The Photography show 2017

On Sunday I went to this year’s Photography show; this 4-day event runs from Saturday 18th to Tuesday 21st March at the Birmingham NEC. Like previous years, I visited the show with my friend Richard Brown; the only difference is that he drove this year as I no longer have a car. Richard has already written his report of the show and this can be read here.

Although there wasn’t a lot of new equipment to see this year (my local LCE stores do stock a lot of photographic gear between them) I was very interested in seeing a number of photographers, manufacturers and suppliers this year.

We left Lincoln at about 07:15 and as the traffic was quite light we arrived just after 09:00, we had a similar drive time back too. Unfortunately, the public are not allowed in until 10:00 so we had to order a quite expensive coffee at Starbucks to help with the wait. After the coffee, we joined the hoards as we ventured into the staging area. Whilst here I picked up my show guide and shortly afterwards a large 5 second countdown started on the a big screen we were allowed in when it reached zero.

What follows are the parts of the show that was of most interest to me.

Olympus:
The Olympus stand was at the top of my list and the first stand I ventured towards once we were allowed in. I picked up my complimentary show copy of the Olympus Magazine and then had a quick look around the stand. I noticed that all the reps were present; I know most of them by name now: Lewis, Dave, Jez, Claire and Aiden who I haven’t seen for a while since his promotion. I also checked out the dedicated talks that would be held at their stand. There were 4 scheduled for the day from Tesni Ward, Steve Gosling, Damian McGillyCuddy and finally Gavin Hoey. Although I missed Steve and Damian this year I did manage to attend Tesni’s and Gavin’s presentations.

Whilst at the stand I played with the other OM-D and PEN models and have to say that for a second cheaper body I would prefer the E-M1 (Mark 1) over of the other OMD or PEN models. The best choice would be a second OM-D E-M1 Mark II but these are the most expensive Olympus cameras now; maybe I’ll be lucky enough to win one from this month’s Olympus Competition as featured in the magazine – I can hope.

The other items of interest were the two new flash units, the FL-900 Speedlight and the STF-8 Macro Flash unit. I didn’t get much time with the STF-8, but this is a very well designed unit, simple to control and can be part of the Olympus optical RC system. The FL-900 whist being a weather sealed unit that has a metal foot and gaskets for the weather sealing. This very light (no pun intended) unit has a very small display, what I do find confusing though is why it costs £550! This is more expensive than Canon’s 600EX II-RT* and Nikon’s SB5000 (both flagship Speedlights) and these have both radio and optical RC modes over the Olympus optical only RC mode!

*The Canon Speedlite 600EX II-RT is usually £539 but currently has an £80 cashback offer bringing this down to £459. The Nikon SB5000 is currently £499.

I see the STF-8 in my future but I don’t think I can justify the £550 for the FL-900 unit, not when I can get a Nissin i60A TTL radio controlled unit for only £239 and a radio trigger for £80. Two flashes and a trigger are only £8 more than the FL-900. However, whilst the FL-900 is weather sealed, the i60A units are not. All of the flashguns mentioned have similar guide numbers so that’s not a deciding factor.

Tesni Ward’s presentation featured an excellent collection of photographs mostly from her Mountain Hare project. The images were all amazing and the character for each of the different hares shone through and were sometimes very amusing. Tesni also showed some of her other work too (videos and photos), these were also amazing; the video of the snakes and story behind them was very intriguing. Initially I was slightly worried that the presentation would be similar to the one we saw at Marwell Zoo but was that was quickly dispelled within a few minutes. I cannot wait until May when I will be taking part on one of Tesni’s workshops.

