Welcome to dispatches

Below you will see a sample of the various projects that I am currently working on therefore the postings may appear infrequent. Please use the Subscribe tab on the left of the page to enable you to receive notification automatically I add an entry.

Please be reminded that all the images on this site have copyright – kindly do not abuse this trust – thank you.

I hope that you enjoy reading the dispatches

Apologies – Aperture headache

15th February 2016

Aperture – Take your images to a new place !!!!!

It’s been a long time now since I have updated my blog however the reason being is that I have been “pre-occupied” with an issue that was very kindly presented to myself and many others of us that use (or used to use!) the Apple product – Aperture 3 – their digital imaging workflow software.

Apple in their infinite wisdom announced last year (but did not give full details until earlier this year) that they were not going to continue to support Aperture – great – so all of those like myself that have invested an enormous amount of time have had to find an alternative RAW workflow system.

Ironically I have just looked at the Aperture literature that came with the original software and it says: – “Aperture 3 – Take your photos to a new place” – little did I know that they had really warned me of their intentions all those years ago when I first bought the software!!!!!!!!.

I don’t really think that Apple has any conception as to the effect that this has had on many of their loyal following – Apple’s decision was made, I would image, based solely on the basis of profit where it was decided that more money could be made by going down a different channel. Should we be angry and upset? – no, not really but it should be a warning to all of us who are dependent on ANY company that offers us services that we need and/or rely on and not just in photography as any manufacturer could and will make these defining decisions that will, at some time, effect us all. So, how am I resolving this problem – by making a positive out of a negative (no pun intended)

Without Apple’s decision I would have carried on using their software for ever and a day so, this has made me look at all the alternatives which I must admin has been an eye-opener. After looking through many a website and many different products I have finally decided to change over to Adobe Lightroom – As I said earlier I have read many a website where I gained lots of important information but the main thing was that each and every photographer has their own opinion and own preferences so the main thing to understand is that the buck stops with you and it for you to make YOUR own decision on not only which software to change over to but how you make this transition and how you apply it. I have been very surprised at the amount of mis-information being offered both on free websites and also in books and e-book downloads – I am having a torturous journey and have had to make many a you-turn.

I don’t intend to go into a long and detailed account of this journey in this blog but if anyone wants any details of the issues that I have come across then please contact me and I will gladly assist where I am able.

Scilly Isles

16th August 2015

Last week I returned from a long week-end in theScilly Isles – over four days I spent a fantastic time being bounced around on a boat enjoying a pelagic trip with 25 other people but at least it remained dry apart from some light mizzle on the Sunday morning. There were good views of sea birds throughout the week-end together with blue sharks and various dolphins – quite an assortment. Here below are some of the highlights: –

Manx Shearwater
Manx Shearwater
Great Skua
Great Skua
Gannet
Gannet
European Storm Petrel
European Storm Petrel
Great Shearwater
Great Shearwater

 

 

It’s been a while

26th July 2015

It’s been a while since my last posting – many reasons for this with the main one being that I have been working on a re-vamp of my website – reckon you may have noticed that the layout has been altered with the hope that it is more user friendly.

Over the past month or so I have also been busy on new projects, some which I have added images below but the others will be added within the main gallery under a new heading “Latest Images” – these will be with you later in the week.

Jackdaw
Jackdaw

I, like many of you have Jackdaw’s in my garden – they arrive every year and use my feeders – here they have just taken the seed that I placed for the House Sparrows!!!

Chiffchaff
Chiffchaff

It was good to see a family of Chiffchaff using my back-garden this spring – I think that they may have left recently as I no longer hear them singing away but not before I managed to get another image of them.

 

Long-tailed Tit

Long-tailed Tit

Another species of bird that used the facilities on offer was a family of Long-tailed Tit – here you see one of the fledglings and below a young Great-spotted Woodpecker finds an old piece of tree to wait for his parent for a feed.

 

Great-spotted Woodpecker
Great-spotted Woodpecker

 

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More images from my Romanian trip

24th May 2015

Black-necked Grebes
Black-necked Grebes
Great reed warbler
Great Reed Warbler
Thrust nightingale
Thrush Nightingale
Wood sandpiper
Wood Sandpiper

Black woodpecker and European rollers

12th May 2015

There was an opportunity to possibly photograph a  Black Woodpecker although this was not for the faint-hearted. The hide was accessed by crossing a swamp and then climbing into what can only be described as a box for one single occupant – there was little room to move once seated and I had to be in the hide for 5 hours – visibility was restricted due to the angle of view – all I could do was sit and wait and wait I did and eventually a male woodpecker turned up and I was able to get an image. Was it worth it ?? – well, I did think so after the event but I must admit to thinking that I had chosen the wrong option whilst in the hide!!

Male black woodpecker
Male Black Woodpecker

Earlier in the day I was able to view European Roller’s from a hide adjacent to a nesting site – the birds were continually harassed by Hooded Crow’s as you wipe see.

European rollers being mobbed by a hooded crow
European Roller’s being mobbed by a Hooded Crow

More from yesterdays river trip due to the number of species on view.

Pair of Red-necked Grebe
Pair of Red-necked Grebe
Red-necked grebe
Red-necked Grebe
Penduline Tit
Penduline Tit

I spent about two hours watching this bird whilst he was making his nest – this is truly a work of art.

