Monday, 29 July 2013

Digital Photography Course at Berry Head


Yesterday I was off learning a little more about photo taking and how to use the camera settings. A course came up at Berry Head from the Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust where I'm a member.


Mike Langman http://www.mikelangman.co.uk/ has been teaching us a little bit more on digital wildlife photography.

In the photos above and below I managed to get depth of field almost right for the first time-hurray! ..so this is something to watch out for when I'm taking these shots again.


It's Berry Head Lighthouse and I've managed to get everything in focus! It's really hard to remember everything, including making a good image as well as settings.....most of the time I forget.


Looking down towards Dartmouth and the guillemot nesting cliffs

I hope I'm going to get better at taking photos although I'm not a perfectionist when it comes to my photos-I like what I take and am happy with the results. Funny that, because there are some things you do where you really want to be so much better (for me it's gardening and singing). I'm really quite hard on myself in these two areas. However for some strange reason I'm not getting obsessive about photography...I just really enjoy it....and that's quite a relief.

Below is a moth-can't remember it's name but it was in the barn where we had our presentations (CT will no doubt be able to let me know what it is). There were two, a male and female and they mated whilst we were working, so we tried to leave them in peace. It's a shame it didn't move further up the bar it's clinging to as the bottom of it's wings were hidden under a pile of leaflets.


We had a presentation and Mike went through the pros and cons of the different cameras. Then we looked at how to use certain settings like depth of field and over and under exposure. A short guide on composition was very helpful with various images to support Mikes explanations.

Off we went for a walk around Berry Head to practise with Mike helping us out with various settings. I found a Wall, lots of burnets, and something no-one could identify...so need help here if anyone can identify the butterfly/moth in the second photo below.








Not a great photo of the Wall but it's a very pretty butterfly with a terribly drab name don't you think?




I don't know what this beetle is, but CT you saw this on your walk at Magdalen Hill too.










After lunch we had a talk on using the sports settings and camera speeds and then went down into the quarry where it's more sheltered to try our skills on the hundreds of burnets and the seabirds.


As you can see it was very difficult to catch the burnets in focus when they were flying and the grass was moving, so the image above should give you some idea of what an awful lot of my photos looked like!

 At last I caught one in focus with the blue of the sea in the background...oh it was tricky

I did manage to get some quite good images of the seabirds though and see Fulmars nesting and flying, although ALL of the flying Fulmar images were blurred!






I love the detail of the feathers in the seagull chick photo below


Mike showed us before and after photos using various editing tools, and also identical images taken with bridge cameras v DSLRs. I did find all this very interesting.

Here's a few more photos trying to pick up on things happening around us

Some pretty flowers and grasses on the cliff edges (and some out of focus burnets-of course!)

 A great black backed gull coming in to land on it's rock perch down in the quarry


Now the bird above is a Fulmar and the only image of one that isn't blurred beacuse she's sitting near her nest. They are related to the albatross, from the family of petrels and shearwaters although they look like gulls at first glance. They have a tubular nostril on top of their bill and black eyes with greyish shading around them.


And then a real cutie put in an appearance, the grey seal


It was a great day out and I really enjoyed spending the day at Berry Head. Mike was very good at explaining things and his presentations were simple but effective, and not over technical.

I'm sorry to have put so many flying gulls in but you know how much I like them and they do seem to show themselves very well in their beautiful surroundings.

Hello and welcome to new follower David Turner

More rain on the way for us but we need it now and at least I don't have to water the garden. Our holidays are almost over sadly and back to work tomorrow.
Bye for now
SeagullSuzie

23 comments:

  1. Your photographs are amazing, it would be wonderful to go on a course like this too. How did you manage to get such fantastic pictures of the birds in flight?
    Sarah x

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    1. Hi Sarah, thanks, the course was great fun and only down the road so it would have been silly to have missed it. The birds...well thats the telephoto lens and the sports setting. Its a case of waiting for them to look like they are about to fly over getting them in focus (the hard bit) and then just keeping my finger on the button in continuous mode. They dont all come out great-so these are the best ones.

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  2. Wonderful photos - I'd love to do a course like that!

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    1. Thanks Em, it wasn't expensive, £28 thats all, which I though was a bargain! They do one a year...so there's always next year.

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  3. Superb photos - like Em I would love to take a similar course. I especially love the one of wildflowers on the cliff edge. You did brilliantly on the gulls in flights shot - I am hopeless at taking them!!

    I think the moth is an Eggar probably Oak and the butterfly is a Skipper (Large) I think.

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    1. Thanks for the moth and butterfly id. The moth was a beautiful colour and I have never seen a skipper-so that's a first for me. The birds in flight was a difficult one, but I started to get the hang of it and gulls dont fly too fast!

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  4. Amazing photos - I wish I still live in Devon.
    Julie xxxxxxxx

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    1. Hi Julie I'm delighted we made the move here...it would be hard to live back in a large town or city now and Berry Head is a beautiful spot so that helped with the photos.

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  5. Found your moth- pretty sure it's a male oak eggar, and the butterfly looks like some sort of skipper. I did leave a comment yesterday but not sure it got through? Fab photos they are all excellent. I must try and get on a course! CT x

    ps- just read Caroline's comment above and see we agree! Phew!

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    1. Thanks for the id's CT. Sometimes comments get lost as I'm sure I've replied to posts and then they dont appear. I really need to try out all the settings I've learnt, and I'm busy looking at the manual again...not particularly inspiring reading though!

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  6. Stunning photos Suzie, especially the birds in flight. I would also love to do a course like this - especially in same location! I love the Fulmars, one of my favourite sea birds. Great that you saw the Wall - and I agree with Caroline and CT, I think your butterfly is a Large Skipper, too. You took a fantastic pic of it.

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    1. Hi Wendy, thanks for you kind comments on the photos. Silly that I've never seen a Fulmar before...and they nest at Berry Head! Will have to wait until next year to catch them again. I'm delighted with the Skipper as I've never seen one before.

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  7. I love the first photo! Beautiful landscape and great that you have learnt so much from the course! Your beetle is a black-tipped soldier beetle I think :)

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    1. Thanks Lou Mary, I think with this landscape around me I ought to do better, so I'm delighted to have learnt something new that'll help me capture this lovely coastline. Thanks for the beetle id.

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  8. Beautiful photos! I agree with the skipper ID, looks like a male Large Skipper to me :) I absolutely love Devon too!

    Tom

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    1. Hi Tom, I'm pleased I had some good photos for a post! It would have been embarrassing to have come back and discovered they were all hopeless!

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  9. Thank you very much for this, I've learnt things just from this post so it would be amazing to actually try a course/day lesson. Your photos are really good and your explanations are too. Suzy xx

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  10. Thanks Suzy, it was a great day out, I'm sure I would never have spent a whole day at Berry Head otherwise. Some of the trainee rangers were on the course so I got to chat to them too.

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  11. Excellent photos ! I especially like the flowers on the cliff edge

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    1. Thanks. Sadly without the teacher I would never have thought of looking that way to see the flowers.

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  12. Oh I just love the softness and lighting methods that you had on these photos it just like seeing through with my own eye on site… Two thumbs up!

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    1. Thanks for taking a look and you kind comments. Having an expert around really helped but I think Berry Head will always look good no matter what the camera is or the skills of its operator!

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  13. Excellent photos. I like all the photos of yours and likely to do photography course of all about photography courses

    Thanks for sharing...

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Thanks for taking the time to leave me a comment. I read them all. At the moment I'm struggling for time making it difficult to reply individually to each comment, but I'll do my best.