Wednesday, June 13, 2012

More Bempton Flyers

Apologies for the delay in updating the blog but I was away in eastern Hungary last week photographing birds. It was a good trip with lots of exciting bird species and I will take you on my journey there in future blog posts.

This post is a follow on from my last about my visit to Bempton Cliffs. Apart from the Gannets the cliff faces support a wide range of other sea birds and there is plenty of opportunity for taking flight photos of these birds as they pass-by. One of my favourite UK sea birds is the Fulmar and I was hoping to take some more photos than just this single image. It may be I was just stood in the wrong place at the wrong time as usually good numbers of photographs of these birds can be photographed at Bempton. You have to admire the Fulmar as it effortlessly glides with stiff wings on the up-draft coming up the cliff face.
A very common species at Bempton are the Kittiwake, so named after their characteristic call, which to me only slight sounds like their name. These proved quite difficult to photograph on the day due to the strong wind and their twisting and turning noisy flights along the cliff.
Puffins are present at Bempton but generally too far down the cliff to get decent photographs and so I concentrated my efforts on the other two auk species the Guillemots, and a particular favourite the Razorbill.
The Guillemots are less elegant in the air than other sea bird and their wings always seem slightly small in relation to their body which is superbly adapted for swimming.
The birds are a challenge to photograph in flight as they are small and very fast. I noticed at the point where I was stood on the cliff top path, where it ran very close to the cliff edge, that there were a number of Razorbills coming in to land at close range. However, the time window for getting photos was going to be very short as you needed to spot a bird coming into this area, lock on with the camera and take the photos before it disappeared behind the grass at the cliff top. This was further complicated by the fact that capturing birds that are flying towards you is probably the most difficult for the camera autofocus system to deal with. The unusual coloured background on these following photos is the sea below the cliff.
I just managed to catch this one before it disappeared behind the grass.
As I was effectively shooting downwards to the birds coming up the cliff face to land it gave the appearance that I was level with them.
So if you happen to find yourself in north-east Yorkshire I would strongly recommend a visit to Bempton, which can provide some great sea bird photography. One real benefit of Bempton is that there is no uncertainty whether the boat will be cancelled, as is often the case if you visit one of the sea bird colonies on the offshore islands around the UK.


Robin said...

Rich, stunning shots!

Andrew Haynes said...

Really excellent flight photography , and very well written

Rich Steel said...

Thanks for your comments and kind words.




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