Tag Archives: Lincoln

Woodside Wildlife Park

This was my third visit to Woodside Wildlife Park although every time I come it has a slight name change, last time it was Woodside Wildlife and Falconry Park and the first time (admittedly a few years ago it was simply Woodside Falconry Park. The change in name is simply to detail that it now hosts a very diverse selection of animals. I went there on the 10th May with my parents as a Birthday trip out doing something that I quite enjoy which is (taking pictures of animals).

The park opens at 10:00 and closes at 17:00 and it has several events on throughout the day, on the day we went we had the following itinerary:

  • 11:00 Wolf Feeding
  • 12:00 Amazing Animal Show
  • 13:00 Big Cat Feeding
  • 13:30 Meet the Reptiles
  • 15:00 Bird Show
  • 16:00 Raccoon Feeding

In addition to the activities on during the day we went around the park a few times and took photographs of the other animals that are not necessarily park of any “activity”.

Wolf Feeding
Woodside has 4 magnificent Hudson Bay White Wolves called Saska, Nuna, Toba and Mr. Hudson and their names come from the regions of Canada they originate from. The wolves knew feeding time was near as we arrived at their enclosure. Shortly before feeding they were let out of their sleeping pen. It was very interesting watching them eat the fresh meat as it was thrown over the enclosure’s fence; sometimes the wolf would catch the meat in their jaws as the meat was thrown over. From a photographic view (a common theme at Woodside unfortunately) was that between the enclosure fence and the fence nest to the path where you stand there is a gap of a few feet; this means that you cannot throw the enclosure fence out of focus. Therefore all of my wolf shots have fence in them like the photo below which is a shame as they are amazing animals to observe:

Amazing Animal Show
The show was in the Barn towards the rear of the park and the theme was that each animal had one amazing characteristic that was showcased by the animals. These photos were taken at high ISOs in a very dimly lit barn.

There was a hand reared fox (so could not be released into the wild):

Spotted Genet:

Kinkajou:

We even had many rats walk along a suspending rope from one end of the barn to the other, here is one of them:

Big Cat Feeding
Although Woodside have Siberian Lynx, Geoffrey’s Cats and a Bengal Tiger called Julia , the only big cat I saw them feed was the Tiger. There used to be two but the other one (Tango) passed away late last year. It was difficult to get a reasonable photo of the Tiger:

Meet the Reptiles
For this activity, they bring a number of reptiles out to show you that you can either touch in the case of the Bearded Dragon or Blue Tongued Skink or hold such as the Dumeril Boa Snakes. Here is a picture of my Mum holding one of the snakes:

Bird Show
This show featured several birds of which some had a trick or two to perform. It was quite amusing watching the birds that for the most part were well behaved. I managed to get a few nice shots of them during their respective routines. I have noted the different types of birds if I know what they are.

Crested Caracara:

Short Eared Owl:

White Stork:

Red Legged Seriema:

Blue and Gold Macaws

Jackdaw gate-crashing the bird show:

Other animals in the park
Situated throughout the Park are other animals in their various enclosures or areas, here are some of them.

Not far from the entrance to the Park we have a colony of Meerkats (all wildlife parks seem to have them these days), there are very fun to watch and were clearly popular with the visitors to the park. There were even a few young pups running around:

Sulcata Tortoise (there were two these visible):

Geoffrey’s Marmosets (they were quite active running around their cage and a few young Marmosets were visible:

Canada Geese Goslings duking it out:

Bengalese Eagle Owl:

Asian Short Clawed Otters:

I’m not 100% sure about this bird, it seems to be a cross between a Blackbird and an American Robin:

Turtle Dove:

White Stork:

As you can see from my photos I had a nice day out a real treat for my birthday. I need to go back any maybe try out some of their experience days.

River Witham in May

As I have said in some of my other Blog posts we are quite lucky in Lincoln to have many parks, pools, rivers and lakes and these are inhabited by a whole host of different wildlife species although birds are the most common and visible. As part of my “keep-fit” regime (limited though it is) I occasionally walk into town form home. This is between 4km and 5km depending on the route I take often culminating in the Starbucks on the High Street; as I walk quickly I’m quite warm at the end and I enjoy a Mocha Frappuccino Light which isn’t too high in syns (see the Slimming World website for details on what a “syn” is).

