Friday, 26 October 2012

Carrying a big lens

One thing that I have hated about my 600mm lens since I have had it is the really annoying carrying strap. For those that do not know, the strap is attached to the tripod foot & to a fixed loop on the lens body near the camera mount. Now the trouble is that I hate to have dangling straps when the lens is fixed to the tripod. They are either flapping around in the wind or getting in the way. Also because of the way the strap is attached, one end swivelling & one end fixed, it always manages to get twisted up beyond belief.
There are alternatives of course. I used to use an Op-tech strap on my old Sigma 500 that had quick release clips, the type that you squeeze the sides together to release them. This was ok until I accidentally grabbed hold of the clip when loading the car & the clip released allowing the lens to hit the deck. Fortunately the lens hood took the brunt of it & the lens was undamaged (the hood regained its shape after a bit of fettling). After this, I no longer trusted the Op-tech strap.
Other alternatives include offerings from Kirk & Black rapid. These both appealed as they have a single mount that screws into the tripod foot. That is ok until you want to fit the lens to your tripod. You need to unscrew the strap.
A variation on the same theme had a small Arca-swiss type clamp attached to the screw on the end of the strap, giving a secure quick release system. Just what I needed! These type of straps are around 80 quid.
While searching the old faithful ebay, I came across a small clamp with eyebolt screwed in for £25 delivered. Hunting through my camera gear, I found a thick padded strap that came with my Lowepro lens bag complete with the type of clips used on dog leads. More than strong enough for the job. Delivery of the clamp was fast & tonight I attached it to my strap & then to the lens. To say I am pleased is an understatement. Comfortable, secure & true quick release. Perfect!

Link to the clamp on ebay

Please note that I have in no way any connection  either personal or financial to the seller on ebay. I am purely a satisfied customer.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Brean down Wryneck

A couple of shots of the Wryneck that has been at the walled garden at Brean Down for a few days now, much to the delight of many birders both local & visitors. A Ring Ouzel was also present although when i seen it last, it was being harrased by a Sparrowhawk. Pretty sure it got away.

A member of the woodpecker family, it is usually hard to see due to its cryptic plumage. This one however frequently fed on ants out on the open grass & allowed these long range record shots to be taken with the 600 & 2x converter.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Sunny Exmoor

Today I spent a enjoyable morning with Tim Taylor down in the coombes of Exmoor. The target was a bird was a first for me in Somerset. It is a bird with a name that raises eyebrows with non birders. It is of course the Ring Ouzel (stop tittering at the back......).
 After a 10 minute walk down through Chetsford water to where Ember coombe meets it, We found the Rowan trees laden with bright red berries. Alas no Ouzels were present at this time.After a wait of approx 30 mins a pair appeared from nowhere & gave brief views before disappearing again. After a short walk along Nutscale water we returned back to where the streams meet & again found a male & female further back along Chetsford water. A fellow birder also pointed out a female on a bush up on the hillside & said he had seen at least 5 others that had flown off. So that made at least 6 individuals present & judging by the amount of berries, they could well stay a little longer before migrating to Africa for the winter.
The record shots below show a male with his large white gorget.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Osprey leg rings.

The recent Immature osprey that has been frequenting a couple of local reservoir for the past 3 weeks has been fitted with some bling. On the right leg is the normal metal ring that is inscribed with an unique code & on the left is a larger colour ring with a letter code in white. As you can see on the above enormous crop, the code is ND (not NB as it looks on the photo-thats just shine on the ring). The record has been sent to those in the know & we are currently waiting on a reply. From this we will then know the birds history up until now. I find this fascinating & cannot wait to find out. Watch this space......