OPHRYS PHOTOGRAPHY

Wildlife photography by John Devries - High-quality images from the natural world

Image(s) of the month 2010

(All images copyright © Ophrys Photography)


Archives :
2010
 




December - Kingfishers and Common frog

Kingfisher
No description needed really - this of course is a kingfisher on a bulrush stem. The picture was taken from a hide on private land in Warwickshire. Many thanks to Peter Preece for his hospitality and very enjoyable company for the day. The water where the kingfisher was fishing was frozen in parts - as were my fingers and toes by the end of the day !

- Image taken with Canon 1D mkIV, 300mm f2.8 lens plus 2x converter (600mm), 1/200th sec at f10, ISO 400, exposure compensation +1/3. Gitzo tripod/Wimberley gimbal head.

Kingfisher diving

The kingfisher (a male - it has a black beak where females have a red/orange lower mandible) was diving after fish, as they do - and he tolerated a few changes of diving post to provide some nice varied shots. To see the rest of the kingfisher series, please see my kingfisher gallery.

- Image taken with Canon 1D mkIV, 300mm f2.8 lens, 1/1600th sec at f5.0, ISO 1000 , exposure compensation +1/3. Gitzo tripod/Wimberley gimbal head. I also used liveview and a cable release.

Frog

I haven't had a frog in my garden for several years. I suspect this is due to what is known as Red leg disease which swept the country a few years back. I was therefore absolutely delighted to find this frog hopping around on my lawn. A trough of water and a lump of sphagnum moss made a temporary home for it while I took my pictures.

- Image taken with Canon 1D mkIV, 100mm f2.8 lens, 1/125th sec at f9, ISO 1600, exposure compensation +1/3, tripod.


November - Mating deer

red deer mating

This month's image of the month carries an x-certificate warning ! The first is of a mating pair of red deer. The stags round the hinds up into harems by calling them with loud bellowing, running around and sparring with each other. The stag keeps checking the does to check if they have come into season and when they do, mating soon follows.

- Image taken with Canon 1D mkIV, 300mm f2.8 lens, 1/400th sec at f5.6, ISO 400 monopod.

fallow deer mating

The second image is of a mating pair of fallow deer. The stags make a very different call to the red deer. They do repeated short barks as opposed to the reds long bellowing roar. The fallow does make a a more surprising noise - a gentle cat-like mew.

- Image taken with Canon 1D mkIV, 300mm f2.8 lens, 1/400th sec at f5.6, ISO 400 monopod.


October - Marsh frog, cheetah portrait and bee-eater.
marsh frog

This months image is of an alien invader to Britain - the Marsh frog. Unfortunately they displace the native frog, but they are providing a lot of food for birds such as herons. I witnessed several grass snake attacks on the young frogs while I was there so they are serving a purpose. This one looked pretty comical and I love the colours in the image.

- Image taken with Canon 1D mkIV, 500mm f4 lens + 1.4x extender, 1/1250th sec at f5.6, ISO 400. Tripod.

cheetah
I'm still sorting through my last Kenya images and came across this cheetah. Modern cameras have so many pixels they allow hard cropping which is what I did to obtain this portrait.

- Image taken with Canon 1D mkIII, 500mm f4 lens , 1/800th sec at f5.0, ISO 400 beanbag.

european bee-eater

Finally a dazzling European bee-eater with an insect in its beak.

- Image taken with Canon 1D mkIII, 500mm f4 lens , 1/1250th sec at f5.0, ISO 500 tripod.


September - Brown mouse lemur
mouse lemur

This cutey is a brown mouse lemur taken in the rainforest at night in Madagascar. I had to use the batteries from my head torch to power my exhausted flashgun. This made for an interesting walk back to camp in total darkness ! It was worth it though to get this shot. The mouse lemur is one of the smallest lemur species and is a primate like ourselves, not a bushbaby, rodent or a monkey as you might think.

- Image taken with Canon 1D mkII, 100-400mm f4-5.6L lens, 1/250th sec at f6.3, ISO 500 using Canon 420ex Speedlight Flash as sole light source.



August - Wood white butterfly
wood white

This month's image is a rare wood white butterfly. They never land with their wings open so I used backlighting to shine through the wings - which reveals the grey spots on the wing tips. A whiff of fill-flash was then used to illuminate the shadow side of the butterfly.

- Image taken with Canon 1D mkIV, 100mm f2.8mm macro lens 1/160th sec at f11, ISO 640. Fill flash 2 stops underexposed from MT24 ex twinflash.


July - Clouded yellow on early spider orchid
clouded yellow

This was a rare opportunity. The early spider orchid was not only a fortunate perch but it is very unusual to get a clouded yellow in the UK in May when the orchid flowers. Clouded yellows are migrants from Europe and usually arrive in late summer. This shot was taken on the 6th May. The weather was bright but cold so the butterfly was lethargic and gave me all the time I needed to get my shot. Just as well as the wind was strong and I had to wait for a short lull.

- Image taken with Canon 1D mkIV, 100mm f2.8mm macro lens 1/800th sec at f8, ISO 640. Reflector used to provided some fill light.Camera on Gitzo tripod and a short stick used as a prop to brace the orchid against the wind.



June 2010 - Lady orchids and Duke of burgundy butterfly
lady orchid

This months first image is of an Lady Orchid - Orchis purpurea. The woodland where this picture was taken has been cleared to allow more light in and the orchids have responded fantastically well.

