Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Stoney Cove Diving

Stoney cove is a large freshwater dive site located in Leicestershire that holds a few species of fish like pike, roach and perch as well as the endangered White clawed crayfish. i was looking to photographing mainly pike and crayfish although the water was 7 degrees so most of the smaller fish and crayfish had gone to deeper water waiting for hr shallows to warm up.  

This video is shot on a GoPro with a eye of mine housing of the dive and little bit of comedy to!

because of the sunshine and it being a sunday the lake was very busy this meant the water was quite crowded and bit murky so the photography side of things didn't go quite as well.

- Try going mid week when their are less people in the water
- Sunny days are best to maximise the amount of natural light
- Approach the fish from below slowly for best results

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Underwater Swans

Taking a break from the fish i decided to have a crack at something a bit bigger! Swans are great subjects to work with, allot of photographers start with them as their size and confidence makes them easy to work with. Going to my favorite location Colwick country park the swans where more then friendly!

Showing how close you can get them
Over/under shot

Hints -

- Take a bit of food to encourage them closer bird seed is best to use as it makes them put their heads below the water
- Although swans are mostly harmless be aware if they have cygnets are show major signs of agression 

For more swan images check my site out below!

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Garden Amphibians!

Been home now for a couple of days and decided to get a shoot or two underway! I've always had a intrest in reptiles and amphibians and this is partly why i made two wildlife ponds at the bottom of my garden many years ago that now boast a collection of frogs, toads and newts all ideal subjects for me to photograph!

Having booked a macro flash kit out i was able to get close to the subject (60mm macro) and light it. the rain had helped quite a bit as this made them come out a bit more. By far common frogs are the most numerous species around with a few pairs of toads and for the first time some smooth newts were also present.

 Common Toads
 Common Frogs
Smooth Newt

I used a tank (i'd recommend glass but i used plastic) for the underwater shots though im hoping to use the underwater housing to actually get them in there environment.

 Hints - 
- Wet your hands before handling amphibians and make sure there not great crested newts or natterjack toads as its illegal to handle these without a licence! 
- Flash really helps bring the subject out in the tank and with experimentation can work effectively
- Conditions are important in very dry weather they are more likely to be near water whereas today with the rain they were quite spread out around the garden. 

If you enjoyed this blog id recommend Neil Philips work who specialises in Tank photography

also a video from a earlier blog featuring palmate newts in Cornwall


Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Bissoe Newts

Having been to Bissoe a few times over the last year and my house mate James (who's been studying the place for his third year project) had told me about all the pond which i was keen to try something very rarely attempted in the UK to photograph wild newts in the habitat and NOT in a tank.

 Not that i have a problem with shots in tanks as its a lot easier to to get otherwise unreachable species and that not everyone has a underwater camera including me, i have loan it from the university.

Back to the newts Bissoe has a population of Palmate Newts they are quite numerous in Cornwall and the only amphibian that is currently increasing its numbers in the UK.  They tend to favour slightly acidic waters so i thought Bissoe would be ideal.

This Young palmate wasn't old enough to breed so not in the ponds found him under a rock, took the shot then gently let him crawl back under.

This female was rooting around the bottom as i edged towards her to get the shot. This is work in progress and hope to do the same with the other two species of newt in the UK.

Heres James lewis site check it out for plenty of Bissoe related images

Hints -
- The bottom was very silty so as soon as i went in the edge with my wellies it stirred up the water making underwater photography impossible so i only have a 5 or 6 second window on each subject before the clouds of slit fill the image with back scatter.

Friday, 2 March 2012

St ives Bird Photography

The second day of guided trips this time at St ives in Cornwall its a beautiful location on the north coast. I was surprised to find out this is where we were doing bird photography when there are so many other locations in Cornwall but many species inhabit the area. St ives is actually a great place to do photography as its location traps a lot of of light. As well for a change i used canon instead of nikon which was different but think i'll stick with nikon.
We came across a old building that had many House sparrows and Starlings living around it

Starlings are often over looked for photography but as you can clearly see here have some vibrant tones when the light hit them.  
House sparrows are on decline up to 68% since the 1970's 

Afterwards i decided to try my luck on the rocky shore for some waders. almost instantly i came across 4 or 5 purple sandpipers and a dozen turnstones feeding together the sandpipers proved hard to get close to but the turnstones where quite obliging.

Hints - 
- Use a low aperture to blur the background and bring more focus to the foreground subject in this case the birds
- Know where species are likely to come close, St ives has a lot of birds that are used to people and willing to come closer then there wild counterparts

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Trevean farm & cot valley

For the past two days i've been on photography trips with resident cornwall photographer David chapman and fellow Marine & Natural history photography students. The first was a landscape workshop going to two of Cornwall's most picturesque spots to get a few snaps!

Trevean farm near Penzance was the first location with miles of heathland and ancient walls it made a great location for landscapes though the light was not particularly on my side. I also saw my first common lizard of the year looking very cold!

Cot valley like Trevean farm is owned by the National trust and though a bit tricky to get down to the beach is well worth the effect for the fantastic views.

i couldn't help myself but have a look in a small over grown pond which to my delight was full of amphibians toads and palmate newts mostly.

Hints -
- For local locations and advice on the species you might want to photograph local guides can be very useful. Contact The wildlife trusts or search online for possible options heres Davids website

- Filters and tripods can be highly useful in landscape photography particularly for long exposures.