Although I walk rapidly I do look around on my journeys and so note anything of interest, I have even modified my route on occasion if there is something to see. My route into town takes me down Brant Road onto Newark Road (aka A1434) which then joins the A15. The two roads turn into a short dual carriageway called St. Catherine’s which after a round-about splits off into the High-Street and South Park Avenue. I follow the High-Street route into town.

At the bottom of the high street (just after the afore mentioned roundabout) is a pedestrian route to the right called Altham Terrace which runs adjacent to an off-shoot of the River Witham called Sincil Dike. On the opposite bank that is inaccessible to people is a large swan nest that had a female Mute Swan as the occupant (as well as no doubt one or more eggs).
I had wanted to take pictures of the swan and hopefully see how many eggs she had for some time and just over a week ago I made time to takes some photo’s. As I had walked from home to this Altham Terrace, I first had a quick drink of some coke I brought with me. The wasn’t much action so after the drink I took out my camera (OM-D E-M1 Mark-II + 300mm f4 IS PRO lens) and took a few shots. I waited for a bit and apart from some preening by her and the male “cob” there wasn’t much to see.

After taking a few shots of the two swans I carried on down Altham Terrace and saw my first set of ducklings this year, in total I saw five families of ducks and ducklings. In my enthusiasm, I had my shutter speed set too low (1/250 sec) so my first shots of the ducklings are all blurred as they were moving too fast.
As you progress down Altham Terrace / Sincil Dike after a small weir there is a river crossroads of Sincil Dike and the River Witham. Altham Terrace joins a road of the same name after crossing a pedestrian foot bridge. If you follow the River Witham to the right (North) it ultimately goes into town and eventually flows into the Brayford Pool in the centre of town. If you go left (South) the river flows towards the junction of Brant Road and Newark Road. You can either walk down the bank of the river or alternatively back from the bank is a tarmacked path (perfect for bikes). This has led to a completely new route which from the end of Brant Road and town.

Now onto the photographs…
My first three photographs are around the Mallard ducks; a small family, a female and 3 ducklings swam onto one of the banks that had some other Mallards there and there was an altercation between the mother and one of the males:

Whilst this was happening the ducklings took cover:

However, it all turned out well and the family carried on down the river foraging for food along the way:

Near where I was standing watching this (the junction of the two rivers) was a railing where a House Sparrow was collecting food and I caught a shot whilst it was perched on these railings:

When it jumped to the ground I took a couple more shots but that low shutter-speed caught me out and the bird was moving too quickly. However, a female Blackbird landed not far from the Sparrow and it wasn’t moving too fast so I managed a few nice shots like this one:

During all the commotion and the large number of birds in the water a Mute Swan that was swimming down (probably a Male) puffed himself up as follows, needless to say the other birds got out of its way:

Once I started to walk down the river towards home I saw other Mallard duck familes, Common Coots and Moorhens such as this one:
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What I didn’t expect to see though were any Grey Herons such as this one:

In fact, there were two Herons present, this one was on the other bank:

As this was on my side I walked slowly towards it and I managed to take a few head-shots as it looked over the tall grass. Not long after this the first Heron (on the opposite) bank took off and a few seconds later this one also flew away, this was my best effort and it would have been great if the other wing had been in frame too:

I think this a combination of my (lack of) skill and too much focal length and/or being too close.

As I said earlier this will most likely be my preferred way into town now as it is picturesque, offer photographic opportunities and is less polluted tank to the lack of cars.

Olympus Fashion Shoot – April 2017

In Lincoln, we have not one but two London Camera Exchanges and they are on a roll this year with so many events being organised by both of them. Last week was Silver Street store’s “Olympus Fashion Shoot” to coincide with this year’s Lincoln Fashion Week (28th April to 5th May). As the name implies this was an event arranged between LCE and Olympus.

Out local Olympus rep (Lewis) was there along with a great selection of Olympus system cameras, lenses and flash equipment. He and LCE’s favourite professional model Katie Lea came to show how to take stunning fashion shots. The shoot was in two parts from 10 to 12:30 we used the LCE store floor-space for an indoor shot followed by an outdoor shot in Lincoln from about 13:30 to 16:00. The LCE store also had some great offers on for the day but that 300mm f4 lens really wiped me out so I was not able to make use of these offers. My next investment must be a second body – another OM-D E-M1 MarkII – hopefully they will come down in price by the time I have saved up for one.

