Finally I get my super duper all singing all dancing Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM lens. Its white its heavy it’s the best a man can get and it makes me feel complete. I now truly have all the gear and no idea. Read on………..
So I had the opportunity to visit Suffolk. The spiritual home of our Mr Riley but that’s another story. Anyway I found a rather nice reserve called RSPB Fowlmere. An old water cress farm apparently. The water in the streams is truly very clear indeed and a bubbling spring is present in one of the small pools. Bit like The Bishops Palace in Wells but with nature. This was the first outing in anger with the full new set up of Canon 70D and 400mm lens. Now I’ve been a little shy in taking it out in public. A bit self-conscious of its size and the expectations to perform that such a beast can bring forth. So I plonked my bag down in the corner of the first hide I came to. This was the Spring Hide. No one else there just a few young and juvenile Moorhens in the beautiful water before me. I turned and pondered getting it out. Well there’s no one to see me. I could just have a quick play while no one is around. I sheepishly lent down to undo the zip when the latch clanked and the door opened. I quickly straightened and tried to look casual like I wasn’t about to do something! Turning I saw the dark door facing me with the bright light casting into the gloomy hide. I could hear huffing and banging. What on earth could it be? Then slowly and ominously what appeared to be the barrel of a Chieftain tank slowly appeared. The end was the diameter of a dustbin. As it entered the size got smaller and smaller. A gimbal tripod came next followed by a rather large camera. Right at the end of this was a senior gentleman who looked exhausted. I’m not surprised carrying that great thing. We nodded and he settled down. ‘Well there’s no use trying to avoid the inevitable Andrew’ I said to myself and got my new baby out. I looked down and suddenly it didn’t seem quit that big anymore! Then first night nerves kicked in. I held my now somewhat modest toy to my eyes and went to take the first shot. Blackness enveloped me. A meagre smug of light riddled my eyes. Confused I tried to not look too confused and played with the controls. Still nothing. Later at my leisure I watched a video of the pond then the sky then the pond again. Having flicked back to photo I was off and running. Weeds in the bag, Moorhens in the bag, Warblers in the bag, bubbling spring in the bag. Rattling off 7fps. This was fun. Then what seemed like a machine gun blasted out. The monster next to me was spitting out 11fps. I smiled and felt the warmth of a baptism of fire engulf me as I slowly floated down to the soft fluffy pillow of earth with a bump.
A Moorhen Chick
A First year Moorhen and younger probable Siblings
We had a good chat. Talked about life, blogs, car accidents and how 11fps can soon fill up your hard drive.
A second hide, I felt more at home in, was overlooking a modest reed bed. Hobbies where present a few minutes before I came as evidenced by a shot a guy showed me as we ’swapped shifts’. Have you noticed when you go into a hide it seems to signal for others to leave and you simply change places. Nothing too exciting, a few Coots and mallards, nice though. Large, raised up and circular. Something Hamwall and Shapwick would benefit from. Place one or two of those on the far side with tracks would be a great vantage point. My friend with the field artillery came in and showed me the Barn Owl pics he had just taken. Bored with waiting for the Hobby, We're spoilt at Hamwall etal, I was off and set up shop about 100 feet from the two trees where the young were eager to explore and the parents eager to sleep.
Coots being fed
Male Adult Barn Owl asleep. Look above in the old box. You can just see the back of the female.
Young Barn owl having a look
Young Barn owl having a look
Two Young Bar Owls
On the final leg as I wandered back to the beginning, looking at the fish swimming stationary in the crystal waters, I heard the sound of a Song Thrush. And there it was sitting in a small bare tree right in front of me.
For the record on the way up I saw 4 Red Kites and a Jay. All on the M4. The return journey showed quite a few Hobbies and another jay.
I still have a long way to go with this new gear. So easy to use and intuitive. I'm already flying without a safety net on manual mode. Hopefully I'll improve and the pics will get better and better. But its not all about the quality of the pics after all is it. Its about the day.