire last week.
Hope you enjoy the pictures.

Monday, 31 March 2014


It's been a while since my last post, to be honest I've been pretty busy trying to fit in jobs around the small holding and keeping up with photography.
This time of year is great for reptile watching and the warm spring we're having is really helping.
I'm very lucky to have a population of Slow-worms living on the property, this year there seems to be a lot more around than in previous years. Despite their appearance they are not snakes but in fact legless lizards and to have them in the garden is a real help to the keen gardener, their favourite food being slugs, in particular the small white ones.
As a toddler it was Slow-worms that really got me interested in wildlife, before I could talk properly I caught my first one, panicking my mum when she saw the worm that I had in my bucket had a flicking tongue.
I've always struggled to get a decent picture of a Slow-worm but this year I think I've made a bit of progress.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Frog's and toads

Over the last couple of weeks most of my photography has revolved around frog's and toad's. It's a busy time of year for them, coming out of hibernation and spawning. Also the Berwyn's seems to be a good location for them, virtually every pool I look in has spawn. Even my reflection pool that has only been created a year has two clumps of spawn in it and I managed to photograph one of the frogs responsible for it this week.
 The toad pictures came about by accident really, I'd travelled to the coast to photograph waders during a spring tide, while waiting for the birds to arrive I watched what I thought was a crab being washed around in the surf. It wasn't until I looked at it through my long lens that I realised it was a toad that had been caught out by the speed of the incoming tide. We washed the toad down with a bottle of mineral water before finding somewhere safe for her, she hung around in the water long enough for me to get some pictures of her that I was quite pleased with.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Frog spawn

Yesterday when I went out to feed the birds I was amazed to find some frog spawn in the reflection pool. The pool is only the size of a sheet of ply and 2 inches deep.
This morning we took an early morning hike up onto the Berwyns above our property. The idea was to try and find some grouse, although we drew a blank on them, what did surprise me was the amount of frog spawn in the puddles along the tracks up there. Some of the puddles were full to the brim of spawn while others still had frogs mating. We must have been near a 1000ft above sea level with small patches of snow still visible on the shaded slopes further up. As long as we do not get a drought this year the moors could be alive with froglets later this summer.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

More wild goats of Snowdon

Just to round up last week's photography I thought I'd add a selection of the wild feral goats of Snowdonia photographs. Last Wednesday after photographing the Goosander we had a drive around the foothills near Llanberis and were fortunate enough to come across 3 herds, 2 of the herds were on the boulder strewn slopes but one had found plenty of food in a small woodland. The recent storms had brought down quite a few oaks and the goats were happily munching away on the young buds. These goats were a lot closer and I was able to get some nice portrait shots by leaning over the boundary wall.