Southport area reserves - A day with Andy Bate. Part 1
My New Years resolution was to improve my photography, in conjunction with my birdwatching. To improve shots I already had of some species, and get shots of 'firsts' - species I had never seen, or taken shots of before.
Today I hoped to do all of the above. A big ask? Maybe!
Despite the appalling weather of the last few days, the forecast for today was promising for my trip to the various reserves aound the Southport area for a tutorial/workshop with local Pro-Photographer Andy Bate. Arranging to meet at 0830 at the RSPB Marshside reserve gave a great view of the sunrse over the Sandgrounders Hide.
Following a brief run through of my camera settings, photography experience and birding knowledge, it was agreed that we would head over the the WWT reserve at Martin Mere, where the sun would be better placed to give us good views of the wintering Whooper Swans.
Many of the Whoopers were displaying, and reinforcing their pair bonds following their arrival from Iceland to their wintering grounds at Martin Mere
Even some of the Whooper families were squabbling amongst themselves.. or maybe the young were picking up behavioural tips from Mom & Dad?!
Actually I'm not sure if perhaps the cygnets were trying to break the fight up..!
There are so many Whoopers at Martin Mere, it is possible to be overwhelmed and spoilt for choice.
Andy advised me to get an idea of the shot I wanted, then watch & wait for that pose or behaviour. Easier said than done in such a crowded venue!
'Line astern' A pair of Whoopers head straight towards us in the hide.
"Fieldcraft is the key to getting great shots, knowing your subjects is the key to good fieldcraft"
"Give your subjects space to swim or fly into" Using ripples and reflections helps with positioning.
I was happy to get a slightly more serene 'family shot' Though their positioning was not ideal.
Another few seconds of patient waiting and... much better!
But Whoopers aren't the only water birds at Martin Mere, there were plenty of wild Pintails showing well also...
So once more, form an idea of the shot you want, and wait...
Then it was into the main building for a lunch break, a review of my/our shots so far and another question time.
Martin Mere is also home to a number of endanged & captive birds, which are quite amenable to a quick pose.
This Nene was particularly helpful allowing me to get a couple of head-study shots
Whilst a colleague was in a more reflective mood
And giving us the full benefit of its minimal height!
An un-natural break in proceedings due to the Upload Monster eating the next batch of pics. Part 2 can now be found here
Free or not, the uploader should 'do what it says on the tin' and damn well upload!
- Trip up The Shard is the 'high' light for this #Fujifilm #F100fd owner's whistle-stop #London tour http://t.co/J965KOuVxV
- Totally prepared for Saturday morning long-run #XP200 http://t.co/AK00teL6pW
- Looks like this #Fujifilm #S6500fd owner's talen has really blossomed now Spring has arrived http://t.co/zfp5aqeu2p
- RT @PhotoMadd: @fujifilm_uk love the macro mode of the X20. This bluebell was literally touching the lens! http://t.co/J8UQuGZh48
- "Why I love this picture" by @kevin_mullins http://t.co/ioF26ii0lp #candid #xpro1 #wedding