I really enjoyed Gavin Hoey’s presentation, he showed what’s involved when you are given a short brief that (in this case) and how this can require 3 separate shoots involving the Fire Brigade. There were also a liberal sprinkling of tips, do’s and don’ts in there too. I must say that I recognised a lot of them and I am guilty of some of the don’ts mentioned. Gavin’s images were also excellent and it was nice to see how they look when printed which is not something you always have the experience of. I also want to finish by saying that Gavin is one of the nicest people I have ever met and an excellent teacher, thanks Gavin if you are reading this. 🙂

Nikon stand:
Richard and I briefly visited the Nikon stand where you could get a picture of you (and friends if wanted) holding up of one of Nikon’s “I AM …….” signs – I think that this marketing idea is a bit tired now but if you like Nikon I suppose it’s nice. I also picked up a Nikon D5 fitted with a 14-24mm lens, whoa! this is a heavy beast, heavier than I thought it would be. It’s at times like this that I am glad I moved to the Olympus OM-D range, I simply have no desire to carry around such a heavy camera/lens combo anymore. I also much prefer the sound of the Olympus shutter over the large “clacking” sound that the Nikon made. I think the OM-D E-M1 Mark II has the nicest sounding shutter around at the moment!

Canon Stand:
Although Canon probably had the largest presence at the show especially as they had their own video booth too, was a vendor I had no interest in seeing as they had nothing new to show. Both Richard and I walked past them many times; obviously, we were in a minority as there were loads of people in and around this area.

Panasonic:
As another one of the MFT (Micro Four Thirds) manufacturers I’m always interested in what Panasonic are up to and I had a chance to try out their full range of interchangeable lens cameras as well as the new FZ2000. Top of my list was the GH5 and Panasonic they had plenty to play with. Similar to the previous GH models, the GH5 looks like a mini-DSLR with its ample grip, central EVF and top mounted controls. The grip of the GH5 has changed slightly from the one of the GH3/GH4, although I have never used a GH4 I have owned a GH3 in the past.
The GH5 has a few features over the GH4 but as most of these are around video there wasn’t much to see. I also had a go with the Leica 42.5mm f1.2 lens on a GX8 and that is a seriously nice lens. I felt that the focusing on the GX8 seemed to be quite slow and has that focusing system that has to go past the point of focus and then back again.

Fujifilm:
The main attraction for both Richard and I at the Fujifilm stand (more so Richard) was medium-format GFX50S camera, although this is smaller than a “traditional” medium-format it is larger than 35mm “full-frame”.

I had a quick go with the GFX50S and was instantly surprised how light the camera was (even with a lens and battery). The focusing speed could do with a boost though – it reminded me of early X-T1 AF performance prior to the improvements that came with the firmware updates. Overall though I was impressed. I think a lot of users who were going to get a Nikon D5 or Canon 1DX/1DX II might go for one of these as the cost difference isn’t that great; £6,200 for the body and £2,200 for the standard zoom lens. However, I don’t personally see one of these in my future.

Sony
Like Canon, the Sony stand was by passed as they don’t have much new stuff that interests me. Don’t get me wrong, they (like Tamron and Sigma) have impressive new glass to show off but I don’t see a Sony 35mm full-frame mirrorless camera on my horizon. Sony also seem to be ignoring their APS sensor sized cameras as far as lenses go; I’m not sure why but they seem to have gone back to their old habits where new cameras come out very regularly but lens growth is almost non-existent. I suspect that new cameras are easier/cheaper to design and all of their lens technology and know-how is focused on the much larger and more expensive full-frame mirror-less cameras.

Sigma and Tamron:
I also did not visit the Sigma and Tamron booths and although they both have impressive new glass to show this is either for Sony, Nikon or Canon mounts. Although both Tamron and Sigma do agree that mirrorless cameras could offer them growth, if it isn’t for Sony there isn’t much to see. Sigma do have a few boring MFT lenses but Tamron have none.

NiSi Filters:
After a lot of searching I found the NiSi Filters booth and I was surprised at their presence at the show. Not only did we have (nearly) all their products on display they also had some “NiSi Ambassadors” present too. Each ambassador would do a talk and presentation at the stand from time to time explaining not only why they use NiSi filters but also how they got the shot when showing their very impressive images.

