Fairburn Ings

A walk on the wild side. Coot on ice upon a frozen lake. Its only in conditions like this you really get to see the birds feet and how big they are too Delighted with the performance of the 300 f4 lens the detail captured is fantastic. Im particularly thrilled witht the water droplets on the birds chest.

4. Fairburn Ings

12 February 2012.

Despite buying the informative e-book http://www.dojoklo.com/Full_Stop/Nikon_D7000_Experience.htm created by Doug Klostermann explaining all the settings in detail for my new Nikon D7000, could I really fathom it still? No! The Nikon manual was also confusing. Time to recruit wildlife expert Paul Miguel and see if he could throw some light on the technicalities as a major part of the camera use was going to be for wildlife coupled with some big lenses either bought or hired. 

We met on a chilly February winter morning at RSPB ‘Fairburn Ings’ – the renowned wildlife reserve in Yorkshire with open water, grassland, reed beds and wet woodland. Great habitat to practice and get grips with this camera with Paul.

This one to one workshop was essential. I had been ambitious with my future plans with photography – we had booked an African safari in April (8 weeks away) and I really did not want to be fumbling about in a jeep with my camera trying to work out how to use it and being unfamiliar with it, whilst all the wonderful wildlife disappeared even before I’d got the chance to photograph it! 

A favourite post. This wonderful little sparrow was flying around the winter bird feeding stations looking for food. I noticed that it was regularly using a favourite post checking out the feeding station before picking its moment to fly in. It was just a question of time for me too waiting for the bird to turn its head a the right moment. I knew the background colours would compliment the birds feathers - I didnt know how good until I downloaded
The main issues were based around focal points. I brought along some of my failed attempts in the form of prints from previous months attempts with the D7000 together with my Nikon 300 f4 prime lens (yet another investment) to my workshop with Paul. Doug Klostermann manual came with me (together with a lot of hope that Paul would be able to help).

As we sat in the warmth of the visitor centre drinking big mugs of tea, expert wildlife photographer Mr Paul Miguel soon put me at my ease as together we worked through the ‘problems’ I was having and analysed just exactly what was going wrong for me and expert advice as to how to put this right. Although Paul is not really a Nikon user (Canon cameras are his thing), his analysis of the technicalities and camera functions was great. It was time to see if what Paul had explained and demonstrated to me I’d be able to do myself! Time to get out there, in the cold and go for it!

Sparrow amongst the brambles. The repeating curves of the brambles and the bird of course was the attraction. On mas the brambles from left to right create their own corner to corner curve. If im picky and I need to be its a shame the twrig crosses the sparrow still, the bird is in its setting and sharp and thats what I wanted. The layering in this shot with such a narrow apperture is a delight.
Male sparrow amongst the brambles. This it has to be said, is one of my favourites. It all came together in this shot
Despite our early morning rendezvous (we were the first in the car park even before the staff had arrived), the reserve had become quite busy with many wildlife enthusiasts and experienced photographers occupying the main hides, so we ventured into more open terrain further along the trails to quieter spots. Despite the cold the light was good. The grey start to the day had turned into a brightly lit one and with the snow and frost on the ground and covering the vegetation, reflective light was all around us. Tricky! However, Paul’s expert advice as to how to handle such tricky lighting conditions was also well received and put into practice.

It was fantastic and a very rewarding morning’s one to one workshop with Paul. I learnt a great deal in such a short space of time. Roll on Africa!