Sunday, 21 August 2011

RSPB Birdfair 2011

Simon King

Jonathan Scott

One day just isn't enough!
Unfortunately we didn't actually arrive at the showground at Rutland Water until lunch time and there was no way we were ever going to get around the whole show and find time to sit in one of the hides (that will have to be for another day).

Shamefully I can admit, that the only birds I saw down a camera lens yesterday were cardboard cut-outs set up deliberately so we could drool over the amazing 500mm lens on a 1D mk IV, set up on the Canon show stand for potential purchasers (that will have to be for another day too).

My main aim then, in the short time we did have there, was to get a seat in a couple of the guest lectures for two naturalists whom I greatly admire, buddies from the Big Cat Diaries days, Simon King and Jonathan Scott.

I remember first watching Simon King on TV way back in the 70's and apart from being exceedingly envious of the amazing wildlife opportunities he has had over the years, he has to be admired for his amazing camerawork and his endearing presenting (or should that be en-deer-ing, in the light of his Autumnwatch rutting coverage?!) I am obviously not the only one to appreciate his easy-going presentation, as a long queue had formed outside the lecture marquee some time before he was due to speak. He didn't disappoint either and provided us all with fuel for thought as well as great little wildlife challenges to have a go at.

Jonathan Scott followed on stage with an up-date to the story of the Mara's big cats. As well as being a highly knowledgeable naturalist, he is also a previous winner of the Wildlife Photographer of the year (as is his wife Angie). This ensured a spectacular presentation of stunning images from the Mara, something that for me was quite personal too. I had been fortunate enough to be part of a small group, spending a week in the Mara accompanied by Jonathan, a couple of years ago. To have on hand, his knowledge and expertise in all things Mara and photographically was the finishing touch to this must-do photographic travel experience.

So, as I said, I have no bird pictures to show from our day out, only these couple of record shots, further testing the ability of the G12. Whilst it coped quite well with the difficult lighting situation - black-out marquee and stage lights, there was a need for the digital zoom to be brought into use and that is when the noise began to take the edge off the clarity of the image. It is becoming clear that the handy little G12 is definitely better at one end of its range than the other.

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