12 March 2010

Some more harbour birds........

I went back to the harbour at Kamiso, the birds were basically the same but it was even darker, most of today's shots were at ISO 800.

There were slightly fewer birds. There were lots of people fishing from the side of the harbour: 3 Grebes got snagged in the fishing lines and managed to pull a fishing rod into the water, they swam off with the rod following them, sadly I don't rate their chances of survival very highly.

Like I say, very dark meaning lots of underexposed shots that came out noisy in postprocessing.

Some shots would have been great if the light had been better.

There were about 30 of them today............

Yesterday I saw thousands and thousands of Red Breasted Merganser offshore. A few ventured into Kamiso harbour again.........

This is a female.

And this creepy looking one is a young male moulting into adult plumage.

There were 2 Great Crested Grebes on the sea. I saw a Little Grebe on the river yesterday so that means all 5 species of Grebe are in Hakodate at the moment. The Red Necked was still around today.

The sun came out just before I left............

There were several Glaucous Gull around, one of 7 Gull species in and around the harbour.

Here's a bird I've never photographed before: a Red Throated Diver. This was the other side of the sea wall.

I really want to get those Grebes in good light................

Liverpool lost again, I've stopped caring.



  1. Light! Tell me about it! Every time I get a chance to take a few snaps (not very often) it is ultra-dull.
    Most of my pics are taken at even higher ISO - any tips? (I have zero clue - Canon 50D and same lens as yourself - do you use a tripod?).

    Really enjoy your shots - even through the grip-off!

    all the best

  2. Hi Stuart, when the light is bad I tend to shoot in Manual mode (M) at ISO 800. I find the 100-400 sharpest at f8 so I set that as my aperture. For handheld shots (I almost never use a tripod, I used it on the Ural Owl last week but that was the first time this year I think) I can get sharp shots at 1/250 sec if the bird is still. If they're moving, like these BN Grebes, then I raise it to 1/400 or 1/500. Of course the shots may still be too dark and I can tinker with them in DPP/Photoshop but they usually still turn out a bit dark and grainy like the shots today.......

    Not very scientific I know. I never look at the histogram and I never meter off grey things, I sometimes think I should do these but if I did the birds would swim/fly off whilst i was working out the correct exposure.

  3. Hi,
    Well we are not totally getting the same birds as you said... We do not have as many grebes as you do... only the slavonian one! You got beautiful pictures even if the conditions were not that good...

  4. Thanks for that. Ideal, as I have no photographic background. I'm into opportunistic shots, handheld also. Not been manipulating images much and have not shot in RAW yet.
    all the best

    P.S. For some perspective - we had one BNG along the Lothian coast recently!

  5. Hi again Stuart, I don't really have any photographic background either and heaven knows I'm no expert.

    The birds heres seem tamer than in the UK and the light is often better (although that isn't always the case as you can see with some of the above photos). Both those points obviously help.

    Due to my erratic self-employed lifestyle I sometimes also have way too much free time which allows me lots of practice, trial and error plus photoshop are a good combination......


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