Hennie van Heerden's Wildlife Diary

October 31, 2010

Autumn Glow in the making

Filed under: October — Hennie van Heerden @ 6:09 pm

 The bird feeding table is awesome. Every day I spend at least an hour with it. I’ve put up the blind on the terrace so I can very easily leave the house and dive straight into that little tent.

In the meadow behind the table the Beech is in full autumn attire right now. First it turned all yellow and green, now the colors are gold, ocher and brown. The long lens, combined with a  shallow aperture and the distance the tree is located behind the feeding table,  totally blurs out the real shape of the tree and forms an almost artificial background for the birds. But it is 100% natural! That’s exactly the reason why I want to shoot the birdies with that lens. I just love that creamy bokeh!

Today it was rainy and cloudy, so I couldn’t make any in-flight shots (using a mirror which reflects the sun on the branch, as light source). So I focused on ‘pretty pictures’ in stead. So all of these pictures you see here are 100% natural in light and background colors. The tree trunk and the Maple branch however I have placed in the garden. (see my earlier post: Buffet-de-Luxe

To give you an impression on what would happen if I would use an aperture of for instance f14, have a look at the two woodpecker shots: Both come straight out of my camera; no editing or post processing whatsoever, only converting from RAW to jpg.
One is taken with f5.0, which totally blurs out the background, and the other with f14, which still leaves some of the shapes of the leaves visible. In the case of the woodpecker I also like the f14 version, but with the tiny birds I think it’s too distracting.

  These two shots I made with my cell-phone to show the real situation. The picture to the right I just took and shows the dug-in tree trunk with the tiny Maple branch. Hans has made cuts in the trunk that I fill with a mixture of fat, seeds and nuts. He also drilled in holes where I can stick in different branches every day, so the birds have a perch from where they can attack the buffet. To the left is the Beech (planted some 15 years ago) how it looked yesterday afternoon, when I shot the Autumn Glow picture.

October 22, 2010

The melancholy of the fox

Filed under: October — Hennie van Heerden @ 9:10 pm

Two days in the AWD.

Boy, the weather wasn’t really co-operative! The objective was Fallow Deer but they hardly showed. But my favorite animal of all, the fox, made a smashing appearance! Not only she, but her brother also. Everytime I see these beautiful animals my heart just aches. Here in Holland the general opinion is that the only good fox is a dead one. Hurray for the people at the AWD that they don’t seem to feel that way. I really think that for many people it is quite rare  to see a fox up close. Certainly in the area I live I never see them! I really cherish the moments I can share with these wonderful, sly and cunning creatures.

The strange thing is that being in the neighorhood of beautiful animals like this seems to emphasize my own mood. Today I feel like I’ve lost a friend I didn’t even meet yet. Silly thoughts but somehow it does hurt.

To lighten up things: Below is what happens when you are not careful with your equipment! 🙂
This is the male fox; the brother of the female above.


October 20, 2010

Amsterdamse Waterleiding Duinen today

Filed under: October — Hennie van Heerden @ 3:49 am

Will go to the Amsterdamse Waterleiding Duinen today and tomorrow….

Why on earth I had to choose these two days is beyond me as these are exactly the days this week that the most rain is expected. It’s 5.30 AM right now and it’s raining cats and dogs outside!!

But, the rutting season of the Fallow Deer has begun so now is the time to go there. Hopefully I’ll get back with some nice shots to make up for the lousy weather!!

October 10, 2010

Weekend frustrations

Filed under: October — Hennie van Heerden @ 6:53 am

What a glorious, but frustrating, weekend! The weather was fantastic so I decided to practice some more with shooting the little birds ‘in flight’ in my garden. Got some killer shots, if only they were 100% sharp! Grr. Set up everything I could think of to get more light to allow for higher shutter speeds and more depth, but even 1/2500sec and f10 wasn’t enough to freeze the little birdies in mid air. Need to find another solution.. Different lens, remote control and even flash or something, but as I don’t want to disturb the birds, it can’t be too close either. And if possible I would like to keep the creamy bokeh.. Wrote some emails to photographers I highly admire, hoping they can point me in the right direction.

Well, practice makes perfect so I guess I’ll keep trying.

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