A Photographer’s Ramblings: Martin Mere
By no means am I a knowledgeable ornithologist, nor am I an accomplished photographer of wildlife, so my visit to Martin Mere bird reserve in Lancashire was purely as an ‘interested outsider’ and someone who appreciates the beauty of our feathered friends. I set out to see what a couple of hours with good camera in hand had to offer a ‘beginner’.
Flamingos are striking birds, who’s colour apparently comes from the food they eat. I made them the first subject of my lens. Nicely lit this tranquil scene is pleasant, except for the bench and wire in the background which I couldn’t blur out.
What a difference a change of background makes! The dark entrance to the flamingos feeding shed made a perfect backdrop to make them stand out. Only trouble was their constant movement.
This shot (right) was all about capturing the beautiful shades of pink. The bird clearly didn’t want to be seen!
My final visit to the flamingos enclosure captured a ‘quirkier’ shot of one bird seeming to admire it’s own reflection!
I left the flamingos for one of the hides looking out on a hive of activity.
I can almost ‘hear the music’ when I see this photo of a Greylag Goose stretching it’s wings!
And what a striking sight a Common Shelduck makes rising out of the water with extended wings. These shots were of course helped by a long lens (300mm) bright daylight and fast shutter speed.
Sometimes though you just aren’t quick enough and miss the shot altogether! That said, nothing wasted as I like how my fast shutter and bright conditions managed to ‘freeze’ the water and make for an interesting photo.
The common or garden Mallard Duck made a pleasing reflection when I zoomed in on the head, wanting to capture the colours and droplets of water on the feathers.
It’s not just birds at Martin Mere. Grabbing some shots of the very lively family of otters playing was a major challenge. I had lost the bright daylight I needed by this time, for a fast shutter and was forced to shoot through glass. A tip for the latter issue… Get your camera lens as close as possible to the glass, preferably against it, to minimise reflections.
Below was one of my favourite shots, a close-up study of a, I think, a Cinnamon Teal Duck. The lovely soft winter sunlight was ideal for highlighting the details of the feathers, beak and striking red eye. Once again the very dark blurred background was great for making the subject stand out.
My final shot from this brief visit to Martin Mere is of a ‘symmetrical’ pair of Grey Crowned Cranes, who seemed to be asking to be photographed! Their dramatic crests show beautifully as a profile. The wire fence in the background however, was too close to the birds for me to be able to blur completely, but life’s not perfect!
I hope you have enjoyed my visit to the Wildfowl & Wetland Trust’s Martin Mere Wetland Centre , which I hope shows that you don’t need to be a bird expert or ace wildlife photographer to have a great day and grab some satisfying photos! Comments welcome.
More Photographer’s Ramblings, coming soon.