Wildlife photography by John Devries - High-quality images from the natural world
Image of the month header 2013

Image(s) of the month 2013
(All images copyright © Ophrys Photography)

Archives :

December - Great-spotted woodpecker

Great-spotted woodpecker

In October I said that I can't resist taking pictures of these woodpeckers. Well I've caved in again for this month's Image of the month as it illustrates how important the background and surroundings are to an image. The October image was full of autumnal warmth, and this snowy December image looks very cold and bleak, but I love the way this emphasises the red colours of the bird. The picture could just as easily have been taken in Scandinavia, but was actually taken in my back garden in Kent !

Image taken with Canon 1DmkIV with 500mm f4 IS, f6.3, 1/500th sec, Iso 1600. Exposure compensation plus 1.

November - Fieldfare

Fieldfare flying

A"less is more" kind of picture this month. A fieldfare flying over snow towards a tree bearing the last few apples of the season.

Image taken with Canon 1DmkIV with 500mm f4 IS , f6.3, 1/1600th sec, Iso 640 plus 1.5 exposure compensation.

October - Great-spotted woodpecker

Great-spotted woodpecker

I can't resist taking pictures of Great-spotted woodpeckers. They are always about in my garden but I never tire of watching them. My hide offers ultra-closeup views and it makes me feel priviliged to enter their world for a few minutes.

Image taken with Canon 1DmkIV with 500mm f4 IS II +1.4x converter, f8, 1/1250th sec, Iso 400.

September - Meerkat

Meerkat on lookout

So have I been to Africa this month ? Well, no. Actually this image was taken in darkest Oxfordshire in the Cotswold Wildlife Park. Some zoos and wildlife parks can provide good photo-opportunities as this image illustrates. The shot was taken at the end of the day in nice light and I used a whiff of fill-in flash on the dark side to lift the shadows - simples !

Image taken with Canon 1DmkIV with 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM +1.4x converter, f6.3,, 1/2500th sec handheld, Iso 800. Plus diffused fill flash.


August - Purple emperor

Purple emperor butterflies

Carrying on with butterflies this month. I have been trying to get some pictures of purple emperor for the last few years but have not had much luck. This year was much better and I saw several males on the ground feeding on salts and minerals from a path in a Surrey woodland

First image - Canon 5DmkIII with 300mm f2.8L IS lens with 25mm extension tube f13, 1/640th sec Iso 400,exposure compensation + 2/3 , tripod.

Second image - Canon 5DmkIII with 300mm f2.8L IS lens with 25mm extension tube f9, 1/400th sec Iso 400, Exposure compensation + 2/3 . Camera supported on squashed rucksack.

July - Alpine butterflies

Pearl bordered fritillary

A last minute decision to visit the French and Italian Alps in May yielded a bonanza of orchid species and a few butterflies such as this Pearl bordered fritillary. This species can also be seen in the UK. It had only just hatched and was in pristine condition. Thanks to dull weather it just posed for the camera and permitted me the time to set up a tripod.

Image taken with Canon 5DmkIII with 180mm macro lens f16, 1/60th sec Iso 640, tripod.

Green hairstreak

This green hairstreak (which can also be found in the UK) was taken in France at high altitude close to the top of a mountain pass where gentians and pulsatillas were flowering. 2013 was a very late year in the mountains and most of them were still blocked with snow during our May visit.

Image taken with Canon 5DmkIII with EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM plus MT24 ex twinflash , handheld.
1/400 sec f5, Iso 400.

June - Little owls

Little owls

Many thanks to one of my previous students - Phil Winter for kindly inviting me to his farmland garden for a wonderful evening photographing the little owls that are nesting in his owl box. The owls like to visit this old gate before returning to the box to feed their young.

First image taken with Canon 5DmkIII with 500mm f4, 1/200th sec f5 Iso 800, tripod. Two flash guns triggered from STE2 trigger for fill flash.
Second image 300mm f2.8 IS lens ,1/640th sec f4 Iso 400, tripod , available light.

May - early purple orchids

Early purple orchids

The orchid season has begun again in the south of the country and the early purple (orchis purpurea) is always something to look forward to each year. Early purples were mentioned in Shakespears Hamlet where he called them "long purples. "
I used the 300mm f2.8 lens to blur the background.

- Image taken with Canon 5DmkIII with 300mm f2.8 IS lens plus extension tube ,1/1000th sec f3.5 Iso 400, tripod and manual focus in liveview.

April - Otters playing

Otters playing

Although you can find wild otters in Scotland on the coast it is rare to see them on a river during the daytime as they are largely nocturnal. I was delighted to find this pair playing in the water on a river in Norfolk.

- Image taken with Canon 5DmkIII with 300mm f2.8 IS lens 1/2000th sec f5 Iso 1600, handheld.

March - Egyptian geese
Egyptian geese

Egyptian geese

These Egyptian geese were in their spring finery and made a nice image with reflections in the water. The previous day they had two cute goslings that seem to have sadly disappeared, probably due to a predator such as an otter thatI know inhabits this stretch of water in Norfolk.

- Image taken with Canon 5DmkIII with 300mm f2.8 IS lens plus 1.4x converter II, 1/640th sec f8 Iso 500, handheld.

February - Green Woodpecker

Green woodpecker in tree

Green woodpecker

Green woodpeckers have been very frequent in my garden this winter. Here is one on a tree in the snow as opposed to on the ground eating apples or foraging for ants for a change.

- Image taken with Canon 1DmkIV with 500mm f4 lens. , 1/2000 sec f6.3 Iso 1000, tripod.

January - Little egrets
little egret fishing

Little egret

I visited my favourite place to photograph water rails but was greeted instead by a pristine white little egret fishing in a tiny stream. It appeared to use its wings to cast a shadow to enable it to see the fish beneath the surface of the water.

- Image taken with Canon 5DmkIII with 500mm f4 lens. , 1/800 sec f5 Iso 400, tripod. The great metering on the 5DIII nailed the exposure with no compensation necessary.

little egret in bush

Little egret in a bush

Shortly after I took the image above a dog walker came past me on the track and the egret took flight only to land in a bush right opposite me.

- Image taken with Canon 5DmkIII with 500mm f4 lens. , 1/640 sec f11 Iso 400, +1/3 ev exposure compensation, tripod. Notice that I stopped the lens right down to f11 to get all of the bird in focus as it was close and the magnification was therefore high.

© Copyright Ophrys Photography 2012