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The Bob Graef Challenge

My old, old friend Bob (we knew each other in Morrocco in the 1960s!!!) is an excellent photographer of birds. On hearing that I now had a camera with a 60MP sensor, he said to me that this should give me room for some serious digital zoom and that I should take some pictures of birds.

"Easier said that done, matey," was my thought. But I felt challenged. So, with another fine spell visiting us yesterday, I went out into the garden in the morning to have a go. This resulted in total failure because, apart from a sparrow, there were no birds to be seen or even heard.

And there were technical difficulties to plan for, since my camera only has manual focus. So I planned ahead and that evening, which turned out particularly fine, we went of an after supper walk. Of course, I took the camera as the softly clouded sky and the soft breeze promised some lovely views.

This was a far more successful approach to the task since the birds failed to guess that I might also point the camera at them and therefore did not disappear.

Here then, are my first entries for the Bob Graef Challenge (all with APO-Summicron-M 90mm lens). The photos are all medium-deep/deep crops into the full frame (the larger the watermark with my name, the deeper the crop):

Not pin sharp, but a nice swoop (ISO 200, 1/500s @f8)

These Oystercatchers were sitting ducks (ISO250, 1/400s @ f4)

I caught this Oystercatcher in flight as I looked back towards our house (ISO320, 1/500s @f9.5)

And this curlew (ISO200, 1/500s @f8)

The Oystercatchers nest in the fields around the Hope at this time of year, so they stand guard (ISO200, 1/500s @ f4)

Another Oystercatcher flies by (ISO200, 1/500s @ f2.4)

More guardians (ISO320, 1/500s @ f4.8)

It turned out that trying to shoot birds while leaving them still in the land of the living was actually quite a fun challenge, although I don't what Bob will think. They don't compare with his photographs, taken with kit more suited to the task.

So a message to Bob: how about putting together a guest post with some of your lovely pics?


Of course, these fields around the Hope are not actually for the birds, but rather more for the cattle. We stopped to chat with some very nice cows, who, as it happened, also had a guardian — a rather fine bull:

Cows are curious beasts and generally approach one.

However, most shy away when one tries to touch them, but the cows in this field were particularly friendly. Olena made friends with this one.

After a very nice walk, we walked back home to the village.

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Jun 23, 2022

Some excellent pix! All accomplished with the added challenge of manual focus. I especially like the one of the oystercatcher in flight with your village in the background.

I'm honored to have a challenge named after me. That's a first in my life. Thank you for the invitation to a guest post. I'll do it soon.

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