Wednesday, 30 December 2009


According to his owners, this 13 week old "Crumplehound" named google, is a medical first.

Allegedly, during a bout of youthful exuberance, a collision with a lamp post instantly reduced his 3ft length to a mere 18 inches, thus accounting for the excess folds of skin.

Copyright: Kevin Smith

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Lammergeier, N E India.

Lammergeier, Nainital highway, NE India. Winter.

At 5500ft along the Nainital highway [N E India], the jungle falls away to be replaced by wide open valleys where pairs of Lammergeier can be seen circling at eye level.

Canon 20D + 100-400mm lens. Hand held.

Copyright: Kevin Smith

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Chance Encounter. Winter Blackbird.

European Blackbird, Yorkshire, England.

With snow all around and Christmas approaching, this male Blackbird stocks up for survival in the sub zero night to come.

Canon 40D + 70- 200mm Canon IS lens. Fill flash. 400ASA. Fine Jpeg

Copyright: Kevin Smith

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Cheetahs battle Impala

Cheetahs battle Impala, Samburu, Kenya

The last shot in my camera [film days] captured this life and death struggle which the Impala finally lost.

The Cheetahs were totally spent after a titanic 15 minute defence by the gazelle and lay panting in the afternoon heat.

Copyright: Kevin Smith

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Banded Demoiselle, England.

Banded Demoiselle, England.

Most of the time these male insects sit with their 2 pairs of wings neatly folded, one upon the other.

This changes in a quick flurry if a bright green female happens along, as in this case.

Canon 20D + 70-300mm Sigma Apo.

Copyright: Kevin Smith

Sunday, 20 September 2009

The Autumn. 190909. England.

Comma butterfly on blackberries.

Canon 40D + 24-105mm Canon IS lens. Fine jpeg. 1/80 @ f11. Hand held.

How often do we go out looking for this and end up finding that.

This the result of a woodland walk looking for fungi.

Copyright: Kevin Smith

Friday, 18 September 2009

Broad Bodied Chaser Dragonfly. England.

Broad Bodied Chaser, Old Moor Wetlands, Barnsley, England.

Canon 20D + Sigma 70-300mm APO macro. [70mm @ 3ft]

Although not possessing a dedicated macro lens, small objects sometimes fall within the remit of my Sigma macro zoom.

Such was the case of this dragonfly which landed [and stayed] on a stem only approx 3ft from the footpath.

I believe the overcast conditions [which I prefer for digital photography] helped the situation as the insects were were less mobile than in full sun.

Copyright: Kevin Smith

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Arctic Tern and Sand Eel. England.

Canon 20D + 300 2.8. Hand held. Overcast.

The Longnanny ternery in Northumberland, England is unusual for mainland UK because of its beach breeding colony of Arctic and Little Terns.

This bird is returning with a Sand Eel for its partner situated in the nearby dunes.

Copyright: Kevin Smith

Atlantic Puffin Gaping, Skomer Island, Wales.

Canon 20D + 100-400mm lens. Overcast.

Unpaired Puffins on Skomer Island have a habit of parading around carrying stones and vegetation to attract a mate.

Gaping also appears somehwat irresistable [If you happen to be a Puffin]

Copyright: Kevin Smith

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Male Sparrowhawk on Collared Dove [2] England.

Male Sparrowhawk on Collared Dove [2]

Canon 50D + 300 2.8 + x2 extender @ 40 yards.

The hawk appears to have ambushed the Dove on the ground as it is standing on its back and has just commenced plucking its quarry.

Within 10 minutes my back lawn was covered in feathers.

Copyright: Kevin Smith

Male Sparrowhawk on Collared Dove. England.

18/07/09 Sparrowhawk hits garden Collared Dove.

Canon 50D + 300 2.8 + 1.4 extender @ 40 Yards.
420mm @ 400ASA.

Passing by my upper house window, saw this scene on my rear lawn.

Balancing precariously on a chair and firing down through an open light, I managed
a decent image which amplifies Daves previous shot.

