Balkan Green Lizard (I think!)

The flora and fauna of Corfu is diverse, whilst we have been staying here (near Kassiopi) we have seen all sorts from birds of prey to an unusual snake. Now I had no chance with the snake, it vanished before I could even raise my camera to my eye. However this little guy, that I later identified as being a Balkan Green Lizard was actually surprisingly easy to get a picture of. Would you believe me if I told you this was hand-held too? I took one photo, sneaked closer, took another until I was too close to obtain focus with my 24-70mm Sigma lens. I zoomed to the full 70mm, the light was dropping (evening time) and set my ISO to 640, aperture to f6.3 with a shutter speed of 1/60 sec. I was super pleased with the result, keeping the lizard sharp and softening out the environment he was sat in.

It was quite amusing to see him on this tree again the following two days as we took our regular walk down the mountain side to the coastal road below.

The Spinney

The following short film came to me in a moments inspiration whilst I was out researching a location for both filming and photographing. The light was bursting through the trees in this small woodland “Spinney” and it struck me how beautiful it was.

This kind of shot would traditionally have been created with a camera mounted on some kind of mechanical pulley or rail system. No need for that when you can use a drone. I set my Mavic up to use “Tripod mode” which changes the behaviour of the drone when you fly in a sideways direction to operate at a very steady speed, providing the operator with more control over the smoothness of the resulting video.

I also turned off sharpening in the recording, favouring doing that in post-production. I am liking the D-Cinelike mode which provides for a greater lattitude when editing later.


Red Kites

Red Kite (by Crowning,

Thanks to everyone who has submitted comments on an old post of mine ( about the Red Kite and its gradual spread into the county of Hampshire. The post was the shortest ever posted on this blog way back in 2007 and it has received over 27 comments. I also wrote another post that has received 105 comments which you can read at Read more

Skylarks in February?

When I hear the rising song of the skylark, instant visions of Summer
enter my mind and my spirit is lifted. So I was somewhat surprised to
encounter these wonderful elements of nature yesterday in mid
February. I cupped my hands around my ears and scoured the ground to
see if I could catch sight of any. It took a few minutes and I spotted
a skylark hop out of one furrow into the next, barely flying, more of
a hop in the purest of senses.

I raise the question: is it normal to see skylarks this early in the

Sent from my iPod

Dawn swans

The dawn light this morning was fantastic as I stopped off at the Jubilee River, near Dorney in Berkshire. The bitterly cold morning bringing out all of the wild birds to feed in readiness for the day ahead. The world around me had come alive and I felt that if I were to hold food out in my hand, they would all land on my palm and feed from it.

Winter is a great time for wild bird photography, as at this time our feathered friends are far bolder than at any other time of year. They have to feed and don’t let the occasional Nikon toting Human bother them too much! There is also absolutely no foliage to hide within, so they are easier to see and photograph. They are also far less defensive than in the Spring, as they no longer have chicks to ward off predators from. The chicks (or cygnets in this case) have all matured and become fully grown adults in their own right and they can fight their own ground if needs be.

This morning I spent a beautiful 10 minutes or so with a family of swans. In fact I have met this family a number of times along this stretch of the river and I swear they are getting used to me. The cygnets were tiny fluffy little fellows the first time I saw them but now they are rapidly growing up, heading towards maturity and gradually losing their downy feathers. Soon they will be seeking mates and starting their own families, the endless cycle of nature starting over once again.

Whilst I was working on my shots of the juvenile Mute Swans, I could hear a very distinctive “Whoop, whoop, whoop” sound from my right, the powerful and distinctive sound of an adult swan in flight. Concerned that I may have disturbed the adult, I stepped back away from her young and she came into land on the surface of the river. She wasn’t at all far away so my 24-70mm (at the long end already) was just perfect to get her all in as best as possible. I had to do a little work on the two flight images you see here but only really to lift the exposure in Lightroom from the original RAW files.
I noticed that as the sun lifted, its rays now making it over the hills behind me, cutting across at an oblique angle, started to illuminate the swans and their water with a delicious warm light. I smiled to myself realising how much I cherish these moments in life, just me, my camera and a bunch of swans! The adult swan also appreciated the moment as she raised her wings to dry them in the sun as they had become saturated by the river during her landing only moments ago.

Made a mental note to come back here again in the near future…