LCE/Olympus had set up a patterned backdrop for us and after experiencing problems using two Olympus flashguns via optical triggering we switched to radio triggers.

As a side note, this is one reason I am thinking of investing in some Nissin radio-based flashes over the Olympus branded versions; they offer all of the features at a much more attractive price. Two i60A flashes and a trigger cost about the same as a single Olympus FL900R. Whilst the Nissin flashes are more compact, they are not as quick charging and are not weather sealed like the FL900R. If outdoor shooting with a weather sealed flash was a need then investing in them might be a good idea.
I also managed to try out two Olympus lenses, the new 25mm PRO f1.2 lens and the (non-PRO) 75mm f1.8 lens. I wasn’t very impressed with the 25mm, even though I was shooting at f3.5/f4 the depth of field was very small and most of my shots were not sharp. The 75mm lens was a completely different “kettle of fish”; this lens is flipping sharp! I have used one before at a Damian McGillicuddy event a couple of years ago and I wasn’t impressed; however, this lens produced some amazing shots and I like the way that I was forced to think different as there were no zooming to get get in the way.

We moved the flashes around to get some different shots o Katie, her are my favourite shots:

After a lunch break we loaded up and ventured outside, we needed a good backdrop where there wasn’t too much foot traffic. We ended up near Stokes Caffe bridge on the south bank (opposite the “Glory Hole” side). After an abortive use of the reflector we all managed to get some nice photos:

We went to the entrance of this passage where this is an iron stair case, these didn’t produce a lot of great shots but I do like this one once I cropped out a lot of the extraneous detail:

Our final location of the evening was not far from where I work on Silver Street on the out-bound side near Sills and Betteridge Solicitors. All along this street are alley ways and we found one where we all tried lots of different styles and lighting techniques, these didn’t produce many great shots as they all looked like a flash was used; some coloured gels and lighting modifiers might have helped. We managed with what we had, here is my favourite:

Like always with Olympus/LCE shoots I learned a lot, managed to get some nice shots, had a great day and met up with likeminded photographers. I want to thank all the staff at LCE, Lee from Olympus and most of all Katie with putting up with us for the whole day. 🙂

Boultham Park – Last weekend of March

As well as going to Hartsholme Park last weekend on Saturday 25th March, I also went to Boultham Park on the following day (Sunday). From where I live you pass Boultham Park on the way to Hartsholme Park.

Thanks to my Apple Watch ad trying to close all of the circles on the watch I have to walk a few km each day to achieve these closures. If you have one of these watches you’ll know what I mean. Because of this I usually walk to and from Boultham Park every Sunday or Saturday; if the weather is nice I will take my E-M1 and a lens or two, in this case the 300mm f4 PRO, 1.4x tele-converter and 40-150mm f2.8 PRO if anything closer was required. All of this fits nicely into my LowePro Urban Photo Sling 250.

Unusually, when I arrived there were a large number of Common Coots at a slight distance away from the central lake of the park and they were almost too close (from a focal length point of view), so the first few shots I got were close-ups such as this one:

Fortunately a few of them moved around a bit (they were all munching on the grass) so I managed a few more:

Also in the area were a male and female Tufted Duck, fortunately with the 300mm lens and a bit of cropping I captured some nice shots:

As I was crouched taking these photo’s the other water fowl in the vicinity started to move about:

Here is the star of Boultham Park having a morning nap, there’s quite a debate of the species of this duck though:

I ventured around the lake and at the other end I saw this pair of Mallard ducks feeding:

There were also a lot of birds in the water such as this coot:

I think that this is a male Wigeon and it was swimming with another duck that could be a female but I didn’t manage to get any photos of that bird to check:

What I like about Spring is that the birds are all pairing up and building nests, soon we’ll have the young chicks too:

There was a part of the lake that had a large number of Moorhens too:

My final picture of the day was one from a pair of Canada Geese:

I have to say that the combo of the E-M1 Mark II and the 300mm f4 PRO lens is a killer wildlife combo and the more I use the more fun I have and I occasionally capture a truly magnificent (for me anyway) image.

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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