The birds

I’ve seen a lot of photographs of birds lately. In my forum and amongst the old negatives I am scanning at the moment – I even managed one with the old Leica! Bird photography looks very difficult and if you want portraits of some of our native garden birds, then I imagine you need a fair amount of specialist equipment. A good camera with a very long lens. A sturdy tripod and a decent hide. And a lot of patience…

I only possess one of the above and perhaps I shouldn’t say which. Let’s just say that I’m not geared up for shots of wildlife unless it gets so tame that I can walk up to within a few feet. (That does happen sometimes, but not very often). Seagulls are quite different though and I thought it was about time I posted the photograph that I chose to represent this blog. It was taken on an afternoon out in Eastbourne back in the summer of 2012. I don’t recall if we had a proper summer that year – the photographs I took on that day show it was sunny, but the notes I added at the time mentioned a strong gale.

We watched the band as they struggled to hang on to the music on their stands and I took a few candid shots of people on the beach. I may post those another time. I did have my eye on a couple of seagulls, but they were just ambling along the footpath and didn’t look that interesting. We decided to take a stroll along the pier before heading back to the car and on our way out we weakened and bought a couple of bags of chips. We stood in the shelter of the shop as we ate and it was only with a handful of chips left that I looked back at the seagulls and wondered.

I handed the leftovers to my husband while I fished in my rucksack for the camera and we made our way back to the beach. The bag had hardly been opened before dozens of birds appeared as if by magic and took to the sky. I’ve been asked if I used my longest lens here, but the truth is I had the zoom set to the widest possible and the birds were literally three or four feet in front of us. My husband wasn’t too happy about this and he started backing off until I shouted at him to stand his ground.

Pas de Deux

Aerial Ballet

The seagulls may have been close, but they moved around so quickly that I wasn’t entirely sure what I had been able to capture until we got back home. This was my first attempt at photographing birds in flight and I was very pleased with the results. In the end I didn’t need the tripod, hide (or patience). The most important bit of kit turned out to be a bag of chips.


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