Tag Archives: M.Zuiko 40-150mm f2.8 PRO Lens

Waterfowl Shoot

Back on the 8th of August I and 3 other avid Olympus Photographers (sorry but I’m terrible with names) met up with Wildlife Photographer Tesni Ward for a Waterfowl Photography Workshop. This is the second dedicated Tesni workshop that I have been on, I like the informal (though professional) way that Tesni runs the courses and I always learn something new. And although this my second workshop with Tesni I have also met up with Tesni at Marwell Zoo (Olympus EM-1 Mark II promotion) and at the Photography show at Birmingham’s NEC.

The shoot was next to a large river that has a wide variety of birds there, many of them not normally associated with the UK which has made their identification difficult. The river runs through the small village of Rochester which is just a few miles south of Alton Towers. Knowing this I arranged to meet my sister, brother-in-law and nephew at Alton Towers for a an overnight stay so that I could pop into the Alton Towers park the following day (Merlin passes are a great invention).

On the day the weather was miserable and showered nearly all day; however, Tesni pointed out that this is great weather for the type of photography we had planned for the day. I was sceptical at first but I did come away from the workshop with some fantastic images.

We walked a relatively short distance to the edge of the river and we were advised to try and shoot as low as possible as this proved to be the best angle. It wasn’t easy as I had to use the rear screen. I normally shoot with back-button focusing for continuous AF but trying to this and take pictures with the screen proved to require some one who could be more ambidextrous and more of a finger contortionist than I. I never truly mastered this way of focusing as I much prefer to use the viewfinder whether this be an EVF or Optical based one. But the images we managed to take this way are clearly superior to the average photograph of water based fowl.

Below are a selection of my favourite photos with a couple of BIF (birds in flight) shots at the end. I have tried to more for motion shots as this is more interesting than the usual static ones I take. You can also see the rain in many of the photos too. Nearly all of the pictures are taken with the awesome M.Zuiko 300mm f4 PRO IS lens on the OM-D E-M1 MarkII, I did swap over the the 40-150mm f2.8 PRO lens for some of the shots when it wasn’t raining.

There is a collection of birds towards the end of this post where I’m sure what species they are. I hope that over time I (or some kind reader) will let me know and I’ll update this post accordingly.

Daffy:
This is a resident duck at the site who as you can see has a damaged bill, Tesni would like to take him home. Clearly her favourite bird.

White Cheeked Pintail Duck:

Great Crested Grebe:

Young Common Coot:
All this young Coot was either calling for its parent or doing some weird yoga thing with one its legs.

White Faced Whistling Ducks:

Black Swan:

Bar Headed Goose:

Mallard Ducklings:

Nene Goose:

Barnacle Geese:

Smew (female):

Black Headed Gull (Winter Plumage):

Golden Eye (female):

Unknown Birds:

Birds in Flight
Black Headed Gull:

Greylag Geese:

Weather Sealing:
When you are told that your camera and/or lens has weather sealing you never know how good this is. The EM-1 MkII and the two PRO lenses I used were at points dripping wet but I never noticed any issues during or after the shoot. It took a little time to truly dry out some of the gear the next day. Since that time I have continued to use the E-M1 with no problems and no evidence of how wet the gear got. This is in stark contrast to stories I heave heard of other professional weather sealed gear made by other manufacturers that has failed in lesser extreme weather. Bravo Olympus!

Testimonial:
Finally, I would like to thank Tesni for another wonderful workshop that enabled me to travel a bit further in my never ending journey of Nature Photography education. The days are always well planned and researched and Tesni is always willing to provide any help whether this be a technical issue with your gear or more in the craft of photography such as composition or exposure. Tesni’s way of teaching gels with the way I like to learn and she makes the days fun and is reassuring when you are not sure about something. I am already planing which Tesni workshop to attend next. Thank you! 🙂

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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.