Monday, 16 November 2009

Off Air

The new seat-belt law as explained in the caption bellow comes into force on the 1st December 2009, it will save many lives. Don't forget BELT UP!!!!!

This computer is on lease, and unfortunately the lease expires on Wednesday 18th of November so it has to go back. It was one of those moments of madness four years ago when a smooth talking salesman from PC World persuaded me to lease instead of handing over £750 cash to buy it outright there and then. He told me it would be tax advantageous (NOT TRUE) he told me if anything went wrong it would be replaced instantly (NOT TRUE) the monitor conked out and it took six weeks of wrangling to get a new one, even though I was paying almost £9 a month insurance (Oh, he omitted to tell me that was on top of the lease). I pause for breath. I would get a free upgrade two years into the lease (DEFINITELY NOT TRUE). What happens at the end of the lease? I asked at the time. If you want to keep it it will cost you a 30 quid transfer fee (NOT TRUE). After forking out £1600 over the last four years PC World now want £125 + £25 handling fee + VAT. After I argued they dropped it down to £80 + VAT. They can have the bloody thing back, I think they've made enough out of me. Knowing the PC was going back I purchased a new one a few months back, but guess what ITS BROKEN DOWN AND IS AWAY FOR REPAIR. (I must have run over a priest)

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Shore Lark Sorrow

An picture taken earlier in the year of a wild buzzard on a baited log.

Well I have seen it, the shore lark at Southport that is, and I have even photographed it, but ho at what distance. The end result was a dot in the center of the frame, so I won't be publishing it, but I will try again just one more time before moving on to other things. However, I did manage a half decent buzzard in flight as well as a pied wagtail in a waterlogged midden. Closer to home, well at home in fact I was creeping around trying to snap a wren when a goldcrest put in cameo appearance - "which was nice"

Monday, 9 November 2009

Seeing Red

I made a visit to Southport in the hope of photographing a visiting Shorelark and although it had shown earlier in the day it didn't put in an appearance for yours truly. That said I was never going to have a bad day after I had made a point of passing through Altcar on my way there. I slowly patrolled around the narrow lanes in my usual manner in the hope of finding a Barn Owl, this however, was also not to be. I stopped at several points to scan the panorama, and at one of these points a Heron came into view silhouetted against the light. Or so I though, as it came closer I could make out some reddish markings, I was in fact looking at a Red Kite. I couldn't believe my eyes as I had never heard of them in these parts. It came close enough for me to get a decent shot not as good as Gigrin, but what the hell this was a local wild bird and is worth more than all my Gigrin shots put together.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Starling Rush (Part One)

I decided a little while back to try and shoot with smaller focal point lenses as much as I possibly could, with one of my themed shoots being the Starlings Roost. I had heard of one at Blackpool's North Pier and have already made one abortive trip to the resort, however, last week I received a call from Brian Rafferty who told me of a fantastic roost of 60,000 plus at Marton Mere. You will, by the way, find some absolutely stunning images taken by Brian on his Flicker-Blog sites and he has also posted them on Birdguides, if you haven't yet seen them I urge you to take a look.
Brian's pics were taken on a stunning evening, I however had no such luck as I visited Matron the following afternoon, it was grey and quite dark by the time the Starlings started to gather. This didn't concern me too much as I intended to to use very slow shutter speeds in the attempt to capture flow of the spectacle. It's all very well knowing the theory, but this kind of photography is very hit and miss and I have never purposefully attempted it before. The Starlings performed well and as this was my first experience of such a spectacle I must say that I was absolutely gobsmacked. After some gyroscopic movements they eventually funnelled into the reeds at the far end of the mere. It was very dark indeed at this point and the spectators reckoned that it was all over for the night. They all drifted away apart from one gent who I had met previously while photographing Short-eared Owls, we chatted as we made our way to the car, as I started to pack away my gear the dark sky went even darker as a few thousand birds decided to roost in the reeds right beside us. It was an earth shattering moment, I can't begin to describe the noise as the flock poured in, I grabbed my camera and started to shoot the best I could, a 10th of a second hand held, god knows how they would come out. In the end I will settle for my first results, one of them even came close to what I had in my mind, however the real test will come when the roost moves on to the North Pier as I have a definite shot in mind, I've even sketched it out. Will I get it? Who knows watch this space in a few weeks time.