Posted by: Andrew Skelton | 13/12/2010

Winter light


Great Tit, originally uploaded by andyskelton.

With the decrease in the amount of sunshine at this time of year and the low angle of the sun, I decided to move the bird feeders to an area of the garden that does, when available, get some light. I was apprehensive in case the new location would put the birds off from visiting but within 10 minutes the feeders where inundated with birdlife.

Using the same parallel for the feeders as previously used, they are further away from where I’ve set up my camera as the house is not flat backed. As such the images with the same setup are smaller, and so I either need to get my 2x extender fixed or move the feeders closer. In fact I’m planning to do both, though obviously the later is much easier to do than the former.

This image was taken with the brief amount of sun that was present over the weekend. Being housebound, due to other commitments, I decided that I was unhappy with the drab photos I’ve been getting recently where the feeders were in the shadow of the house.

Whilst not a perfect image, it’s a good example of the correct use of the sun as a primary key light. As can be seen from the bird’s eye, there is a catch light showing that the sun was behind me, and directly illuminating the bird. With the light so low at this time of year, you can guarentee that around 2.30pm to 3.00pm if the sun is present and behind you, you will get some well lit photos.

The Jay has been visiting more frequently and uncharacteristically unperturbed by my presence, I’ve even managed a few photos. I’m hoping with the new arrangement I can get some better photos which I can post here and corroborate my previous post on what a wonderful bird these are.

I remember seeing my first Jay, I was 8 years old and on holiday in the Lake District. In those days, these birds were relatively scares however times seem to have changed and I frequently spot them flying, usually near a motorway. In fact I was on a training course recently, and watched a pair of Jays flying back and forth continuously carrying acorns back to their hord. Between that and the view of the main London – west coast railway I was quiet distracted throughout the course. Quite a propriate for a member of the Crow family, as the Jay is, I was distracted by “shiny objects


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