17 February 2013

Grey Heron in flight

Grey Heron in flight by Paul Miguel
Grey Heron in flight, a photo by Paul Miguel on Flickr.

A Grey Heron flying around its nesting site. For these type of flight shots you really need a decent blue sky and some good light. I got both today, so the rest was up to me (and the heron..!). This was shot with one of my most common combinations - a 300mm and 1.4 x extender. With good light and a nice clear backdrop, I was able to shoot at ISO 400 and get a shutter speed of 1/1250 with an aperture of f7.1. These are the ideal settings for this type of work: a fast shutter speed, but some more depth of field too. In fact, with birds like this that fly relatively slow, you can get away with slower shutter speeds provided your technique is sound.

Looking forward to seeing these herons again when they have chicks.

09 February 2013

Winter Bird of Prey Photography Workshop

Photographing even captive birds of prey isn't easy. It's always a challenge to make them look natural whilst keeping the overall impact. Today's Winter Bird of Prey Photography Workshop was close to Thirsk, North Yorkshire. The setting is a good one - particularly for owls, with plenty of woodland, fence posts and appropriate perches. I always try to make the settings as natural as possible. For the little owl and barn owl we used a makeshift fence - a normal perch for these little hunters.
Our male merlin was a real stunner. We were able to use a dead house sparrow as prey and spent around fifteen minutes photographing him as he plucked and ate. Finding the appropriate setting for this bird is a little more difficult - but possible with a bit of ingenuity..!

What seemed to be the favourite of the bird of prey day was this beautiful tawny owl. We found the perfect setting for him at the edge of woodland. Soft light was still reaching the wood, lighting the owl and providing a lovely natural backdrop.

These raptor photographic workshops offer a unique opportunity to photograph a range of British species in natural settings - falcons, hawks eagles and owls.  Birds of Prey Displays know exactly what wildlife photographers are after and are fantastic to work with. To read more about these days View Birds of Prey Photography Courses

02 February 2013

Marsh Harrier coming in to roost

Marsh Harrier by Paul Miguel
Marsh Harrier, a photo by Paul Miguel on Flickr.

Winter at Blacktoft Sands sees a good number of raptors coming in to roost around the reed beds. Marsh harriers and hen harriers can both be seen here. To capture an environmental image of this marsh harrier I turned the camera vertically so I could included the reed beds and a little water in the frame.