Of stars and starlings
Updated: Feb 25, 2021
These are strange, unprecedented times, who’d have thought 12 months ago we’d be where we are now?
Lockdown for me has meant that instead of taking photos of people enjoying themselves in pubs and clubs, I’ve been photographing the comings and goings on the bird table and spending cold nights in the back garden attempting to photograph the night sky. Both activities have made me learn to use my camera differently and therefore made me a better photographer. I think so anyway. I suppose my crowning moment was capturing Comet NEOWISE 2020. You couldn’t see it with the naked eye but with the help of some star-gazing apps I knew roughly where it was. So, I pointed my wide-angle lens at the area of sky where I thought it would be and hey presto I got a result! I didn’t know I‘d got it until I was back inside and put the SD card in the laptop and made a few tweaks in Photoshop and there it was! Quite a thrill and astrophotography is some something that I definitely want to delve into.
The bird table was dominated by starlings – such argumentative birds – they don’t really let the other birds get a look in unless the other birds are magpies or jackdaws. Jackdaws look so much bigger when they’re right outside your dining room window!
So, with the starlings being so ubiquitous and quite interesting in their behaviour I decided to try and get some shots of their incessant squabbling. A total contrast to shooting a comet where long exposures, tripod and remote control are the order of the day – this was whack the shutter speed up, high ISO and telephoto lens (I was shooting through a window) without introducing too much noise.
I’ve since become quite obsessed with photographing birds and now have a 200-400mm lens on my wish list. Only time and future earnings will tell.