I was particularly interested in meeting up with Phil Norton who is not only one of NiSi ambassadors and also a distributer in the UK too. I have sent a few emails to Phil enquiring about the filters and their use with and OM-D camera and lenses and found him very helpful. Phil also uses the OM-D cameras and lenses so can offer very useful tips. Unfortunately, it seems that everyone wanted to talk to Phil too so I only managed to get 5 minutes of his time. We spoke about the system and he was going to show me the adapter for the Olympus 7-14mm f2.8 PRO lens but couldn’t get to it at the time as his bag was next to another ambassador who presenting. Phil’s personal adapter was not being sold at the show so was the only one there. I suggested coming back to see his presentation later and then see the adapter then. Although I did get back to see Phil’s presentation and spectacular images he was talking to more people straight after his talk and I gave up trying to see Phil again.

X-Rite:

Although I already have an X-Rite i1 Display Pro calibration device I did go and see them as the rubber on the outside of mu device has gone very “tacky”. I did try (many months prior to the show) get in contact with them regarding this but got no reply. Their reaction to the tacky-ness issue at the show clearly shows that this is a known problem, they were apologetic in the fact that no-one replied to my email and then logged the issue again on their site on my behalf. I’ll have to wait and see if anything comes of this beyond the standard email confirmation message I received. They did say that I would probably end up with a replacement device – hope springs eternal.

Other Vendors:
I had a good look around and the accessory space is alive and well, a lot of vendors were there showing off and selling luxury camera bags and (very expensive) camera straps each numbering into the hundreds of pounds but they will match your Leica camera nicely.

My favourite bag was being shown at the Olympus stand and is (currently?) only available with the EM-1 Mark II camera as a show offer promotion. The bag made by Gillis has an indigenous design and looks the part too, I want one and I suspect that some users who got the bag at the show might sell them on eBay later. Failing that I think that they will be available at some point a few weeks or months from now. The bag has an RRP of £299 – but it’s worth every penny!

Retailers
In addition to all of the camera and accessory manufacturers at the show we also had London Camera Exchange (LCE), Calumet and Camera World too. Whilst some of the offers at the show were nothing special (i.e. £5 off a £75 battery) there were also some fantastic deals to be had too. I went with the purpose of picking up the Olympus M.Zuiko 300mm f4 IS PRO lens and a Peak Design wrist strap. I went straight to the LCE stand and surveyed the Olympus offers page on one of their glass cabinets, the lens was being sold with a £500 discount! Soon after I had an LCE bag with my 300mm lens in there – colour me happy! LCE had the best deal for this lens as Camera World were only offering a £200 discount. I could not see any Olympus gear at the Calumet Stand although I did get my Peak Design wrist strap from them.

Wrap Up
I had a great day at the show, good company, met up with some fantastic people/photographers, got hold of the lens I wanted and might get my tacky i1 Display Pro device sorted out too. The only thing I didn’t like was the food – over-priced and not very good either. I’ll certainly come next year and bring my own food, at least that way I’ll gets something I like and not be fleeced.

Portland Bill in March

In early March I ventured down to Winchester to take part in the free OLYMPUS Experience Day at Marwell Zoo, you can read more about that here. I used to live in Winchester before I moved up to Lincoln and when living there the company I used to work for paid for me to go to college on a day release course. This was an ONC level Electrical and Electronics Engineering course – a requirement for the work I was doing at the time. The ONC course was run by Eastleigh College and whilst there I made a good friend – Gary, although at first I wasn’t too keen on him. We have been friends ever since although I don’t see him as much as I would like but there are almost 200 miles between us.

Gary sitting down taking pictures:

As I was in the area I contacted Gary and we decided to do a photo-shoot at Portland Bill, a location that Gary has been to before but is a new one for me. It took almost 2 hours to get there but was well worth it and I was surprised how busy it was. There were also several photographers there trying to get some good shots as well as the smartphone snappers.

Whilst Gary’s previous visits were when the sea was calm it wasn’t the day we went; the tide was coming in and you got covered in sea spray if you ventured to close the shore line. Needless to say, when I got back to my hotel I gave my gear a very good clean.

Some examples of the sea’s conditions:

We then went to the the local cafe “The Lobster Pot” where we both had tea, Gary has a sandwich and I had the largest scone I have ever seen, if I knew it was so big I might have chosen something else:
Don’t get me wrong it was very nice but quite filling too.

