George - the intrepid adventurer

I’ve been to Sweden for a few days to photograph birds in the sunshine and snow. Two out of three isn’t bad! Instead of sun and temperatures of -20 we had -2 and dull, grey skies.

Most of the photography was around feeding stations. These have been set up by birdwatchers and are set deep in the forest. You just turn up, having trekked through the snow, with food for the birds, spread it around and wait. The birds know this is the place to be and are very approachable. The food is placed out of camera shot. One technique is to jam margarine onto the trunk and stick seeds in it – very good for woodpeckers.

Birds attracted were nuthatches, great spotted woodpeckers, yellowhammers, bullfinches, treecreepers, Siberian jays, nutcrackers, marsh, willow, blue, great and crested tits.

The light was poor so it was a compromise between iso, shutter speed and the use of raw files to make the best of it. Whatever I did, I would get noise, but am pleased with the results.

It was a very good trip and am tempted to repeat it next year.

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Club Successes at WCPF and PAGB

2013 is the first year that f8 has entered competitions as a club. We entered the WCPF (Western Counties Photographic Federation) Inter-Club DPIC - and came 10th out of 49 clubs at our first attempt. Not bad - could do better, as George says! Congratulations go to Nick for getting a ribbon for his flight shot of an owl, titled Sense of Direction.

Next up was the PAGB GB Cup. We entered the Nature Competition and the Small Clubs Open Competition. The Nature results put us 11th out of 88 clubs nationally - a very strong showing - with Alan’s Tawny Owl being the highest scored f8 image. And in the Open Competition - where we competed against 73 national clubs - we came 2nd; and Pauline’s image Dark TImes was 1 of only 4 images to score the maximum 15 points.

Well done everyone. We’ll be back again next year and trying to improve.

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Porlock Weir

f8 members gathered for a day of landscape photography at Porlock Weir - challenging their creativity and compositional skills on an overcast February day. Starting in the pub (for a coffee! and to escape the biting wind) the group soon found an interesting subject (the old groynes) that worked well when viewed in black and white with long exposures. Here’s a pic from David, experimenting with his new Tilt/Shift lens to give the “toy town” perspective of the group at work.

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