A Mixed Bag...

30th May 2010
....of images for me this month. I always seem to lose my way at this time of year and I can never put my finger on it as to why. I've spent a bit of time over at my local lake looking for the Kingfishers but it seems as though the harsh winter has taken it's toll on them. Last year was the same, I saw a pair on the lake at the begining of winter but after the freeze they disappeared. The same fate seems to be falling on this latest pair and I also found the lakes reident Barn Owl dead, another victim of the harsh winter.

It wasn't a complete waste of time looking for the Kingfishers as I spent a bit of time photographing the other birds on the lake. The Mallards have had young and I was shocked at how early they must have bred because it hasn't been the warmest of springs but the chicks were very well developed.

A close up shot of mum...

Whilst on the lake I turned my attention to the Sedge Warblers. I was hoping to get some images of these birds calling for mates amongst the reed stems but this proved to be very difficult. I spent several hours moving into different positions only for them to pop up from where I had just been, very frustrating. In the end I gave up on the Warblers but I had a nice Reed Bunting land right next to me and start singing so at least I got something for my effort..

All was quiet locally so I took a trip over to Norfolk to see what was happening around the coast. I stopped off at my usual spots but unfortunately these were dead too. Normally there would be plenty of birds to photograph but this time there was only one! an Oystercatcher...

I went further down to the coast to the rock pools which are normally good for something to see but again it looked dead. One pool had dried up and I couldn't see much moving about on the other pool so I got my gear and decided to settle down by the second pool and wait and see if something turned up. It wasn't long before I had an Avocet land in the middle of the pool.

This was then joined by another three Avocets so things were starting to look up I thought.
I kept still and hoped they would come a bit closer and sure enough they started to slowly move nearer...

One of the Avocets started to ruffle it's feathers and began preening..

..next thing I know they all took flight as a woman and her two dogs came running through the pool, she was waving her arms shouting 'shoo! shoo!'. Well.. I went mental and told her just what I thought of her. This is breeding season and irresponsible behaviour like that is uncalled for..
I was livid and didn't feel like staying so I packed up and headed home stopping off at a little harbour to see if I could get some more images before I called it a day. The last image of the day ended up being this Shelduck feeding on the mud flats.

A few days later I took some time out from Wildlife photography and went to the Old Warden evening airshow, it was only my second visit to Old Warden, the last being some five to six years ago.
The show kicked of with a fly past by the Spitfire and Hurricane from the Battle of Britian Memorial flight and I fluffed the lot (well I got one shot!). I was using a slow shutter speed to get full prop circles and only upped it on the last fly past so I ended up with one sharp image, good start..

We also had a great display by the Duxford based F86A Sabre - this is one of my favourites and the pilot always puts on a great show. I think he must be a photographer himself because he always gives us togs great top side views of his aircraft on every pass..
The light was great for this aircraft too and I was very pleased with the images, especially after finding out this will be the last year it flys in this country.

Old Warden is better known for it's old biplanes and they put on a great show too.

Gloster Gladiator.

Bristol Boxkite.

Bristol Boxkite with an Avro Triplane.

Bristol Fighter F2b close up.

Bristol Fighter with a RAF SE5A.

Ryan PT22 Trainer.

Hawker Sea Hurricane.

After watching the airshow I felt the need to photograph some modern military hardware so I planned to take a trip over to Wales to the low fly area. If you've followed my recent work stories you'll be familiar with the ten days of pain entry. My last visit nearly crippled me so the thought of that happening again was in the back of my mind. Thankfully I scaled the mountain without too many problems and my old back held out for a change.
The action can be very slow but when you get some frontline aircraft through it's an awesome sight and the skill of the aircrews flying at such speeds and so low is truly amazing..

Harrier GR9 low and fast..

Tornado GR4 low, fast and loud but the sheep don't care, check out the sheep to the left of the image, they never stopped eating.. ;-)

The area is used to train future fast jet pilots and they use the BAE Hawk trainer jet.
The office of a Hawk trainer, student in the front,instructor in the back.

Hawk knife edging past the togs.

I've been messing around with HDR software of late and this envoles using the same image with three different exposures, merging them together to create an HDR image which you then tonemap. This can really bring out the detail but is a bit hit and miss, still haven't got my head around it totally but here's a few I tried on the jets..

Harrier T12 trainer.

Harrier GR9 office.

C130 Hercules, yes they can just about fit through the valley.

Well that's it, a bit picture heavy but it was the whole of May's photography.
Thanks for looking.