Bearded tits at Old Moor – a great start to the year

So 2016 has slipped out of the back door and my first trip out with a camera in 2017 netted me beared tits at Old Moor RSPB reserve not far from my home! There’s been a few of these birds around for the past 12months or so but only in small numbers and I’ve never managed to catch up with them. However, this morning I was in the right place at the right time and heard the birds calling in the reedbed just in front of one of the hides. The birds were at the back of the reeds making it hard to get a clear shot at them through the dense phragmites and the task was made doubly difficult by the wind blowing the reeds about preventing a clear view. However, with a bit of perseverance I manged a few record shots of these fabulous little birds. Below are a few images along with other images taken there today.

bearded tit RSPB Old Moor bearded tit RSPB Old Moor bearded tit RSPB Old Moorrabbit at Old Moor RSPB reserverobin Old Moor RSPBwinter plumage little grebewinter plumage reed bunting

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A hoar frost to finish the year

This morning delivered a hoar frost to finish the year and I tried to make the most of the super light and glistening branches as I dashed round the village looking for subjects. There is a green lane that runs from my village to the neighbouring village and this presnted a perfect subject for the large sensor of Pentax 645Z to get its teeth into. I shot in manual mode (as I mostly do) and exposed slightly to the left to protect the highlights. Shooting under with this camera is fine with it having 15 stops of dynamic range – I know I can always pull detail out the shadows. I am really head over heels with the Pentax 645z, it’s a joy to handle and quite probably the best camera I have ever used! I can feel a review coming on soon :¬)

hoar frost on treeshaor frost on blackberry leavesgrasses in frozen lake

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A frosty day at Nostell Priory

A frosty day at Nostell priory

With overnight temperatures of around -3dg and clear skies, it was inevitable that there would be a hard ground frost this morning and so I decided to make the most of the wetaher and headed for a frosty day at Nostell Priory. I travelled light with just the D500 and 200-500VR lens with a 1.4x attached but I also slipped the Pentax 645Z into the bag too to give it a run out. I’ve been using this new camera body for my commercial work recently, but I’d not had it out in the field to test it on a few landscape images. The birdlife was fairly quiet and most of the lakes were frozen but this meant the wintering goosander were pretty much confined to a small area of open water quite near to the banks giving me the photo opportunity I’d been hoping for. In addition to the goosander, I made a few landscape images and a couple of what I would describe as fine art nature images. I only had the one lens with me for the Pentax – the 35mm f/3.5 lens – but it is a pretty versatile focal length for a walkabout shoot.

blackbird in yew tree a frosty day at Nostell Priory frosted bracken leaf fine art nature images frosted holly leaves

goosander at Nostell Priory goosander at Nostell Priory goosander at Nostell Priory nature photography West Yorkshrre gooaander Yorkshire nature photographer

female goosander at Nosetll Priory NTNostell Priory West Yorkshire hornbeams at Nostell Priory

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The molecatcher’s gibbet

The molecatcher’s gibbet

While out for a post Christmas walk with the family in the Yorkshire Dales, I came across this collection of unfortunate moles dangling from a barbed wire fence. It’s not as common a sight as it once was but the practice of imapling the moles on a fence can still be seen around the county. The idea behind it is that the presence of the dead moles is thought to put off other moles from moving in to the territory. I can’t see how it would work really, with moles having such weak eyesight, I am sure there is no way they could see their erstwhile friends being displayed in such a way. This image was taken using my latest toy – the Pentax 645Z MF camera with which I am incredibly pleased. More of that coming on my commercial website at www.johngardmerphotography.com.

molecatcher's gibbet

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Bird photography in Norfolk

I had to go to Norwich for a commercial shoot for one of my clients, so I decided to make the journey on a Friday in order that I could stay on after the shoot for some bird photography in Norfolk over the weekend. I stayed with frioends who live not far from Norwich but are well placed for the north Norfolk coast and the many reserves there. We spent Saturday at Salthouse and Cley where the lapland bunting, shorelark and arctic redpoll that had all been present yesterday, had now all gone! However, I managed to get some record shots of snow bunting and stonechat as well as plenty of action with the local turnstones.

On Sunday we hit Titchwell, one of my favourite resrves but the weather was a bit grim and not ideal for photos. Again though, I managed a few images of which I especially enjoyed capturing an obliging Cetti’s warbler in a bit of dappled sunlight that broke through just as the bird performed. There were a few waders on the reserve – godwits, redshank and curlew – and the beach had plenty of dunlin, oystercather and knot. Out at sea there were good numbers of common scoter, eider and merganser but all too far out for the camera. A good weekend with friends and a few images I’m reasonably happy with so, all in all, well worth the trip.

Cettis warbler (Cettia cetti) Norfolk

stonechat stonechatblack-tailed godwitblack-tailed godwitsnow buntingturnstone | bird photography in Norfolk

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