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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ARCHIVE 342 – SPECTACLED OWL: AS IS, AND THEN SOMETHING A LITTLE MORE FICTIONAL

 

 


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Spectacled Owl at the International Centre for Birds of Prey, Newent, Gloucestershire; 2 July 2014.

Two points to make.  First, this is a Spectacled Owl >>> as far as I know.  I made a list of the different species that I photographed at ICBP, but omitted the four frames of this one – but from a google search this appears to be the identification.

The shot was taken with the D700 and a 70-300 Nikkor zoom at 300mm; 1600 ISO.  The upper, colour version has been processed with Color Efex Pro 4, used lightly as is my preference for this excellent software.  The lower version was produced with Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Tin Type preset, and reintroducing colour to the eyes, and also adding some grain.  I don’t generally like restoring colour to something as obvious as eyes but here it helps the image I think – it looks rather flat without the colour.

Both images can be enlarged by clicking onto them, to open them in another window, and then clicking onto the new version again.

To me, the colour version is striking, but its also a straight representation and for that reason rather lacking in atmosphere – except that I’m looking deeply into the eyes of a proficient nocturnal killer.  The black and white version looks older, wilder perhaps – like something out of a gothic tale???  What do you think?

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STILL LIFE 203 – CARRION CROW

 

 


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Carrion Crow at sunrise.

A Minimal image, mostly featureless black or gold, with just a single horizontal band of silhouetted detail.  The fence post is not vertical, the fence’s wire is barbed, and the bird’s head is seen in profile: for me, these points add something.  Do you agree?

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 3200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Provia/Standard film simulation; Stanton Drew, in the Chew Valley; 6 Nov 2017.
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STILL LIFE 199 – DUCK, SWIMMING

 

 


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Female Mallard, a common duck species, swimming.

Click onto the 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); 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; image rotated; Herons Green, Chew Valley Lake, Somerset; 16 Feb 2018.
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CHEW LAKE 23 – SIX DUCKS

 

 


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Six ducks, Tufted Ducks if I remember correctly, swimming towards me from shadows, just before sunrise.

Technique: both the X-T1 and X-T2 have large and very usable Electronic Viewfinders (EVF).  Here I set the X-T2 to spot metering, and moved the metering spot around the frame until the EVF showed me an effect I liked, when I locked the exposure via the AE-L button.  Then, with the exposure locked, I framed the image as I wanted it and fired.  This is certainly not total reality as it appeared at the time, but rather my interpretation of it – and a technique where EVFs really come into their own.

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); 3200 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Herons Green Bay, Chew Valley Lake, Somerset; 16 Feb 2018.
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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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BRISTOL 128 – SILHOUETTE, JUST BEFORE SUNRISE

 

 


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Walking in south Bristol on a frosty morning, with the sun just about to come up.  This silhouette opened up on my left: a building, a tall tree, curling branches – and two gulls, waiting for it to get a little lighter before starting to look for food.

The sun is just about to appear: a tiny contrail just left of the tree’s massive trunk is already lit up.

The first image in this series, along with context, can be found hereSubsequent images are here: 2 3

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

Technique: TG-5 at 100mm (equiv); 2,000 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation; south Bristol; 28 Nov 2017.
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STILL LIFE 178 – GULL

 

 

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Emerging warm and well fed from Hart’s Bakery, I gazed up into the blues of a cold dawn.  And there was the sliver of a crescent Moon, strikingly beautiful, amidst wisps of passing cloud.  And all at once the crowing of gulls, and there they came, drifting over high from the west.  I knew those calls, they were the larger Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls, coming in ravenously over the city, looking for something – anything! – to eat.

The city’s noise was already starting up around me but up there, where they were flying, there were only the sounds of the wind and the birds.  I imagined what they could see. Below, the city’s lights, and then up above, the thin, drifting billows of vapour and that brilliant, shining crescent.

Fly well, my friends, go well – 60 years ago, I grew up beside your ancestors on the coast; their calls were my constant companions.  And now my city is your bread basket, and the cold waters of its reservoirs the safe havens upon which you spend the long hours of dangerous darkness.

And there was humour in the moment too.  A man appeared at my elbow, asking what I was photographing, telling me he’s a photographer too, showing me images on his mobile phone – but heavens, man, I’m trying to photograph the ******* heavens, man!!!  Phrases started passing through my mind … from days long ago, giving as good as I got as a rugby forward … give him a dead legkick him in the …. but, this is Life, and I can only smile now at the recollection of the moment.

The camera did well.  I was leaning back, braced against a high wall, but in that light the lens was wide open and, at x6 magnification and at a shutter speed only 1/75th – this image is a tribute to the X-T2’s image stabilisation.  The bird may not be perfectly sharp, but that’s not a factor here.  I could have used a higher ISO, but in the heat of the moment just went with it.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 6400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Provia/Standard film simulation; beside Temple Meads Station, Bristol; 15 Dec 2107.
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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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