Tuesday, 10 March 2009

A Bit of Bird Photography

This week, with the weather being pretty awful, I decided to give the golf course and underwater photography a miss. I had heard, however, that a new bird hide had opened just up the road so off I went with the 400mm f2.8 L IS, 1D MkIIn, 1.4X converter and a tripod to shoot some birds. Sadly the marshes were just a little too far away for any great shots of birds there. However, there were a couple of feeders in the hedgerow to the side of the hide and these were attracting a few nice finches, including the Gold Finch (above). These beautiful little birds were really taking advantage of the free food on offer.

The light was not particularly strong so I rigged up a 580EX on a remote trigger and took some shots of the birds rooting about on the floor for food, like this Dunnock, (above). I have always been interested in taking more bird photographs and with this hide just around the corner, I can see myself spending a lot more time down there.

Turkey, Feb 2008

I was only back from Egypt for a week when I was packing the bags again to get to Egypt. I joined the EGTMA and was invited to Antalya to look at the golf courses and hotels in the area. As one of the photographers with the EGTMA, I was on hand to take some shots of the golf courses that we visited whilst playing golf. The photo on the right is of the Papillon Montgomerie Course's 18th hole. I had been out to Turkey before, taking golf course photos of the oldest course in Antalya, 'The National' but this was my first time playing there. There were 5 rounds of competitive golf over five different courses with 25 fellow golf journalists. The competition was tough, but it was another great week. For more golf course photos click here.

Blue O2 HEPCA dives & Sara Campbell

The day after returning from Q-School, I was packing my bags for Egypt. I was off to Hurgharda for diving photography with a twist. The main reason for the trip was to take part in the reef clean-up dives organised by HEPCA. This involved taking some dives out of the usual schedule and instead diving shallower, well used areas, picking up glass, plates, plastic bags, fishing line, basically anything that should not have been in the sea. There was also some fantastic diving to be had with warm clear water and some great wrecks. There was the obligatory visit to the SS Thistlegorm, as well as the Carnatic, Dunraven and Ghiannis D. We also had world record holding free diver Sara Campbell on board so we had a great photo shoot with her underwater at the Ghiannis D for her website and sponsors (left). To watch her gracefully glide through the water on one breath was fantastic, she looked so unencumbered compared to me in all my diving gear.
Live-aboard diving is always great due to the diversity of people that are on board. Luckily, I had a great bunch with me that week, with several budding photographers on board who spent a fair few hours quizzing me on all things photographic.
For most of the wreck images I used a Canon 5D with a 15mm Fish Eye lens and a magic filter cut to fit the rear filter holder. No strobes were used, just natural light, so shooting with the light and white balancing every few metres is a must.
More photos of the wrecks can be seen here.

Sadly, all too soon, it was time to head back to England and the slightly cooler waters of the South Coast.

LET Q-School, La Manga.

So it is mid-January and I am off to sunny Southern Spain, or so I thought. Qualifying School is not always the nicest time of the year. Some of the players fail to get their card and therefore can't play any events the following season. Others get their card for the first time and so there are mixed emotions all round. The weather was pretty cold for the first week with everyone wearing jackets, beanies and waterproof trousers to try and keep the cold out.The last few days were warmer, although still not hot, but the clearer skies were better for photography. Some of the raised tees provide some chances for silhouette shots such as the one above of Lynn Kenny of Scotland. The winner of Q School was Anna Nordqvist of Sweden and 29 other girls received their full tour cards. The European leg of the tour starts on 23rd of April with the VCI European Cup. For more information regarding the Ladies European Tour and to see some of my photographs from Q school, click here.

Diving at Swanage

One of my many photography goals is to build a catalogue of species that inhabit the coastal waters of the UK. Obviously it takes thousands of dives over many years to compile such a thing, so on the 24th December 2008 I was in the water again. The water off Swanage Pier  was a chilly 7 degrees C with visibility not much more than three feet. Still, with a macro lens you can get close enough to the subject to get around most of the 'viz' problems, although particulate matter in the water can be a nightmare with the associated backscatter. For macro work, I tend to use a Canon 100 mm f2.8 macro lens with a couple of Sea & Sea YS250-Pro strobes attached. If I know that the critters are going to be really small then I might add an extension tube or diopter to the lens. In this case I just used the 100mm on its own.

Despite the bad viz, I managed to find some interesting critters to shoot, including  Scallops, (top), a female Black Faced Blenny, (below), and a few Snakelocks Anemonea. After 90 minutes of diving and despite the drysuit, I had numb fingers and could no longer work the camera so, I
 decided that discretion was the better part of valor and got back into the car where I could at least try to prevent the onset of hypothermia. Roll on the trip to Hurgharda (Egypt) in January for a tour of several wrecks in the Northern Red Sea :)

Dubai Ladies Masters -Annika Says Farewell.

The last event on the Ladies European Tour season is the Dubai Ladies Masters. To my mind it is one of the best events of the year, i.e. they feed the photographers well, it's warm and sunny, a marked difference to the weather back home in December. This year had a special twist to it, Annika Sorenstam, one of the best ever, if not the best ever, female golfers retired from competitive golf. Sadly she did not defend her title and win the event, the title went to Germany's Anja Monke, but all the spectators were on their feet as Annika left the 18th green for the final time.
On the right is a shot of Annika in Dubai with the Burj Al Arab, one of the landmarks of Dubai in the background. 
The next event on the LET is the "Q" School in La Manga, Spain at the end of January.

First Post

Hi and welcome to my blog. This is my first attempt at "blogging" so please bear with me as I may make a few mistakes along the way. I will be trying to update my blog on a weekly basis and posting new images as they are taken. For more info and to see a larger selection of images, please visit my website: www.tristanjonesphotography.com . If you have any questions or comments or would like to get in touch, please feel free to contact me by clicking Here.