Sunday, 30 October 2011

East Devon

We went down to Seaton Hole for the Autumn half-term week. The weather was unseasonably warm and sunny, but I'm not complaining!

Here are some photos from the beautiful first morning we were there.

All but the last one were taken with the Nikon D700 + Voigtlander 20mm Pancake, which makes a nice, relatively compact, travel setup.

Pre-dawn Light at Seaton Hole

Sunrise at Seaton Hole

Sunrise at Seaton Hole

Sunrise at Beer

Sunrise at Beer Beach

Sunrise at Beer Beach

Juvenile Gull at the 'Hole
Nikon D700 + 70-200mm F2.8G ED VR II AF-S + TC-20e III

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Misty Morning

The recent run of clear and misty Autumn mornings has been continuing.

All the following were shot with my Panasonic GF-1 and 14mm lens (28mm equivalent).

Autumn Sunrise lights up the early morning mist

Autumn Sunrise

GF-1 version of earlier iPhone shot

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Indian Summer Continues

The unseasonably warm weather continues with wildlife aplenty.

I managed to get a little bit closer to one of the SparrowHawks that lives around here:
Soaring SparrowHawk
Nikon D300s, 70-200 f/2.8G VR II and TC-1.4E II converter.

Still not close enough to get a decent shot though!

A Grey Heron also flew over while I was watching out for the SparrowHawk. St Albans must be one of the best places in Britain to see Herons, as they are a common sight in the fields. Never mind the large breeding colony in Verulamium Park.
Heron Flying Over Local Fields
Also saw some more mundane wildlife, still enjoying the last vestiges of Summer:
Bee Supping Nectar from a Wildflower

Young Rabbit at Sunset

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Nikon Mirror Lens

Coincidently, I see today that Matsuiyastore, the excellent Japanese camera store, has the Nikon equivalent of my MTO mirror lens to for sale:

Note the beefy tripod mounting socket and long focusing lever. Both great features to make this lens much more practical than the MTO. It is, of course, a much more expensive item!

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Moons of Jupiter

The clear evening skies at the moment have provided great views of Jupiter, which is currently well placed for Northern Hemisphere observers.

To get a closer look, I got out my Russian MTO 11CA, which is a 1000mm f10 mirror lens originally built for the Soviet military in the Cold War period. It is built like the proverbial tank and reasonably sharp for such modestly priced lens. I hooked it up to my Panasonic GF-1 via an M42 to micro 4/3 adapter. This gives an equivalent focal length of an enormous 2000mm!

MTO 11CA 1000mm f10 Mirror Lens

Pointing the combo at Jupiter showed a clear view of the four brightest moons:

Jupiter's 4 brightest moons
L-R: Callisto, Ganymede, Jupiter, Io and Europa

Unfortunately, there is no surface detail visible on Jupiter and the whole image is lacking in sharpness. This was mainly due to difficulties in keeping the lens still, as it is a light lens with a long focal length, making it susceptible to the slightest vibration. It doesn't help that the tripod mount is a rather weak and shallow affair and the night air was also not particularly still, due to the very warm weather. Still, amazing what you can see without a telescope...

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Indian Summer

With England basking in a late Indian Summer, we've been having some terrific sunrises over misty fields:

Autumn Sunrise
I shot this with the iPhone4 and in my opinion the quality and immediacy of such devices mark the death knell of the traditional compact camera.

Also shot these dahlias in the morning light.
Note that these were the real colours and not enhanced in software :-)

I used my Nikon D300s, 70-200 f/2.8G VR II and TC-1.4E II converter for this shot and all the following images, which were captured in the local fields just after sunrise:

Wildflower Covered in Dew

Morning Dew

Lone Bunny


Wild Rose

Field Funghi