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Landscape and wildlife photography - venues, cameras and the know-how!

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Landscape and wildlife photography - venues, cameras and the know-how!

I sometimes take two cameras into the hills with me, I suppose if you count my emergency phone then three! My wee Canon EOS-M has interchangeable lenses which is great for some wildlife pics and I also have an adapter that means it can take almost any lens. It’s a great little camera but my one regret is it has no viewfinder eyepiece, so looking at the screen on bright days is useless. The newer version has a viewfinder, I can’t justify it though! The 200mm lens is good enough for my wildlife shots as I’m usually close enough anyway and with the other group kit I take in my bag, this camera and lens is heavy enough for me! 

Ptarmigan 200mm lens  

Ptarmigan 200mm lens  

I’ve also found out the Canon can also be used to carry water and still be used after it dries out. OK, this is not recommended but did happen to me during a guided tour of the coliseum, me being guided for a change and completely forgetting to look after my kit! (We bailed after 20mins of torrential rain and cold wind..) 

Views from Sgòr Mòr 

Views from Sgòr Mòr 

Frustratingly landscape photos are sometimes better on my IPhone which is fine as it makes it so quick and easy to share. I must take hundreds of photos so I guess I’m getting better at framing the shot and knowing what works. My Canon is good in low light conditions or for night shots, the phone is just not up to the task. I’ve been lucky to snap Aurora shots and weather ones too. 

Hopeman beach storms

Hopeman beach storms

Aurora in my garden

Aurora in my garden

My shots are mostly luck though....don’t ask me to explain an ISO or F number...but I could probably give enough advice to get you going! Luckily I have some friends that pass on tips and they will be joining me for a photography workshop next month as we head to the loch of Lochnagar for some landscape and hopefully wildlife photography. The #IGERSAberdeen team will be on hand to give advice and explain correctly how to take those perfect shots. I’ll be in the background with my IPhone taking snaps and trying to look as though I know what I’m doing! I will be able to point out the interesting features though and take them to an amazing place. If you’d like to join this walk get in touch, you can reserve a place here.  

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Capturing the Moment – Wildlife of 2017

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Capturing the Moment – Wildlife of 2017

Capturing the moments – wildlife of 2017

As a hillgoer, you soon become familiar with the usual wildlife suspects and where to stumble across them. The Ptarmigan sheltering amongst the rocks, the deer just round the next bend, the dippers following you down a stream and so on. I’ve had a few occasions where I’ll turn a corner to see a perched eagle spot me, take off and soar away before I can take my lens cap off, so frustrating and fantastic at the same time. Capturing the moment for me is mainly luck, not skill, just being in the right place at the right time. I never take a tripod and most of my photos are taken on my phone. Next year I’m planning to take the tripod and have my wee digital camera easily within reach, not tucked away in my bag!

The days of film development are gone for most but I’m definitely developing my camera skills, mainly thanks to a network of superb photographers out there, giving advice and humorous criticism. 2018 will be another year of development and I’ll be taking a larger lens with me too, the extra weight in my bag will hopefully be compensated by some quality wildlife snaps. I’ll just have to reduce weight elsewhere, a new light weight bag perhaps or leave my hipflask at home on those overnight trips….

The photos below are a sample of my wildlife pics from 2017. I’ll be taking more camera clubs out next year, learn from the experts!

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