PhilBWright

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PhilBWright
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PhilBWright

Postby PhilBWright » Fri Apr 18, 2014 8:00 pm

Good Friday 18th April 2014
A Walk along the Wey Navigation Canal from Old Parvis Road, Dartnell Park, West Byfleet heading South for approx. 6miles (upstream) to High Bridge Send, Surrey.
Started off in West Byfleet at 9:30am. I spent the first ten minutes faffing about with my iphone trying to get my notes voice recorded.
Weather sunny but quite cool (9-14 degrees C). Forecast to cloud over by 2:00pm so I wanted to make the most of the morning.
Ideal weather for walking and if I ended up somewhere nice by lunchtime, should be good conditions for taking pictures of butterflies as well.
What more could I ask for? :)
The first part of my walk was along part of the Wey Navigation Canal lined with mature trees. By 9:55am I had seen my first butterfly of the day, in fact, two Speckled Woods in a sunny spot. I don't want to bore you so here is a picture:

River Wey Navigation 019a.jpg
9:58am Speckled Wood, West Byfleet, Surrey


I continued on past Pyrford and by 10:48am, I found a patch of nettles by Walsham Weir with 4 Peacocks and a Comma warming up in the morning sunshine.
Walsham Weir.jpg
10:36am Walsham Weir, River Wey, Surrey.

By 11:00am I had seen my first Orange Tip of the day and soon several more. Near Ripley, the landscape changes with grazed fields bordering the navigation.
Approaching Newark Lock there is a nice view of Newark Priory:
Newark Priory from the Tow Path.jpg
11:00am Newark Priory as seen from the Tow Path

I saw Green Veined Whites, Peacocks & Orange Tips between Newark Lock & Papercourt Lock:

GVW2a.jpg
11:31am Green Veined White near Papercourt Lock

Papercourt Lock.jpg
11:24am Papercourt Lock

By Lunch Time I found a very good stretch of the tow path for butterflies near "High Bridge". I saw every species I had encountered along the way here plus a Small Tortoiseshell, Small White and my first Holly Blue of 2014 ! :D . Once I got "my eye in" I spotted another 8 Holly Blues with individuals chasing each other near to the nettles and Willow Trees. I have made a couple of compilations to save space:
18.4.2014 Willow.jpg
12:00 - 13:30pm Various Butterflies feeding on Willow next to tow path near "High Bridge"

Small White near High Bridge.jpg
12:14pm Small White near "High Bridge"

River Wey Navigation 141 all2.jpg
12:00pm - 13:30pm (Landscape photo 12:52pm near "High Bridge")

River Wey Navigation 173a.jpg
13:19pm Holly Blue near "High Bridge"

Special notes- I was expecting to see at least one Brimstone, I probably would have seen several more last month along this same stretch but I didn't see any.
I only saw 1 Small Tortoiseshell (They were still outnumbered by Commas and Peacocks).
River Wey Navigation 211a.jpg
13:39 Orange Tip near "High Bridge"

River Wey Navigation 226a.jpg
13:40 Comma near "High Bridge"

I will be recording my sightings near "high bridge" with the Surrey Branch of Butterfly Conservation along with the grid reference,

Happy Easter Egg Hunting,

Philip

PhilBWright
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Re: PhilBWright

Postby PhilBWright » Sun Apr 20, 2014 8:30 pm

20.4.14
I joined youtube today and uploaded an edited video to UK butterflies which I took with the P mode setting on my camera on 18.4.14
As I am new to doing this and might have overlooked some guidelines or rules, I would appreciate any constructive criticism here.
Camera was hand held with the image stabilisation button pressed for most of the time. The video title is "Peacock Nectaring on Willow"
best wishes,
Philip
Last edited by PhilBWright on Fri Apr 25, 2014 7:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Pete Eeles
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Re: PhilBWright

Postby Pete Eeles » Sun Apr 20, 2014 9:54 pm

PhilBWright wrote:As I am new to doing this and might have overlooked some guidelines or rules, I would appreciate any constructive criticism here.


Hi Philip - and welcome to UKB! We have minimal "rules" regarding videos, since only a few people shoot video at the moment. When we're overwhelmed with video footage, we'll probably need to be selective but, as things stand, any uploaded video is automatically added to the species page. The only request is that the video shows something of interest and doesn't duplicate something we already have - and I think yours is fine on both counts!

