Sunday, 19 January 2014

St. Helens

A rare bright sunny day in a mild, wet and often stormy winter, so it was off to St. Helens Duver, an area of sand dunes in the NE of the Isle of Wight, one of the few places that, although wet, wouldn't be knee deep in mud. A lot of the island has been flooded in the past couple of months and parts of roads badly damaged or even washed away.

The landscape photos were taken with my Canon 6D and 24-105mm lens while the bird shots were with my 70D and 100-400mm, at ridiculous distances and cropped.

There were a few birds around, mostly the usual stuff including Robin, Wren, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Blackbird and Pied Wagtail. A Rock Pipit was on the shore by the lagoons. On and around the lagoons were Little Egret, Teal (approx. 20), Redshank, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, a couple of Cormorants, Grey Plover. Flocks of Brent Geese flew in from the west.

Over in the distance, the other side of St. Helens and Embankment Road, something disturbed the birds and the sky was soon filled with agitated swirling flocks of geese, ducks, Lapwings and gulls. I couldn't see what it was that had frightened them but it could have been a Peregrine, Buzzard or even a Marsh Harrier.


I had a moment of madness last week and decided to take out a bank loan to buy a Canon 500mm lens. The bank approved it, as I have almost paid off my existing loan with them, and sent me the papers to sign, but I've realised that it is incredibly stupid to get into debt to just blow money on something which costs as much as a new car, which I can ill-afford and which won't improve my photography anyway (getting closer to birds with my 100-400mm is the key, as is technique). So, I've chickened out and decided I'm not going to take out the loan after all, because adding another seven years onto my existing loan is not the most sensible idea. I'll save for a second-hand 500mm prime or I might look at the new 150-600mm Tamron which has just been released, which is exciting the photography community (initial results from it are promising) and which I can afford.
To be honest, thinking about it, I'd rather spend money on travel. I am not exactly paid badly but it is often a case of 'either/or'. I'm off to New South Wales (Australia, of course!) for a couple of weeks in March/April and I am thinking of a trip to Nepal later this year or next.

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