As is tradition now, as 2016 is drawing to a close, I’ve written a review of the year. Its been a mixed year, where for reasons that will become apparent below, I’ve not been able to get as much with the camera as in previous years, but I’ve had few nice wildlife experiences, got a few ‘ticks’, taken a few nice photos and had the biggest (and best!) change in my personal life.
The year started on a bit of a downer, with my Pentax K-3 once again malfunctioning it was still with Ricoh-Pentax repairs having been sent to them a the start of December 2015 to repair the same shutter fault that was ‘fixed’ back in May. I had asked for a replacement, but heard nothing, despite numerous enquiries from the shop I bought it from (SRS Microsystems) on my behalf. Then finally in the last week of January they decided that they were not going to replace the camera and tried to claim I had damaged, so had to pay for the repairs! Strange that it had an identical fault to last time, but apparently needed a different part to repair it! Eventually the good folks at SRS got them to repair it for free, but it would be a while until it returned.
This meant that I would annoyingly I would be without my K-3 for my photography trip to Yorkshire to see my good friend Dave, so I had to settle for taking my old Pentax K-5 with its inferior AF (autofocus) and resolution. That inferior AF really became apparent when trying to photograph the Mediterranean gulls in flight. Thankfully I got this shot before I threw my camera off the cliff in frustration!
On a previous visit to Yorkshire, I had waited hours for a purple sandpiper to come close enough, only to have a dog walker walk between me and the bird as it came close. No such problems this time as I had to good opportunities, with this probably being the best shot from them.
On the way back from Yorkshire I caught up with the Fish Twitcher himself, Jack Perks. We went for a quick fish hunt on the River Trent and he set me up on his photographic aquarium, where I finally got a shot of a 9 spined stickleback.
As the evenings got lighter in March, there was a brief window after work where the foxes would be out in light (providing there was no-one about) and one evening it panned out well and I got some nice shots like this one.
Unfortunately soon after this my camera issues reoccurred. Confident that my Pentax was behaving, I had treated myself to the Pentax high end telephoto zoom 150-450mm. The camera shutter had misfired a couple of times, but I had dismissed it (denial?). On my first trip out with the new lens I managed to fire about 10 shots with it before my camera completely died. In the 25 months I had owned the camera I had been with out it for 4 months, so I demanded a replacement.
Thankfully a friend lent me his K-3 as I had an important event on its way and would be without my best camera for it.
Mercifully she is a good sleeper and healthy, so the long sleepness night have not really happened (yet!) and I have largely been functioning normally during the day at work!
Obviously from this point on the opportunities to take photos were drastically reduced, but I still squeezed a bit here and there. By the start of May, the good folks at SRS had got me a shiny new replacement K-3 and I finally was able to try out the 150-450mm. And sometimes it seems the wildlife knows you are in need of a good days photography, as the grass snake posed nicely in the pond as it swum around during lunch.
One species I that was on my ‘to get list’ was the microscopic jellyfish and sea anemone relative, a freshwater Hydra. I had seen them in the past, but never managed a good photo, so after some research I collected some duckweed and left it overnight. the next day I could just see a number of the small green medusa hanging from the duck weed. Using a macro lens, with teleconvertor and extension tubes I got some nice photos like this one.
Thats the first half of 2016…part 2 next…