Saturday, 29 September 2012

Another yank & more odds & sods

I went down to Dorset on a recent trip with Tim Taylor to see the immature Short-billed Dowitcher that has been present for a couple of weeks now. I wasnt that worried about going for it, although it was a british tick for me, until i realised this is only the second british record! We didnt have to wait too long for it to show itself on the western scrape.

This immature Osprey has been commuting between Hawkridge reservoir & Ashford reservoir for a while now. I had previously got some flight shots with a lovely blue sky for a background at Hawkridge, but desperatley wanted some fishing shots. This is about the best so far. I will hopefully get to go back before it decides its too cold & heads south & try my luck again.

And finally for now, I found the pics below skulking on my hard drive & decided to process them. They were taken back in 2006 at Shapwick nature reserve with my first DSLR, a Nikon D70.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Items for sale

I have recently added a couple of items to the other items for sale section of my main website. Please go here to view my D2x & 70-200mm f2.8 vr lens.

Thursday, 13 September 2012 me anyway

I have recently pulled the trigger & upgraded my venerable old Nikon D2x to a D4. Over the last 4-5 years, since the D3 came out, I have been secretly yearning for the fantastic high iso performance of the fore mentioned model. Tied to ISO 400 or lower in order to keep the noise under control, I was struggling to get a decent shutter speed to freeze the action, especially during the frequent dull , rainy days of this summer.
The auto focus system of the D2x also is slow & clunky & dare I say unreliable against todays bottom of the range DSLR's.
 Despite all these short comings, I feel I have found work arounds to most of these issues & got results the hard way. Having used it for so long, I know its moods & can second guess how its going to react when I press the shutter button. If I end up with a crap result, its because I have caused it.
The D4 came out of the box & superficially it looks the same as the D2x. A few buttons have moved & some have been added, but it still feels the same. Thats about where the similarities end! Now I have only had the chance to use it a couple of times so far, so this is really just my first impressions. After spending a couple of hours with a manual the size of a phone book, I had got it to a stage where I felt I had it set to my liking. By now the batteries were also fully charged & off I went to give it a go.
All I can say is WOW!
The first thing that struck me like a hammer blow to the head was the autofocus. It locked on straight away & stayed locked. Revelation 1- The AF works straight away even with a 2x teleconverter attached (giving an aperture of F8).
Because I was using a 2x TC, & the light was crap, I had bumped the ISO up to 1600. Revelation 2- The high ISO image quality is fantastic. At 1600 the D4 images are as clean or more probably cleaner than my D2x on ISO 400.
The 3rd thing that I noted was the lack of blown highlights. Revelation 3- The D4 sees much more like we humans do. Dynamic range is far better than the D2x.
Now, some of you guys that have kept pace with the constant upgrades over the last few years, probably wont find these revelations a very big deal, but I had high expectations of this new camera & so far they have been blown clear out of the water.
Even so, I am finding it very hard to part company with the old girl. I think I will end up trying to sell her, but if I don't get what I want, she can sit on the shelf in the cupboard. I have a job in mind for her that she excels at & can come out of retirement a few times a year. What is that you may ask? Just keep an eye on the bug galleries!

Heres a few shots taken with the D4 (all IIRC at ISO 1000 & above). Please click on the images below to see a slightly larger version.

Osprey at Hawkridge reservoir

Swallow at Huntspill river 

Spotted Crake at Greylake