Wildlife photography by John Devries, Kent UK. Inspirational images
Image(s) of the month 2008
Image of the month archives :
- Green heron, stonechat and jay
|This is an extremely rare vagrant to
Britain. It is a green heron from the central United States.This
is the first time that the bird has ever been recorded in my county
of Kent.It stayed for a couple of weeks on the Royal Military canal
at Hythe living on fish that it seemed to catch with considerable
|This is a male stonechat. The picture
was taken on a sunny November day at Capel Fleet on the Isle of
Sheppey in Kent. The lane is very narrow and we had to back the
car up countless times while trying to get a shot from the car window
as the bird and it's mate moved about on the fence posts.On one
occasion the male perched on this dried stem which made a nice shot.
Picture was taken with the Canon 1DmkIII camera and 500mm f4 lens
plus 2x extender.
|December is the month that I like to
focus on garden birds. The feeders are now attracting losts of birds,
including a pair of jays this year.They are usually very shy and
difficult to photograph, but for some reason this pair are more
obliging than usual. There are also a couple of grey squirrels around
which seem to help put the jays at ease. Photo taken with Canon
EOS 1DsmkII plus 500mm f4.
- Woodmouse and bear cub
|The woodmouse is one of Britain's commonest
rodents, but as it is largely nocturnal, secretive and fast- moving,
it is rarely photographed well. So I was very pleased to get this
shot. Rather cute isn't he ?
|This young European brown bear cub sped
up a tree when an enormous male appeared in the forest clearing
where they were feeding. The cub's mother was much smaller than
the male but bravely launched an attack on him and saw him off.
In this shot, the cub is watching the action and shortly afterwards
clambered safely back down to the ground after the danger had passed.
- Grevey's zebra and Oryx
|This is the rare Grevey's zebra. It has
much less coarse stripes than the common zebra. A really beautiful
animal. Photographed in evening light in Samburu Kenya.
|The oryx is reputed to have inspired
the myth of the unicorn. If it stands sideways you only see one
horn, so it looks a bit like a horse with a single horn on it's
head. This image was taken in the mid day sun in a temperature of
around 47 degrees centigrade! Image taken in Samburu, Kenya.
- Grey-headed kingfisher, Kenya
|This is a grey-headed kingfisher from
Samburu in Kenya.Kingfishers can be very obliging there compared
t the very shy birds I usually encounter in the UK. This one was
perched up on a twig right out in the open in the scorching sun,
some distance from water. The landrover enabled us to make a close
approach, and this picture was taken using a bean bag for support.
Canon EOS 40D camera and 500 mm f4 lens.
August 2008 -
Hornet on lavender and Gannet's head
|This is a hornet on a lavender stem.The
hornet is the largest member of the UK wasp family, but contrary
to it's appearance is a gentle giant. It is very placid and the
chances of getting stung unless you do something stupid like attack
a nest are very low. This is one of my first images taken with my
awesome secondhand Canon 1Ds mk II. This has 16.7 high qualtiy megapixels
on it's big full frame sensor. I think I am going to enjoy myself
with this new toy!
|This is another shot from last month's
Bass Rock gannet trip. It is an unusual perspective. I love the
way the bird's eyes can actually look underneath it's beak - and
that blue eye-ring is just beautiful isn't it ?
July 2008 -
Puffin with sandeels, herring gull, gannets.
|This is a classic shot of everyones favourite,
a puffin, with a beak full of sandeels. I took it on Staple island
in the Farnes off the cosat of Northumberland. I also visited Inner
Farne and Bass rock on this trip. The site, sound and smell of a
colony of thousands of seabirds is a very spectacular experience.
|My next picture is a wide-angle shot
of a herring gull - taken on the boat trip across to Bass rock,
the home of thousands of nesting gannets.
|I couldn't resist putting in a picture
of a gannet pair greeting each other after one returned from fishing
June 2008 -
Female red-footed falcon
and red-backed shrike
|This is a female red-footed falcon preening
it's scythe-shaped wings. The image was taken in Hungary from a
tower hide at a nest site.
|This is another fantastic bird from Hungary
- the red-backed shrike. It is also known as the butcher bird, as
it sometimes produces a food larder by hanging it's prey - dragonflies,
beetles and sometimes even mice, onto barbed wire or brambles for
May 2008 - Sawfly
orchid, Ophrys tenthredinifera and Common
|Well, this is "Ophrys" Photography,
so about time an Ophrys ochid was made Image of the Month I guess.
