It's been a bit late in the making, but this page constitutes March and April's news as there just wasn't the time needed to put out a standalone newsletter for March.
Anyway, without further ado, here's what I've been up to...
Social media & photography - an update
It was reading the sad news that respected photographer Elliot Neep was leaving a number of social media channels (read his blog here) that made me reflect on my own personal social media usage, and how I deal with the more annoying side of it.
To that end I wrote a blog about it which can be read here.
And while on this topic, I've dipped my toe in the world of Instagram challenger, Vero. To be honest, I really like its interface, and its ease of use. Also the ability to zoom in on peoples photos makes using it on a mobile phone quite enjoyable. Technology wise it beats Instagram into a cocked hat, but take up seems to be slow. Also its only limited to mobile devices (mostly smartphones) and there is no desktop accessible version, unlike Instagram.
I'd like to see it take off and replace Instagram, and the latter has become a marketing arm of Facebook, and its no longer enjoyable to use in my opinion.
If you fancy it, come and find me on Vero.
The Photography Show, March 2018
This has to be one of the years highlights for me, and I've been going for the past 3 years now. This year was another great event, and to me it seems to be growing in terms of products and services on offer there. This year I had the delight of meeting up with Cat Burton for a chat about making the jump to professional photography, and also meeting up again with Nick Wilcox Brown to talk about Lightroom on the Adobe stand.
I attended a couple of talks, unintentionally really, both by the amazingly talented Ron Tmehin , who gave some great advice on turning pro, and how to get the most from social media accounts.
There was a lot to see and do there, and lots to purchase, as there were the usual show specific discounts on offer for some products. I was very good and resisted the urge to buy (another) new lens, and opted for a Gitzo Series 3 tripod that I had been after for some time, saving just over £100 on the RRP. Photos of it below with Lensmaster gimbal head fitted.
Drones are popular as you know, and the technology they contain now is making them a more serious consideration for photographers. I was keen to see the DJI Mavic Air. Tracking it down, I was impressed by its small and compact size. Something to consider for the future maybe as I'm mulling over the practical use of a drone for wildlife photography. Careful consideration to ethics and fieldcraft need to be considered, but I don't think its a tool to be discounted.
With the event being on for four days, my plan is to go for the whole 4 days next year. Who knows, I may see you there.
Out and about... A trip to the Hawk Conservancy
Towards the tail end of February we took in a visit to the Hawk Conservancy near Andover. We'd not been there for a couple of years, and it was great to go back and see the flying displays. To be fair, you've got to hand it to the Hawk Conservancy as they have a full days entertainment lined up for you, so you definitely get your monies worth for your visit.
For me it was an opportunity to get some more practice at photographing birds in flight, and I certainly got that. This was a chance to try out different focussing modes on the 1DX MkII, along with varying shutter speeds. Despite it being a very cold day, the skies were clear and the lighting just right. In all a great day.
Click the photos below for larger views - it's well worth it.
Out and about... A trip to Keyhaven Marshes
The Middle of March saw us take a trip to Keyhaven Marshes on the south coast (click for Google Maps link). This is a great place to see a vast array of birdlife, and on a good day can be a bird photographers paradise. Parking is conveniently placed in the car park at Keyhaven Yacht club, so once parked up, a short walk sees you on the marshes and walking along the coast.
Mostly everywhere you look you'll see birdlife, be it in the air, on the sea, along the shoreline, or in the waterways in the marshes.
See below for some of the shots I managed to capture on the day, including a rather impressive raven who wandered past us while we were sitting having a cuppa.
Out and about... Some time in the New Forest
I've still been getting down to the New Forest to look for deer to photograph, and despite trying some new locations, I always come back to one specific location. On one such visit I noticed a number of forest ponies stood in a group.
Moving closer to them they didn't move away when I got closer. It was then I noticed a pony lying on the ground. The others were stood around it, hardly moving. It was a strange sight.
Not wanting to get too close as to disturb it, I snapped a photo and moved away, noting its location. Later I managed to contact one of the rangers, who put me in touch with an agister of the forest who said he would go out and investigate, making sure the pony was okay.
Over the course of the last few weeks I have managed to snap a mixture of fallow and red deer in the forest. See photos below. These mostly taken at range as not to disturb said deer.
A number of the red deer stags are losing their antlers now. There is however a sizeable herd of reds moving around the forest, which I was lucky to see the other week.
Garden remote camera trapping
I've finally had some decent success with this, and that success came during the blast of snow we had from the East. Determined to get some decent shots of the long tailed tits that have been visiting our garden over the winter months, I set up the camera and PIR sensor in a way that meant the camera was well out of any visiting birds field of view, and would also provide a different perspective from the usual 'bird on a feeder shot straight on' approach.
See the photo on the right for the configuration - I marked up this photo I took of the set up to explain what went were. Essentially using the PIR sensor and remote triggers to fire the camera negated the use of leads trailing between sensor and camera. Also positioning the camera above the birds line of sight meant they weren't put off from visiting the feeder.
And before you ask, the fence in the background belongs to our neighbours who don't like birds landing on it, and we don't live in a prison camp! ;)
I was very happy with the results, and have continued to use this set up to get the results below.
With the change of seasons, the birdlife in the garden started to change, so I changed the configuration, moving the camera to get a 'bird on a feeder shot straight on'. Watching the bird activity on the feeder, I was hoping to get a decent shot of a blue tit, or great tit. Better still I was after the black cap that has been visiting the garden on late.
After some time I noticed the long tailed tits were back, and I took a shot from the dining room window of it sizing up the feeder. The photo to the right of it is the resulting shot captured by the remote camera once the bird decided to feed.
That's it for another month.
Thanks for reading and take care.
Cheers Keith :)
P.S. Feel free to get in touch using the 'Contact me' link in the menu, or hit the 'Contact me' button close to this text if you have any comments about this newsletter.