After our warming up at the cafe we went back to take some more pictures. As this was Portland Bill I tried another shot of the Lighthouse:

As the day progressed we (after a cheeky pint at the local pub) went on to try to some long exposure photography, this requires a tripod (which I did have with me) and an ND filter which I don’t have (at the moment). Fortunately, Gary had a spare filter which he lent me and I attached this to my 12-40mm PRO lens on my OM-D E-M1 Mark-II. Gary used his other filter on his 12-100mm PRO lens on his OM-D E-M1 Mark-II. This was my first experience with this kind of photography and after many attempts I have two photos that I quite like:

After we finished taking these we had another cup of tea at “The Lobster Pot” along with a small meal. At about the same time the weather started to turn and and chance of good light was gone so we decided to call it a day.

I had a great time out with Gary – thank you for suggesting Portland Bill and for driving us both there.

OLYMPUS Experience Day – Marwell Zoo

Introduction
At the end of last year I pre-ordered and then purchased a new Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II camera and among the benefits of pre-ordering the camera was that you could attend a free workshop, there were a number of locations available. Each workshop was centred on a theme linked to the location and as well as Olympus (along with a large number of Olympus lenses to try out) being there a professional photographer would be present too. The photographer would naturally be one of the Olympus UK ambassadors.

The workshop that I picked was the one at Marwell Zoo where Tesni Ward (a professional wildlife photographer) would be present to offer advice, tips and techniques. This event did “sell out” quickly as I like a lot of photographers enjoy wildlife (if you can call animals in a zoo wildlife) photography.

The event was scheduled for Saturday 4TH March and as the zoo is situated on the outskirts of Winchester (about 4 hours away by car) I would have to travel down before the event and go home afterwards; I don’t fancy getting up mega early, driving for 4 hours and then driving back for 4 hours getting bac god knows when. So I travelled down on the Friday and went back on the following Monday. As I used to live in Winchester I do have a few friends in the area so I spent Sunday with Gary who is also a keen Olympus Photographer, he drive us to Portland Bill (more about this in another post).

To help keep costs down I booked a Premier Inn in Eastleigh (a stone’s throw from the M3) and this I only 20 minutes away from the Zoo. However, that said this “free” workshop did cost me quite a bit what with a hire car, hotel stay for 3 nights, food and petrol. I don’t mind a penny of it as I had a good time over the long weekend, apart from my 4 hour drive back taking 6 hours instead 😦

So on Saturday morning after having a nice breakfast I popped into my hire car (Nissin X-Trail – thankyou to Hertz) I travelled the 20 minutes or so to the Zoo. After arriving and parking the car I noticed a large group of photographers some of which had the Olympus cameras on show. I walked up to them and after confirming that we were all here for the same reason we started chatting. I always liked conversing with other photographers as you always learn something new.

We were also joined by a celebrity: Victoria Bampton who is better known as the LightRoom Queen (https://www.lightroomqueen.com/) I had no idea that she was based in the UK and also an OM-D E-M1 Mark II user. Victoria is a very nice lady did get an awful lot of Adobe LightRoom questions over the course of the day. She was very helpful with answers to common questions although we had a few non comments when new features were being discussed (obviously under NDA); although we did get told that full support for the E-M1 Mark II would be coming soon. Since attending the workshop and writing this blog post we have had a LightRoom/Camera Raw update that now contains full support for the E-M1 Mark II.

After a short while we were met by Jez Sugars (from Olympus) who some of the Olympus users knew who took us into the Park to the main hall where Olympus were based for the day. As we ventured into the building we were met by Claire Voyle (who I have met before at an Olympus Wedding workshop with Rob Pugh). Inside I found Dave Smith who I have also met before once at the Doddington Hall shoot in Lincoln and once in the Nottingham LCE store. Dave like all of the Olympus crew is a very nice guy, is always willing to help and offer advice. There were a few other Olympus people there too but I unfortunately cannot remember their names sorry.

On the way in we were given coffee or Tea and a small room had chairs set out in front of a screen, just to the left of the screen was a table full of Olympus lenses including four 300mm F4 Pro lenses 🙂

After a short introduction from Olympus about a few things, itinerary, the PRO service they handed over to Tesni who explained here journey as a full-time Wildlife Photographer and her migration from the heavy bulky Canon full-frame gear to the Olympus OM-D E-M1 and now the E-M1 Mark-II. The original E-M1 unfortunately had a number of shortcomings that meant that it was not possible to completely migrate, however the Mark II overcame most of these meaning it was now the main camera. Although Tesni still has her Canon gear it is rarely used* At the event the impression was given that it was no longer used although at an interview with Tesni a couple of weeks before she did say that if low light quality was a priority and/or a focal length of 800mm was needed then the Canon gear would/could be used -**** CHECK FACTS CHRIS***

After the introductions we were split into 3 groups, I was in group “3” and this was led by Dave. Tesni walked around and mingled between the groups offering advice about Wildlife Photography whist Dave was on hand for anything Olympus related. One of the first things he changed for me was to disable the quick AF point selection via the 4 way controller; the change meant that you had to click the AF selection button first before changing your the AF point. I was also forcing myself to use back-button focusing which was more successful than I thought it would be although there were a few miss-focused shots.

The Photographs
Although for the first half of the day I started using my own 40-150mm f2.8 Pro lens, I quickly added the 1.4x converter to give me a bit more reach (56-210mm f4 equivalent), the following pictures are taken with this combo:

Yellow Mongoose:

Slender-tailed Meerkat:

Roan Antelope:

Hamerkop:

Blue-crowned Laughing Thrush:

Red-necked Wallaby

Wrinkled Hornbill:

Sulawesi Black Macaque:

M.zuiko 300mm f4 PRO Lens:
After Lunch I was lucky enough to be lent a 300mm F4 Pro lens, all of these following shots are with that lens, sometimes I had too much focal length though:

Crow (taken as a test shot):

Scimitar-horned Oryx:

Amur Leopard:

Grevy’s Zebra:

Congo Buffalo:

Cheetah:

Pygmy Hippopotamus:

At the end of the day we had to give all of the lenses we borrowed back – no free 300mm lenses 😦 and and after a quick Q & A session we were all given Olympus goody bags. Amongst other promotional material the bags had an E-M1 Mark II menu guide, Olympus branded LED torch and pencil. The bag also had a flyer about courses that Tesni offers (some of which are in association with Olympus).

I had a great day out, learned a ton of stuff and met up with like-minded Olympus photographers, in closing I would like to thank everyone from Olympus, the Marwell Zoo and Tesni too.

Judge’s Lodgings Studio Photography Workshop

Following the success of the LCE arranged Doddington Hall Portrait Photo workshop, they have arranged several follow-on workshops. On 28th February we had a Studio Photography Workshop that was hosted by John Clements and this time within the boundaries of Lincoln at the Judge’s Lodgings which is adjacent to the main entrance of Lincoln Castle and a short distance from Lincoln Cathedral.

There were 12 places available and (due to a last-minute cancellation) 11 workshop attendees, I recognised just over half of them from the Doddington Hall shoot last year. Like the previous workshop the camera you used didn’t matter and although I was the only one shooting with an Olympus (OM-D E-M1 MarkII) there was a good mix of Fuji, Canon DSLRs and Nikon DSLRs, surprisingly there were no Sony shooters. Although I was the lone Olympus user, the fact that had a E-M1 Mark II did generate some interest as not many had been seen in the wild. One of the users whose name escapes me for now (sorry not good with names) did show many things you could do with the OM-D, some I was aware of and some other things that were unknown to me – Thank you to whoever you are (if I found out their name I will update this post accordingly).

Taken straight from the LCE Events website here are the details for the course:
Photographing people is the most popular of subjects. But to do it well combines many skills such as lighting, composition and good guidance. So, join us on this workshop as highly respected pro photographer John Clements, shows and explains how to create a wide range of lighting skills and techniques, enabling repeatable and enjoyable results to be achieved when photographing people.

Following very positive feedback after his mini lighting sessions at our Doddington Hall event, imagine what can be achieved sharing a full day with someone who is used by major companies to teach and demystify lighting skills. Leave with a genuinely useful understanding of studio lighting, how it works, and how to shape light with it, to suit various face and body shapes, from the individual to small groups.

Easy to follow step-by-step, this inspiring day is equally suitable for those starting out, simply wanting a recap, or the pro, seeking a refresh and some new ideas. You will also create and leave with some fine images.

Some key areas covered include:

  • Understanding studio flash.
  • Camera settings for studio lighting.
  • Using a light meter for simple and advanced studio lighting arrangements.
  • Real world practical guide to using reflectors, umbrellas, soft-boxes and other common accessories for people photography.
  • Repeatable and practical lighting arrangements for repeatability, inside and out.
  • Working in and around the home or small studio/office environment.
  • Solutions to common people’s lighting needs, such as photographing people wearing glasses and dealing with various body and face shapes.
  • Posing & composition tips.
  • Creating clean white backgrounds.
  • Working with the ‘natural’ backdrop.
  • Creating ‘the quick’ backdrop solution.
  • Practical shooting sessions to cement the techniques and skills on the day.

The images:
Over the course of the day John would discuss a technique and then practically show the technique using the model who you might recognise as Katie from the Doddington Hall Photo-shoot. Some of these were part of an overall lighting strategy towards a final photo and some were single light effects.

The first 2 photos were from the same set of single light head-shots,I like both of these two especially Katie’s expression in the second photo:

The next photo was with two lights and has Katie’s hair undone:

We re-shot the “Black Widow” photo from Doddington Hall again, I’m much happier with this photo over my earlier attempt. Kudos to Katie for this one as it was very cold outside on the day and she only had the coat to keep her warm:

For the final session of the day we were split into two groups, and each group was given a room and brief for a photo shoot. We knew what Katie was wearing and our brief was to shoot an environmental photograph of Katie. I must say that this was a challenging part of the course and really makes you think about so many things, the room we were in was very big and there were so many distracting elements to avoid or camouflage in some way. I took a few photos and the only I really like is shown below:

I must say I had a great day and will join John on some other LCE courses he’s planning to run later in the year. I always enjoy networking with other photographers and I usually learn something new. If you would like to join any of the LCE courses, keep an eye on their Events page.

Lincoln Photo Show 2016

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Today’s the day of the annual London Camera Exchange (LCE) Lincoln’s Photo show at the Lincoln Drill Hall on Free Schhool Lane and runs from 11am – 4pm, entry is as usual free

This year it is on a Sunday (previous years were the Wednesday nearest the 5th November – so a bit earlier in the year too); LCE promises a great day out for everyone from the keen beginner to the seasoned pro. They have stands packed with products, advice and demos from the likes of:

  • Olympus
  • Canon
  • Sony
  • Nikon
  • Sigma
  • Panasonicv
  • Fuji
  • Tamron

Along with a wealth of accessories from:

  • Manfrotto
  • Metz
  • Lastolite
  • Hoya
  • Tenba
  • Hahnel

This year LCE have three guest speakers, each giving an hours presentation on their work and how they achieve the results they get:

11.45am – 12.45pm
Gavin Hoey – Portrait photographer and photoshop master, Gavin gives a unique presentation using Olympus cameras and “smoke and mirrors” to create photography like you’ve never seen before.

1pm – 2pm
Joe Cornish – One of Britain’s most experienced landscape photographers, Joe will present his work on the most amazing landscapes in the world, sharing advice and techniques acquired in years of experience using Sony equipment such as A7RII and G Master lenses.

2.15pm – 3.15pm
Bertie Gregory – 23 years old and travels the world for National Geographic creating amazing films for the National Geographic Channel using Canon equipment including the Eos 1DX MKII. Examples of Bertie’s work can be found at natgeo.com/wildlife

All presentations are free and will run within the main hall along with exhibitions from a group of local camera clubs.

LCE also promise special show only offers and great part exchange deals – I’m not sure what these are so we’ll have to wait and see.

If there’s anything of interest I might post my thoughts and my highlights.

I (like LCE) hope to see you there too!

