Contents this issue:

- Mucky kit 

- A doggy photo shoot

- Little grebes locally

- Snow egret

- Some recent time in the New Forest

- Peregrines at Winchester Cathedral

- Stuff coming up - photography show/VLOGs

- Digital changes/online moves


I cannot believe we are in March already. I've been so busy doing things I have to admit getting another newsletter out has dropped down my list of tasks. But here it is now, so let's crack on.

Mucky kit

In February while out photographing birds on one of our local lakes in the mist, I discovered that the sensor on my main camera body needed cleaning, due to the fact that photographs being taken with it at narrow aperture settings (anything over f/11) were coming out with dirt marks on them.

Take a look at the photo below to see what I mean. I've highlighted the areas where it was most noticeable. Click to enlarge the photo to see more detail.

To cut a long story short, I was pointed to a company called Cameracal in West Sussex, an independent firm who specialise in camera sensor cleaning and configuration.

So after speaking to the guys there I booked a day to go and visit them with two of my cameras for sensor cleaning, and a lens for calibration. It seemed to make sense to get a number of items addressed while I was going there.

The one and a half hour drive there was really worth it. The two guys who go to make up Cameracal, Mark and Anthony, really know their stuff, and set to work sorting my cameras out, and calibrating the lens I'd taken down with me.

The guys at Cameracal at work

  • The camera takes photos of the large QR code on the far wall. The software on the laptop compares these photos to what they should look like.

  • My Canon 1DX body and EF 100-400mm lens being calibrated. The software on the laptop is working out what adjustments need to be made.

  • Camera body sensor cleaning in progress.

With the work done, everything is back to normal and functioning fine. No more dirty photos!

A doggy photo shoot in the woods

Back in 2017 I photographed a friends then puppy ("Hello Pete if you're reading this!"), which I guess could be seen as the starting of my career in photography, pet photography in particular. This was her then.

(P) AZ8I2101

A few weeks ago I did an up to date photo shoot with her as she is now, in a wood, and had a wonderful time and got some amazing photographs.

Click on the photos for larger views.

Little grebes locally

I'm fortunate to have access to three lakes local to me. One in particular, Rooksbury Mill, has a range of wildlife (mostly birds) on it.

A few weeks ago I noticed four little grebes on the lake, and set about photographing these elusive little birds. They scare easily, so no matter what side of the lake you are on, they will always move to the centre of the lake where they can feed and be away from people.

Below are some of the shots I managed to get that are worthy of showing. Click to enlarge.

Snow egret

I won't go on about the small amount of snow we got down south back in February, but it did enable me to get a good photograph of the egret that frequents one of the lakes locally. 

I've been photographing this bird for a while now, and to photograph it in the snow was an added bonus.

It was stood to the side of the lake, almost bemused by the falling snow. In the photo below, I managed to slow down the shutter speed of the camera to capture the snow as it fell around the bird.

Click photo to enlarge.

Some recent time in the New Forest

I've not been able to get down to the New Forest as much as I would have liked lately, but I found the time last week, and after a long walk in the exceptionally warm weather we were having for this time of year, I managed to locate and spend some time with a couple of male fallow deer; a prickett and a buck.

Due to the warm weather, the going underfoot in the forest was very dry. The fallen leaves had turned very dry and while trying to track deer, it was like walking on crisps.

But the weather was nice and made for some pleasant scenery. Below are some iPhone photos from the day.

  • The start of my trek that day, and an inviting view as I set off.

  • Very dry leaves on the ground, making going under foot quiet crunchy.

  • 5 minutes before taking this I watched a number of deer run over this ridge.

  • Time for lunch, and take in the view.

Peregrines at Winchester Cathedral

I've been watching the Winchester Cathedral webcam, looking out for the returning pair of peregrine falcons.

Up until last Friday there had been nothing showing, but on theFriday morning I noticed a lone bird near the nest.

A screen grab of the webcam showing a solitary falcon surveying the land around it.

A screen grab of the webcam showing a solitary falcon surveying the land around it.

So grabbing the camera and a long lens, I headed down there, and after finding the location of the web cam and nest, was fortunate enough to spot not one, but two falcons (the breeding pair).

The photo below shows the location and the distance to it from the public footpath.

A photo from my phone taken from the public footpath by the cathedral. The web cam can be seen as a white dot at the bottom left of the roof apex, by the balcony.

I took a number of shots (just over 200 in 45 minutes), and the best of the bunch (8) can be found in this gallery. While there I did see the birds mate, so I'll be on the lookout for eggs being laid, as the will mean both adults will be present to hunt for food.

This is really exciting to have the birds so close and accessible. The only downside is having to photograph them from a public footpath. This does mean you gets lots of questions from passers by given I'm standing there with a long lens taking photos of what looks like the side of a building, but it's nice speaking to people who have an interest in the birds, and have been waiting for them to return.

Stuff coming up

By the time you read this I will be getting ready to head to the UK Photography Show at the NEC, for 3 days this year, and I cannot wait. 

If you're on Instagram, follow me at @dradd_photos as I'll be posting stuff up from the show (16-18th March). 

When I get back I'll be working on a few of things, including but not limited to:

- Website re-design

- Getting Dradd's Photography on Facebook

- Social media re-launch (applying some of the things I've learnt about running a business so far)

- Vlogs and video guides, one of these being a quick way to make a reflection pool

That's it for this time. Thanks for reading, and until next time, all the best.


Powered by SmugMug Owner Log In