Sunday, 30 June 2013


Well a double post from me today, doesn't happen to often. I mentioned the ingenious bit of thinking my girlfriend had on Saturday, due to some consumption of alcohol I was getting her to meet me at the Park and Ride at Sixfields to drive me home. I turn up at 5'ish to see her with not only my camera, which I wasn't too happy about, why? Well quite a few dodgy herberts use the main carpark for smoking dope and some even dodgier herberts go via the carpark to get to the housing estate behind the main lake...but she had Jim my greyhound (soft as hell as long as you're not a cat/squirrel or rabbit/hare) and uber grumpy and aggressive Bailey the Australian Shepherd.
"What's with the camera and dogs" I asked, "Thought since the sun was out you'd want to photograph something and the dogs need their walk"....I lo...l** her...sometimes. So Bailey on the back seat, James standing on the floor behind the front seats and head out of the window (dog not me) his usual place and he loves it the weirdo.
So we headed for the REEDBED. Now as you all know my teleconverters are all knackered (the 1.4's anyway) so I've been shooting without them and I've had some sort of revelation, a revelation I had the time my 500mm decided to refuse to separate from the camera body....the autofocus system seems to be a hundred better then with a teleconverter on. Where the autofocus normally jumps around and when a bird comes out of the sky to eye-level with vegetation in the background it's skips out of autofocus briefly before re-focusing, it now just stays locked on as an example check this sequential shot of a Sedge Warbler coming into land, though try ignoring some of the grey'ish usual.

I think the last two are my favourites, though image number three due to the body angle of the bird is also a favourite, only the slightly grey skies on that image puts me off, I managed 13 frames and got six usable shots and that for the 1d mark3 is quite a good hit rate, I wonder why the AF system works better without the converters on? I wasn't shooting at "super-quick" aperture of f/4 I was at f/6.3 so that's not the reason, maybe the communication via the sensors of the lens and the teleconverter get slowed down or something...very odd. As for the Sedge we were wondering why it kept going up in the sky and doing an impression of a Skylark, I knew where the nest is for this individual, and it was some distance away from the nest and was already singing/flying when we turned up, after the flight shots where got we walked towards the area where the tree was, I got the missus to hold the dogs and I went for a look, as I approached the tree quite near but moving away was a Grass Snake, I couldn't see any "bulges" in the snake, and as soon as I moved away the Sedge went to it's tree, flew off and came back with food, so I'll guess any eggs of juveniles didn't get predated, I didn't check the nest (you just don't do you) so it's only an assumption they're ok, I'll guess we'll see soon if any juveniles fledge from the nest site as to whether they're okay or not.
Other juveniles were present around the site, Great Tits and Blue Tits in plenty of supply and mixed together like it was a "mixed winter flock" but with them was a single Chiff-Chaff juvenile..odd and although there was adult Tits with the juvenile Tits I couldn't locate an adult Chiff-Chaff within the flock. Birds seen and not photographed (holding Bailey on lead) included Reed Warblers, Cettis Warbler, Garden Warbler, Lesser and Common Whitethroat, Bullfinch with juveniles, Mistle and Song Thrush and heard but not seen was a Cuckoo....bugger. I also did get some images of two Hobbies hawking but were both too high and back dropped against a grey sky....gutted but fascinating to watch.


  1. These are great Douglas. I use a 2X on the 1Ds and it's fine. They say the MkIII is better.
    I had this trouble in the Olympus days and improved things dramatically with some switch cleaner and a cotton bud. The things you use for your eye makeup.
    You have been busy this weekend...seen the MotoGP yet? A great race. Most of the barmey loons stopped on their wheels which makes a change.

    1. With the Mkiii it runs a little deeper sadly, when the 500mm got locked to the camera body, the people who repaired it carried out a service at the same time during the process they found out one of the senors wasn't working properly, they repaired it under warranty and it came back with AF system much improved, it's a real Jekyll and Hyde camera.
      Sadly I missed Carl's pole position on Friday and the race on Saturday I think the Moto GP boys missed a trick by not shuffling the race to next weekend etc what with Glastonbury on the red button/Wimbledon/Confederates Cup/Brit GP there's been no replay.