Tuesday, 20 July 2010

The Butterfly Hunters...defeated by a fly!!!

Me and my sister visited one of two of our main local nature reserves today. Armed with a jar, I.D book and net, we started our search on a grassy hillside near the entrance and into the reserve working our way through two joining fields and into the woodland. Patches were in dappled shade, perfect for Speckled woods. Bushes, believed to be budlia also attracted a font of Peacock butterflies. Total species noted...

4x Speckled wood
3x Male Common blue
1x Female Common blue (brown in colouration)
6x Gatekeepers
5x Green-veigned white
4x Small white
3x Large white (one i.d'ed as a male, a further two seen in flight)
5x Peacock
3x Meadow brown
3x Commas
Also noted:

2x Southern hawkers (species: Aeshna cyanea) also patroled the woodland.

The final and best butterfly to mention was an absolute beauty. Instantly recognised as a Fritillarie we were itching to I.D it. Easily one of the largest butterflies I have ever seen it flew fast and evaded the net for the first few times and eventually we lost it over the trees. On finding it a second time later on our wanders the gloves were off and within one swift, decisive swoop of the net it was captured to the sounds of triumph but that was not the end of it. Whether it was divine fate or just plain bad luck but as we looked through the glass we found the prize was not the only thing we had captured. A fly had also found its way into the jar. What was the chances. How on earth could we even have consided it happening. There was no way the butterfly would tolerate a fly and stay still long enough to I.D it so we were left with an unexpected challenge, how do we remove the fly but keep the prize.... It didn't happen...it got away...and just to annoy us further the fly was still in the jar. Needless to say we left the fly with a suitable headache for our inconveinence before we let it go.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Wildlife with a little sun, sand and sea on dorsets coastline

Taken at: 1/100th sec, f 5.6, 105mm, ISO250, Shutter Priority
(hand held)
Taken at 1/1000th sec, f 5.6, 105mm, ISO250, Shutter Priority
(hand held)
Taken at: 1/1000th sec, f 6.3, 105mm, ISO250, Shutter Priority
(hand held)
Taken at: 1/640th sec, f 7.1, 18mm, ISO250, Shutter Priority
(hand held)
Taken at: 1/1000th sec, f 5.6, 360mm, ISO 400, Manual
(hand held)
Taken at: 1/500th sec, f 5.6, 240mm, ISO 400, Manual setting,
compensation -2/3 (hand held)
Taken at: 1/500th sec, f 5.6, 270mm, ISO 400, Manual,
compensation -2/3 (hand held)
The strong sunlight has given all three of these duckling pictures a harsh appearance in terms of lighting as they were taken around mid day and so there potential is reduced, something I forgot to think of at the time.

Taken at: 1/1000th sec, f 6.3, 105mm, ISO 250, Shutter Priority
(hand held)
Taken at: 1/1000th sec, f 5.6, 105mm, ISO250, Shutter Priority
(hand held)
Taken at: 1/1000th sec, f 6.3, 105mm(cropped), ISO250, Shutter Priority
(hand held)
Taken as above
I have deliberately limited myself to using only the shorter 18-105mm lens when taking many of these images, leaving the 400mm at home, consequently, for those that may have noticed, many of the images are taken at 105mm this being the full extent of the lenses reach. The idea is if I deliberately limit myself to only the smaller lens then it should hopefully help me to concentrate on the framing and backgrounds more so than with a long lens as I dont have the option of zooming in to fill the frame. It's interesting to do. I have found that many of the images produced with the 105mm are sharper and more detailed in its results than the 400mm lens. This is probably because the smaller lens is of a better quality than the larger lens and this is interesting as it is the first time I have experienced a notable difference between two lenses (not having had that much experience yet of using the kinds of lenses pros take for granted). There is a multitude of other factors that affect sharpness but I am positive that the lenses are a factor here.
Taken at: 1/1250 sec, f 5.6, 400mm, ISO 200, Manual
(tripod support) time: aprox 4:30pm

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Back catalogues...

(For anyone who hasn't read the article in the RSPB seasonal magazine). Back in 2001 80 Kittiwakes were shot and arranged to spell out the word "death". On the 14th of May 2009 at Marsden Cliffs, Tyne and Wear two guys were caught and jailed for shooting dead nine nesting Kittiwakes from the beach at night. It makes me angry to see this needless persecution especially when I consider their beauty that we all witness and that of which I have tried to capture in this photo. Five other incidences of this nature have also previously been recorded.