After another prolonged absence without much photographic activity, at long last I managed an extended trip to Bernwood Forest this morning to see what was about for photography. An early start saw me there at about 7.30am, and I stayed for about 3 hours. I am not a huge fan of dogs or their walkers, and I just about avoided any interruptions to the peace and quiet of my photography(!)
I had in mind to check out the current status of any Bluebells to estimate when they might be in flower, and also to find any other small woodland flower species. It was also an opportunity for me to do a ‘field trial’ of a new waterproof jacket I acquired back in January, a Paramo Halcon. As expected, it is extremely comfortable and practical, but runs quite hot (I was wearing my customary Paramo Katmai Light shirt underneath – the best outdoors shirt I have ever seen!)
Weather was initially cloudy with no wind, and developed into full sun with increasingly warm temperatures and a mild breeze.
There were numerous clumps of Primrose, which I stopped to photograph on a number of occasions, along with some attractive Coltsfoot. The Bluebells have leaves of 3-4 inches in length but flower spikes are not yet in evidence.
I also took my D3S along, with Sigma 15mm fisheye attached, in case any fisheye plantscape opportunities suggested themselves. One reasonably successful attempt with this technique is also presented below.
Perhaps not my best ever shots, but nice to get back into the habit; also some good sightings of Comma and Small Tortoiseshell butterflies – a reminder of some further joys to come (with any luck).
Some shots from the outing:
First of all a couple of basic Primrose macro shots:
ISO 100 1/20 f/4.2
ISO 100 1/30 f/8
Next, a couple of Coltsfoot shots; first, a square crop of an entire flower:
ISO 100 1/10 f/11
Second, the detail from the flower centre (same shot, cropped differently):
This is a case where less might be better than more: the cropped rectangular close-up is framed slightly better and has a greater wow-factor.
Then, a couple of shots of an interesting Oak leaf I found, with a couple of Galls intact – they looked like hazel nuts or wooden marbles, and made quite a nice subject.
Stack of 6 frames
ISO 100 1/6 f/13
A different crop of the same:
Finally, one of the reasonably successful D3S fisheye shots:
This is at pretty much minimum focus distance, using manual focus and live-view to focus directly on the centre of the flower. I attempted some shots with a small makeshift beanbag, but ended up using tripod and focusing rack to get the right viewing angle on the subject. The background is a little messy, but shows the environment well.
With this frame I used a luminosity mask to blend in a copy of the file at -1EV to get some colour and detail in the sky.
Nikon D3S/Sigma 15mm fisheye
ISO 200 1/4 f/16