Apple announces third gen iPAD

Apple today announced the launch of its third generation iPad, creatively called the New iPad! Don’t know why it’s not being called the iPad3 or iPad HD. Maybe Apple don’t own the domains!!

Confirmed new features are a long awaited retina display, iSight Camera, 1080p HD video recording, 4G and A5X chip with Quad core graphics.

I deliberately held off buying the previous two versions in the hope that Apple would eventually release an iPAD with a retina screen, like that in the iPhone 4. The new screen should really enhance the customer experience, not just for improved clarity in general web browsing but also in the presentation of image and video content allowing photographers to really show off their portfolios to clients in all their glory.

Battery life will remain unchanged: 10 hours total, and 9 hour battery life on 4G.

The device weighs 1.4 pounds and is 9.4mm thick but this won’t make it any less mobile.

Launch date in the UK is 16 March (apart from Belgium with a launch date a week later for some reason) and with no change in the pricing structure.

All in all not such a huge upgrade package for owners of the current iPad2, but for first time tablet buyers it’s pretty sweet.

I for one can’t wait to get my hands on the New iPad ….

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Wintering Snow Buntings

Snow Bunting - Tap on image to view collection

Wintering Snow Bunting, Norfolk – Canon 1D4, Canon 500mm IS USM f/4 @ f/6.3, 1/1250sec, ISO 400 – © Andrew Sproule

One bird species that I’ve wanted to photograph for some time now is the Snow Bunting. In the UK they are most commonly seen in the winter, arriving from late September and leaving late February early March. Each year an estimated 10-15,000 birds winter here, with the majority staying in the northern regions. However, they can come as far south as the Kent and Welsh coasts as well as some parts of Northern and the Republic of Ireland. A region that they tend to frequent on a regular basis is the North Norfolk coast and although I’ve seen them plenty of times at several well-known locations, I’ve never managed to successfully photograph them until this year.

Snow Bunting - Tap on image to view collection

Wintering Snow Bunting (female), Norfolk – Canon 1D4, Canon 500mm IS USM f/4 @ f/6.3, 1/2500sec, ISO 400 – © Andrew Sproule

The aptly-named snow bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis) is a hardy, medium-sized songbird of the high Arctic. During the breeding season, the adult male snow bunting is largely snowy white, except for a contrasting black back, black wing tips and black central tail feathers. Outside of the breeding season, the male and female snow bunting are more similar in appearance, both developing more buffy plumage. Juvenile snow buntings are distinguished from the adult by a greyer body and head, and a dark brownish-black tail and wings.

Snow Bunting - Tap on image to view collection

Wintering Snow Bunting, Norfolk – Canon 1D4, Canon 500mm IS USM f/4 @ f/6.3, 1/2500sec, ISO 400 – © Andrew Sproule

Snow Bunting - Tap on image to view collection

Wintering Snow Bunting (female), Norfolk – Canon 1D4, Canon 500mm IS USM f/4 @ f/6.3, 1/2500sec, ISO 400 – © Andrew Sproule

Snow Bunting - Tap on image to view collection

Wintering Snow Bunting (female), Norfolk – Canon 1D4, Canon 500mm IS USM f/4 @ f/6.3, 1/2500sec, ISO 400 – © Andrew Sproule

Snow Bunting - Tap on image to view collection

Wintering Snow Bunting (female), Norfolk – Canon 1D4, Canon 500mm IS USM f/4 @ f/6.3, 1/2500sec, ISO 400 – © Andrew Sproule

Snow Bunting - Tap on image to view collection

Wintering Snow Bunting, Norfolk – Canon 1D4, Canon 500mm IS USM f/4 @ f/6.3, 1/2500sec, ISO 400 – © Andrew Sproule

Snow Bunting - Tap on image to view collection

Wintering Snow Bunting, Norfolk – Canon 1D4, Canon 500mm IS USM f/4 @ f/6.3, 1/2500sec, ISO 400 – © Andrew Sproule

Snow Bunting in flight - Tap on image to view collection

Wintering Snow Bunting, Norfolk – Canon 1D4, Canon 500mm IS USM f/4 @ f/6.3, 1/2500sec, ISO 400 – © Andrew Sproule

Next challenge is to photograph the male in its breeding plumage in the summer!!!

