Spring 2013: Part I

I just can’t seem to find the time to regularly post something on my blog and that is why you’re getting only one or two posts every few months or so. Next to actually writing the stuff, and desperately trying to think up some funny sentences here and there, I also have to update my website, upload the images shown on this blog to tinypic, and go through the html story by actually making the pictures visible and correctly link to my website. I’m sure there are easier ways to do this but I’m rather conservative in that way. If it works, don’t mess with it :p. So here it goes, hope you like what you see (the downside to posting every few months or so is that you have to show so many photo’s per post, so please scroll down a bit :-P).

painting flowers
Straight out of the camera. Got to like that D800 🙂

Tawnly owl
While running after an Osprey I caught this sleepy beauty.

Rapeseed field
Rapeseed field

Spring leaf

Pheasant
This crazy fella often falls asleep in my garden giving me an opportunity to carefully position myself within 10 meters or so. He will suddenly wake up, raise himself up, and shout out to call for females. Then he takes a nap again, only to wake up 5 minutes later and do it all over again. I have many good action shots of those moments but all are in the shadows with an annoying background so not really worth sharing. This was the only acceptable one I think.

macro

bird flowers

On another note, the more I get to know the work of other photographers (I’ve started to follow several on Facebook), the more I’m starting to wonder if I’ll ever break through that solid brick wall that’s keeping so many photographers in the shadows, in some dark place where their pictures are hardly seen or admired, let alone make some money out of it. There are so many nature photographers out there, all with professional gear and time to spare that it is almost impossible to stand out (especially if you’re short like me and have a full time job :-P). The only way to burst through that wall is by winning (major) nature photography contests that are mainly dominated by professional photographers, or perhaps by doing something out of the ordinary in a business where ‘out of the ordinary’ opportunities are quickly diminishing. Luckily I’m only 26 years old and (like to) believe that I’m still on a steep learning curve so who knows what the future will bring. Up until then, I’ll just continue to do my best in the shadows… where it’s nice and quiet. Maybe my light ray project for the Fall of 2013 can shine some light through the bricks.

Until next time (very soon, I have a lot of sun ray shots to show you!)

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The diary of a nature photographer (part II of II)

Last Wednesday I was sitting behind my desk at work when I heard the weather forecast on the radio. After a long spell of dark and cloudy weather we were finally going to get some clear skies and warm Spring days. I decided to take the next two days off from work and spent it in the great outdoors with my camera. The report of day 1 can be found in my previous post.

Day 2

Just as day 1, day 2 started at 5.45am but this time with John Mayer and his Heartbreak Warfare. A nice way to start off the day. I decided to try my luck again at the forest of day 1. I set off on my bike and arrived close to 7am, made my way into the forest, nervously looking out for wild boar and put up my hide. The story of day 2 is going to be a little bit shorter than of day 1 because basically nothing happened the entire morning. No deer or wild boar today. Unfortunately this is an integral part of nature photography. Patience and perseverance… (I was able to level up some Angry Birds levels though :p ).

Back home again. I was planning to have another go at the snowdrops when I suddenly saw a frog in my pond. It had already laid eggs in the water and I was able to get close enough for some nice portrait shots.

frog
(D300, Sigma 150mm F2.8, F5.6, ISO 200, 1/125sec)

While I was taking photographs of the frog I suddenly heard the distinctive sound of 2 Tong-tailed Tits (I’m not kidding, they’re really called Tits…). I immediately remembered the pair of Tits that made a nest in my garden last year. These little fur balls with long tails are really cute so I decided to run after them to see where they might be building their love shack. Sure enough, they were at it again this year. The female, or at least I assumed it was the female for obvious reasons, selected a nice yew bush (taxus) next to the driveway.

long tailed tit
(D300, 500mm F4 VR, ISO 250, 1/1000sec, F4, handhold / had to be fast hence the weird settings).
I decided to help them out a bit by putting some stylish, soft nest building stuff next to the building site.

The bird below is a Blue Tit (family of the other Tit):
blue tit
(D300, 500mm F4 VR, ISO 250, F5.6, 1/250sec, tripod)

I was also (fairly) successful with the snowdrops this time. I used the flash to fill in the background a bit. If I hadn’t used the flash, the background would have been much darker and not as appealing.
snow drop
(D300, Sigma 150mm f2.8, F3, ISO 250, 1/1000sec)

That is it for day 2. The rest of the day was spend enjoying the nice sunny weather and chilling a bit.

Day 3
Started at 9.30am (… I had to recover from days 1 and 2 :p). It was going to be a cloudy day so there wasn’t much to do photography wise (also I thought..). One of the important aspects of nature photography that often goes overlooked are being outside and scouting the territory for nice scenery or wild life. In nature photography you often need to be at the right place at the right time, hence the scouting for possibilities. Anyways.. I was going out for a walk (I always take my camera with me, you never know..) when I heard something in an old corn field. I looked over to find a gorgeous male pheasant having lunch on the left over corn. Something was off since I was able to come quite close without the pheasant screaming and flying off in the opposite direction. I put one and two together and concluded that this had to be a fairly tame pheasant that was bred and set free by local hunters. That would also explain the lack of pheasants during the winter when the hunters catch the wild ones, use them for breeding, bring up the chicks and set them free again to murder them later on in the year (preferably Christmas, a joyful season for all, except if you’re a pheasant). This breeding is highly illegal but those scumbags don’t give a sh*t since there is no one there to check that hunters follow the rules. Anyways.. back to my specific pheasant:

pheasant
(D300, 500mm F4 VR, ISO 400, 1/60sec, F6.3, handholding)

Day 4:
The last day was spent selecting and processing the best shots, writing this story, updating my blog and website, and cleaning up the camera gear.

So… long story… but fun to write. Hope you found it interesting to read.

Until next time!