Sunday, 25 October 2009

Flights of fancy...

Yesterday I was back in Bushy Park. I didn't take many photos this time because I was doing some one-to-one wildlife photography training. The light was not the best for wildlife photography being a sold grey overcast. Conditions like that do, however, act as a giant soft box which does makes for interesting effects when shooting all white birds.

Towards the end of the day we were focusing on action shooting, so I headed to the main pond where people feed the ducks. There was lots of bread being thrown and the seagulls were very active, so whilst my client was occupied I grabbed a few shots myself. I now have rather too many flight shots of gulls - but I love the way that each new batch reveals new wing shapes and patterns. Here are a handful of my favourite shots from the day.

Black-headed gull

Angels Wings
Angel's Wings

Walking on Air
Walking on Air

Friday, 23 October 2009

Wildlife Photography Blog: Full steam ahead

Three months ago Wildlife Photography Blog was a twinkle in my eye. The initial concept of an RSS aggregator for wildlife blogs. It was only after I started working on it that the idea to publish its stream via Twitter occurred to me. Now heading towards November, it is the Twitter feed which is enjoying the most success.

The main site gets a reasonable amount of traffic, and performs well on Google searches, but it is not generating many clicks for its member sites. The RSS feed so far has less than ten subscribers and I have seen no evidence of it generating any traffic at all.

By contrast the Twitter stream has 350+ subscribers and is definitely referring traffic for member sites. At present the numbers are not huge - between 7-20 clicks for a single tweet. Where a WPB posting is retweeted by other twitter users this can increase to 40+.

The experiment is still live; it is too early to tell if the page rank element will be successful. For traffic generation, however, Twitter definitely seems to be the way to go.

So how can you help? Even one retweet of an entry significantly increases its visibility. And more followers means more traffic. So if you’re a wildlife photography blogger you can help the other members by retweeting their posts and encouraging your followers to follow WPB.

There are some wonderful blogs being written with fantastic photography, and I know there are hundreds of people out there who love great wildlife images. Hopefully over time WPB can be a way of connecting that audience with our blogs! Lets keep it moving…

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Diving Gannet

Having seen the gannets diving on Autumnwatch last night reminded me of an image I took on Mull but have not posted up so far. Over the week I was there I saw a lot of gannets diving along the cliff road by Loch Na Keal, but the weather was mostly too wet to even contemplate photography. The one day I did pass by and it was not raining there was just one gannet.

I watched it for about an hour and it was mostly too far away. I almost missed this shot as I was looking the other way as the gannet came closer. I turned just in time to see it do that little stall they do before drawing in their wings and plummeting like a Stuka. I fired off just three shots and this is the best of the bunch.

Not the best light, but I'm not unhappy with the shot. Now I need to find a friendly fishing boat and see if I can find them in larger numbers....

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Wildlife Photography Blog

A couple of months back I mentioned (Kestrels in the Park) I'd been spending too much time in front of the computer on a new project. Yesterday I realised I'd not announced that it was ready! So here we go.

The new site, the Wildlife Photography Blog Aggregator, already has a good number of wildlife photographers on board. If you enjoy wildlife photography check it out and it may introduce you to some excellent photographers you've seen. If you're a wildlife photography blogger, do consider joining the site. We'd love to have you aboard!

Of course I'm still spending too much time in front of the computer - but that's another story. In the meantime here is another shot from yesterday's walk in the park.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Return to the Rut

Today I'd arranged to meet a friend to take photos of the rut. The weather forecast was for solid overcast so we'd elected not to make too early a start. Of course the forecast was 100% wrong and it was a stunning morning. Then as I packed my bag I realised that I'd lent someone my 70-200mm lens, which meant I had no choice but to use the 400mm. Whilst this is a nice lens for the rut because it allows you to keep your distance, I generally prefer the flexibility of the 70-200mm with a teleconverter when photographing deer.

Their were a lot more stags out than the last time, but most of the action was deep in the long bracken. The smell of deer was very strong. By the sound of their antlers we located one pair locked in an extended duel. It was not really possible to get a good angle for photos - and when they broke off they emerged dangerously close to us - one leaping eight or more feet into the air to clear the bracken. It was an 'interesting' moment.

This was probably the best shot of the day. I'm not sure if this stag emerged the victor. He was very tired. I love the crown of bracken, and the steam of his panting. Shortly after this we lost the light for the morning.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Light and water

Well as expected I failed to make it out with the camera this weekend - so here are a couple more shots from my recent time in the Lake District. The first is a long exposure shot of the stream that flows from Grasmere to Rydal Water. I've sat in that exact spot on several holidays always looking for a shot which captured the place. This time is the first time I've come away happy.

I'm not so sure about including the second shot. Technically everything about it is wrong. But somehow I quite like it. Taken with my 400mm and 1.4x teleconverter whilst I waited for a bird that never quite came close enough. Looking at it now I should have taken it a second or two earlier to fully include the rear yacht and composed it slightly higher to not clip the tops off the sails in the background. But somehow, for me at least, it still has something.