Romania

11th May 2015

Off on a visit to the Danube Delta in Romania for a week – there is a new venue on there and I thought that it would be a good idea to see what the facilities were like. The pre-information was exciting as there were many species one could photography – some from hides and others from vehicles  therefore it looked promising. The journey was a long one in that after reaching Bucharest, we had to then travel 4 hours by vehicle to a ferry port and then another two hours by river taxi. This took the best part of two days and by the time that we had reached our destination and had a tour of the site which was ideal as this helped to  acclimatise and find your bearings, we were pretty tired.

First day and we took a ride out on a boat to see Pelicans (White and Dalmatian) and also various Terns and Gulls – this proved to be an amazing trip as we encountered a huge number of pelicans which must have been over 1,000 birds – I had previously photographed these birds but I still found the spectacle totally amazing. We also managed to see 3 species of terns in “stonking” breeding plumage plus gulls in similar plumage – it was a sight to behold.

White Pelican
White Pelican
White Pelican (with his mouth full!!)
White Pelican (with his mouth full!!)
Black Tern
Black Tern
Common Tern
Common Tern
Whiskered Tern
Whiskered Tern

Jackdaw

2nd May 2015

After a bit of thought and rather than travel out onto the levels I decided on taking some images of the Jackdaws that visit my garden feeders. Rather than just moan at them for making a mess in my chimney, I decided to attempt taking a few images whilst they were in such fine plumage. Most people do not give the crow family a second glance but I do think that these birds look rather attractive  – what do you think?

Jackdaw
Jackdaw

Rare bird in Somerset

30th April 2015

Whilst checking on the Somerset Ornithological website it was mentioned that there was great excitement down at Meare Heath on the Somerset Levels. A bird not seen in the UK since the 1980″s was in attendance so I ventured over to see what was going on. On arrival I saw that there was already a good crowd of birders/photographers in attendance ( but no rare bird!) so we stood around for a while and within a couple of hours we saw our first sightings of the Hudsonian Godwit

It was all very exciting but I did have great difficulty initially in recognising the bird as it was in a large flock of Black-tailed Godwits which are of similar size – just when you get a sighting then something spooks the birds and they all fly off to another part of the scrape which usually means that they are further away from you!!. However once the birds are in the air then the difference between the species is more clearly defined due to the dark underwing. I enjoyed the challenge of getting a worthwhile image and also chatting to some of the birders present – some of which had travelled long distances in order to see this bird – they were from Exeter, Cardiff, Bristol and also  a group of 4 birders who had driven down from Teeside that morning starting out at 2 am – and there was me travelled all of 10 miles!!

Hudsonian Godwit
Hudsonian Godwit
Hudsonian Godwit
Hudsonian Godwit
Hudsonian Godwit
Hudsonian Godwit

Chiffchaff

28th April 2015

I set about digging out an area in my garden for a shallow water dip in the hope that the local birds will come down to drink and bathe. I am including a backdrop of blackthorn hedging and also some old logs and branches to hopefully make it look more interesting. Theory is one thing and planning is another but I soon realised that digging an area 3 metres square made me a little out of puff !!

Whilst I was digging awayI heard the cheerful sounds of a Chiffchaff, so when I needed rest from the digging I spent some time scanning the trees and hedges  – I was very pleased to locate one of a pair and photographed it from the safety of some hedging that I used as cover – I have heard these birds before within the garden but never managed to locate any – think that I will have another go next week so will keep you posted.

Chiffchaff
Chiffchaff

Last day in Finland……..for a while!!

30th March 2015

No sooner that I arrive and it is time to go…….today is our last full day and we want to use it well. Our first task is an attempt to photograph a Capercaillie – I have photographed this species before in Norway but not in the snow – this will be interesting as they say as I will have to use snow shoes in order to track through the forest – this is going to be interesting indeed – walking in deep snow in snow shoes with a heavy pack on my back – does it work??

Capercaillie
Capercaillie

After about 40 minutes we found a solitary Capercaillie – whilst we wanted to find him, I do not think that he wanted to see us – if we strayed and moved away from the guide then this individual thought that we were fair game and he would attack – guess what – I made very sure that wherever Petri our guide went, then so did I.

Capercaillie
Capercaillie

After spending a little time with him we left and returned to our vehicle but not before I managed to trip up in my snow shoes – I reckon that I will be able to make the diving team with the way I flew through the air – graceful, you bet. Eddie the Eagle has all to worry about!!

Anyway, after a quick brush-down it was back to the hunt for a Great-grey owl – not as easy as you think – we were looking in an area where one had been seen on a previous day and it looked like another no-show. This is why we have a guide, and a very good guide indeed – Petri found the bird which was so well camouflaged that only he could see it – magic. This owl began hunting after about an hour of sitting in his tree – it was fantastic to watch as he flew around a small area catching voles and moving from tree to tree – thankfully it was either side of the road so  we did not have to wade through 5 feet of snow to get a photograph.

Great-grey owl
Great-grey owl
Great-grey owl
Great-grey owl
Great-grey owl
Great-grey owl
Great-grey owl
Great-grey owl

Well, did I get the shot that I wanted of this magnificent bird? Alas, no, so I guess that I will have to try again next year. However I very much enjoyed the photography and the challenge of these few days in beautiful Finland.Happy days indeed.