Wednesday, 16 July 2008

HH short listed for BBBPY Again!

Having come third in 2006 and fifth in 2007 , for the fourth consecutive year I have been short listed in the British Birds Bird Photograph of the Year competition. I know who the winners and losers are and strangely enough I have an identical image to the guy who came second! Thats because were were photographing the same bird doing exactly the same thing at exactly the same time - but being the Muppet I obviously am, I decided not to enter it and probably lost myself second place! I cannot name him here as the official results will be announced in the August 2008 edition of British Birds, but he is one of my best mates and has my biggest congratulations. Well done Mr T. Like I said, the results with be in BB and I'll upload my short-listed image then. In the meantime, here are the two images that didn't make the short list, probably because the judges had fallen asleep (a) because they had drunk lots of red wine and / or (b) they got sleepy looking at pictures of Puffins. I'll also include the evocative poetry that you are forced to write when you enter something like this so that the tail enders can cut and paste it for their next entry. A word of advice though - remember to change the name of the species and the date.



Subject & Photographer: Little Gull by Hugh Harrop

Photographed at: Kuusamo, Finland, 31 May 2007

Equipment used: Canon EOS-1D Mark II with 500mm f4 IS lens hand held Exposure: 1/1600 second at f5.0. Evaluative metering reading under exposed by 1/3 stop. ISO: 200 White balance: Auto

Statement of manipulation: Levels increased slightly and unsharp mask rated at 150% on a radius of 0.3 pixels at threshold 2.Slight enhancement of saturation and rotated 2 degrees CCW to straighten image. Image cropped to 10 x 15 cm as per entry spec.

Circumstances: Late May 2007 saw me once again in Finland. A late evening visit to Lake Kuusamo was at first disappointing as the sun was still high and directly in front of us. At around midnight and as the sun finally dropped (!), a number of species like Arctic Tern, Whooper Swan and Common Terns offered some tremendous back-lit opportunities. Many Little Gulls were present, but their jagged flight made images tricky to say the least.




Subject & Photographer: White-winged Black Tern by Hugh Harrop

Photographed at: Biebrza, Poland 10 May 2007

Equipment used: Canon EOS-1D Mark II with 500mm f4 IS lens and 1.4x EF II converter all mounted on a Gitzo 1325 tripod with Manfrotto 501 video head. Exposure: 1/100 second at f5.6. Evaluative metering reading under exposed by 2/3 stop. ISO: 200 White balance: Auto

Statement of manipulation: Levels increased slightly and unsharp mask rated at 150% on a radius of 0.3 pixels at threshold 3. Slight enhancement of saturation. Some water droplets cloned off the head to enhance effect of sharp head. Image cropped to 10 x 15 cm as per entry spec.

Circumstances: The first half of May 2007 saw me in eastern and northern Poland and I made a three-day visit to Biebrza Marshes. The weather was wet and very humid with almost constant heavy showers and thus few photographic opportunities! This however proved to be awesome for viewing marsh terns, with many hundreds of White-winged Black and Black Terns in suitable habitat. A true spectacle in itself. Resigning myself to the fact that the sun was never going to come out, I decided to try my hand at some motion blur images which I?d tried here in Shetland on many a dull winter day! After spending a while studying the birds I noticed that when they were hovering for prey, the head remained almost still. The birds were not that close to me so I had no option other than to use a 1.4x Teleconverter. The fastest shutter speed possible to keep digital noise to an absolute minimum was 1/100 sec so I focused on the head of this bird and hoped that the rapid motion of the hovering wings told the story. It proved rather difficult as the majority of images showed at least some head movement and thus blur in all the wrong areas, but I managed several acceptable images in a variety of poses. This image was taken very late in the afternoon and I really wished I had wised up to what potential this subject really offered. I learned two fundamental things that afternoon: firstly, make the weather work for you as opposed to against you and secondly, take every opportunity that is presented to you!


Of course the third thing I should have learnt that afternoon was not to have bothered entering it!