Sunday 28 November 2010

Bittern shows well at Marazion

The Bittern showed well today at Marazion (very well when I wasn't there!) Apparently it walked the full length of the marsh over 45 minutes, completely in the open at 8 am. I caught up with it around 1.30-2pm down at the water level post. The marsh was frozen and as a result the snipe were on the grass feeding and I caught a quick glimpse of a water rail also that broke cover. Buzzard doing his customary low pass spooking everything. Today was slightly warmer as the icey wind had dropped but I still froze my ass off. I need to get some more gloves I think, like these they look ideal for photographers. Well onto the images from today.


Record shot of the Water Rail

Bittern in the reeds

Kingfisher, couldn't find a break in the ice here.

Wren, these are being rather skittish as Marazion but eventually I got one.

Chiff Chaff?

Snipe about to land on the icey surface.

Saturday 27 November 2010

Bitter Cold Today

Positively Baltic conditions at Marazion today, about zero degrees with a massive windchill so it felt about -10 degrees. The wildlife was a lot more sensible than me and stayed holed up for most of the day.  I came back home a three and its took me about four hours to get warm again! And yes I will probably go out again tomorrow??? A little colder and things will start to freeze forcing out all sorts from cover and rewarding the photographers with some outstanding photo opportunities hopefully. Onto todays images:

Buzzard Patrol, a pair of Buzzards appear to be making frequent passes low over the Marsh this is one of them.

Snipe-return to cover after being spooked by the Buzzard

Little Egret

The Bittern still at Marazion

Stumpy the Oyster Catcher is back from his holidays/TV performance at Autumnwatch!!

Wednesday 24 November 2010

Sea Eagles

Hi All just received the following mesage from Marcus Conway at ebirder withreference to Sea Eagles, this is the actual boat/area I shall be visiting next May with ebirder. I still think there may be a couple of places left on the trip. Anyway check out the video, if its all good for the BBC I think I can live with it!!

"Just a quick note to show you about the Eagle experience that is part of our exclusive Mull tour, as the BBC have just been to film the eagles using our boat operator.

You can check out the video below - note they were only using a 100mm lens!!

More updates to come in the New Year,


Marcus Conway

07957 123 274"

Sunday 21 November 2010

Some from the Weekend

A normal photography weekend, lots of hours-little reward. Still keep trying incase I get that stunner of an image and then try again to get a better one. So I was out and about but very little wildlife was.  Did see a couple of swallows over Marazion Marsh so it is still not to cold yet? On the plus side the newly aquired D3s is getting some chances to perform in low light as it has been pretty much dullsville all weekend. So onto the images from the weekend.

Cormorant about to take off, just like the way the light caught this and all the water droplets.

Buzzard refusing to be intimidated

Heron with a small morsel, just shows how accurate the heron has to be when striking fish.

Kingfisher, uses the post to knock his prey senseless.

Wednesday 17 November 2010

Nikon D3s AUTO ISO Test

In addition to my settings in the earlier post as it was quiet today I thought I would give the AUTO ISO a try out on the D3s. I set the camera to increase the ISO to achieve a minimun 1/1000sec shutter speed. The results are below. ISO speeds used by the camera were 560, 3600, 400 and 560. No noise reduction has taken place in the pictures. I was going to stay until light levels fell, to use the highest ISO's but it has been a bit wild in Cornwall today and for a change I went home early.




Litle Egret

Wildlife/Bird Photography Workshops

I have spoken to Marcus Conway who runs ebirder link here about a photography workshop on The Isle of Mull Scotland. I have booked on on the Eagles/Otters tour after a good chat with Marcus and checking the images in the blog some of which are superb.  Marcus has also had awards for his wildlife photography more information on his blog. So really looking forward to this trip and if anyone else is interested book soon as there are only a couple of places left.

Tuesday 16 November 2010

My Initial D3s settings for Bird/Wildlife Photography

Ok here are my inital settings for the Nikon D3s. These are only initial they will get changed as I get used to the camera and all its functions but this is my starting configuration if you like. These settings were used on the images in the post post prior to this. Next time out I am toying with the idea of activating the Auto ISO to give me a minimum shutter speed of 1/750 or 1/1000.

