As many of you may know I recently bought the image stabilised Canon 100mm macro lens, and those of you who shoot macro will know it is a whole different discipline to that of traditional wildlife photography. I have also now acquired a remote control for the camera which makes it all a whole lot easier, hopefully this will make my shots that little bit easier.
I decided that I wanted to try and photograph a millipede the other week. Now, I am usually fine with 'creepy crawlies' but I have to say that I have a fear of millipedes so for me this was a big deal. Don't ask me why I have such an odd fear, all I can tell you is that the legs moving in that wave like motion make me feel ill, even thinking of them as I type makes me shudder. Anyway, so I set about photographing these weird little invertebrates as I have large numbers of them in my log pile but they are extremely hard to get to stay still. After nearly an hour I got two shots that I am rather happy with, as you can see below ...
I have also been on the look out for any insects around my garden and paddock, and I have come up with a couple. Now I don't know the species names, so I will have to do some further research, but I can tell you that the beetle is part of the weevil family and the other is fly which I think is part of the Tachina family.
I also have a population of Slow Worms living in my grass heap, I have only managed to get the one shot so far and it was of an absolute tiddler. Here is the little chap for you.
Finally, this evening I decided to lift a few stones around the garden to see if I could find any amphibians and I was in luck. I found a Common Toad hiding under one of the stones and he moved out into the sunlight in search of somewhere else to hide. I took a few shots of him before placing him back under his stone, where it was nice and damp with plenty of invertebrates to prey on.
Since the last post I have been keeping one eye on the weather and the other on some on my target species. One of those species was the rather common (and often considered a pest) European Rabbit. Although I see these rather cute little mammals on nearly a daily basis, I have never really been successful with my attempts to photograph them. I have never managed to set myself in a spot that: a) I am comfortable in, I usually end up in the most awkward of positions or b) somewhere that I am close enough to get a memorable/worthy shot.
So over the last few weeks I have been watching the Rabbits in the field behind my house. I have been watching where they come and feed and where they dart into the hedgerow, I knew that if I set myself up underneath a camouflage net and waited patiently I might be in luck. I got even closer than I ever expected, one individual came within only a few metres of me and was completely relaxed with my presence (see below).
I only spent an hour or so photographing these little fellows but in that time I got more images of Rabbit then I have in the last couple of years put together. It was a wonderful evening and it gave me a real buzz to be able to get so close.
A couple of days later I decided to try and find my next mammal species to photograph. I am still trying to find a spot for Weasel and Stoat but for the time being this next species will be a splendid subject. My friend had told me of a site where there is an extremely active Badger sett and they are not too bothered by people, even if they talk a little. So we set off and found the sett, we covered one of the entrance holes with a camera trap, so even if we missed anything, the camera trap should have gone off and got some shots. So we climbed a huge tree right next to the sett and we sat and waited. In fact we waited for two hours until it was very nearly dark, but then, one lone individual appeared at the entrance. In fact that was as far as it ever got but I managed to get one shot in focus, and only one. The settings were; ISO 2000, Shutter speed 1/10th sec, Aperture f/2.8 and it was handheld. I can assure you that trying to keep a Canon EF 300 f/2.8 L IS II USM lens steady at that slow a speed took quite a few attempts.
For my first ever Badger photo I am extremely happy but now I know that they are there, I think I might have to make a few more trips and set up a slightly better shot. Perhaps by setting up my hide nearby and luring them out with some "Badger treats". I will keep you posted with my Badger success over the coming weeks as well as anything else of interest.