Get to know your local patch

Many of us are on a constant quest to improve our photography and for some this means travelling to exotic climes (both in the UK and further afield) to photograph what we perceive as more exciting species. Let’s face it – most of us feel that we do not have the luxury of stimulating wildlife subjects on our doorsteps and the thought of photographing commonplace flora and fauna is not that exciting.

But what if travel is not an option! What if you don’t have the time, money or even the inclination to journey far from you local area!

Perhaps the most commonly offered piece of advice given is to persevere and go and find some wildlife near by. In other words “get to know your local patch”.

Unless you’re a full-time professional photographer, very often, you have limited time to invest in your photography. So, to improve your chances of success, you could focus on one or two subjects as a longer-term project. Getting to know your chosen subject intimately will eventually yield results as you start to become skilled at spotting quirky habits and rituals, which can often become heightened and exaggerated at different times throughout the year. You will start to be able to predict when an opportunity is about to present itself.

Realistically, most amateur nature photographers, like myself, working within their local environment will only be able to cover one or two species thoroughly per year in any detail and most of us obviously aspire to do more than that.

But, I don’t see this as too much of a problem? I have a small public access country-park lake (probably ¾ mile in circumference) in my vicinity in Kent, which has all the usual suspects – Mute Swan, Coot, Canada and Greylag geese, Mallard etc and I love trying to capture these in different ways, angles and in different light and weather conditions.

Greylag goose preening at sunrise - tap on image to view collection

Adult Greylag goose preening - Canon 1D4, Canon 500mm IS USM f/4 @ f/5.6, 1/1600sec, ISO 400 - © Andrew Sproule

Adult Great-crested Grebe - Click on image to view collection

Adult Great-crested Grebe - Canon 1D4, Canon 500mm IS USM f/4 @ f/5.6 with 1.4x extender, 1/2000sec, ISO 400 - © Andrew Sproule

Mute Swan feeding - click image to view collection.

Adult Mute Swan - Canon 1D4, Canon 15mm Fisheye f/2.8 @ f/16, 1/200sec, ISO 400 - © Andrew Sproule

A pair of Eurasian Coot at first light - Click on image to go to collection.

A pair of Eurasian Coot at first light - Canon 1D4, Canon 500mm IS USM f/4 @ f/5.6, 1/500sec, ISO 200 - © Andrew Sproule

Adult Canada goose - Tap on image to go to collection

Adult Canada goose - Canon 1D4, Canon 500mm IS USM f/4 @ f/5.6, 1/800sec, ISO 200 - © Andrew Sproule

Adult Mallard bathing at first light - tap on image to view collection

Adult Mallard drake bathing at first light - Canon 1D4, Canon 500mm IS USM f/4 @ f/4, 1/1250sec, ISO 200 - © Andrew Sproule

And there’s always the unexpected visitor. The lake has yielded Kingfisher, Snow, Egyptian and Red-breasted geese, Red-Crested Pochard and more. . .

Adult Tufted Duck drake - tap on image to view collection

Adult Tufted duck drake - Canon 1D4, Canon 500mm IS USM f/4 @ f/5.6, 1/2000sec, ISO 400 - © Andrew Sproule

Adult Egyptian goose at sunset - tap on image to view collection

Adult Egyptian goose at sunset - Canon 1D4, Canon 500mm IS USM f/4 @ f/4, 1/640sec, ISO 500 - © Andrew Sproule

Adult Red-crested Pochard

Adult Red-crested Pochard - Canon 1D4, Canon 500mm IS USM f/4 @ f/6.3, 1/2000sec, ISO 400 - © Andrew Sproule

Red-breasted goose bathing

Adult Red-breasted goose bathing - Canon 1D4, Canon 500mm IS USM f/4 @ f/4, 1/1000sec, ISO 400 - © Andrew Sproule

I frequent this lake which is local to me, but in your area it could just as easily be woodland, forest, fields, river, canal etc etc (as always please seek landowners permission if not publically accessible).

