Some mandarins have feet and beaks…

I’d quite like to get in more than one photography day in February but with chemo this Friday I’m not sure how realistic that is. Having said that I’ve been told they are giving me one hell of a dose of steroids so I might be bouncing off the walls!!

Regardless, I am happy to say I did make it to the nature reserve sunday just gone and it was a big difference to my January visit. First flowers are out – I managed to find some crocus and snowdrops. I also saw lots of Red Kites but no good shooting opportunities. They actually seem to fly lowest over the roads so I think I will just have to traipse around the cul de sacs until I’m in the right place at the right time.

Anyway – I actually went with the intention of trying some macro shots as the final peice of my bracket / bendy arm set up to hold my off camera flash finally arrived.

It was this connection screw.

This may not look like much but it caused me much excitement and I wanted to head out and try my new set up out straight away. But being a complete wally I managed to take everything I needed (including new charged up batteries)… apart from the off camera lead to attach the flash to the camera. Muppet.

I couldn’t be bothered to head back home to fecth it so I just used the flash on camera for a few macro shots of the flowers – worked ok but I’m looking forward to seeing how much improvement the off camera set up will bring.

Enough of me blathering about lighting… onto the shots. I still have some to process but this is the first set. Click on any of the pictures to see bigger versions:


Frayed Crocus:

Frayed Crocus 20130217


Not Frayed Crocus:

Crocus 20130217


First Snowdrop – not sure about the depth of field on this one and I always struggle with whites. I’d like to re-shoot this one tbh…

Snowdrop 20130217




Blue Tit – fast as lightening they are and never stay still… hope to improve on this over the year but I think it’s not a bad start:

Bluetit 20130217


…and finally two shots of a male Mandarin Duck – the most colourful bird on the lake. I prefer the one with the reflection – I had to be very patient to wait for him to float into the right patch of sun / calm water!

Mandarin Duck 1 20130217


… but then I do prefer this pose:

Mandarin Duck 2 20130217


So there we are – not quite what I was aiming for but I think that Mandarin reflection shot might make it into the final cut. I have been chatting to a very lovely person on a photography forum that I frequent this evening and received a bit of a tip off about where to find barn owls at our other local nature reserve which is exciting news! I hope I can get out and about at the right time to see one – and maybe even get some photo’s. I have also read about tawny owls visiting the area where I took the above shots and I think I spotted an owl nest box when I was there this weekend so that is promising.

I also picked up some decaying leaves to try out in the light tent / with the macro off camera flash set up. They are very interesting – you can see the internal structure of the leaf. Might give that a go tomorrow night if I get a chance. Or over the weekend if I’m not feeling too crap. Apparently the new chemo drug side effects might kick in a few days after it is administered rather than the puking frenzy FEC caused a few hours after. We will see.


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