Hardwick Hall: May 2018


Spring is sprung

I found a new hide yesterday. Great little find nearby, with so many species frequenting the feeders – including two Great Spotted Woodpeckers at one point! I was excited, it’s true, and spent an hour or so with the camera trying to get some decent captures. However, I was limited in light levels as, by the time I found the hide, it was beginning to darken. To up my shutter speed meant losing depth of field, and I do like my DoF… so I left the camera in AV mode and did my best with low light.

Many blurred images later, I have concluded I need to visit this hide in lighter hours, and use TV mode more for wildlife shots to obtain the really sharp results I want! I managed to get a few sharp(ish) shots, however, and have used LR to adjust the sharpness and shadows in the relevant areas. Here is a small selection – a Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus), a Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis) and Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major pinetorum).

RHS Garden Harlow Carr

I have been very remiss lately with updating my photography blog. It has been a very active time for me with a new camera and updated lenses, and I am learning a lot. I still need to go back to basics again and re-run through all my lessons, but I am improving leaps and bounds so I’m happy. The macro work seems to have inspired a few others to pic up a camera and start climbing into plants to take close up shots – people who would not have appeared interested previously – which is always flattering and encouraging.

Here are a few captures from Harlow Carr in Harrogate, Yorkshire, UK from the weekend. There were many more captures but these are primarily the macros.


Having read up a little on noise in close up shooting, today I kept the ISO to 400 or below and shot some images. I noticed that it was almost impossible to get a really sharp image (suspect as I was handheld only, but I can shoot sharp close ups by hand normally). I’m guessing this is the pay off somewhat with close up settings.


IMG_8084_edited_smHand held: f/5.6, 1/320s, ISO 100, 47mm focal length.

Later on I took this image – handheld, but changing the settings to f. 8.0, 1/640s, ISO 1000, 35mm. Still a low aperture to isolate the subject, faster shutter, sharper image. But look at that background noise.


Still, that’s why we have PS – to reduce noise, amongst other things! See below.


The background in the above image has been subjected to noise reduction in Photoshop. It looks less grainy (noisy), but the object loses some of its sharpness too. It seems to be all about pay offs between settings. I guess I’ll use a tripod more often and stick to a low ISO.

The Blues: Island Hopping

In August I visited the beautiful Channel Islands for the very first time. We stayed in Guernsey, and took a ferry ride across to Herm Island for a day. It was a magical experience – I came away lighter, unburdened yet bewitched and determined to return and explore further. I spent hours and hours just standing next to the ocean, hypnotised. I listened to the waves crash, the sea roar, I watched sea birds fly and feed, I watched tides rise and fall, I studied rock pools and rock formations, scrambled and climbed and came close to getting cut off at one point! I spent much of my time there taking images of the ocean and surrounding landscape – 3,000 images to be precise.

I would like to visit the Channel Islands again in 2016, during the Puffin breeding season.

Here are a few of the images taken. I primarily focused on the thing that completely captured and held my attention – the ocean. I was trying to experiment a bit with fast and slow shutter speeds, but without the aid of an ND filter at that time (now rectified). I learnt quite a bit, made many mistakes, but still somehow felt utterly fulfilled and satisfied by the experience. These are all edited to some degree. I was not shooting in RAW at the time so there is some grain and reduction in quality here and there. I now shoot in RAW (which is an experience in itself). Hopefully, these images convey the magic I saw and felt of the ocean.