Cheers,

- Pete

PhilBWright
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Re: PhilBWright

Postby PhilBWright » Mon Apr 21, 2014 4:23 am

Thanks Pete, I will bear that in mind.
Where I was on Friday, there must have been at least half a dozen different butterfly species (adults) using willow as a food source. I caught a Speckled Wood feeding (which I don't normally see).
I know it must be quite seasonal but I have never really seen for myself, adult butterflies using willow like this before. I was looking out for this behaviour after noticing pictures posted by others. There is certainly not much flowering buddleia around at this time of year :)

18.4.14 River Wey Navigation Speckled Wood on tow path.jpg

Pictured above is a speckled wood that looked quite a pale colour in flight and kept wanting to land on the tow path:


best wishes,
Philip

PhilBWright
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Re: PhilBWright

Postby PhilBWright » Mon Apr 21, 2014 9:42 pm

:) 21st April 2014
Went for a walk around the Bookham Commons, Surrey today from approx. 12:00 - 3:00pm. Temperature 14-17 degrees C. Some cloud but not blocking the sun all of the time.
I saw lots of Speckled Woods, Orange Tips, Peacocks and Brimstones, a couple of Commas, Green-veined Whites and Small Whites. Probably, just about everything I was expecting to see. Maybe I saw two Holly Blues but if they were, they were seen fleetingly from a distance so I couldn't positively id them.
I took what I thought was a very ordinary picture of a Speckled Wood perching near the Purple Emperor "master tree" but found something else to make it a little more interesting:
Bookham Common April21 001a.jpg
Speckled Wood "Keeping an eye on things"


There were some nice, pleasant patches of Bluebells out in the woods.
Just before I left the Commons I found a Male Brimstone settling down under a leaf of what I think was a Pear Tree:
21.4.2014 @14.39 Male Camouflaged under Pear Tree Leaf.jpg
Resting camouflaged under Pear Tree Leaf


Best wishes,
Philip

PhilBWright
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Re: PhilBWright

Postby PhilBWright » Tue Apr 22, 2014 9:08 pm

22.4.14 Looking back at Purple Emperors in 2013.
Just uploaded my video of Purple Emperors in Aerial Combat from last year. Not very well focused, just a few black dots whizzing around for a couple of seconds so I repeated the footage :) . It was shot in real time showing just how fast they are. I am quite happy to have this video removed when something better is uploaded of this behaviour. I think it is quite hard to follow them filming. I soon got lost trying to second guess where they were going to go !
Last year I also noticed the Purple Emperors were quite happy chasing birds across the tree canopy such as pigeons and crows. I would have loved to have captured that on video as they often came back to the same perch after checking them out.

Philip

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Re: PhilBWright

Postby Maximus » Wed Apr 23, 2014 11:28 pm

Very nice photos, nice start to your diary Philip :D

Mike

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Re: PhilBWright

Postby PhilBWright » Thu Apr 24, 2014 4:16 am

24.4.14
Thanks Mike for your feedback, much appreciated.
About 15 years ago, I studied Landscape Architecture at Uni. so I do have a bit of an eye for what makes a nice composition.
With digital photography, the best tip I can give anyone is to take lots of pictures and not show or delete the average or worst pictures (I know this sounds obvious). I also spend some time cropping my best pictures but that's just my personal preference. To give you an idea, with my 6 mile walk along the canal, I took approx. 200 pictures that day. Many of those pictures I wouldn't dream of showing !
With regard to taking photos of butterflies and reading some of the personal diaries, my main aim of 2014 is to become more like Neil Hulme ! :( :) :D
I'm off to work now. I have to get up early to beat the morning rush as I am working in London. I will catch up later,

Best Wishes,

Philip

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Re: PhilBWright

Postby Pauline » Thu Apr 24, 2014 5:49 am

Morning Phil - great time of the day in Summer isn't it? Not so great in Winter. I see you mentioned Neil's photos - there are many of us who aspire to take such shots. One of the earliest lessons I had from Neil was about exposure compensation after he quite rightly told me my photos of whites were bleached (I didn't even know what that meant back then but basically lacking the finer details). He suggested that I alter this setting on my camera to MINUS 0.66 for such situations. (I note several of yours are set to a POSITIVE value.) Hope you don't mind me mentioning this Phil but I wish someone had told me a lot earlier. Enjoying reading your diary and as I used to live in Addlestone some of the landscape shots are nostalgic.

PhilBWright
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Re: PhilBWright

Postby PhilBWright » Thu Apr 24, 2014 6:41 am

Thanks Pauline,
When I was at uni, one of the teaching methods was for all of us to pin our work up on the wall and let it be criticised by others in the group for the greater good. Not too many fights took place !
It should be brightening up later in Lewisham,

BWs ( :) )

Philip

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Re: PhilBWright

Postby Pete Eeles » Thu Apr 24, 2014 11:15 am

Pauline wrote:One of the earliest lessons I had from Neil was about exposure compensation after he quite rightly told me my photos of whites were bleached (I didn't even know what that meant back then but basically lacking the finer details). He suggested that I alter this setting on my camera to MINUS 0.66 for such situations.


Perhaps we should start a "photography secrets" thread (i.e. things you wish you'd known then, but know now!).

I've got several views on tripods, backgrounds, composure etc. etc. and know others do too. For example, I believe that you can only get a clean background if there's a clean background (as it were)! There is no magic. Options to achieve this include moving the butterfly, doing some gardening or changing the background in some way (and I know folks on this forum that do these, so this isn't a "made up" list!). A green jacket I bought while in Switzerland with Guy has been incredibly useful for the latter :)

Cheers,

- Pete

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Re: PhilBWright

Postby Lee Hurrell » Thu Apr 24, 2014 1:00 pm

Now THERE are some good ideas on things to add to my field bag! I am already aware of "judicious pruning" and a small pair of scissors in your kit can be helpful. But a green screen - genius!

