Garth Peacock
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What a week for good weather.

Saturday 22nd January 2022

The beginning of a new year

Friday 14th January 2022

Final post for 2021

Friday 31st December 2021

Lakenheath Fen RSPB Suffolk

Monday 13th December 2021

Still testing the Canon R5

Monday 6th December 2021

Nothing to report

Tuesday 30th November 2021

Further testing of the Canon R5

Monday 8th November 2021

Test driving the Canon R5

Wednesday 3rd November 2021

No photos

Sunday 24th October 2021

Two Norfolk Reserves

Saturday 9th October 2021

Two weeks of - well - not very much

Thursday 23rd September 2021

September to date.

Friday 10th September 2021

A brief conversation about photography

Friday 20th August 2021

Back again

Wednesday 18th August 2021

Not everything goes to plan

Tuesday 13th July 2021

East Yorkshire Day 4

Sunday 11th July 2021

East Yorkshire Day 3

Saturday 10th July 2021

East Yorkshire Day 2

Friday 9th July 2021

East Yorkshire Day 1

Thursday 8th July 2021

A different experience

Monday 7th June 2021

View Blog Archive >>
Saturday 22nd January 2022

What a week for good weather.

High pressure for the week provided cold but sunny weather. I managed two trips out only.

First, with an afternoon to spare,I visited Dernford Reservoir, just south of Cambridge to see what was about - lovely blue sky and no wind - perfect - except for some of the reservoir remained frozen. The usual black-headed Gulls were around - couldn't resist a flight shot.

This pair of Gadwall made me smile - peace- perfect peace!!!

and finally a pair of Wigeon looking great in the sunshine.

Monday 17th looked just as good- weather-wise so I went to north Norfolk to see what was about. The first surprise was Thornham harbour which has been closed for almost a year, apparently due to subsidence of the access road, but now open. Not much around except the usual Curlews.

Then onto the harbour at Brancaster Staithe. The tide was out and few cars there and loads of birds around. Just what I needed to really test the Canon R5 with the 100-400 lens and converters. Herring Gulls, of course, but actually doing something interesting, bathing

and feeding.

A Black-tailed Godwit decided to share a bath with a Redshank.

A Turnstone

A rarer Grey Plover even came close.

and even an Oystercatcher caught my eye.

So the afternoon at RSPB Titchwell - never fails to disappoint and it didn't fail this time either. Water levels on the freshmarsh again too high for any waders close to the hides.

On the beach, a couple of Sanderlings were rushing around as they usually do

and on the salt marsh, a distant female Red-breasted Merganser.

With the hides of no use, I sat on one of the seats overlooking the freshmarsh to see if anything happened. A Little Egret flew past in the evening sun - a strange pose but interesting.

A Shoveler flew in

and then, as the sun was  setting, a large flock of Golden Plover flew in to roost.

Overall, a great day for photographs, even though the subjects were common birds.

 

 

 

Friday 14th January 2022

The beginning of a new year

So what has the beginning of 2022 brought to the birding table? If I am honest, not much so far.

4th January. A Yellow-browed Warbler had been found by our Count Recorder, Jon Heath so I decided to go to nearby Milton Country Park to see if I could find it. It has been a long time since I last went there, despite it being local to me - too many dogwalkers and the resulting dog crap put me off. This time, however, it was much cleaner.

So I found where the bird was and, with the help of a few others, ( my hearing is just not good enough these days to hear the high-pitched call) saw it but it never settled to get a photo - failure!!!

So I drove up the A10 to Cambridge Research Park to see what Gulls would come in for their evening bathing. Not much of interest. A lesser Black-backed Gull

and a landing Herring Gull

That was it. Not much to show for the effort.

5th January. The Welney website said that the A1101 wasa flooded at the washes crossover so I drove there. High water levels on the washes can force small animals and birds onto the road side, attracting raptors, and little traffic to worry about - except the road was not closed and the Welney WWT car park was almost full.

I found a Stonechat

and on the way home tried photographing some Lapwings feeding in a field.

And that was it - another disappointing day.

12th January - Another try at the Yellow-browed Warbler, this time with more success.

But not much else around so I drove to Fowlmere RSPB - not much there either so it was a case of using the imagination to get something worth keeping. By then, the late afternoon sun was providing golden light on the reeds around the scrape but Shoveler and Gadwall were all that was there.

Something unusual but not really a successful day - again.

