Keyhaven Marshes

I’m back.

I normally try to keep all of my posts generally as self-contained entities, referring only to other posts and not to too many of the particulars of my life. But this site has been on a bit of a hiatus for five months, so it seems worthy of some sort of comment. Not too much though, so moving on.

With summer upon us – in theory at least – and a new car, my wife and I resolved to go for many more walks when the weather is in our favour (so that’ll be half a dozen this year, then). The theory being, going on specifically planned walks makes us more likely to go out (rather than vague notions of travelling to a place and then wandering about aimlessly), and hopefully there’d be stuff for me to photograph along the way too.

Our first planned walk was a short round trip near Keyhaven, on the southern tip of the New Forest National Park. There, in the northern Solent, are various marshes, formerly for salt production but now areas of natural beauty and nature reserves. So the walk was short, perfect to break us in, and should be full of wildlife, which would give me the opportunity to do ‘reactive’ photography which is usually the best kind for when I’m rusty.

It wasn’t long before we saw something, which my Big Book of Identifying Wildlife tells me is a bird of some sort.

1/2500, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm
1/2500, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm

There were a handful of them about, including similar looking ones of a different colour that might have been a different species all together.

1/1600, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm
1/1600, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm

For the most part, they were a bit far away against a bit of a busy background that they were standing too close to, so many of the shots I took of them were lacking a bit. Occasionally though, they wandered closer so I could get some better shots.

1/2000, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm
1/2000, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm
1/800, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm
1/800, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm

This little stretch of water also had some lifeforms I’m more used to: ducks. I often try to get a shot of them flapping their wings after bathing. Today was no exception, but I think I’m still on the chase for the perfect shot of them doing it.

1/800, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm
1/800, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm

A little further along our walk we came across another patch of water. This one was being hunted by a couple of terns (well, presumable they were hunting something in the water, but at no point did we see what that was).

1/400, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm
1/400, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm

I made great efforts to capture the birds both stalking in the air and striking the water. The latter, unfortunately, was hampered somewhat by the fence that lined the water, either cluttering the shots or in some cases obscuring the action almost entirely.

1/800, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm
1/800, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm
1/500, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm
1/500, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm

The fence notwithstanding, the shots I got of them were pretty decent; it seems I’m getting better at the timing and the focussing, the challenge now seems to be the framing – and in this area, I’m at least noticing there’s an issue, whereas in the old days I’d not see the fence for the scene I’d captured happening behind it.

So if you don’t mind, I’m going to indulge myself a bit, by shutting up and just posting a bunch of them.

1/800, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm
1/800, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm
1/500, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm
1/500, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm
1/500, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm
1/500, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm
1/800, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm
1/800, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm
1/640, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm
1/640, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm
1/640, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm
1/640, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm
1/1250, f/5.6, ISO 100, 240mm
1/1250, f/5.6, ISO 100, 240mm
1/800, f/5, ISO 100, 225mm
1/800, f/5, ISO 100, 225mm

 

1/800, f/5, ISO 100, 220mm
1/800, f/5, ISO 100, 220mm
1/800, f/5, ISO 100, 220mm
1/800, f/5, ISO 100, 220mm
1/640, f/5, ISO 100, 220mm
1/640, f/5, ISO 100, 220mm
1/640, f/5, ISO 100, 220mm
1/640, f/5, ISO 100, 220mm
1/500, f/5, ISO 100, 220mm
1/500, f/5, ISO 100, 220mm
1/800, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm
1/800, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm
1/1250, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm
1/1250, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm
1/1000, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm
1/1000, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm

They did at least sit on theat fence occasionally, so I could get a decent shot of them.

1/640, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm
1/640, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm

It was there they gave us the clue that they were a parent/juvenile pair, since the one doing most of the hunting seemed to be feeding the other.

1/800, f/5, ISO 100, 220mm
1/800, f/5, ISO 100, 220mm

Also in this section, but fortunately not obstructed by the fence, was a white heron-like thing that a cursory google suggests is a great egret, which sounds more like a typo. This guy was hunting too.

1/500, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm
1/500, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm

He didn’t take too many swipes at whatever he was going for, but I caught one of them with decent timing.

1/640, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm
1/640, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm

I became obsessed with catching his reflection on the water, neatly distorted by the ripples from his hunting.

1/800, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm
1/800, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm

There was also a swan with a lovely water effect.

1/800, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm
1/800, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm

It wasn’t all wildlife I photographed. There was a water level marker that, thanks to its apparent rustiness and position in the reeds, make for a nice colour combination.

1/500, f/5, ISO 100, 220mm
1/500, f/5, ISO 100, 220mm

Immediately before our walking route turned away from the Solent and back inland, there was a jetty. At the end was a metal marker, rusted by the sea and graffitied by many a visitor.

1/2500, f/4, ISO 100, 70mm
1/2500, f/4, ISO 100, 70mm

I turned back and took a shot of the people enjoying the day.

1/1250, f/4, ISO 100, 70mm
1/1250, f/4, ISO 100, 70mm

Disappointingly, there was an empty cider bottle left there. Still, it made for a decent shot.

1/800, f/4, ISO 100, 70mm
1/800, f/4, ISO 100, 70mm

Our route back took us through some slightly different flora, so there were some different wildlife to see. The first thing that caught my eye was this butterfly, who was unexpectedly cooperative.

1/250, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm
1/250, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm

There was also this bird, flagrantly flouting the ‘keep out’ sign.

1/800, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm
1/800, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm

And this proud fellow, which is also a bird.

1/500, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm
1/500, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm

We stopped for lunch by the harbour, where a buoy caught my eye.

1/800, f/4, ISO 100, 95mm
1/800, f/4, ISO 100, 95mm

The final shot I took was of this speed limit sign, as I liked the texture of it.

1/400, f/40, ISO 100, 40mm
1/400, f/40, ISO 100, 40mm

I know Creative Splurges has been pretty quiet as of late. I’ve been shooting here and there over that time, but only editing on and off – my computer problems are hopefully behind me at this point, which was part of the problem – and never really writing, because my head for whatever reason has not been in the right place for it. I am hoping that that is all behind me, but for now I’m not sure yet if I’m back onto my ‘post weekly’ schedule or if I’ll be trying something less frequent.

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