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Wex Entry: Damselflies

This weeks #WexMondays competition was take in a nearby nature reserve of Thompson Common which is owned by the Norfolk Wildlife Trust. I like this reserve mainly for fungi in the Autumn and bugs and insects at this time of year. 

I wanted to see some bigger dragonflies as I have already seen and photographed some Damselflies on the previous day at RSPB Strumpshaw Fen. However all I saw were Damselflies on the way back to the car and the odd butterfly which I were expecting to see more of.

The main thing I learned from this photoshoot is that it pays to be patient. It was only after I stood still for awhile till they started to land on the leaves to make it possible to photograph these tiny insects, and on occasions I got very close with the sigma 105mm about 15cm away from them

My technique was to set the camera at around F/16 and shutter speed at least at 1/250 seconds and manual focus with the ISO to create a good exposure being around 800. The idea was to make very slight adjustments to my body position forwards and backwards to achieve an image where I had the correct focus. With the camera set to high speed shooting I could easily take 10 images with the hope one of those would be useful, all taken in RAW mode.

Stay tuned for a video on my editing process from this trip.

EDP May Magazine Publication

Seeing my images in publications is still a novelty and gives me a sense of achievement. Taken last year in Wayland Wood is just outside of Watton which is where I live and naturally is one of my most visited locations simply because I can walk to it.

In 2014 I made the effort to explore Wayland Wood to capture the Bluebells on a number of occasions as they progress throughout the season visiting at different times of the day. Going into woodland at the beginning or end of the day when the sun is at a low angle will produce images with interesting side light and shadows from trees which adds depth to images, the image used was taken around 8am. 

Because cameras do not currently capture what they human eye sees I use a technique called HDR or High Dynamic Range to capture enough detail to create a picture I would be happy with. Most of my landscape images are taken using the HDR technique, watch this YouTube video for HDR is action. 

 

Bluebells are now coming to an end for the 2015 showing and I shall be moving onto butterflies in the coming weeks building on last years experience, hopefully my newly acquired 80-200 lens will do a better job. Next year will be a challenge as I need to try something new with bluebells to avoid taking the same image over and over.

 

The Yellow Star of Bethlehem

During the last week I have been spending time in Wayland Wood as it has started to wake up from winter. 

I have been focusing too much on bluebells which isn't a bad thing but it would be too easy to miss other beautiful flowers that are currently in bloom such as The Yellow Star of Bethlehem which was pointed being a rare plant and only appears in a small number of locations in the UK and Wayland Wood is one of those places.

Macro photography to me is very rewarding as I find a sense of achievement when I can capture something beautiful that you would otherwise not even notice.

Using a Nikon D7100 with a Sigma 105mm lens I was sitting down on a bin bag and using a tripod to get a rough position. With the wind and the size of the flower being not much bigger than a 5p coin taking a picture that was usable was very difficult. I carry a small water bottle to create water droplets on flowers to create a more interesting picture.

I often see small insects around flowers which I find fascinating and fun to watch and getting any detail from them is even more of a challenge.

As spring is well on its way im sure many more will popup on here, so please visit often to see the results.


The Four Day Holiday

I had four days of holiday entitlement to take before April, It was slightly annoying having go into work for just the one day.

Like with all my holidays I spend the time exploring the countryside looking photographic opportunities. With it still being February the nature reserves are still barren and uninteresting. 

With nature photography not being an option (Snowdrops being an exception) I focused my efforts around the North Norfolk Coastline and Norfolk Broads.

When planning my trips out I try and find a number of locations nearby, for example on Tuesday which was my first day off, the first place was Thurne Windpump, then onto Horsey which was 8 miles from Thurne and then onto East Somerton that was 2.5 miles from Horsey which in themselves won't keep me busy for a whole day. http://www.shothotspot.com/ is a great website to find photo locations.

Wednesday I visited Cromer then went onto Sheringham, Thursday Kings Lynn with a couple of photographic friends. Friday Brancaster and then Brancaster Staithe. 

Since I solved my purple fringing issue when taking long exposures I wanted to focus on that type of photography. Long exposures are good with moving objects like skies and water to smooth them out and it creates a moody feel to images.

Thurne is one of the most photographed windmills in Norfolk as it is easily accessible and in good repair. Horsey Windpump which is owned and maintained by the National Trust is currently being repaired due to the recent storms damaging the sails and they are also refurbishing the facilities. This visit was to see the other mill nearby called Brograve Mill which is accessible by the footpath at Horsey where there is plenty parking available. 

East Somerton has remains of a church was I thought would be interesting to see and I was not disappointed with the brick work covered in vines and a tree growing in the middle of the structure. An added bonus was Snowdrops which I also wanted to photograph this year. 

Cromer Pier has been on my mental list for sometime now and is ideal for long exposure photography. What I wasn't expecting was the amount of repair work that is ongoing on the sea defenses and the pier itself with the beach around the pier is closed off to the public which is unfortunate as I would have liked to take an image from the beach level, maybe in a year once the works have been completed.

An old street in Kings Lynn

I lived in Sheringham for about 5 years, unfortunately my parents restaurant business closed at the start of the recession and the building appears to be still empty. This was the first time I have returned, other than the new Tesco and Sainsburys in the old Woolworths not a lot has changed. 

Despite living in Norfolk since 2000 I cannot remember exploring Kings Lynn, reading up the towns history on Wikipedia is quite interesting, used to be called Bishops Lynn. There are a few old buildings and streets about worth looking at.

I have been to Brancaster Staithe before, very photographic with the fishing industry. Brancaster beach further along is very flat and open but lacks any interest, no boats or sea defenses. It wasn't long till I moved onto Brancaster Staithe.

My next week off isn't till the 3rd for 4th week in March, more research is required to see what else is interesting to see in Norfolk and possibly Suffolk. There are a few more windpumps that require a long walk to view them.