Red Kites in the Chilterns

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It is spring time in uk at present and as we had never been to the chilterns we decided to visit,so judy booked a room at a small inn in the village of ibstone in oxfordshire.our reason was to photograph the red kites which were reintroduced to england back in 1975,with huge success . in fact you can see kites from the m40 as they can often be seen catching the thermals .having arrived on 13 may ,we went to  a high spot along the ridge which makes up the chiltern hills ,from which you can see kites very closely .

Photographing red kites

The equipment you need to photograph the kites is preferably a dslr, with a lens  zoom or telephoto of 300mm -500mm in length .good shots are achievable with a 300mm lens as the birds fly very close to the ground ,in fact they often can be seen close up in most of the towns and villages in the area . Setting your camera to continuous auto focus so the camera can stay infocus of the bird is a good idea .this is found on all dslrs  check in your camera manual as to how to do this if your unsure. set your aperture to  as large f4 -f5.6 are great .next set the frames per second to a high enough setting 5 is good . and thats the settings all you need is birds and your set to go so its quite easy to find red kites being a very large bird but chris s cafe in stokenchurch is a good place to head to if you want to have a drink and seat while the kites come down to feed at the outside of the cafe .if like me your more adventurous and want to have pictures on eye level head high into the hills where they also come very close but the backgrounds for pictures is a bit better _DSC8281  the photo above was taken like this with forested sides to the hills this gives a nice background to the shots. having had a great day we head to our overnight accommodation.i cant recommend the Fox inn in ibstone highly enough nice rooms good restaurant,and freindly staff ,and a bar !. next morning after a fantastic breakfast we headed out again for more of the same we were not disappointed finding red kites to photograph is not difficult at all .after a couple hours and full memory cards we call it a day and head home visiting a national trust on the way home .all ain all a fantastic trip and certainly a must if you are a bird watcher or wildlife photography is you thing or both .much info can be found on the internet with just a google search .so i leave you with a few more shots from a memorable weekend

 

Rspb Pullborough brooks

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It was a very warm april day when i set out early on a sunday morning to meet my old friend tony at rspb pulborough brooks in west sussex .i set of from tonbridge at five past seven ,and arrived at twenty past eight ,not bad it was a beautiful morning and a lovely journey down through southern englands gorgeous countryside springs well under way and  all is being made new . i pulled into the entrance and followed the well sign posted directions to the car park which is a good size .immediately you can see the entrance building with shop and restaurant when you c an get a drink and a meal. soon Tony arrived and after a catch up chat we headed of out into the large nature reserve , imedialy we noticed the large amount of warblers that were now arriving ,in particular Chiffchaffs , and blackcaps .i was a few days early for nightingales , but never mind  next time as pullborough is a hot spot for them._DSC5774

The blackcaps were a very pleasant suprise ,as was the emergance of an adder !.the reserve is set out so you can do a large circuit from the entrance in a circle which brings you back to the entrance building where incidentally there are fantastic views out acroos the wetland area .there are also many hides along the paths that give good views of birds  at the waters edge.by miday i was getting quite tired and my legs were aching a bit ,think my age is being to show a bit now ,so i said fairwell to tony,and headed home .it was a great day and meeting up with tony was really special .i will return to this beautiful place and can recommend it to anyone who loves wildlife and beautiful countryside

 

 

 

A Different Path

 

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Isn’t it amazing what these little devices that we nearly all carry around in our pockets[smartphones}can do,they are indeed actually mini computers and they also have some quite good  cameras certainly good enough for snap shots and days out with the family or freinds.like the photo above taken on my sony phone which has a 20 mp cybershot camera in it .any way i like most of us have our phones with us all the time and having a camera built into it enables us to be ever ready to take a picture that may arise .The photo above i took the other morning in the cemetery near where i live .one thing that really hit me was that all the cemeteries ive visted over the years they have all had paths that are straight ,now i had a question that came into my head and it is , are the paths straight for a reason ? i dont know to be honest if all cemeteries have straight paths  or just the ones ive been to.but is there a connection with gods word [the bible} ? and i for myself have to say yes ,because you see god tells us in his work that he makes our windy paths straight or that the paths that our lives are sometimes windie and that god can straighten those paths in our lives if we ask him for help with difficult things in our lives that are knocking us off course or sending our lives in circles seeming as if life is going nowhere and situations are only getting worse and you dont know the way out .proverbs 3:6 says,in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.but sometimes the path god wants you to take may be very different to what you would chose or want ,like the path in the picture thats covered with moss a path thats not often walked along .you see this picture got me asking many questions .some of us sometimes feel that we are at a cross roads in our lives but we dont know which way to go,and so we just carry on doing the same job living in the same part of the country or same country when god is saying ,no take the path with moss on it ,i know its not the one you would choose yourself but i am with you trust me ,i wont let you down i wont let you fall because i love you i have a plan for your life but you must trust me ,i never break my promises .so will i,will you trust him trust god .it could be scary most likely will be ,but we can trust god and if we do god may very well suprise us in a very big way .so next time you are in a cemetery see if the paths are all straight !!!!! 