I also under expose in the field (-0.33 to -0.66) and then re-saturate at home.

I think a secrets thread, perhaps contain good/best practice, or even a new ideas to try is a great idea. How about a "critique" thread too?

NB - Sorry to hijack your diary, Phil.

Best wishes,

Lee
To butterfly meadows, chalk downlands and leafy glades; to summers eternal.

PhilBWright
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Re: PhilBWright

Postby PhilBWright » Fri Apr 25, 2014 4:56 am

That's cool guys, thanks.
25.4.14 Exposure Settings and image brightness
After reading some of my camera manual, it turns out that it is actually quite easy to change the exposure settings in the field.
It was raining this evening so I took several shots in quick succession aimed at the detail on my cream curtains backlit from outside just to give an idea of what we are talking about:
Exposure Settings.jpg

Instead of a Cabbage White example, here is another tree canopy picture I took last year which was quite badly silhouetted:
purple emperor 030aa.jpg
Exposure Bias of 0 step

Do you have any ideas on how I might have improved on this, apart from changing camera angle?

Best Wishes

Philip
Last edited by PhilBWright on Sat Apr 26, 2014 5:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

PhilBWright
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Re: PhilBWright

Postby PhilBWright » Sat Apr 26, 2014 4:58 am

26.4.14
Checking Out the Exposure Bias of my recently uploaded pictures
By right clicking some of my pictures on my lap top and selecting "properties" I have been looking at the exposure bias of some of my recently uploaded pictures.
For example this picture of a female Orange Tip, I thought picked out the detail quite well, still only had an exposure bias of 0 step:
Bookham C. April 13th Exposure Bias 0 Step.jpg

It seams that most of my shots have been like this apart from a few where I may have changed the settings inadvertently by mistake.
Thanks to Pauline's original comment and follow up comments I will probably save quite a bit of wasted time and energy in the future,

best wishes,
Philip

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Re: PhilBWright

Postby Wurzel » Sat Apr 26, 2014 7:29 am

Intersting ideas and information Phil - I might need to have a look into actually working out how to use my camera as I'm still in 'point and shoot' mode :oops: With regards to the Purple Emperor shot all I can really suggest is invest in a step ladder so you can get closer :wink: Although I like shots like that of His Nibbs as it sets the scence and is quite an accurate representation of how we often see Him :D Looking forward to some more reports soon.

Have a goodun

Wurzel

PhilBWright
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Re: PhilBWright

Postby PhilBWright » Sat Apr 26, 2014 8:59 pm

Thanks Wurzel,
26.4.14 Bushy Park Woodland Garden TQ148695
Temperature 12-14 degrees C around lunchtime, warm enough for butterflies on the wing when the sun came out.
According to Chris Evans on BBC Radio 2, this was the weekend to go and visit a "Bluebell Wood"

Basically the woodland gardens are the parts of Bushy Park gated and fenced off from the resident Red and Fallow Deer.
Excellent time of year to visit with Rhododendrons & Azaleas in bloom among the Bluebells and butterflies with an exotic taste!.
Bluebell Woods 203a.jpg
Woodland Gardens, Bushy Park near Hampton Court

I soon saw lots of Orange Tips, Brimstones, Speckled Woods, Small, Large & Green-veined Whites
Bluebell Woods 181brimstone.jpg
Male Brimstone in flight and feeding (inset).

Bluebell Woods 124a.jpg
Large White on Bluebells

Bluebell Woods 127a.jpg
Green-veined White

Bluebell Woods 198a.jpg
Orange Tip

Me.jpg
I had a nice coffee and cake in the café afterwards with my cousins

I hope I have "done the place justice".
I will upload some pictures to my photo album when I don't feel so guilty about hogging the home page! :)

best wishes,
Philip
Last edited by PhilBWright on Mon Apr 28, 2014 3:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

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David M
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Re: PhilBWright

Postby David M » Sat Apr 26, 2014 9:17 pm

Imaginative stuff, Phil.

I really like it.

PhilBWright
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Re: PhilBWright

Postby PhilBWright » Mon Apr 28, 2014 5:07 pm

I'm going to spend some time this evening sorting out data stored on my phone of a few butterfly counts that I did and submit them to the Surrey & South West London branch of Butterfly Conservation (which I am not a member of).
I haven't seen any Meadow Browns or Purple Emperor butterflies yet in 2014 ! :D
Philip

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Re: PhilBWright

Postby Neil Freeman » Mon Apr 28, 2014 6:38 pm

Hi Phil,

An interesting diary, I love the photos with the butterflies set against the habitat, great stuff :D

Cheers,

Neil.

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Re: PhilBWright

Postby Wurzel » Tue Apr 29, 2014 8:48 am

It's great to see things being done differently and I really like the way the images are backed up by their habitat - it helps put the image in context, great stuff Phil :D

Have a goodun

Wurzel


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