Best laid plans.....

30th August 2010
...always seem to go wrong -let me explain. My good friend Chinny and I had planned to spend a few days on Skomer island to photograph the Puffins and other sea birds that are on the island. We were going to travel down first thing on Sunday morning spend the day on the island before setting up camp for the night in a local campsite with the intention of going back on the island on the Monday.
Car loaded and ready to go, I had a quick look at the Skomer website and couldn't believe it when I read they do not organise visits to the island on Mondays, plus, there was a new ticket system for the island which was causing some problems. Normally it was first come first severed for the boat and you paid for the island once you were on it, now they wanted you to get a ticket for the island from the carpark kiosk which wasn't open until 8 in the morning. The queues would be huge for this and I wasn't too keen on the idea and with a bit more digging around on the internet the reports were not good with a lot of complaints about this system.
I phoned Chinny to tell him the good news and to see what else we could do. Eventually we decided to head to the low fly area in Wales but instead of concentracting just on the military jets we would try to look for some wildlife to photograph as well with the target bird being the Dippers.

We arrived at the campsite on Sunday afternoon and couldn't believe our luck, the campsite had a lovely river running along side the field you pitch up in. I had a quick look at the river and could see it was good for Dippers, fast flowing with plenty of big boulders for perches. We decided to pitch up the tents first before having a good look for the Dippers on the river but as I was putting a few pegs in I heard the calling of young Dippers. I looked over the wire fence and in front of me were 3 young Dippers and 2 adults, result! The tents went up in record time and the cameras grabbed out of the bags and set up on the river.

Light was extremely tricky as it always is when you have a lot of trees along the river bank and I was struggling with shutter speeds and lack of depth of field but I was happy for a chance to photograph my first Dipper.

Shutters speeds were from 1/100th to 1/80th for these shots with a very shallow depth of field of F4.







The light was only falling on very small parts of the river and it was ages before I had the chance to photograph one of the Dippers in sunlight.





The adult Dippers proved much harder to photograph and without the use of a screen or hide this was closest I could get to an adult.



I should have spent more time on the Dippers really but I got side tracked by the aircraft which turned out to be a waste of time anyway, hardly any aircraft came through the loop that week, still I was happy that we had found a good location for the Dippers and more visits will be on the cards.

Unfortunately most of July and August has been spent photographying aircraft or motorbikes. I've struggled to get any wildlife projects going of late mostly due to me being too lazy and the poor weather this month didn't help either. But I mamaged to get up one morning nice and early for another try at the Common Terns on my local reservoir.

Conditions have to be right for this as I need the light first thing in the morning and no wind whatsoever so the water is nice a calm for the reflections, easier said than done with our British summer.
Thankfully all these elements fell into place for a short while allowing me a few hours photographying the local Terns.









A Black Headed Gull made a quick appearance too.



Like I said earlier, most of my time has been taken up with motorsports or aviation photography and although in my last update I said how much I hated the new Silverstone circuit, I decided to give it another go for the World Superbikes.
Knowing how bad it is for photography, I only went on the Friday qualifying session just so I could get some images of all the brit riders that are in the championship this year.
I started of at Club.......

Cal Crutchlow


Leon Haslam


Max Biaggi


..and finished off at Woodcote.

Johnny Rea


Leon Camier


Silverstone also held the Maxxis British Motocross Championship on their all new MX track, this I thought would be a good event to go to. Normally any motocross event has good viewing areas with access to most of the track but in good old Silverstone fashion this was yet again not the case. In fact not only were we restricted to a small part of the track, all the big jumps were in the out of bounds area. As I understand, this is what motocross is all about and what most people go to watch. To say I was pi%&ed off again would be an understatement and at 20 quid a ticket, it wasn't cheap. Needless to say I didn't stay too long before getting bored of it but here's a few shots from the event...







The only jump we could get near which was the smallest on the whole circuit.






Thanks for looking.