First Wildlife Practice Trip of 2013

With the weather proving an interesting back drop and Chris wanted to practice some bird photography, I packed my largest heaviest tripod, my longest lens together with my Nikon D200 and a Leica M4 for snapshots and headed out to our local park, Hartsholme.

flight over ice

After the snow of Friday, the roads were well cleared but the park still looked lovely in its white cloak.

I decided on a late start and Chris’s car was already in the car park. Dressed in warm winter clothing, my tripod with D200 mounted over my right shoulder and my Leica M4 over my left, I headed out to the lake.

Birds as Art

Light was relatively poor and I was having to shoot close to the limits of my ISO for the D200.  The poor light, strong contrast from the snow and darkness of the trees, the images looked Black & White.  The shot above I actually converted to Black & White and increased the contrast, hoping to make an average image slightly more Arty.

Gull in Flight - 2

As I setup Chris appeared, he had been shooting here a while further along the lake.  We then waited to see what would appear.

Gull in Flight - 1

Birds in flight are very tricky.  I set ISO to auto and had the mode set to Shutter priority camera.  Depending on what the action was, I switched the shutter speed from 1/125s to 1/800s.

Gulls over Ice

A lot of my early shots were blurred, or out of focus but as the morning progressed I gradually began to get my technique back.

Duck on Ice

Wildlife photography is tricky and requires a good knowledge of your camera, how to configure its autofocus, auto iso and modes to increase your chance to get the shots you want.

Its not just knowing your equipment but you can greatly increase your chances of getting a good shot by knowing your location and knowing your subject well.

A cold but enjoyable day and considering the lighting conditions and my lack of practice I am quite pleased with my results.

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