BIRDS 108 – LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL

 

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This image is best viewed enlarged: click onto it to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it yet again.

Adult Lesser Black-backed Gull at Herriots Bridge, Chew Valley Lake, Somerset; 17 Apr 2018.

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 2,000 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom, using the Camera Neutral film simulation.
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BIRDS 107 – CHICKEN 5

 

 


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Once again, up close and personal – in close with a long telephoto.  I love getting in close like this to living things, both in terms of being there with them, and also of seeing the resulting very shallow depths of focus.

The expression is one of  consternation and horror – well, its not unknown for me to have that effect.   I like the curve of the body from the head out to the tail.  Compositionally, viewing the image from left to right as we Westerners do, the sweep of the creature’s back leads my eye into the photo and up and on to the in-focus face.

Other pictures of these birds, and context, are herehere and here.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it yet again.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm; 3200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Astia/Soft film simulation; Stanton Drew, near Bristol; 4 May 2018.
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BIRDS 106 – WOOD PIGEON

 

 


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Looking up, in Church Lane.

There are other images from Church Lane, and more context, here.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto the image to enlarge it further – recommended.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Astia/Soft film simulation; Church Lane, Whitchurch, Bristol; 4 May 2018.
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BIRDS 105 – CHICKEN 4

 

 


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A final image of the “chickens on the traffic island” on the village of Stanton Drew, south of Bristol.  Am I in love with birds?  Of course I’m in love with birds, even dinosaurs like this!

And this raised up garden/traffic island in Stanton Drew makes it so easy to get down to ground level beside these busy and noisy creatures.

Other pictures of these birds, and context, are here , and here .

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it further.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Astia/Soft film simulation; Stanton Drew; 6 Nov 2017.
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BIRDS 104 – MUTE SWAN (MONO)

 

 


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Mute Swan Cygnus olor, the common, resident and often tame swan in the UK.  The large black knob in the forehead shows this to be a male.

Composition: close in with a long telephoto, which often works for me.  The bird’s head and long neck form the left edge of the frame, the bird is looking down into the frame, and its body is only faintly seen; all else is water with a very faint surface texture.  Use of black and white simplifies things still further.

And perhaps there’s a feeling here of the bird being too large for the frame, of the bird bursting out if the frame.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it – recommended.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Cool Tones 2 preset and adding a light tone; 16 Feb 2018; Herons Green, Chew Valley Lake, Somerset.
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BIRDS 103 – HERRING GULL IN CITY CENTRE HABITAT

 

 


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Herring Gull Larus argentatus at a city centre food source.  An adult, in breeding plumage.

Gulls?  Rats with wings is one name I’ve heard for them but, as always, I love them, having grown up alongside them all those years ago – this is a photo for you, Lynn, my ex-birder friend – enjoy!

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it further.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 6400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Welsh Back, central Bristol; 2 Feb 2018.
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BIRDS 102 – WOOD PIGEON

 

 


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Adult Wood Pigeon amongst the autumn leaves and raggedly cut grass on our back “lawn”, photographed through the double glazing of the kitchen window – opening the window even a tiny bit would send these birds rocketing frantically away!  Here I tapped very, very gently on the inside of the window to attract their attention and, after a brief glance towards me, they carried on foraging.

A small flock of these pigeons have taken to visiting our back grass, and its a real pleasure seeing them there.

This is in fact an agricultural pest, a bird that anyone can shoot.  And this is a species that I’ve actually eaten but, well, that was nothing to write home about – and anyway I’d far rather be looking at them!

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it yet again – recommended.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Provia/Standard film simulation; Bristol; 23 Nov 2017.
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BIRDS 101 – CHICKEN 3

 

 


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Another bird from the little flock that live on the traffic island garden in the village of Stanton Drew, in the Chew Valley south of Bristol.

As ever, my love of getting in close to living creatures.

Other pictures of these birds, and context, are here .

