Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Metallic frog

This evening I checked-out the local fen again. I wanted to know the state of the Cottongrass (is it still flowering?) and to look for a nice viewpoint for a wide-angle exposure? The weather was nothing spectacular (no wind, no clouds, no mist, just a plain peaceful sunset), so I left my photo gear in my bag. But when I was about to go home these round wonderful eyes of a Green Frog (Rana esculenta/Groene Kikker) just above the water surface stared at me I quickly mounted my macro lens to the camera. It looks like the water is covered with a metal membrane. Beauty is in so many things that are just around us all the time, you only have to lallygag and open up a bit to see it.

* Canon EOS 5D Mark II with 100mm/f2.8; ISO-400, f6.3, 1/60s; +0.7 stop; hand held.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Nest protection by photographer!

In 2011 this Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos minor/Kleine Bonte Specht) also attempted to breed in this birch. However, just when he finished the cavity the tree collapsed (probably because the tree was hit by a tractor with a heavy agricultural machine). Against all odds I immediately repaired the tree with some slats. The Lesser Spotted Woodpecker returned immediately to the cavity, but unfortunately the brood of 2011 was unsuccessful. Apparently the disaster of last year has been forgotten. Now there are young birds in a new cavity in the same splinted birch, and dad returns regularly with a bill loaded with insects and caterpillars. Mum is a bit lazy and does not show up at all. When I was sitting in my hide photographing this diligent ♂, a Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major/Grote Bonte Specht), appeared at the scene. IMHO big brother was too interested in the hole with begging sounds. I guess he wanted to robe the nest, so I scared it off. Who says that nest photography is disturbing?

* Canon EOS 5D Mark II with 500mm/f4.0; ISO-800, f8.0, 1/200s; from tripod.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Cottongrass stage 1

Early morning (at 5h15 AM) I went together with Andrew George to a small local fen with flowering Common Cottongrass (Eriophorum angustifolium/Veenpluis). In the Netherlands it is folklore (for some people) to do an early morning walk in the fields on Ascension Day. We even have a special word for this “dauwtrappen”, meaning something like “go out in the country-side while the dew is still on the grass”. I do not know whether this is also the habit at other countries. Anyhow, we enjoyed it very much and were rewarded with a wonderful sunrise!
Note that these photos are made at the very same spot as the one of May 13th 2012! The photo of myself, doing what I by far most like, is made by Andrew.

* Canon EOS 5D Mark II with 17-40mm/f4 @ 17mm; ISO-100, f16, 1/6s; -0.7 stop; 3 stop ND soft gradient filter; from tripod.
* Canon EOS 5D Mark II with 100mm/f2.8; ISO-100, f5.6, 1/200s; hand held.
* Nikon D700 with Nikkor 70-200mm/f2.8 @ 70mm; ISO-200, f3.5, 1/8000s; -0.7 stop; hand held.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Cottongrass prologue

For me as a typical evening person the biggest drawback of nature photography is that you have to get up very, very early, especially around this time of the year. Moreover, I was pretty tired the last couple of weeks and so I decided to do the second best thing, and made this wide-angle exposure at a more decent time, i.e. just before sunset.

* Canon EOS 5D Mark II with 17-40mm/f4 @ 19mm; ISO-100, f16, 1/4s; polarization and 3 stop ND soft gradient filter; from tripod.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Thundery sky

Bad weather is good weather for a nature photographer. Strabrechtsche Heide this evening, it just starts to rain. Time for one more 30s exposure and then it is time to pack and go back (the open plain is not a nice place to be when lightning is all around). The Natterjack (see previous post) concert just started here.

* Canon EOS 5D Mark II with 17-40mm/f4 @ 17mm; ISO-100, f11, 30s; fader @ 7 stops; from tripod.