Archive for March, 2010

The last Snowdrops? And passionate frogs

24 March, 2010

Well, the Mirrie Dancers project is all done so I can get on with some other stuff. One of this winter’s projects included getting some decent photos of snowdrops – first find them! A quick request and a few folk told me about good displays. The very first I saw were in the first few days of February – in between snowfalls – just a small collection of delicate plants braving the winter and I got one photo of an emerging flower that I am pleased with.

Then we had more snow and travel was curtailed again for a while but a couple of weeks later and a site in Lerwick had a magnificent display. Again I managed to get a nice image, as well as getting cold and muddy from lying on the ground. Just about to go out to another site and then we had more snow again – that took us into March (I think). Well, right up to date and last weekend I got probably the last snowdrops of the year. These were fully open, many even past their best but this location provided good opportunities to photograph them from underneath. See what you think.

Other photos over the past few weeks included the bearded seal in Yell Sound where, at my third attempt, I managed to get a nice shot of him in the water. To round off this little collection of photos here’s a couple of frogs I saw on Sunday – a nice shot for the first day of spring I think.

Two foot snow drifts and an Egyptian goose

3 March, 2010

Well, the final Mirrie Dancers illumination is now showing – and what a show! I really like this one, it’s ethereal – or it was when I went for my first visit. It was bitingly cold with a strong NW wind, clear starry skies and a snow shower. The first challenge was to get my gear up the hill made slippery with vehicles having compressed the snow to ice and over the very narrow stile over a barbed wire fence carrying two cameras, tripods and other stuff whilst wrapped up like Michelin Man against the cold. Then to choose camera positions, one for the time-lapse sequence and the other camera for a series documenting the installation. The first location I chose for the time-lapse camera proved unfortunate – as darkness fell the light pollution from the adjacent house cast an orange glow across a bottom corner of the frame so I had to reposition, which spoiled the attempt to get a complete series from dusk to dark in the same location.

On to the second camera and I took shots from nearly every angle – as Roxane (one of the artists)  said, it’s visible from 360°. I took close up, arty, distant and environmental shots, with stars, distant streetlights, footprints in the snow and the rising Moon. Here’s a taster image and a full set will be on www.austintaylorphotography.com soon. I encountered a situation while taking this series of photos that I haven’t encountered before. The wind was blowing so strongly at one of the positions I chose that, even with my fairly substantial tripod, the camera was moving. So I tried to dig the tripod legs deeper in the snow but this just had the effect of splaying the legs like a bendy car aerial and achieved nothing until I closed the legs a bit and tried again allowing them to open as I pushed down. Later, while choosing another position, my legs splayed like a bendy aerial as me and the camera fell in a two foot snow drift – well it was dark so that’s why I failed to notice it! Needless to say I was glad to get back in the car and put the heater on full blast for the drive home!

And the Egyptian goose? Well, I’m not a twitcher but it’s a first for Shetland, is 5 minutes from my house and is very photogenic, so here it is.