Spring 2013: part II

As promised, light rays 🙂. I found a spot in the forest that’s about 10x as large as the previous place where I took most of my light ray shots. One large open space with big, old trees. I wonder how that’ll look in the Fall ;).

Anyways, here’s a good selection:

Light rays
Light rays
Light rays

The projects for my upcoming summer holidays include: Roe Deer (fawns I hope), King Fisher (as always), Beaver, Blue Throat (colorful bird), perhaps wild boar, badgers (.. will be difficult), and the occasional macro stuff. Hope to be able to show you something soon.

Until next time!

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Trading hours for seconds…

Time for another post! It has been some time since my last post but I’ve definitely spent that time usefully. Fall is setting in which means relatively cold nights, dampened forest floors and… light rays, if you’re lucky and know what to look for. I’ve been quite successful in matching last years light ray shots. The best ones from last year were at the peak of the autumn but unfortunately I have to travel to the US for work in the week that I expect Fall to reach its climax over here. Have to see if I’ll be able to go into the woods before and after my US visit. Next to the light ray shots I’ve also been busy with a family of Roe Deer that are currently residing in the corn fields near from where I live. A family of three, mom and her two calfs. Very nice to see them come out of hiding when the sun is setting and interact which each other.
Anyways.. this is not the only place on which I upload my photo’s as I also make use of the Flickr photo community website. The concept is that everyone can get a free account and upload up to 200 photo’s and then share it with everyone else. You can comment on each others work, join communities, look for inspiring work of other great photographers around the world, and if you’re lucky you get your shots on Flickr Explore. This is basically a large billboard for the entire community which showcases the best uploads of a particular day. On an average day millions of photo’s get uploaded and only 500 are selected to be shown on Explore. The white dove below got to spot #1 on Flickr Explore and one of my light ray shots got to #4. This meant that I got over 5000 views between those two shots. This also lead to a lot of comments and favorites and to over 300 emails which I had/chose to respond to :p. But, enough blabla and time for some of my latest work now.

First up, magical light:
sun rays
Note the heart carved into the tree on the right.

A slightly different point of view:
sun rays
More can be found on my website. I’ve created a new gallery especially for these sun ray shots (see link at the bottom of this post).

Next up is the dove photo I was talking about earlier:
white dove

And last but not least, the Roe Deer family, a sunset, and a Kingfisher I hadn’t uploaded yet.
Roe Deer family
sunset
King fisher

So all in all, these kind of shots don’t come easy. You really have to trade hours for seconds. But boy, are those seconds worth it!

Until next time!

P.S. I’ve also updated my website with my latest work, including a lot of photo’s I haven’t uploaded on Flickr or this blog. I’m planning to modernize it a bit more this winter but haven’t thought of how I’m going to do this or what I’m going to change. I have to learn that programming stuff all over again as I’m getting a bit rusty in using HTML…

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!

The music of the Forest

And now for my yearly Fall post! I try do different things each year but I’m always drawn back to 1 or 2 sites which have never left me down. I’ve discovered the secret to sun ray photography and boy, is Fall a good season for that! Mushroom shots are still on my to do list but I haven’t had the time for that unfortunately. So what have I been up to?

Fall color
Amazing view this was! There’s a small window of just a few days in which all the trees reach their full color potential. The sun is essential as well of course.

Fall sun rays
One of my favorites! Amazing leaf colors.

sun rays
Looks like a harp right?

sun rise
Gorgeous sunrise. I cropped it to 2×1 for a more panoramic view.

Please have a look at more of my recent shots.

Until next time!

I am haunted by light

Finally something new, or at least a little bit new as I’ve done these kind of shots before. It has been a somewhat unproductive last few weeks for me, hence the lack of posts. I took several decent shots but unfortunately, most were missing the X-factor. Now that Fall has kicked in, things are starting to pick up again and I’m eagerly awaiting the Fall climax of my favorite forest. I took some of my very best landscape photo’s over there. Anyways.. time for the new stuff:

HDR forest sunrays
Tips: know how to work with HDR software and learn not to overdo the HDR effects! Maybe I already did that here, but I’m still learning ;. Furthermore, these kind of images don’t just pop-up out of nowhere. I took location, season, time and weather conditions into account and ended up with the shot above and those below. I actually have another one with joggers that come running out of the light, really great shot. Fills up the void a bit.

I call this one: between two Giants:
Forest sun rays
Tips: basically pay attention to composition when these rays are visible. Keep in mind that this effect is not visible when you walk 10 meters to your right or left. Search for spots where the light hits the ground (those are the rays you are looking for!).

Forest sun rays
Tips: look for a decent composition. In most cases you are bound by the location so look for a good one! This location isn’t bad but it can be better of course!

mushroom
Tips: Fall is the season! Have a good, soft, colorful background. This one is too plain for my taste but I’m still happy with it. Experiment with flash and point the flash in different directions towards the subject.

Last one, but definitely not the least I would say! This was an awesome moment:
kestrel
Tips: it basically comes down to some luck! But also looking around when taking a walk, fast handling and good material. Unfortunately this is somewhat cropped but I’m still very happy with this one!! Amazing how these birds can balance on something that small.

Until next time!

Great weekend!

I’ve had a productive weekend! I even think I made one of my best shots yet! (see below and here). I knew from recent experiences with Swans that they tend to launch ‘dummy attacks’ on you when you’re in their territory. First they swim pretty fast towards you in an attempt to scare you off. When that doesn’t work, they swim away to create some distance and that’s when the fun part starts. They suddenly start flying off towards you, showing their awesome wingspan and power. If you’re ready for it, you can make some pretty awesome shots. They don’t really attack you (although it can be a close call sometimes, like 2 meters close :p), they just try to scare you. Anyways.. see the results below. I’ve made many more and they (larger sizes) can all be found at my website HERE.
swan
swan

Also check you my new abstract sunset!.

I ordered a ghillie suit but they haven’t send it out yet. Don’t know why, inventory was supposed to be full. Luckily Spring is in the air, together with shitloads of pollen if you’re sensitive to that (I’m not). So I was able to take some nice ones in my orchard, which is in blossom right now. Bees are busy pollinating and make for good macro subjects, especially in mid-air! Have a look below. Again, many more can be found in the recent images section of my website.

bee

Nikon news: there will be an updated 200-400mm f4 lens soon! (pretty useless update if you ask me). Also nikonrumors mentions 3 new camera’s in the pipeline. That must mean a low end D4000, a mid range D90 replacement, and probably a D700 replacement. Video issues seem to be addressed and running at 1080P.

Until next time!

Walkabout

Went for a walk today and took some nice shots. I’m still looking for some Fall inspiration. Thinking about some abstract photo’s of differently colored leaves or a leaf in the water.. still have to work out the details though :p. Hope to add some new ones in the coming days. Think I’m done with the mushrooms by now though ;).

I took the green bokeh/insect photo a while back and just saw it in my Lightroom database and liked the bokeh.

Until next time!