Friday 29 June 2018

Interesting Heron

Firstly I must write sorry to those of you who check this blog regularly but repeatedly see the same post(s) at the top! Birding time has taken a massive hit lately but I did manage to get out a couple of times recently. I was surprised to see a Greenshank on Black Hole Marsh on Wednesday evening as I can't remember personally seeing one here in June before (might have done but I'm not going to trawl through and check). Other birds of note were 2 Common Sandpipers and a group of Gadwall. Exactly how many there were I could not tell as both camera & scope were at home and I only had binoculars with me. Ian Mc had 13 the following morning and 11 were still there when I popped over for a look in the afternoon. The Greenshank and 2 Common Sands were also still present.

The most interesting bird for me was a rather striking Heron. It was DARK. I was watching it in isolation for most of the time so I wasn't sure just how dark, but thankfully a 'normal' Grey Heron came nearby for a proper comparison:

Melanism? Hopefully we'll be able to see how this bird develops over the coming days and weeks.

Sunday 17 June 2018

The Milky Way - photo taken at Seaton Hole

At 23:00 on Thursday (14th) the sky was almost completely free from cloud here and this gave me a sudden desire to go out and do some night photography. The only other thing I needed to check was the Moon phase as it needs to be either dull i.e. thin crescent or not visible at all, otherwise the moonlight will bleach out the sky on a long exposure. Turns out this was perfect timing and conditions were ideal! I headed out and arrived at Seaton Hole at around midnight.

The Milky Way is difficult to get pics of, especially if trying to get a detailed foreground in shot rather than just the sea. A common way of doing it is to take multiple pics exposing for the sky and foreground in separate shots and then stacking them together in photo editing software. It's a bit more difficult to get right but I've always tried to do it in a single exposure and then play around with the settings in Lightroom to make it a bit more punchy. It still requires editing, but I like the challenge of doing it in one shot rather than making an image out of multiple shots (sometimes it almost has to be multiple shots i.e. if it's so dark that detail in the foreground needs a significantly longer exposure to be seen).

Settings were 16mm focal length, 30sec exposure, f/4 aperture at ISO 5000. I don't have a camera body that's particularly good in low light anymore so this could have been a lot better with different gear. Still, I'm pleased with what I came away with.

This has been shared on Facebook hundreds of times now and I've had a few enquiries about prints. Please feel free to message me if you are interested in one; it's probably easiest to do this via Facebook HERE.

The pic below is deliberately low resolution but this looks okay up to A3: