Hartsholme Park – February

Yesterday, I went to Hartsholme Park with a good friend Richard, you can see his blog here. Whilst I was looking for Wildlife pictures, he was seeing to see if he could get any good landscape pictures.

We met at the park at 07:10 just after dawn, the first thing I noticed is that it was a lot warmer than last week (no need for thermals:) this time); I had been up for a while as I like to get up early at least one day during the weekend. After launching the GPS software on my iPhone and setting up the tripod we walked into the park from the car-park.

Just as we neared the spot where the pictures were to be taken, we noticed a Heron flying across the lake and land in the solitary nest in the central island. This is probably the same Heron I saw a couple of weeks ago as it was the same nest:

This is at the limit of my Canon EF 100-400mm L IS Lens, even with the effective multiplier of 1.6 of my 7D giving me a 160-640mm FOV, this is the best I can get without cropping. I obviously could do with a 500mm or 600mm lens – the finances cannot support this just yet so I’ll wait for now. I’ll use this time to get more familiar with the gear that I have (topic of another post to come) and general techniques.

The above picture was taken after the light at the park had increased. Most of my early shots even at maximum ISO (the 7D goes to 3200 without breaking a sweat) were very blurred so I looked at taking some landscape shots. As Richard has stated in his blog post, the light was not good. As I looked across the lake I noticed that the street lights for the road that runs parallel to the north-east side of the park’s lake were casting a nice yellow glow. This looked like sun or moon light and with the appropriate cropping can look quite good:

I took a few more pictures and then some wildlife swam into the shot so I went back to landscape format (no pun intended) and took the following shot:

I really like this shot and the tufted ducks in the foreground give the shot some dimension.

Ever since we arrived it kept tying to rain and we braved the weather hoping for more photo opportunities, we saw some Cormorants and Canada geese fly in. Richard got some good shots, all of mine were a bit out of focus, although my panning techniques has improved, getting the focus to acquire and then track the bird is something that will improve with some practice.

With the light still dim I managed to get the following:

I am not sure if this works (or not) and removing the colour has at least removed that as a distraction. I always remember a photographer whose work (and teaching) I admire saying that if “colour does not anything to a photograph, then remove it”; that was Michael Reichmann.

One of the final shots of the day (before it started to really rain) was the following. For anyone familiar with where we were taking the pictures, there’s a fence between the front of the lake and the area we were standing. Everyone now an then some of the ducks would fly off the water onto the side of the lake but in front of the fence. To take their picture I tried the Jeff Schewe method of capturing photo’s. If you have ever seen this then you’ll know what I mean. I was having problems though, I had to lean over the fence, dangling my camera (I have E1 grips on both of my cameras), trying to compose the shot and not scaring the bird’s off. So I turned on the live view and managed to get the following shot:

It’s not a brialiant shot, but the effort expanded in taking it made sure that it would be displayed on this blog.

After a few more shots, the rain started to come down with more force and there is a limit to how much the weather sealing will protect your gear. We went back to the cars, I took pictures of the GPS software bar-code on my iPhone and then we agreed to go to Starbucks to dry off and warm up with a nice Latte:
[googleMap name=”Starbucks Coffee, Lincoln, Tritton road” width=”550″ height=”550″]Tritton Road, Lincoln, Lincolnshire LN6 7AN[/googleMap]

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