Copyright: Kevin Smith

Friday, 3 July 2009

Fit for Purpose.

Atlantic Puffin, Summer 2009

Canon 40D + 300mm +1.4 extender

An Atlantic Puffin on Englands Farne Islands settles to rest after returning from sea with a perfect catch.

These birds have a stiff orange tongue which helps to secure the catch in and out of the water.

Copyright: Kevin Smith

Atlantic Puffin with Sand Eels

Puffin with Sand eels 2008

Canon 20D + 300mm lens. Hand held. 1/1500sec @ F 3.5

To anyone who has visited the Farne Islands off the Northumbrian coast of England, the breeding season for the resident seabirds is a spectacular affair.

Easy Puffin photography is available as they stroll about and rest on nearby rocks but flying birds can be a completely different story.

*The Sand Eels of 2008 were good but those of June 2009 are large and plentyful, some fish
measuring almost a foot in length.

As a result, many young are very well advanced.

At least one good result nature story*

Copyright: Kevin Smith

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Common Whitethroat

This Common Whitethroat, Sylvia communis was singing its heart out on the barbed wire perimeter fence at Finningley airport, (Doncaster Airport).

Canon 1D Mk2, 500 mm lens with 1.4 x extender.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Black Tailed Godwits

Black Tailed Godwits, Blacktoft Sands reserve, England.

Canon 40D + 300 2.8 + x2 extender

A group of Godwits circled the lagoons before finally choosing a landing place.

Often members of such a group are hatched in Iceland during the northern summer and migrate SE to the UK by the same autumn.

Copyright: Kevin Smith

Barn Owl, England.

Barn Owl, Blacktoft Sands Reserve, England.

Canon 20D + 100-400 + 1.4 extender.

At the perimiter of the reserve, several owl nest boxes are taken each summer by breeding
Barn Owls.

6.15 pm in June, one of the adult birds hunts over the marsh.

Copyright: Kevin Smith

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Howden Dam, Peak District, England.

Howden Dam, Peak District, near Sheffield, England.

Tranquil now.

During the dark days of World War 2, Lancaster bombers of 617 Squadron trained here nightly in secret in preparation for their famous Dambuster raid against the Nazi held dams on the Ruhr.

Canon 40D + 24-105 lens. Rainy day.

Copyright: Kevin Smith

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Gannets Fighting

Gannet rivalry, Bempton, England.

Canon 20D + 300 2.8 + x2 extender

The broad cliff ledges and stacks at Bempton coastal reserve, England, in the breeding Gannet world is real-estate worth fighting for.

Skirmishing, stealing nest materials and attacking incoming birds are all par for the course.

Copyright: Kevin Smith

Riding the gale

Gannet riding the gale, Bempton, England.

Canon 50D + 300 2.8. Hand held. 400ASA

From the clifftop footpath, these birds were marvellous to watch, mastering the strong cliff updraughts.

However, being reletively close, fast and very sun reflective, photography of them was a different matter.

Copyright: Kevin Smith

North Sea Gannet [Juveniles]

Gannet [juvs], Bempton, Yorkshire, England.

Canon 10D + 300 2.8 + x2 extender.

In summer, when it is quieter along the clifftop footpath, Gannets tend to land near the clifftop, allowing for easier photography.

While adults collect grasses for their nests, juveniles rest and observe the goings on.

These juveniles will be 5 years old before attaining the pure white of adulthood.

Copyright: Kevin Smith

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Skomer Flier, Wales.

Canon 20D + 100-400mm. Hand held.

An unpaired Puffin cruises along the clifftop on Skomer Island, eyeing up the talent on view.

Nearby, courting birds are engaged in burrow inspections and carrying around objects, hoping to attract a mate.

Copyright: Kevin Smith

Puffin courtship. Skomer Island. Wales.

Puffin carrying courtship present.

Canon 20D + 100-400mm lens. Hand held.

Unpaired Puffins on Skomer can be seen parading around, carrying objects and vegetation in order to attract potential mates to inspect nearby nesting burrows.

