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Showing posts from April, 2018

Photographing the Grebes Courtship Display

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Great Crested Grebe Courtship
On Thursday past, good friend and DGPix workshop regular Rosie and I headed out on the Oxford Island NNR reserve to photograph the grebe courtship displays.  Many breeeding pairs are visible from the hides, and you can get some great views of the birds as they pair up and go through the elaborate and complex courtship routine.

The grebes have a complex display, consisting of varied stages, and we were able to capture some of these, really close in and in good light - it all came together nicely.


Rosie opted for the fantastic Canon 5Dmk3 body and Sigma 50-500mm lens on the day whereas I was using the Sigma 150-600mm lens with 1.4xTC as light was good and it would be another good test of this lens on the Canon 7Dmk2 body.  
The following image was taken on the at 840mm - f/9 - 1/320 and iso 200.  Central focus point only on the upper bird's chest, and spot metering.  Supported on the hide window using a bean bag:




Seeing the birds at close quarters was a real…

Sigma 150-600mm HSM DG OS & 1.4x TC Kit - First Impressions

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Sigma 150-600mm first Impressions
Having used the Canon 400mm F5.6L, a very underrated and razor sharp lens for bird and wildlife work - I was tempted into replacing my Sigma 50-500mm with the newer 150-600mm Contemporary lens, complete with TC-1401 1.4x teleconverter kit.
Look out on the DGPix Facebook page for Sigma 50-500mm being listed for sale, this will be a bargain lens for anyone starting out with nature photography, or anyone looking to step up from the 70-300 range of lenses.
So on to the mega zoom Sigma lens. It's heavy, but not as heavy as other reviews online were making out - for me its a lens I can hand hold without any issues (built in optical stabilisation helps!) Tripod mounted use is a joy, but I reckon I'll be using it more without one. Image quality is surprisingly sharp given the focal length and price range of the lens.  At f6.3 at 600mm results are very nice indeed, even after cropping:

The above image was taken using the Sigma 150-600mm lens mounted on a Ca…

Rams Island Photo Trip

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Rams Island Photo Trips (Weekend 24th and 25th March)
This was our first trip to Ram's Island on Lough Neagh as a DGPix hosted workshop.  Two groups traveled out on two days, taking the Island Warrior out of Sandy Bay to the island.
Rams Island is managed and maintained by the Rams Island Heritage Project - and the guys are knowledgeable about the history and heritage of the area, and provide a welcome cup of tea and biccies on a unique barge acting as a visitors centre on the island.

Rams Island is the largest on Lough Neagh, and although hindered by low water levels on the lough, the cormorant colony showed well enough if at a distance.

Experts Noreen and Sandra were on hand spotting birds from the boat and on the island, and I provided the photographic tuition when needed to the attendees who grabbed some excellent landscape and wildlife shots during the day - the weather was superb with hardly a ripple on the lough!












Another attendee kindly allowed permission for use of her photos h…