This is one of my favourite European ophrys orchids - Ophrys tenthredinifera.
It was taken in April this year in the Gargano in Italy. Unfortunately
it is not found in the UK. However, the early spider orchid - Ophrys
sphegodes should be in full flower now, and may be seen in great
numbers at Samphire Hoe in Kent.
|This common tern was found at Rye Harbour
nature reserve. It sat on this post for about thirty minutes while
I waited for it to do something interesting. Eventually, it stretched
it's wings vertically before taking flight.The shot was taken with
the Canon 1Dmk III with 500mm f4 plus 2x converter.
2008 - Elephant, Starling ,Red squirrel and long-tailed tits
|Something a bit different this month
- I don't do much monochrome, but I thought that this study of an
African elephant that I took in Kenya last September was a good
candidate for conversion (No need to shoot in black and white with
a digital camera). I used Photoshop CS3's new b&w tool which
is found in Image>adjustments >black and white and adjusted
the colour sliders until I arrived at a pleasing range of tones
in the image. I have started a new monochrome
gallery which I will be adding to as I find other images that please
|My second image is of a very common garden
bird - the humble starling. It is surprsingly beautiful when captured
in full sun like this. The picture was taken with my new Canon EOS
1D mk III.
|I couldn't resist putting in this image.
How cute is this little guy ? He is a red squirrel in his winter
coat. The picture was taken in Finland where the red squiggs have
grey and red coats in winter, unlike the UK ones which are all red.
Both forms are still called "Eusasian red squirrel" -
but are colour morphs. In Formby, there are some very dark red squirrels
with black tails. On the Isle of white I believe they are very dark
- rather like those to be found in parts of southern Europe.
|Keeping up the cuties - my final image
this month is of a pair of long-tailed tits who obligingly posed
momentarily on this tree trunk for me before fluttering off. Have
you noticed that these birds have an orange upper eyelid ?
March 2008 -
Water rail and Green woodpecker
|Water rails are usually very secretive birds, but this one ( in
fact one of a pair) are very used to people walking their dogs along
the tow-path beside the little river where they live amongst the
reeds. Consequently, they will often creep out to find food or have
a little paddle. I liked the reflection with this one. Image taken
with Canon 40D.
The second image is of a green woodpecker on my field gate.
It is one of the first images I have taken with my new Canon 1D
mk III camera - what a start ! It had come down to some apples
that I had put on the ground, but flew up to the gate right by
my hide when a blackbird made an alarm call. I still had the 500mm
lens and 1.4x extender on, so I was lucky to get the whole bird
in the frame. She (female because there is no red in the moustache)
stayed about 2 seconds before flying back to the apples on the
The new camera is producing some wonderfully detailed images straight
out of the camera with minimal post-processing. The autofocus
also seems spot-on - canon finally seem to have fixed it !
2008 - Golden eagle and Crested tit
|Last year I spent three long days in a hide in Finland trying
to get some shots of golden eagles in the snow, but I had no luck.
This year was different, and I got some great shots of these magnificent
birds on two separate days. This one is feeding on a hare. There
are more images of the eagles in the eagles
|This month's second image is of a crested tit on an old tree stump
with a bracket fungus attached to it. The shot was also taken in
Finland. This is one of my favourite birds, it is a shame that we
don't get them in England, they are restricted to Scotland. I love
the colours in this image, the blur of falling snow, and the striking
aggressive posture that the bird is adopting against a rival tit
just out of the frame.
- Kestrel and Green bee-eater
|This kestrel has recently posed on various fence posts up a track
that leads to a nature reserve. despite being quite obliging when
shooting from the car, things had not really gone my way, in that
it often perched on something unsightly or on one occasion it frustratingly
sat in great light right behind the reserve sign. One evening I
could see that there was going to be a sunset, so I dashed over
to the reserve and thankfully found the kestrel sitting on a post
while the sun went down - casting this beautiful golden evening
|This exquisite little bee-eater was photographed in
Kenya. Is is related to the European bee-eater.which is considerably
Copyright Ophrys Photography 2012