Copyright: Kevin Smith

Friday, 8 May 2009

Small Copper. England.

Small Copper butterfly, Sheffield, England

Canon 10D + 75-150mm Canon FD lens. [adapter ring]

A small jewel of a butterfly rests on a grassland stem long enough to capture an
image using the hybrid combination of new EOS digital body and older FD manual lens.

The result is encouraging.

Copyright: Kevin Smith

Cheetah Profile

Cheetah, Masai Mara, Kenya.

This cat was encountered walking along a sand road within the Mara reserve.

We assumed it was hunting and looked for a possible vantage point it might use.

Luckily we guessed correctly, positioned ourselves in advance and the cat did the rest.

Film days: Olympus OM1 + Sun 38-90mm zoom. Slide scan to CD.

Copyright: Kevin Smith

Burnett Moths

Spotted Burnett Moths, July, England.

Canon 10D + 75-150mm FD lens + adapter ring.

Day flying Burnett moths are a colourful addition to the grassland scene
in mid-summer England.

Being somewhat lethargic, they proved an excellent subject for an experimental camera combination of digital camera body and older generation Canon FD manual lens. [with adapter]

Copyright: Kevin Smith

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Brown Fishing Owl. March 2009. India

Brown Fishing Owl, Ramnagar, N. India, 2009

Canon 40D + 300 2.8 + x2 extender. 640ASA. Tripod

During the daytime, a Brown Fishing Owl waits within the centre of darkened tree.

The magic of digital imagery enables us to see details largely hidden.

At dusk, on large wings, it will fly low of the river surface, picking up the surface fish.

Copyright: Kevin Smith

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Brown Headed Barbet, New Delhi, India. 2009

Nectar feeding Barbet on tree blooms.

Canon 40D + 300 2.8 + 1.4 extender. 400ASA

During late February 2009, a blooming tree outside my Delhi veranda attracted a host of Squirrels, Mynahs, Parrakeets and Barbets to feed on its nectar.

This Brown Headed Barbet was initially obscured through the branches on the far side of the tree but a 20 minute wait brought it into range and clear view.

This ideal pose in even light was worth the wait.

Copyright: Kevin Smith

Avocets Mating. April 2009. England.

Blacktoft Sands reserve, England. April 2009

Canon 50D + 300 2.8 + x2 extender. 400ASA

During April, Avocets become territorial and aggressive, constantly involved both in verbal exchanges and battles for possession of their precious metre of ground on the islets found in the freshwater lagoons.

Potential rivals in the main are other Avocets, Black Headed Gulls, Herons and Shelducks which also use the islets for nesting and resting.

When the gulls and Avocets both engage in "verbals", the overall noise level becomes nearly unbearable.

Copyright: Kevin Smith

Avocets returning to nest site

Blacktoft Sands reserve, England, April 2009

Canon 50D+ 300 2.8. Hand held 400ASA.

During April, the Avocets at the Blacktoft reserve are engaged in securing a precious metre of ground on the islets prior to the mass egg laying.

Pairs come and go but if a raptor should come too close then the whole colony takes to the air creating a tremendous racket and a fine sight.

These birds are returning to their islet after a close shave with a Sparrowhawk.

Copyright: Kevin Smith

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Green Bee Eaters

Green Bee Eaters, Nainital District, N India

Canon 40D + 300 2.8 + x2 converter
400ASA. F9

To say I was lucky getting this pair is an understatement, as they came and perched upon the stone right outside my open car window.

I nearly fell out of the car trying to retrieve the camera from the back seat and bringing it SLOWLY to bear out of the window.

I feel sure that if practised habitually, being fast and slow at the same same is guarenteed to bring on an attack of something undesirable so I plan to avoid it in future.

Copyright: Kevin Smith

Stone Curlew, NE India

Stone Curlew [Thicknee], Nainital District, N India.

Canon 40D + 300 2.8 + x2 converter
400ASA. F9

In the winter dry season of N India, many sandy and stone river beds are dry, perfect
environments for the Stone Curlew which loves arid places with good all round visibility.