I will shoot in A mode Aperture Priority Auto
To focus I will use the AF-On button only set via Custon Function a5 (This means the shutter button will calculate exposure and take the picture only).
Metering, I set to Matrix
Release mode, I set to CH Continuos High
AF mode, I set to C Continuos Servo
AF Area selector I start with it set to single point AF, I will then use Dynamic Area AF or Auto Area AF depending on the subject/movement and background
ISO I will set at 400 (ISO 200 should be used for optimal performance form the D3s sensor) and increase as the light levels drop.
White Balance WB I will set accordinly, however should it be a typical UK day where sun goes in/out at an annoying rate I will leave it set to zero
Image quality, I always shoot raw
14 bit lossless compression
Picture Control set to neutral
Colour Space Adobe RGB

Custom Functions I have changed from default.

a4,  I have selected AF 1 (short)  I might select this to off in the future, I could see this being useful in surfing photography where waves sometimes cross in front of the subject. But for BIF I think this is just another calculation that the AF system could do without processing.

a5 I have selected Af ON  only , this ensures AF can only be activated via the AF on button.  I think this really helps when your trying to focus especially on subjects flying across busy backgrounds, it is a new method for me and takes some getting used to but I think its better as I can make the decision where the AF starts/finishes (so long as I can keep the AF point(s) on the moving subject)

a7 Wrap, for me it is the quickest way to move around AF point selection

a8 I have set this to AF11 on this assumption this is a quicker way of moving across the AF points, I don't think it affects af points/area activation

b1, I have set to 1/2 step (just my preference)

b3  I have set to 1/2 EV (just my preference)

b4 On (auto reset) expourse compensation is set via the command dial without pressing the +/- button but resets to zero when the metering system de-energises.

d2 Both set to 9 fps

Feedback and suggestions are welcome and I will update as I go along. Please point out any glaring errors etc, it best for everyone if we share on information and experiences with these innovative camera's.

Sunday 14 November 2010

Testing the Nikon D3s

Finally had a decent test of the Nikon D3s in low light with custom settings which I put in last night. Overall it is a fantastic low light level camera with an AF system that doesn't seem fazed by the low light either, it just keeps nailing the subjects. (providing my tracking technique is spot on) I will post more on my findings later this week with some unedited image examples.  As it is late now onto todays images:

Kingfisher with fish at Hayle

Mistle Thrush? at Marazion first one of these I have seen for a while.

Snipe disturbed by a Sparrowhawk which was patrolling the Marsh


Stonechat in great evening light, this is really worth enlarging

Sunday 7 November 2010

Kingfisher at Marazion after Hayle and Stithians

Up early today forecast sunshine with odd shower. I was greeted with a torential downpour on opening the curtains. Thought bugger this still going out. Got to Hayle which was windswept so not much happening there. Around to Marazion again windy, so off home for dinner. Then set off for Stithians again very quiet so headed off back to Marazion. Sunny with no wind, at last. Well the sunny bit lasted about ten minutes!!! At Marazion today Waterrail, Kestrel, Kingfisher, Sparrowhawk, Bittern and thousands of starlings at dusk which was again a great spectacle to watch.  Todays pictures:

Wren at Stithians Southern Cut Off

Buzzard doing a nice fly past at Marazion

Kingfisher (he was using the post to stun the fish before gulping them down

KF again, but shot with much higher ISO settings as the light was rubbish. This KF was using the post yesterday and today so anyone which a digiscope and some luck should be able to get some great shots.

Saturday 6 November 2010

Late Afternoon in Marazion

After photographing a surf competition at Perranuthoe, which was rubbish due to the lack of surf, I headed to Marazion to finish off the day.
Blinded by the sun a Perranuthoe but mostly clouded out at Marazion only 2 miles away (sods law) Anyway pleased I got the Kingfisher on the post to prove it does occasionally land there. Also had the opportunity to test the low light level performance of the Nikon D3s which was good as following today with some exposures using ISO 3200 I now have the confidence to push it further. Onto the images:

Kingfisher on the depth post

Mallards during a glimpse of sunlight

Kingfisher leaving the water, missed his quarry.

Heron in the reeds.

Monday 1 November 2010

Marazion and Stithians today

Still quiet and not much happening at all. While six million people chased and harrased the American Bittern at Zennor, I decided to photograph the Uk one at Marazion. It did a short flight today of its own accord and I managed to get one shot. A Wren also gave me the opportunity to photograph one of them also, first for a while. At Stithians I managed to get one of the Great Spotted Woodpecker. Had a quick look from the main hide, nearest bird was a Lapwing approximatly a mile away, really need some water in here to increase the levels. Onto todays images:

Stonechat posing well.

Wren spotted in the gorse

UK Bittern at Marazion

GS Woodpecker at Stithians