- Image taken with Canon 1D mkIV, 100mm f2.8mm macro lens 1/40th sec at f10, ISO 200.

lady orchid 2

The second image is also of a Lady Orchid - a very variable species as you can see. You will notice that the background is far more diffuse than in the first image as I used a much longer focal length - what a difference a lens makes.

- Image taken with Canon 1D mkIV, 180mm f3.5 macro lens plus 1.4x converter (252mm effective focal length) 1/60th sec at f11, ISO 200. Fill flash under-exposed by 3 fstops.

duke of burgundy

Finally, in the same wood as the lady orchids there is a good colony of rare Duke of Burgundy butterflies. Previously known as "Duke of Burgundy Fritillary" it now appears to be known as just "Duke of Burgundy" as it is not related to true fritillaries (nymphalidae)at all - but is a member of the Riodinidae family. They lay their eggs on primrose and cowslips. The adults are small - about 30mm and fly when the sun shines and land when the sun goes behind a cloud. Best chance for a picture is to follow one when the sun is about to go in and catch it basking on a leaf.

- Image taken with Canon 1D mkIV, 180mm f3.5 macro lens 1/320th sec at f16 (camera set to manual), ISO 200. ETTL flash as sole light source - Canon MT24
twinflash plush Stofen diffusers. The black backgrounds caused by fall-off of light when flash is not combined with daylight was avoided as there were leaves close behind the subject.

 



May 2010 - Indian Roller and Orange Tip egg
indian roller

This months image is of an Indian Roller taken last year in February at Kanha tiger reserve last year. What a fabulous and exotic bird.

- Image taken with Canon 1D mkIII, 500mm f4 IS lens + 1.4x converter. 1/1250th sec at f5.6, ISO800.


orange tip egg

My second image is the egg of an orange tip butterfly. The female lays a single egg on the flower of a hedge garlic flower. The egg is less than 1mm high, so this is quite a challenge to photograph, particualrly in the field.

- Image taken with Canon 1D mkIV, MPE 65 lens 1:4, 1/300th sec at f8, ISO400. Twin flash with stofen diffusers, handheld.


April 2010 - Hare and Ophrys kotschyi
hare

I have been trying to get some shots of hares boxing, but they just don't seem the sparring type. I was shooting from the car on a narrow track and couldn't get far enough from my subject with the 500mm lens. This one was so close that I thought I would just have to make some head shots of it. The detail in the original image has to be seen to be believed !

- Image taken with Canon 1D mkIV, 500mm f4 IS lens 1/400th sec at f5.6, ISO800.

Ophrys kotschyi

The end of March should still be a good time to find ophrys orchids in Northern Cyprus. However a very mild winter this year resulted in a very early flowering season and a dry March put paid to most of the remaining flowers. This is one of the last few Ophrys kotschyi I could find growing in the shade behind a ruined monastery. Although closely related to Ophrys cretica, this beautiful species is endemic to Cyprus.

- Image taken with Canon G11 compact camera handheld 1/60 f4 ISO 200 in low light.


March 2010 - Robin and Great-spotted woodpecker

Robin

Apparently the winter of 2009/10 has been the coldest in 30 years in the UK. Plenty of chances to take birds in the snow and I think this robin looks like it will have to be next year's Christmas card. The image looks as though it has been cut out with scissors - but is just as it came out of the camera.

- Image taken with Canon 1D mkIII, 500mm f4 IS lens 1/400th sec at f7.1, +1.33 exposure compensation, ISO640
Great-spotted woodpecker
A male great-spotted woodpecker on a birch tree in late afternoon light. I used the shadow/highlight tool in photoshop to retain maximum highlight detail and bring out the maximum shadow detail in the bird's feathers.

- Image taken with Canon 1D mkIII, 500mm f4 IS lens + 1.4x extender 1/640th sec at f7.1, ISO200.


Febuary 2010 - Long-tailed tits
long-tailed tit

Two takes on the cutest bird there is this month - the living ball of fluff with a tail - the long-tailed tit. A party of 12 have been briefly been visiting my feeders each day. This first shot was taken against a backdrop of snow in overcast weather. It will make a great Christmas card for next year I think.

- Image taken with Canon 1Ds mkII, 500mm f4 IS lens 1/400th sec at f7.1, +1.33 exposure compensation, ISO640

long-tailed tit 2


The next day, the sun shone and the snow melted and produced a very different image to the first one in lovely warm late afternoon light.

- Image taken with Canon 1D mkIII, 500mm f4 IS lens 1/640th sec at f5.6, +1/3 exposure compensation, ISO400



January 2010 -

Birds in action - Fieldfare, blackbird and great-spotted woodpecker.

fieldfare in flight

Snow came early this winter - a heavy fall before Christmas is very unusual. I decided to push the autofocus on my Canon 1DmkIII camera to try and get some action shots in the good light. This fieldfare has just leapt into the air, its feet already tucked in and it is about to make its first downward wingbeat to gain lift.

- Image taken with Canon 1D mkIII, 500mm f4 IS lens 1/2500th sec at f5.6, +1 exposure compensation, ISO400

blackbird in flight
Another action shot, this time of a blackbird. The blackbirds were very aggressively protecting some apples that I had put out to attract fieldfares.

- Image taken with Canon 1D mkIII, 500mm f4 IS lens 1/3200th sec at f6.3, +1 exposure compensation, ISO640

Great-spotted woodpecker 2
Finally, a great-spotted woodpecker. It is fluttering up the birch trunk to get higher by using both its feet and wings.

- Image taken with Canon 1D mkIII, 500mm f4 IS lens 1/3200th sec at f6.3, +0.67 exposure compensation, ISO400.



 

 





 

 




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