Some pictures…from the day time?!
Reading through my posts, it dawned on me that pretty much all of the photos I have posted have been from the evening. This is mainly down to the fact that, despite having an awesome job, Sian and I work bloody hard. All the time. But last week we had our good friend Ozzy stay with us (very soon after Jen and Tom left, so we are now pretty knackered!!) and were able to get out over the weekend to do some good old fashioned exploring. As is now customary in Barbados, we knew where we wanted to take Ozzy – to North Point. This is…err…the most northern point of Barbados, and offers some great views. So I just checked on Google maps where we were heading and we set off. As is now customary, Google maps was wrong. And as is now customary, I threw a tantrum. Cursing the Google gurus, we bounced down the pothole ridden track…how can they be so dump? Sure I can find 2 nearly billion pages of Russian porn in two seconds, source 500,000 pages of lunar moon conspiracy, or watch over 650,000 hours of cats sneezing with the mighty web engine – but can they pinpoint the most northerly point in Barbados and take me up the correct road of the three that are here? Can they balls.
Anyway, we eventually found it – no thanks to the internet, and all my frustration quickly disappeared. It is a magical place. I took loads of landscapes but, I’m afraid to admit, I was using the D80 (please see here!) and had forgotten that I had cranked the ISO for an example of how pants the sensor is in that blog. I NEVER change the ISO on the D80 because it is so dire in the top levels, and, like a true rookie, did not change it back. Lesson 101 Ferg – check your settings! I should have noticed when I was shooting at f16 and a shutter speed of 1000th…it was a bright day, but come on Ferg. Unfortunately, I couldn’t blame Google for that. So we then had a seat and a beer, and watched the world go by. I stepped back with my 70 – 200 and got some nice candids (I think) of Oz and Sian.
And while we sat drinking our beers, with the sea battering the cliffs below, we were treated to a cacophony of birds singing in the trees above. Oz and Sian went exploring, and I sat and watched them, Bill Oddie style. I quickly learned that I am a terrible wildlife photographer. After firing off a few frames, it was apparent that I really had no clue what I was doing. Trying to shoot wide (2.8) was a waste of time, as the birds moved too quickly for my focus to cope, and I ended up with a horrible blurry mess with twigs and branches in focus. After about twenty minutes of hopeless flailing, I stood and watched, instead of trying to shoot. It was amazing. Above us were a good dozen nests, and the birds were all flying out to get their chicks food. Until now I had been completely oblivious to the drama going on above. The birds were busy building their nests and bringing food home for the chicks. One of the parent birds would fly off in search of food, whilst the other stayed guard over the nest. The small ones lay silent until they saw mum or dad return, and the nest would erupt in a fury of high pitched chirps – desperate to remind their parents they were there, hungry and ready to eat.
It was wonderful. Because of my camera (and my sheer stubbornness to get a good photo) I watched this whole story unfold. Normally Sian and I just enjoy the bird song, but today I watched the full drama in all its glory. It was amazing. One bird flew over to another nest and pinched some twigs. This is clearly why the birds guard their nests – not to protect their little ones from predators, but from their thieving own kind!
I watched for a good half an hour or so, and upon Ozzy and Sian’s return, we finished our beers and headed home for a swim – a little wiser on the wildlife habits of the Bajan Birds, a little more experienced on how to shoot them, and a little more in love with the new camera, for making me see all these things 🙂
I love your enchantment with the birdlife in Barbados, and the sweet way that you describe their habits and how you spent your time figuring out what they were doing. And that b/w photo with the bird and its wee twig is just lovely. It has a very beady eye!
PS I love the “everybody in the house make some noise” post which you refer to here, but couldn’t comment there for some reason. Now I understand what you and Ned mean when you say you like “fast” cameras. The comparison of the noise/no-noise digital still life was very useful to see. I too have pathological hatred of flash and prefer natural light, so it was very interesting for me to read about this.