Click onto this image to open a larger version in a separate window and click onto that image to further enlarge it.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 3200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Astia/Soft film simulation; Stanton Drew; 6 Nov 2017.

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BIRDS 100 – AN IMAGE CLOSE TO MY HEART (MONO)

 

 


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So, my 100th post on birds, creatures that have in so many ways had a profound influence on my life.  I have many images that might have filled this 100th slot, but here is one, a very simple one, that has a very special place in my heart.  It shows a male Blackbird, a species of thrush, sitting on wires down a little country lane.

I have of course been a lover of birds for a long, long time.  But, beyond that, I am in love with natural things, with Nature itself, and to me this image powerfully evokes Nature’s elemental drama and grandeur.  Why?  Well, when I look at this I see this little creature, sure of himself, perched on his territory and singing powerfully to assert that fact.  And not overawed in the least by the stark and wild vastness of Nature all around, but actually eminently at home in it, a part of it all, and in his way just as wild as all the rest.

The original text for this image is given below:

Blackbird on telephone wires along Swanshard Lane, southwest of Wells, on the Somerset Levels; 21 Mar 2012.

I was out on the Somerset Levels again early this morning, toting my ungainly Nikkor telezoom once more.  My first stop, to try and get awake after the not too long drive via large infusions of hot coffee and marmalade sandwiches, was along Swanshard Lane, a little, winding back road north of Polsham.  This lane just allows two cars to drive past each other in places, but in other places it really is a better idea if one vehicle stops and gets up close and personal with the hedge, while the other vehicle moves carefully past.

And, of course, this is spring and the birdlife is really going for it.  Wonderfully active rookeries were dotted around, and a veritable crescendo of calls included Buzzards, Wrens, Green Woodpeckers, Pheasants and Blue Tits.  And the first Chiffchaffs, little, unobtrusive warblers, are back from sub-Saharan Africa – having flown across the world, they are very probably nesting in the same tree or bush they nested in last summer.

And as I turned a corner, there was this male Blackbird – all black with a bright yellow bill – sitting on wires and singing his head off.  As he caught sight of me he stopped singing >>> but he didn’t move – he was on his territory and he didn’t feel like being shifted!  So, very carefully, in slow motion, I brought up the 400mm, took a spot meter reading from the sky to produce a silhouette, and started carefully firing frames.

I might have been able to get him larger in the frame, either at or post-capture, but just left of him there was this big, shaggy tree trunk, a very exciting silhouette, and I knew at once that I wanted that in the picture too.  So here it is: down an English country lane, early on a morning in spring.

Click onto the image to see a larger version in a separate window.

Technique: D700 with 80-400 Nikkor lens at 400mm; 800 ISO; converted to mono with Silver Efex Pro 2.
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BIRDS 99 – CHICKEN 2

 

 


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I’ve mentioned this little flock of chickens in the village of Stanton Drew before.  They live on what is almost a traffic island, that is raised up to around human eye height above the surrounding roads – so that it is fairly easy to view them eye to eye, down at their level. 

And I’ve always liked to get in close with my wildlife pictures, getting a flavour of the creatures’ characters, maybe filling the frame with them, rather than taking a standard portrait.

I posted the first of these images, along with the Stanton Drew series, but my good colleague Lynn (another ex-birder) at bluebrightly, suggested they might fit better amongst my bird pictures – and here they are!  I was a birder for many years, 1967-2002 or thereabouts, and in those days it was my primary interest, although I was taking pictures too.  Now I retain a strong love for birds, I see them as a very integral part of all land/cityscapes and, as with butterflies, I’m sure they boost my quality of life.  But photography is my prime mover now and, despite the fact that I’ve made very nearly 100 bird posts here, most of my posts are not about birds.

Click onto the image to open another version in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it – tho don’t blame me for getting nightmares if you do!  A farmyard Jurassic Park?!

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Classic Chrome film simulation; Stanton Drew; 6 Nov 2017.
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