Saturday, 28 February 2009

Harris Hawk


Harris Hawk
Originally uploaded by stephenlamb

During the session that we had with the Harris Hawk, a deceased mallard was placed on a bale of hay and the Hawk allowed to land on it. It promptly began tearing away at the mallard's feathers until it got to some meat. The hawk is holding it's wings in such a way as to protect and cover it's prey.



Harris Hawk

I liked this side view of the hawk at it's meal.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Birds of Prey


Barn Owl
Originally uploaded by stephenlamb

On Sunday, I went to photograph Birds of Prey. The day was organised by "Photographers on Safari." We had the opportunity to photograph four birds during the day. They were a Golden Eagle, a Barn Owl, a Harris Hawk and an American Red Tailed Hawk. The birds were brought to a farm near Whissendine in Rutland by the Falconer. For each bird, we first took portrait shots and then took photographs of the birds in flight.

Harris Hawk


There were five photographers on the day - all of them much more experienced and better equipped than me. Our guide and instructor - John - was brilliant at helping us to get better shots. He also taught me how to use the histogram on my camera. It was worth going just for that!

Golden Eagle


I am pleased with some of the portrait shots that I got. My photographs of the birds in flight are not so good though. I need more practice at panning.

I came home with 974 photographs - by far the most that I have ever taken in one day. I was glad that I had bought an 8GB memory card a week or so before the day. I probably took over 1,000 photographs because I deleted quite a few in the field.

I enjoyed the day; learnt a lot and took photographs that I would not have been able to take in any other way. I intend to go to more "Photographers on Safari" events.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Photographing Fish


Oranda
Originally uploaded by stephenlamb

I have tried to photograph the fish in our aquarium on a few occasions but with unsatisfactory results. These are the first that I have taken that are anywhere near good. I have set up a new aquarium in the last few weeks. It is much bigger than the old one which makes photography easier. The old tank also has a mirrored background which makes it look bigger than it is but also makes it difficult to get a good photograph.

Black Moor and Oranda

The tank is glass all around and so I put a large sheet of black card behind it to give a uniform background. I first tried taking photographs in the evening using just the aquarium light. This did not work very well because I could not get a fast enough shutter speed. Many of the photographs were blurred.

Black Moor

Next, I tried taking photographs during the day with the room lights and the aquarium light on. This enabled me to get much faster shutter speeds although I still had to use an ISO of 800. I set the white balance to florescent - the aquarium light is florescent although the room lights are tungsten. As I usually do, I set the camera in aperture priority mode. I set an aperture of 5.6 to give me the fastest possible shutter speed. It was then a matter of taking lots of photographs and accepting a high failure rate as fish suddenly changed direction and I was too slow to keep up with them.

Oranda

The two fish shown in these photographs will go back into their old tank in a couple of weeks time. I have cleaned their old home and am setting it up again for them. Their present tank will then become a tropical tank. This will give me many more opportunities to practice taking photographs of fish in aquariums.



Oranda

Friday, 6 February 2009

La Shark at the 333 Club, London

La Shark at the 333 Club, London

Above is a photograph of Pete Sach playing for the first time as part of La Shark. It was also my first attempt at photographing musicians in concert. I decided not to take my SLR along as I was not sure whether I would be allowed in with it. I took my compact camera instead - it is a 7 megapixel Canon Ixus 75. It allows some manual control of it's settings and so I set the white balance to tungsten and used the highest available ISO setting of 1600. I did not use flash. I got as close as I could to the stage and took over a hundred shots. Most were failures - due to poor framing and poor lighting mainly. The usable photographs needed cropping to make them usable. Next time, I hope to try using my SLR. And La Shark are a very good band - look out for them.

La Shark at the 333 Club, London

La Shark at the 333 Club, London

La Shark at the 333 Club, London

From my vantage point, I could not get photographs of all six members of La Shark. Above are the members that I could get close enough to photograph.