The Creatures of the Waterhouse

squirrel by a tree
1/30sec, f/5.6, ISO 100, exposure bias -1.0, 135mm

There are two main types of image I tend to take in environments like the Waterhouse Plantation, especially when I’m going through a creative dry spell. The first are ones like those I posted yesterday: landscapes or still lives made interesting by image composition or post-processing. The second is of things happening, such as wildlife flitting past.

The squirrel above actually posed for this shot. He stopped and held this position until I took a picture, and then he ran off.

In another part of the plantation, there was a large bush which was, and there is only one way to describe this, COVERED IN BEEEES.

So, I swapped out to a macro lens to try to get some gratuitous bee shots.

close up of a bee on a flower
1/320sec, f/16, ISO 2000, exposure bias +0.33, 100mm

This one looks like a ickle baby bee:

closeup of a bee on a flower
1/500sec, f/16, ISO 2000, exposure bias +0.33, 100mm

This one escaped, but I liked the result:

bee escaping out of the frame
1/1250sec, f/16, ISO 2000, exposure bias +0.33, 100mm
closeup of a bee on a flower
1/1000sec, f/16, ISO 2000, exposure bias +0.33, 100mm
closeup of a bee on a flower
1/500sec, f/16, ISO 2000, exposure bias +0.33, 100mm

I was shooting at f/16 in order to try to have a chance at keeping the subjects in focus. The Canon EF f/2.8 100mm Macro can have a razor thin depth of field at its closest focus, and with the fast moving little buggers I wanted to try and make sure I could get at least one decent sharp closeup of one of them.

It wasn’t just bees, there was one of these things, which I had no idea what it was until CJ Trigg Photography photographed one last week and seemed to know what it was: a damsel fly.

shot of a damsel fly on a leaf.
1/200sec, f/16, ISO 2000, exposure bias +0.33, 100mm
macro shot of a damsel fly on a leaf
1/160sec, f/16, ISO 2000, exposure bias +0.33, 100mm

I had originally assumed that the damsel fly was some sort of dragonfly. Can you blame me? It fits most of the description. Big wings, long thin body. Getting as close as calling it a dragonfly is pretty impressive for me.

I am also assuming that this is a dragonfly, but I couldn’t get close enough for a decent identification.

distant shot of a dragonfly on a leaf
1/125sec, f/5.6, ISO 400, exposure bias -0.67, 135mm

I love the bokeh in this image. Not quite as soft as if I’d had access to a bigger aperture, but it’s come out pretty well.

At this point, I attempted to get a bit closer to get a better look at the creature – which is when I was spotted.

distant shot of a dragonfly on a leaf
1/160sec, f/5.6, ISO 400, exposure bias -0.67, 120mm

I tried to get even closer, but I scared him off.

It wasn’t just creepy crawlies at the plantation. There were also bigger things afoot, like this gansta squirrel.

Squirrel
1/100sec, f/5.6, ISO 1000, exposure bias -0.67 (+0.75), 300mm (cropped)

Word.

Now, if you’ve read this blog before you might be aware that I’m quite partial to photographing squirrels. I’ve encountered some incredibly tame squirrels in my time.

This one, however, is evil, and apparently plotting something.

squirrel rubbing its hands
1/100sec, f/5.6, ISO 1000, exposure bias -0.67 (+0.83), 300mm

The most common kind of wildlife at the Plantation is… well, based on the times I’ve been there, it’s small children. Or bees. There’s also some birdlife there – mainly ducks, admittedly – but this time, I found a heron. I tried to get closer to get a better shot, but I spooked it, and I as it flew off I tried to capture it, but with such a fast moving target with a bright background my camera had trouble locking on to it.

fleeing heron
1/250sec, f/8, ISO 500, exposure bias -1.0 (+2.0), 69mm
a heron flying away
1/80sec, f/8, ISO 500, exposure bias -1.0 (-1.68), 62mm

And with that, he was gone.

heron disappearing into the distance
1/320sec, f/8, ISO 500, exposure bias -1.0, 62mm

This was the collection of wildlife I captured on the day – if anyone from the RSPCA is reading, yes, I mean ‘captured’ as in photographed, I definitely am in NO WAY WHATSOEVER attempting to assemble and train a squirrel army. Mainly because the damned things are too cute and friendly and don’t really listen to orders.

When we return to the Plantation, we’ll be looking at attempting to recreate past glories.

5 Comments

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  1. Great photos. I particularly love the one of the squirrel where he looks like he’s crossing his arms.

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  2. Great shots here, your wildlife ones definitely seem to be getting better and better! The 4th bee image is the best to my eye, and has some excellent bokeh. I have a couple of insecty sort of shots coming up soon thanks to the new macro lens (which arrived with superb timing just before our holiday).

    Glad to help in your identification of the damselflies! They are close relations of dragonflies, not a stupid assumption in the slightest. However, when you do see a dragonfly, you’ll know it because they are mahoosive compared to damselflies. One nearly flew right into my head once and frankly if it had hit me I’d have a wound a result!

    The gangsta squirrel may be one of my favourite photos of everything you’ve taken. I think he should form a gang with my Disapproving Moorhen (http://cjtrigg.wordpress.com/2012/03/14/the-grand-union-canal/img_0749/) and William the Wistful Sheep (http://cjtrigg.wordpress.com/2012/06/07/the-peak-district-kinder-scout/img_1925/)

    At 69mm didn’t the heron make you jump when it took off?!

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    • I’d already taken these images when you posted your damselfly and other creatures post, yet another occasion where we seem to be thinking along the same lines at the same time. It certainly might be part of the reason I try to get my posts out a bit quicker now, because somewhere in the back of my mind is the thought that you are going to beat me to it!

      The gangsta squirrel seems to have gone down well. It’s a shot just calling out for a Photoshopping, I think.

      I didn’t jump at the heron, it had already run off once, so I was expecting him to do it again. Just, not expecting it enough to be ready with my camera.

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      • Annoyingly my reply has just deleted itself. Anyway, I was saying that at some point, if we ever get you & Holly and Rodrigo & Monica up to Northampton, you should bring the camera and spend some time in our garden! Between the pond and the permemnant not-quite-under-control vegetation, there’s always plenty going on – which is why I desperately needed the macro lens!

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