27 March 2013

Cock Pheasant in the snow

Cock Pheasant in the snow by Paul Miguel
Cock Pheasant in the snow, a photo by Paul Miguel on Flickr.

This is one of my favourite images from the current spell of snowfall. Why..? It's all about the light. Male pheasants are simply stunning - and this one is a real beauty. But with the illumination from the lying snow, it gives a wonderful quality of light which really makes the plumage sparkle even more. The background is also perfect for me - a bit of blurred snow at the bottom, and a mostly neutral grey - caused by the snow and trees merging together when thrown out of focus. Added to that a dose of falling snow around the bird and I couldn't be happier with this wildlife image.

Taken from my feeding station/reflection pool with a 300mm and 1.4 extender at around ISO 800.

22 March 2013

Walking Blue Tit

Blue Tit by Paul Miguel
Blue Tit, a photo by Paul Miguel on Flickr.

I just manage to catch this stunning blue tit with its foot raised. This was taken this morning at my feeding station. The conditions were quite horrible early on - snow, slush and almost a blizzard. Setting up the correct perches and strategically putting out food also takes time. Once in the hide though, I had some great opportunities with the small birds. Light levels started very low and I was up to ISO 1000. Later on I was able to shoot at about ISO 640, using 1/500 at f6.3. This shutter speed got almost pin sharp images every time. Focusing is really the key here - you need to concentrate on the head, rather than the body. For this, I often use the top focus point on my camera. For a short while the light was really nice, giving an extra bit of sparkle. The blanket of snow beneath also helps to reflect more light and works brilliantly.

19 March 2013

Female Reed Bunting

Reed Bunting by Paul Miguel
Reed Bunting, a photo by Paul Miguel on Flickr.

Reed bunting on the edge of my reflection pool. The pool was frozen over today, so no chance of proper reflections. Both male and female buntings were regularly feeding just metres away. Cracking little birds.!

18 March 2013

Photography Talk at Fairburn Ings

I will be presenting a photographic talk at RSPB Fairburn Ings on the evening of 4th April. There will be plenty of new images, and a chance to ask me any questions on any subject of photography. There is a small charge - reduced for RSPB members. The talk will include many of my best and most memorable images, so I'm really looking forward to it. Hope to see some of my readers there.

10 March 2013

Reflection Pool almost Ready!

As an addition to my Wildlife Photography Courses in Yorkshire, I decided to set up a reflection pool for bird photography. After my first attempt and managing some cracking Jay Images I decided to alter things in order to bring in more of the smaller birds. I say alter things; In fact, this meant building an entirely new reflection pool in the next field.! Yes, it's a lot of effort, but already it's looking like the right decision. With a few feeders hung up, the birds are now regularly feeding close to the pool. A little more tinkering and they will be coming to my specific perches. It's all very exciting..! Yes, I do get excited by blue tits and robins.. I don't think that will ever change, and if it does.. it's time to hang up my camera.

Birds that are regularly down in my little corner include: blue tit, great tit, long tailed tit (a big favourite.!), robin, dunnock, blackbird, bullfinch, chaffinch and jay. Oh.... and the cheeky cock pheasant that's hanging around too.!

I will keep everyone posted on how it's going and also post a blog on how I built the pool. One of my aims is to provide nesting material at the pool edge during the Spring months which would make for stunning images. The hide will be available to hire soon and for workshops. Price is not confirmed, but will be around £70 for at least half a day.