Thursday, 27 March 2014

Winter Wildfowl Photography. The results are in.

Today, I took the opportunity to get a few more shots off - of the purple sandpiper (Calidris maritima) - at Southsea Castle.
It may seem a little repetitive from a BLOG point of view, but I was keen to practice with the camera on some familiar subjects, whilst trying out some of the lessons learned on a recent photography course.
On 10th March I attended the Robert Canis Winter Wildfowl photography course at Arundel Wetland Centre (WWT). The course forced me to explore the settings of my camera beyond Aperture Priority and manually setting the ISO.
Robert got the group working with exposure and exposure compensation, checking the histogram and higlights; composition e.g. moving the focus point around the frame; shutter speed; Effects; Close-ups and cropping.
The results of my photography on the day was extremely varied, as is more than fitting for a day of new learning. Some of my more satisfying / interesting pictures are below:

long-tailed duck (Clangula hyemalis) -
I was disappointed that the eye
did not stand out well in this picture - but happy to make use of
the reflection as part of the composition
white-faced whistling duck (Dendrocygna viduata)
- a little of the white detail lost to over-exposure, but some was
chestnut teal (Anas castanea) -
my best photo on the day. As taken!

black-headed gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
 taken at f/18, 400mm, ISO 200 - giving a shutter speed of
1/30th sec
I then simply cropped the resulting photo to isolate the gull

Canada goose (Branta canadensis)
taken at f/14, 340mm, 1/30th sec

as above - cropped to single bird in flight
Getting down to eye level with the purple sandpipers today, I focussed my attention on monitoring exposure, as there was a lot of late afternoon white light splashing about from the low sun reflecting on the sea-water.

The birds seemed particularly flighty - and I could not get as close in today without flushing them. So I moved the focal point of the camera around within the frame to try and create opportunities to crop in closer later.

I kept the ISO down, and I shot on a higher f/stop than I would have previously done - hoping to focus on the eye, whilst bringing more of the body features into focus.

Robert Canis, Wildlife Photographer can be found at:

Arundel Wetland Centre can be found at:

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

the colour purple

I may be a little obsessed with these birds at the moment? However, the confiding nature of these waders is so compelling - perhaps only the turnstones (Arenaria interpres) of Hill Head strung out along the breakers of its small harbour mouth, are as insouciant of passersby and their pointing cameras.

Yesterday afternoon, I counted 15 purple sandpipers (Calidris maritima), away from their usual feeding / roosting grounds on the foreshore revetments in front of Southsea Castle - having found them further west past the Blue Reef Aquarium close in on the concrete breakers. Today there were 11 - in front of the Castle - and I could not relocate the other four.

yesterday's high water roost site
with a count of 15 purple sandpipers

some of today's 11 purple sandpipers
back at the usual site in front of Southsea Castle