Hartsholme Park – October 2016

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It’s been a while since I last visited Hartsholme Park and posted some photos; however, I managed to go last Saturday (just over a week ago) and try out my new Fujinon XF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 F LM OIS WR lens which I recently purchased from WEX Photographic for a considerable sum less than it now costs, even with the current cash-back offer taken into account.

I planned to visit the park at the weekend (to try out the new lens) and mentioned this to Richard who I work with, he hadn’t been for a while either and mentioned that he would join me if he could. A quick look at the weather forecast meant that Saturday (15th October) would be the better of the 2 days.

Saturday came and I was up early (to drive my Mum to work) and after getting ready and a good breakfast I headed out to Hartsholme Park, it isn’t a long drive and I arrived around 08:00. I set up the tripod and gimbal tripod head with the lens and camera and took this into the park, I tried a few photos of the Grey Squirrels on the way to my usual spot who were very active on Saturday, but these didn’t amount to anything usable. I ventured further into the park and tried taking a few other photos and noticed that the light levels were very low, I turned up the ISO to as high as I dared (6400 mostly) and this gave me enough light with a high of enough shutter speed to freeze any action or camera shake (even though the tripod helped with the latter of these two).

After about 45 minutes or so at my usual spot I was joined by Richard with his larger (than my) Gitzo tripod, Nikon D800 and Nikkor 300mm f2.8 lens. Although we managed to take a few photos of wildlife on the lake it seemed that there was more action happening behind us what with the squirrels, a curious crow and a few other birds like Wood pigeons and Moor Hens. Unfortunately, with the very high ISO I had to use a lot of my shots (particularly those that needed quite a bit of cropping) didn’t come out too well. I was however quite lucky that a relatively large number were OK enough for me to process and post on my blog. You can also see one of Richard’s on his blog here – at least he got these Canada Geese in focus, I wasn’t quick enough.

My favourite pictures are as follows (all taken with the 100-400mm lens @ 6400 ISO):

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Woburn Safari Park – October 2016

Back on the 6th October most of my family (Mum, Dad and Brother-in-law Simon) went to Woburn Safari Park, the original plan was for us 3 guys to go to Thorpe Park which rather helpfully (not) was shut for the day. However, going to Woburn was a more than great alternative and the bonus is that my Mum can come too, she is like me and likes to take lots of photographs of animals.

On entry to the park you start with a typical safari and drive around in your car, Simon was thankfully driving the four of us, so we all had a corner each. I was upfront with Mum and Dad in the back. The first parts of the park are quite open and you will see various deer, wildebeest and other fairly tame animals roaming around.

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When you enter the later areas (though double gates) you see some of the wilder animals. The first ones were Black Bears, they got very close to the car, the 40-150mm lens that was on the X-T2 couldn’t focus that close so my pictures weren’t very good. 😦

The next section we visited contained the lions:
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They were all female in here and were enjoying a snack on some hoofed animal (looked Gazelle like):
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Towards the end of the Lion area was a separate pen that housed a male lion who was quite happy sunning himself:
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We went through some more double-gates and saw large quantities of Giraffes, at some points we couldn’t drive forward as they kept crossing the road:
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After a short drive and more gates, we drove through the monkey area, their expressions are so human-like:
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They also have a habit of sitting on your car, sometimes large numbers all together:
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Or they just lay around watching the world go by:
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Once we left the monkeys (they didn’t want to get off the car at first), we parked up at the second part of the park which is a walk-around area. There are large numbers of different animals from penguins to Lemurs:
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Just around the corner from the Lemurs were some goat and donkeys:
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After some food and coffee we visited the “Birds In Action” area to watch the show that was about to start. Whilst waiting, a crow was flying around and almost showing off:
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Not long after this the main show started and a number of well-trained parakeets and parrots performed a number of tricks:
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It was all great entertainment:
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They can even put coins in the collection box for you:
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As you can see I took a large number of shots of these amazing birds.

One of the final areas we visited (apart from the elephants) was an Australian animal area, they had a large number of Wallabies, including this almost tame one:
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The also had some Emus too:
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We visited the elephant’s area last but there was always some fencing in the way so I didn’t process any pictures I took. We all had a great day out and if you get the chance to visit I cannot recommend it enough!