Photography and Graphic Acceleration

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Just thought i would  share my experience and workings with something called graphic acceleration. if you are into photography like i am and have been for best part of my life ,you go out take a card full of great picture .what do you do when you get home ,yes if like me upload them to your pc .then when we browse though the shots we think can i improve a certain image and we open the file in a photo editing program .there are many but the ones i use and beleive most people will use will be adobe photoshop or lightroom .both of these ive been using for many years but over the last few much has been added and updated ,but in the last two years i think more updates and adding new tools and features have taken place in  such a short space of time ,but there is one area that has changed and for the most part is a bit overlooked .this is something called graphic hardware acceleration.this is where a programming code called open cl can be employed to further reveal more detail and higher and expansive parameters our images , but because there are many different graphics cards of differing degrees of performance in our pc s not all these parameters are enabled in photoshop .first you will have to look up and find out what your graphics are in your computer and then go to the adobe website and check with the system requirements and if your graphics card is in there tested list .if your computer is only a few years old or relatively  new then more than likley it will be there .Next having checked your card details is to open photoshop and on the top bar click on the edit heading ,a drop down pain will be revealed scrol down and select preferences then performance ,and you will see something called graphic acceleration ,you will also notice an advanced setting pain click and open it and you will see a series of tick boxes of which some will be ticked make sure the open cl one is clicked ,all but one should be !. at the bottom you will se an unticked boxed called 30 bit colour .now this is something very new and when enabled reveals more colour detail in your images enabling you to veiw far more in your photographs .this is something you should do with your monitor if it has high enough pixel count , but you wil see the biggest most dramatic wow factor difference if you have a 4 k monitor or one of the new 5k  apple i macs .the photograph above has been processed with 30 bit colour setting enabled .    

a winters day

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Wow its end of feb 2017,and Christmas seems way in the past. time for me to say even though winter can get you down, there’s always a bright side to life that will give you a life whether that a shopping trip visiting family or friends,or going out for a walk on a sunny winters day. for me it was a few weeks ago it set of for my favorite wilderness place the nature reserve a few miles out of town near me . bough beech resevoir is a huge expanse of water and attracts a huge variety of birds all through the year from blue its to buzzards and ospreys on there way north.but my surprise was seeing a brambling a winter visitor a most beautiful bird to see_dsc4445_dsc4453

there distinct voice and flight pattern is unique. my next was seeing a buzzard a lot closer than i have ever sen one before,truly amazing birds._dsc4792

another is the marsh tit quite rare now in my part of the country_dsc4380

so on  a day that was cold but sunny , a suprise i had found ,so dont right of winter days get outside and see what god will show you and it will suprise you and give you a lift  in spirit that will carry you through the bad stuff

The Lynx

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The Lynx must be amongst one of the most beautiful of   medium sized cats.the lynx can be found mainly in the northern hemisphere four main speices exist eurasian lynx , canadian lynx ,and the iberian lynx,and the bobcat.the largest being the eurasian lynx its native to european and siberian forests.the canadian lynx inhabits north americia canada and extends into alaska, the iberian lynx is the species which is rare they inhabit the iberian peninsula and is an endangered species although conservation work is on going it was extremely endangered but has been changed to endangered dsc_0062_106

the last is the bobcat with many sub species it inhabits north america and canada as well.Lynx are usually solitary but do travel together sometimes not very often though.they have up to four kittens which gestation is about 70 days.they feed on  deer and small mammals being more usual _dsc8013-edit

there have been a few reintroduction programs that have been quite successful in switzerland  and germany most notaibly as well as slovinia and croatia.

Winter Sleepers

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As Christmas is upon us and time slows down to a gradual halt ,as the days are cold and the turkey was bought , all festive is the time we share ,to gain a glimpse what others lives bare ,of times of joy and rest ,as you lay down your weary head Deer sleepers ,and in there dreams of times ahead ,of travels a near or afar . may may may the cold melt away ,into a new year time forges forth but still i will take the scottish broth ! so bright cold clear winters days when sun is bright and  melts the frost away._dsc3967