19 March 2011 - Short Eared Owls

Worlaby Carrs in North Lincolnshire has been home to some heavily photographed Short Eared Owls over the past winter. A quick search on google or on Birdguides.com will find some excellent images from practically every photographer in the country (or so it would seem)! So why did I leave it until they had nearly all moved on before I ventured a visit up north? I still don't really know the answer to this question, but venture north I eventually did.

Others have travelled a lot further but there was a big chance that my 90 minute drive would prove fruitless. So I was greatly relieved, and excited, when on my arrival, a short eared owl flew across in front of the car. Unfortunately it settled well out of photographic range. However, I was hooked! I parked up and, with a group of fellow photographers, waited for the next few hours for the early evening hours that might bring more luck!

And it paid off!. One owl, the friendly one that has been so well photographed over the past few mongths, landed on a post nearby. It didn't stay for long but I did get some quick shots - my first Short Eared Owl pictures! Let's hope they come back in the autumn - if they do I won't wait until March before I pay a visit!

Many thanks to David Newby for directions to the site.

Short Eared Owl

Short Eared Owl

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27 March 2011 - Spring Flowers at Tortoiseshell Wood

I had negotiated a couple of hours photography on what had been forecast as a sunny day all week.  And then it got to the weekend - the weather forecast changed - yet another cloudy day!  But at least there was no wind. Given the limited time I had, I headed for one of my favourite local woodlands - Tortoisehell Wood. The wood, and the adjacent meadows, are managed by the Lincolnshire Wildlife trust as a reserve. The meadow is a good site for Early Purple Orchids and the wood becomes a sea of blue, when the floor is carpeted in bluebells later in the year. But it was too early for both of these flowers, which have been the focus of a number of my previous visits.

Two of the early signs of spring in Tortoiseshel Wood are the primrose and the dog violet. The calm weather allowed the use of my 105mm macro with extension tubes to obtain a variety of close up images - the flower heads of the violet were only about the size of my thumb nail. When taking close ups of flowers I like to take different images without moving the camera, but simply by varying the aperture. This way you can get a range of images from the more standard portrait shot, using a small aperture to obtain a large depth of focus, to more artistic images, using a wide aperture, so that only a small part of the image is in focus.




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Dog Violet

Dog Violet Dog Violet

Wide aperture : F5.6                                                                       Small aperture : F13


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