Pied Avocet, Marievale

I like the harmony and balance, the silent concentration, in these photographs of pied avocets with their swooping bills wading in the waters at the Marievale Bird Sanctuary. Time for a break, I thought, in the Spanish series…  

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Blacksmith Plover

From photographs of birds, taken during my recent field trip to the Marievale Bird Sanctuary, this blog will see a change of scene, to our travels in Spain – but only when we are back, Rob and I, towards the end of September, from Andalucia and Madrid. Meanwhile here is one image – a blacksmith…

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Pied Kingfisher

This Pied Kingfisher was hard at work when I came across him, rising from a bed of reeds, hovering, swivelling his head this way and that, wings beating madly as he looked for his dinner. I took a million photographs, the first lot using a fast shutter speed to freeze the motion, and then a…

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Coot Chicks

These little chicks are coot, you might say. I saw them, on the vlei at Marievale, far out on the water, at the furthest reach of my 500mm telephoto, and even then I had to crop the images severely. The teeniest chicks, interestingly, were the furthest out – mere orange-beaked fluff,  beside the black hulls…

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Bird on a Wire

Here’s a good one. A prisoner in a Turkish prison goes to the prison library, and asks for a particular book. The prison librarian replies, ‘We don’t have that book. But we do have the author.’ Signs of the times, you might say – the modern dystopia. History has not ended – in fact, it’s…

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Against the light

From the corner of the hide, you looked out across the water, directly into the light, where the coots were squabbling and giving chase, and I knew at once that this was an image made for black-and-white. I took several photographs, aware of how tricky the light was, and struggling with the heavy lens to…

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Photography Analogue and Digital

The world I was born into was analogue. That meant film: in my case, mostly Kodak Tri-X, or Ilford FP4. Tri-X for when you wanted to “push” the film speed, where the light was low, or where you wanted a contrasty, journalistic effect or – I shall come back to this in a moment –…

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Squacco Heron lift-off

Now here’s a thing.  Going through my photos from Marievale, I came across a nice sequence of images of a squacco heron marching through the reeds. You can almost hear the martial music – tum ti tum ti tum ti DUM – as it crashes onwards and finally, clumsily, launches into the air. I was…

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White-Throated Swallow

This little fellow, I think, has the confidence to speak for himself. Photographed from a hide at Marievale, with the Nikon D500 and Nikon 200 – 500 mm lens. The more I shoot with it, the more I love this combo!

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Sacred Ibis

On my left, as I drove slowly onto the causeway that crosses the marsh, was an expanse of dry reeds. Amongst the reeds, away in the distance, was an African Sacred Ibis, going about its business. Some of you may not see the point of this photograph – it’s not the conventional “portrait,” nor does…

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What’s in the can?

Of course there are no longer ‘cans’ but still, you never really know, do you, what you’ve managed to capture on a day out in the field, shooting moving objects – birds, in this case – until you’ve got back home and uploaded your images into Lightroom on your Mac. I’ve just been scrolling through…

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Spotted Eagle Owl

We were returning from the far side of the Madikwe Game Reserve, after dark, after a long drive to see the wild dogs. As we neared our lodge the ranger shone his light on this owl – a Great Eagle Owl, he said. I checked the SASOL Birds of South Africa yesterday, after processing this…

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