Summer of ’13

It seems that for the past three years I’ve always taken the wrong decision on when to have my Summer holidays. This year I had the better part of June off from work and, as always, I started to take the best photographs when I had to go back to work again. Same is true for the weather. The minute I had to go back to work it started to clear up and get nice and sunny… oh well, enough about that. Time to see what I’ve been up to for the past few months (yes, it has been that long since my previous post, sorry ’bout that :p).

I don’t really have any special stuff to share other than that I’ve been preparing for a very interesting, yet quite difficult and challenging, project that will probably take me around 2 years or so to complete. I’m not going to specify exactly what it is since I don’t even know yet if I can get it to work like it has been working in my mind. I’ve had to make some serious investments in both time and money but if it’s going to work, oh boy, will you be amazed!

Here is my Summer of ’13 (so far..):
(all are clickable and will link to my website)

Running hare
Great fun that was! Came running straight towards me, then stopped within the minimum focussing distance of my lens and decided to turn around when it noticed something weird was lying on the path (I wasn’t even wearing any camo clothes).

King fishers
Yes! 2 King fishers :). Taken at F14 or so to try and get both of them sharp.

Roe deer mother and fawn
ISO 4000 :p

butterfly
Actually found a small weed plantation near where I took this shot :p (I’m not kidding!)

Haw Finch
Not a very common garden guest. Shot full frame at 4fps of a D800 :). Wall sized prints anyone?

wild fox
A real wild fox! Not one of those fake, tame ones ;). It actually took me five early mornings to get this one. Luckily I got the fox before the local army of hunters did..

King fisher
An evening light King Fisher. They never seem to bore me. Such characters they have!

evening light

Until next time!

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4 in 1, and where did my mojo go?

Four weeks crammed into one blog post. So it’ll be a long one. I basically had the larger part of 4 weeks to spend on nature photography since this was, or as I’m writing this, still is my spring/summer holiday. I wanted to make the most of it so I threw myself out into the field every day looking for stuff to photograph. The weather was not really super, but manageable. I needed clear skies in the morning and clear skies in the evening. Once these requirements have been met, all you need to do is look for the correct location. So, the first three weeks all went pretty bad. No beaver, no kingfisher, no bee eaters, no buzzards, no wild boar or roe deer. The Buzzards (buizerd) were my largest project. I knew a nice location where these birds of prey have a nest each year and thought I should give them a hand in raising their young by laying out some bait (roadkill) for them. In the meantime, I’d be there waiting in my tent with my camera. I picked the perfect spots with the rising sun behind me so if it would work, I could capture these amazing birds in the warm morning light. Unfortunately these birds are quite watchful which meant that I had to go into my tent in the middle of the night when it was still dark! This meant getting up at 4 am in the morning, cramming food down my throat, cycling 10 minutes to the location, arriving without lights, without making a sound, putting the bait on the ground in the dark, securing it with hooks so they don’t fly off with it, and try not to fall asleep while waiting. Thus, there I was at 4.30 in the morning awaiting an attack on my bait. No such luck :(. After 3 long mornings I gave up. The third time they clearly saw the bait, circled 2m over it, and flew off again. Now, 3 days later, the bait is still there, untouched. I could have sat there for over 3 days and nothing would have happened. Lesson learned I’d say. I guess this only works well in winter time when there is snow and it is much more difficult for them to find prey. After 2 weeks of bad luck I started to doubt myself, and realized that I might had lost my ‘photography mojo’ (watch an Austin Powers movie in case you don’t understand the word ‘mojo’, if you do understand it, watch them anyways as they are kind of fun). So this is when I resorted back to macro photography in an effort to find my mojo again as this is the more easier part of nature photography. Your subjects don’t run away and you don’t have to get up while its dark outside. A good place to start to get my mojo back again. The results can be found directly below. I’m quite happy with the dragonfly shots:

Tulips

Tulips

After some time, I realized that most of the time you don’t have to go look for photo opportunities but they’ll find you eventually. Just by going for a bike ride or taking a stroll along the riverside. That’s when I saw this cutie:
roe deer fawn
It must have been a few days old! I hit the brakes (I was cycling), immediately started unpacking my lens + camera and was able to take just a few shots before it ran of. Good to see that their fear of humans is a genetic thing.

Next day, I got a call from my king fisher ‘connection’ that he had found a nesting site which I could use to finally take some king fisher shots. And so I did:
king fisher
I’ll go back there in my last holiday days (this actually means crossing a fast flowing river in wading boots with 15kg of (rather expensive) camera gear on your back. One slip and things get pricey ;-).

The next shots were taken somewhere in the first 3 weeks or so. I had hoped for more and better but you can’t have it all, right?! We’ll see what the rest of summer will bring us. At least it seems that I have found my mojo again (or still had it all this time).
KungFu Goose
rays of light
phaesant on the move
I’ll end this post with a small bang. Our neighbors have a Little Owl (Steenuil) nesting box in their orchard and each year the young owls are ringed for study purposes (see how many there are and where they go after they leave their parents territory). Now, I usually don’t post photo’s of captive birds but as these are actual wild ones and it’s so darn cute I’ll show it anyway. Hope to get some really ‘wild’ shots of these ladies later this summer. Just look at the newborn! Melts your heart right?
Little Owl / Steenuil

Until next time!

Colors of Summer

I made it back alive and well from my trip to India. It certainly is a special country with special people… The city of Hyderabad is one big dump but the traffic is kind of ‘fun’ though. They just go left to right, to left, honking the horn every 10 seconds or so. When its dark you can really see the amount of pollution in the streets when all the exhaust fumes are lit up by the car lights. It is definitely not healthy to spend a lot of time in that traffic. Crossing the road is exciting though :p. Did it twice and don’t like to do it a third time. Cows, dogs and pigs live next to the road and so do the people. Tents made up of plastic and twigs next to the roads make for an impressive, though sad, scenery. Little boys and girls coming to beg to you for money and food at the local markets..

Anyways, enough on India (I didn’t take any camera with me so no photographs to share with you). So now I am back in the good old Netherlands, where the food doesn’t burn holes in your mouth (I hate spicy food, and that’s about all they had in India), I finally have 3 weeks off from work and now the weather s*cks big time. Rainy, windy, cloudy. I guess I will go to work again and have no Summer holidays this year. It’s a shame to spend my holidays inside watching the Tour de France..

So, now for the photo’s! My favorite subjects for the Summer are Day Lilies. They have such great colors and allow me to take the best out of my Sigma 150mm macro lens. Amazing colors and bokeh:

day lilly

Another one that I really like is this lady bug. I should have chosen a larger depth of field but then I might have had a too slow shutter speed.

lady bug

Anyways, that’s it for today. Hopefully the weather clears up a bit but I fear it will not so I will probably go back to work once again.

Until next time!