Although active in th day, these birds love to feed in the twilight zones when the large
light gathering eyes come into their own.

Wary and easily put to flight, my approach to these birds across open ground was slow and indirect, being under observation at all times.

The clicking of the camera finally un-nerved them and they retired into thin cover adjacent the river bed.

I am well pleased with this converter and prime lens combination providing F9 or smaller is obtainable in the prevailing light conditions.

Copyright: Kevin Smith

Saturday, 21 March 2009


I've been a couple of times to Lathkill Dale, Derbyshire, to photograph the White Throated Dipper, Cinclus cinclus. So called because of their habit of dipping under to catch bugs and other tasty morsels. It's a strenuous walk from the car park in Over Haddon to the river, all downhill, and then you have to find them.
Don't forget the return journey, that hill is pretty steep. I usually carry all my kit in a Lowe Pro backpack, complete with tripod. Be prepared.

They're a smallish bird and usually keep their distance, a longish lens is best, these were taken with a 500 mm + a 1.4 x extender. Their habitat is shallow fast flowing water in upland areas, often in woodland. Lathkill Dale is ideal. Because of the tree cover and low light levels a flashgun is a handy item to carry, I sometimes use mine with a fresnel flash extender, to throw the light that extra distance.

Note the white coloured eyelids

Taking a peep.

I would say that no later than the latter end of April is the best time to go, before the leaf cover on the trees blocks out all the available light.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Bitterns at Potteric Carr

I live only a few miles from Potteric Carr Nature Reserve, it's a place I've visited regularly in the past, mainly to photograph the Bitterns that stay over Winter there. As many as 6 have stayed for the Winter months, but eventually the birds move onto the continent to breed. It is hoped that in future the birds will stay on to breed.

I've spent many hours in the hides at the Carr, my favourite being the one at Piper Marsh, the birds are very secretive and difficult to spot and move like a cat, very slowly and with precision.

Some bird watchers have been going for years and have never seen one, fortunately for me nearly every time I went to the Carr, I saw one or even two. Bliss. Mind you, these photographs do represent hours and hours of sitting in a hide.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Grey seals on the Isle of Mull

Some time ago whilst on the Isle of Mull, Scotland, I video this seal grabbing some snacks.
It certainly entertained the audience.

Friday, 27 February 2009

Grey seals at Donna Nook

Donna Nook in Lincolnshire, is a great place to visit to obtain photographs of Grey Seals. Between December and January each year the seals haul themselves out to give birth to their young.

Obviously it's best to be prepared, with good stout footwear i.e. Wellington boots, and a set of Tide tables. When the tide is out it's then possible to do the long walk across the claggy sand and mud to the waters edge, an eye has to be kept on the tides, on this coast they move fast and are treacherous, the previously exposed sand is soon submerged.

During the week Donna Nook is a RAF bombing range, so access is only available at the weekends.

The rewards are worth the trek though, the seals are approachable, but I wouldn't get too close, they are, after all wild animals.
The pups at this young age don't appear to have any fear of man, many a time after I plonked my tripod down, the pups would shuffle up and get so close I couldn't focus, I was constantly moving back.

When I was engrossed in photographing the seals, occasionally, I would hear a loud continuous thudding sound, on looking up I saw it was the large bull seals moving across the beach, these usually move in a straight line across any other seal, in fact within view I could see a dead flat pup. Life and death.

Photographic opportunities like this are now over until December this year, when I must go back.

Mrs. A faces a pup.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009


One warm evening I was in Kanha National Park, Madhya Pradesh, India, on an organised Tiger tour, when fortunately for me this Tigress crossed the road in front of our open Gypsy vehicle.

It was exciting to see this big cat, not once did it turn its head, but completely ignored our vehicle and its occupants.

And of course this is the answer to the question I posed earlier in "Which animal made these?"

Canon 1D Mk2 with 70 to 200 mm f2.8 zoom lens.