Saturdays are varied, but usually on Sundays I get up early (ish) and then go and watch my sons footy team play. This week however was a bit different.
I have just brought an E-TTL flash for my SLR Camera, which arrived in no time at all and I decided to give it a trial run down at the beach on Saturday night. It didn't help a great deal with shots of the sea, the area/distance is too great, but I did get some interesting pictures. The ones I enjoyed most were walking around the outer harbour. I don't mean on the path, I mean actually along the sand/sea bed of the outer harbour where all the big fishing boats moor up. The tide was at its lowest when I got there, and this means that the harbour is devoid of water, with the exception of the odd pool left in the sands uneven surface.
It was kinda strange to walk around there, in amongst the boats and the bouys, was pretty dark too. The sand was very soft in places, giving way underfoot if I stopped still for more than a few seconds in places. The large puddles were easy to spot with the orange, shimmering lights reflecting in them, so that I at least managed to keep dry feet. I ventured further and further across the silent harbour bed, gradually making my way towards the exit/entrance between the harbour wall and the sea. How strange it seemed, even spooky in some respects. I recall thinking that this was the first time, in the 35 years that I have lived in this town, that I have ever ventured into harbour in this way.
On Sunday, I had pre-arranged plans with 3 guys from college. In an effort to cover the subject of 'movement' for our last project, we decided to attend an open track day at Brands Hatch and photograph some of the bikes racing. I have always loved motorsports, but I have never tried to photograph them before. I had never attempted to put the panning techniques I knew about into practice with any object that moved that damn fast!
What a steep learning curve it was. After about 3 hours, and 500 or so photos later I felt the odds must be in my favour to have achieved at least a handful of good shots! With the help of Photoshop later I hoped I had some good shots that I could maybe improve further.
Reckon I didn't do too bad, when I saw some of the shots I took I was absolutely amazed.
After the racing, we made our way to a private invitation to view and photograph some birds of prey. We were expecting to see just a couple of different birds, it was at a private house after all, not at a business. When we arrived we were confronted with an array of about 6 different types of birds and the two guys who owned them were a mine of information about them. Four of the birds on show belonged to the chap whose house we were at, and it turned out he actually breeds them too. We were given the opportunity to photograph them on their perches outside of their individual averys and then, in turn, they moved them onto a perch they had staked in the middle of the lawn to allow us to photograph them with trees and bushes for a backdrop. They were all gorgeous birds and didn't seem to mind that three of us were photographing them non stop.
After this, we were treated to a flying show with three different birds. The two guys, with their gauntlets, (is that the right term?) and a pocket full of dead chicks and chick legs, (I know, gross, but somehow seemed OK with the 'thats nature' approach) took us over the garden fence into the crematorium grounds. The house owner had an arrangement with the council where he is allowed to fly his birds there, and in return, the birds keep the mice/rat population to a minimum. It was truly amazing to see them set loose and even more amazing to see them return, time and time again in order that they may be fed. Each time they were about to release one of the birds, they carefully explained to us where the bird would most likely fly to, and each time they were going to call the birds back they would let us choose the best spot to capture them in flight before they did.
Unfortunately, the weather was not on our side. It was very overcast and damp and the light was pretty damn poor. This mixed with the fact that the birds were dark in color meant most of the shots turned out to be more like silouhettes, shame really. It was still a great afternoon, and gave me the chance to see and experience something close up that I never thought I would.
This was one of my favourite birds, she was absolutely beautiful, and even more so in her graceful flight.