Still, I am impressed with the performance of the Canon R5, this time with the EF100-400 lens and 1.4 and 2x converters, hand held. Topaz DeNoise AI and Topaz Sharpening AI  really make a high ISO and highly cropped image quite acceptable and it is certainly far more enjoyable getting around without a heavy 500 lens and tripod. But I am still very reluctant to sell them as 95% of my photos during the last 10 or so years have been taken with them - like very old friends.

Friday 31st December 2021

Final post for 2021

Hasn't 2021 gone quickly? Well it has for me. The last few days have been rather disappointing due to Covid - a relative who we saw at Christmas has tested positive for Covid so this week I have gone no-where, despite testing negative.

I have spent the time organising my Canon R5 and getting to know how to handle the Topax Denoise and Sharpening programmes. Just shots in the garden so nothing exciting, most deleted as of no interest - the usual garden birds - but I decided to keep two shots, both taken at high ISO and ones that I like.

I hope that the first week of 2022 will provide better opportunities, now that I have organised my photographic hardware and software to work how I feel comfortable with.

So all the best for 2022 to anyone who reads this missive.

Monday 13th December 2021

Lakenheath Fen RSPB Suffolk

Last Thursday, I had an itchy trigger finger again. Not sure where to go as the weather was not ideal so I headed to the RSPB reserve at Lakenheath Fen. The twitter page said that they had improved the photographic hide so I wanted to try it out.

Yes, it is better with camouflage screening over the top but the water level is still low so not much to attract anything of note. anyway, it was another opportunity to get used to the Canon R5 in poorish light.

Common stuff I ignored but I did get this Chaffinch as there are none coming in to my home feeders, in fact none in the area where I live apparently.

A blackbird came in - once again, I ignored it until it was about to fly off.

There were a few Reed Buntings coming in to the feeders - far from rare but what the hell!!! Had to photograph something that was not visiting my home feeders.

The food under the feeders attracted a couple of Rats - once again had to excercise the trigger finger.

and at last, the usual Water Rail came in. In fact several times.

While I have better photos of this species, it's appearance at least made the trip worthwhile. By lunchtime, heavy clouds started to roll in so I decided to go home.

Now, something for any photographers that peruse this blog. In the last Water Rail session, I dropped a beginners clanger. Did not check my camera settings before shooting and took about 30 shots at 1/3500th sec shutter speed in poor light. Net result ISO 10,000!!!

I almost deleted the lot when I realised but then thought that it is a real test for the camera and the software. Well, after the initial editing in Lightroom, a dose of Topaz Denoise and then the Tiff into Elements for final cropping and into Topaz Sharpening to finish, the result is the final Water Rail image. Really pleased with that.

Monday 6th December 2021

Still testing the Canon R5

Luck has definitely not been on my side for photography recently. Whenever there has been a decent days weather, I have been otherwise engaged - must get my priorities sorted out.

Anyway, I had a few hours spare last Thursday, 2nd December so I decided to revisit Welney WWT to try out some new settings on the R5. While I did not expect any photos of earth-shattering excitement, I knew that there would be birds there able to be photographed.

Several things have happened since my last update which was nearly a month ago. Firstly, I have had an update to Lightroom which now claims to be colour supported by Canon. Secondly. I took a deal from Topaz to get three of their software bundles at a Black Friday price which as the same price as just one previously - Topaz Denoise, Topaz Sharpening and Topax Gigapixel, all successfully plugged in to Lightroom amd Elements which are my preferred editing programmes. All I needed was some photos to try it out with the revised camera settings.

So here we go. The usual Pochard were in evidence.

A few pairs of Shovellers were circling around each other. At first I thought this was a mating ritual but in the end decided that they working together to stir up the underwater mud for food.

Whooper Swans were also in evidence but I already have loads of photos from previous visits but was tempted by a pair fighting on the far side of the scrape.

The flock of Wigeon were frequently disturbed to take flight although I never saw a raptor causing the disturbance.

and finally, two Mallard drakes decided to take a dislike to each other.

With the light disappearing, I left the reserve and drove north for a couple of miles but the only bird worth photographing was a male Pheasant in the evening light. Yes, I know they are boring birds, rarely seeming to do anything interesting, but I like the colours of the background contrasting with the plumage.

The overall result - I am happy that the camera suits my purpose and the software is now also working satisfactorily. Some photos were taken with the Canon EF 500 f4 lens and a 2x converter and some with the Canon EF 100-400 f4.5-5.6 lens with a 1.4 converter. I am happy with both.

Now, all I want is a good day's weather and something really interesting to fill the R5's viewfinder.