I was thinking the other day that it is about time for another newsletter, but wondered what I've done of late that I could include in it. Then after a quick look through my Lightroom catalogues I remembered...
Quick note: click on (most of) the photos below to see larger versions. Thanks.
I have been visiting Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary in the New Forest for the past three weeks hoping to get some shots of the fallow deer there as they prepare for the rut.
But this year there has been one major problem - there have been no deer. Well, nothing to speak of anyway. Save for a handful of does, deer tracks and poo, there have been no sign of the bucks, or the large herd that has frequented this location for the past 3 years.
I've grown concerned and worried that this year I might not actually get any decent deer photographs, which would be annoying giving my investment in new kit. Strangely it's not just me missing the deer; speaking to other visitors to Bolderwood they are surprised over the lack of deer. It's weird that a 'deer sanctuary' has no deer...
This last Friday I headed down again, hoping that maybe the deer were back. Having parked up the car, I headed out, taking a long route through the forest, happy with the dry and bright weather which helped make for a wonderful walk.
After a while I was rewarded by seeing one solitary roe deer. Not wishing to pass up the opportunity, I spent the next hour or so tracking this animal and photographing it. I was happy with the results.
Between being out looking for deer, I've been playing around photographing the birds in the garden.
This has been a mixture of using the camera trap (PIR sensor and EOS 600D) or just having the 1DX II pointing out of a window photographing birds as they feed in the garden.
To be fair I've had the most success using the 1DX II on a tripod just shooting from the bedroom window. We get a number of pigeons come to the garden to eat the seeds that have dropped from the feeder, and the other week I snapped the rather elegant bird seen below.
It amazes me that some people think of pigeons as vermin, as they do have their own unique style. They just need a chance and deserve some attention from wildlife photographers. They have a mildly comedic element, while trying to carry off an air of stoicism. Well worth the attention in my opinion.
While shooting from the bedroom window I tried out using the EOS Utility on my laptop to control the camera.
This worked quite well, making use of the camera's 'Live View' - the scene the camera saw was shown on the laptop meaning I could sit comfortably without having my eye pressed to the camera's viewfinder. I was pleasantly surprised to see that I could control each element of the camera by just clicking on whichever feature I wanted to change.
I had some success with this, as can be seen from the shot below when a feeding frenzy took place around the fat balls on the feeder.
But what about using the remote camera trap, I hear you ask. How is that going?
Well, I won't mention the fact that we have a magpie that will scavenge all the seed out of the seed tray on the camera trap rig when no camera is set up, (and won't come near the thing when I DO have a camera there!), or the issue with camera batteries going flat when a bird finally lands on the seed tray to feed... I think the photo below best sums things up as to progress on this front of late. (I will keep trying...)
We've had a fair bit of activity on the garden hedgehog front recently, pretty much we get a visit each night from it now, and were pleasantly surprised to see it outside the back door one evening when we went out there and put on the exterior lights. See photo ( a quick iPhone shot) to the right.
In the photo it can be seen exploring our tumble dryer outlet pipe, which means we need to make sure it's not in there next time we use the tumble dryer.
Poor little thing froze still when the light came on and didn't move an inch while I snapped a couple of shots of it. After a couple of minutes we left it to carry on its way.
We still have the bush camera that takes video footage of it, and given the footage we have accrued, I have put together a couple of videos (no more that 1 min 30 seconds long each) showing it's activities.
See the videos below. In the August one you can see it taking nesting material into the house.
Seven years of camera shake
Some months back I was privileged to be able to be part of the crowd funding campaign for the production of a book by wildlife photographer David Plummer, who has been diagnosed with Parkinsons disease.
He has produced a book showcasing his work, with 50% of profits going to Parkinsons charities.
It's a wonderful book and I thoroughly recommend it. See the link above to find out how to get it.
That's it for this time. I hope you've enjoyed reading this and as ever, feel free to use the Contact link at the top of the page to pass me any feedback.