Pretty much all wildlife is incredibly complex and therefore can be extremely engaging. All wildlife are creatures of habit, and if you take the time to observe them fully, you will see your chosen subject/s differently. The increasing popularity of the BWPA (British Wildlife Photography Awards) is testament to this fact. Other countries have similar photography awards celebrating their wildlife’s unique diversity.

So, when the chance to travel does present itself you will be in a good place to be able to take advantage of any opportunities using the skills you’ve acquired from “your local patch”.

Lightroom 4 to support video

Lightroom 4 will support native video, giving photographers the capability to play, trim and extract frames from video clips shot on DSLRs, point-and-shoot cameras and smartphones.

http://tv.adobe.com/watch/whats-new-in-lightroom-4-beta/working-with-dslr-video/

Sharing what I first saw from freeroamingphotography.com

Best wishes for 2012

Welcome to the first of what I hope will be many blogs throughout 2012 and beyond.

It was a quiet Christmas and New Year, but I still managed to get out and about a bit, mainly on the North Norfolk coast and mainly to walk off excess food and drink. No wonder this is the peak time for gym membership registrations!

I decided to take the 45min trip from Holt, where I was based for the Christmas Period, to Winterton-On-Sea to photograph the relatively large Grey Seal colony between Winteron and Horsey. The beach is a popular destination for walkers and their dogs, and despite some people’s views you can’t really deny someone the enjoyment of viewing this spectacle first hand. Some people may have been getting too close but on the whole I witnessed extremely good behaviour and very little disturbance. Adult females were quick to come to the protection of their pups and were constantly on alert, not just from the human and dog population but from amorous males.

Grey Seals fighting in the surf

An over amorous male Grey Seal is seen off by a female - Canon 1D4, Canon 500mm IS USM f/4 @ f/5, 1/1250sec, ISO 400 - © Andrew Sproule

It was great to witness a Grey Seal mother taking her pup for a swim. It wasn’t that keen but mum was there to reassure with a gentle pat on the head.

Female Grey Seal reassures her pup

A female Grey Seal reassures her pup during a swimming lesson - Canon 1D4, Canon 500mm IS USM f/4 @ f/5.6, 1/640sec, ISO 640 - © Andrew Sproule

Grey Seal Pup

Grey Seal pup on the beach at Winterton-On-Sea - Canon 1D4, Canon 500mm IS USM f/4 @ f/5, 1/400sec, ISO 640 - © Andrew Sproule

Grey Seal pup

Grey Seal pup on Winterton-On-Sea beach - Canon 1D4, Canon 500mm IS USM f/4 @ f/5, 1/400sec, ISO 640 - © Andrew Sproule

On the way back to the beach car park I was greeted by a wonderful sunset over Winterton’s All Saints Church.

The Dunes at Winterton

The sun starts to go down over Winterton-On-Sea - Canon 1D4, Canon 15mm Fisheye f/2.8 @ f/8, 1/500sec, ISO 640 - © Andrew Sproule

Sunset over Winterton-On-Sea

The sun goes down over Winteron-On-Sea - Canon 1D4, Canon 24-105mm IS USM f/4 @ 105mm and f/16, 1/320 sec, ISO 200 - © Andrew Sproule

Sunset over Winterton-On-Sea

The sun goes down over Winterton-On-Sea - Canon 1D4, Canon 24-105mm IS USM f/4 @ 105mm and f/11, 1/2500sec, ISO 200 - © Andrew Sproule