This week’s blog post will contain photos taken in October, in the first days after my new lens arrived and I have switched to the new camera set-up. Now that I go through the photos in Adobe Lightroom I notice how much I have learned about post processing from than and realize how much more I have to learn. There were certain areas in Lightroom that I would not touch but that now gave me the access to new ways of improving or correcting my images.
The first picture is one of a Eurasian nuthatch (Sitta europaea) silhouette. I like silhouette photos but I have noticed not to many people share my liking, especially non-photographers who would choose other pictures as their favourite instead of this one. I have shoot a series of photos in this particular situation and that, in post process I have managed to combine two of them to end up with the result that I’ve wanted. I took the cleaner background from the first picture and the position of the bird from the second one and put them together in Photoshop. It was a sunny day that allowed me to use high shutter speeds, for this photo I have used a 1/3200 sec fact that bumped up my auto ISO to 1600. F stop set to the usual F6.3.
I will comment the next two photographs in the same paragraph as they both are captures of the Red deer (Cervus elaphus), in one a female with her fawn and in the other one a female with a stag. They are definitely not the best photos I have ever took but they are an honest portray of how wildlife photography is most of the times. In that period I was actively searching for Red deer to photograph and every time I have waited for them in a spot where I could get a good composition they would fail to show up, instead I would spot them in different situations that did not gave me enough time to improvise. In the first case, the female and the fawn decided to cross the road in front of me will I was going to search them in the spots I knew they usually spend time. They gave me a look before disappearing in the thick vegetation so I was able to fire off some shots. Because it was so early and so little light I had to get my shutter speed to 1/25 sec and hope for a steady shot and still my ISO went to 16000. In the other situation I was heading to a rooting spot when I have noticed a herd on my right in the woods. They have already noticed me and started moving, but not in a rush. I got a few clicks before they disappeared and I did not follow because I knew I had no chance of getting close in a good spot now that they now I’m there. This time a bit more light gave me the opportunity to use a 1/1250 sec shutter speed with Iso at 720 and F 6.3.
It is not often that I manage to spot a European hare (Lepus europaeus) before him spotting me and not a chance to be able to sneak up on him. This time though he did spot me first and run away but I have noticed he went in the direction of an open field so I hoped I could find him there. Covered by a hill I have leaned on my belly and crawled until I had a clear view. He looked a bit undecided because he was not sure if the danger passed but he also found some grass that he could eat so he stuck long enough for me to even film him, video that you can find here. Because I was on a hill I was not on the same eye level as him and it was also impossible to get a nice blurred background but I still got some nice poses that I think are worth sharing, like this one where it looks like he is walking just like cats do when the stalk pray. I used F 6.3, shutter speed of 1/2500 sec and Iso of 800.
In contrast with the last pictures that lack composition, this one of a group of juvenile’s Mute swan (Cygnus olor) has good composition, in my opinion. It was a great day with a greater sunset and this group of juveniles and their parents choose to stay close to a bird-watching observatory, the only one close to the water on this lake. I have lowered myself as close to the ground as I could until the reed from the waterside would enter in my view. I made more pictures that day that I like but the rest I live for other time, in this one I like how only the centre swan remained with its head up while its brothers and sisters were searching for food underwater. Trying to get a lower ISO as possible, with my maximum F 6.3, I lowered the shutter speed to 1/1000 sec and combined with my shaky hands caused a bit of motion blur. I also had to get out the noise in the post processing caused by the Iso 640.
For the last picture I left a first for me, a black and white edit. I was uncertain of weather to show this picture of a Hooded crow (Corvus cornix) or not but then I remembered the black and white button and was satisfied with the result. I try to avoid as much as possible having anthropogenic elements in my picture but crows are pretty common in the human settlements so I let it slip this time. It was originally a silhouette shot because of the light coming from the opposite direction so it was more obvious to me that it should work as black and white. I have used a slow shutter speed for this shot, 1/640 sec and have obtained a good ISO of 140 with my lowest F stop of F6.3.
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For all species found on my spotting adventures, take a look at INaturalist.
The gear that I’ve used for spotting and book used for identification, here.