Thursday, 26 September 2013

Transportation (Or 'Nice Pecs')

One of the things I find odd (and I suspect everyone else finds acutely annoying) about photography is the way I can completely ignore the passage of time. Lunchtime? Time to catch the train home? No idea. It all passes me by. Which is fantastic in a way, I can think of very few things that can so totally absorb you as photography.

And this happened the other day, lying as I was in the shallow waters of Rumworth Lodge. There was Pectoral Sandpiper there, a lifer for me and a bird i've always wanted to get in front of the lens since i'm stupidly obsessed with drab wading birds. Anyhow there I was, cold, muddy and smelling faintly of something I couldn't quite put a finger on and there it was, sitting 20ft away sleeping...

Pectoral Sandpiper 657_2

But then it gets up and walks over to me, picking delicately at the mud. And through that viewfinder, covered as it is by my muck and mud and crud, the colours of the water and the sky blur with that of the land and you could, for a second, be forgiven you were somewhere in the arctic watching this bird on a peat pool...

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Pectoral Sandpiper- The First of Many

...picking towards me indirectly, you could acutally see its footprints in the soft mud...

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...and the closer it got, the more you could see the resemblance to other birds in it. The Snipe's brown, the shape of the Dunlin...

Pectoral Sandpiper- Profile Shot

...a raptor overhead see it duck low, one eye fixed on high before lying down completely...

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...and then all of a sudden its too close for the frame, so you go for the headshot...

Pectoral Sandpiper- Headshot

...and then its too close for anything, and you wait patiently for it to retreat a little so as you can focus on it...

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Pectoral Sandpiper 1515_2

...and off it potters, along the shore back to its favourite spot near the bush. I have no idea its been nearly 2hrs in the making, but the shot I want is in the can and i'm off home.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

'Le Animaux des Alps'- The Mud Puddlers

In Britain it would be quite hard to identify butterflies. It would be, but us Brits have cunningly avoided such problems, by inventively and indiscimniately eliminating entire species, so that there are fewer and thus identification is indefinitely easier. Those stupid Europeans though, they don't understand this simple trick! With there endless alpine meadows of an endless assortment of flowers, they're just making it hard for themselves.

But joking aside, the variety is utterly stunning. But superlatives aren't making me any better at identifying them, despite my best efforts most of them remain unidentified. So if you know one of the below please do pipe up, you'll make a man very happy!

Still, the post title comes from a habit I found out Butterflies do, they congregate in huge numbers on the paths when they're wet. Which means that to photograph them I have to lie in the mud. So not pleasant. But still, its a genuinely interesting phenomenon as the butterflies aren't drinking, they are (allegedly) sucking up salts and amino acids. And in fact some moth species have taken 'mud puddling' to extremes, adapting mouth-pieces for blood-sucking, the most potent of all puddles.

But thankfully these little beauties weren't quite so vicious and stuck to more conventional puddles, and boy were they there in spades...

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...when walkers come though...

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...I guess there's salt in sweat, and this little fella capitalised on it...!

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...with a little fill flash...

Blue sp.- Mud Puddler

...What i'm hesitantly calling a Moutain Argus...?

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...looks Skipper-esque, but not sure...

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...and one I can actually ID...!

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And alas I'm gonna have to start scraping the Alpine barrel soon, but there's a few more posts in me yet...!