Captain Bumblebee by Conor Cunningham

Full frame bumblebee. Canon 5dmkii f/2.8 Canon 70-200mm f/2.8

A wee stroll around a lake called Østensjøvannet in Oslo saw a flurry of activity from our wee flying fluffy friends polinating and collecting nectar and honey from the late summer floors. Very difficult wee things to photograph without a macro lenses, especially at f/2.8, but, I needed all the light I could get in order to have a high shutter speed to catch these speedy critters. Hopefully Captain Bumblebee got herself home to Queenie safe and sound.

Spring in Oslo by Conor Cunningham

Eva had told me it was Magnolia season and the Oslo Botanical Gardens in Toyen were the place to see them. So after work yesterday we set off for a walk around the gardens.

Flower gardens begin to bloom in Oslo Botanisk Hage

Ironically however, the Magnolias in the botanical gardens were not yet in full bloom, unlike the ones in Slottsparken (the gardens of the royal palace downtown).

The birds were out in full swing however, as were the bees and bumble bees.

A starling on the hunt for some grub.

The starling above was on the search for food and worked with Mrs. Starling to do so. They'd fly up onto the tree to its right and head for a wee hole. Perhaps they have young or are preparing a nest.

Looks good out there.

The cherry blossoms on the other hand had well and truly started blooming. 

One of the cherry blossoms in the full swing of spring.

The tree above was populated by some happy bees. I did my best to capture a bumble been on film, but the best shot I got of it was obscured by a branch.

Little so and so hid behind a branch

With a little effort, I did mange to get a couple of pictures of Bumbles, but it was rather camera shy and wouldn't look down the barrel of the lense.

Bumbles having a grand old time.

Found evidence in support of the phrase, busy as a bee.

A lonely cherry blossom after Bumbles flew off

Whilst the Magnolias weren't as expected in the gardens, we did manage to find one on the way home. This one is by the roundabout at the intersection of ring one and Karl Johans Gate.

A Magnolia in full bloom.

A Magnolia in full bloom.

Bird on a Fence by Conor Cunningham

I've spotted a bird I've not seen before, a common chaffinch (bokfink) in fact, in the backyard. Apparently it is as common as they come, but I've read that they migrate to Southern Europe for the winter. Not entirely sure if this one was just lazy, or the mild winter has invited it back.

Not much to write regarding the photography. Camera was in manual, bumped up the ISO to 800, lense at 200mm with IS on, f/2.8 and 1/80th of a second (it is dark outside, haven't seen the sun for many, many weeks).

I've decided I like this bird. Hope to see more of them!


Local Birds by Conor Cunningham

Even though I live in the centre of Norway's largest city, I'm still lucky enough to count a few birds as neighbours. My backyard, if one can call it that, has a few trees and with the help of a little birdseed sees Nuthatches (spettmeis), Great Tits (kjøttmeis) and European Blue Tits (blåmeis) regularly visit our bird feeders. They're a welcome site and hopefully they will thrive during the winter months.

European Blue Tit in a neighbours garden. f/2.8, 200mm, 1/250 and 320 ISO

I do notice however, that once the snow washes away, I see less and less Tits. Once a downpour of snow arrives they come right back. I've no idea where they go, but I'd love to find out. If you know, please let me know.

And on a photographic note; how's the bokeh? That lense rocks!

When to use manual mode by Conor Cunningham

Does anyone know what bird this is? Canon 5d MKIII f/5.6 ISO 2000 1/1000 Canon 70 - 300 f/4 - 5.6 IS USM  @300mm

Does anyone know what bird this is? Canon 5d MKIII f/5.6 ISO 2000 1/1000 Canon 70 - 300 f/4 - 5.6 IS USM  @300mm

Snapped quite a few snaps of some birds whilist visiting a costal town south of Oslo on the weekend. If you look at the picture, you'll notice that there is a lot cloud. In fact, there wasn't a bit of blue sky anywhere. What there was however, was plenty of snow, and plenty of water.

Canon 5d MKIII f/5.6 ISO 2000 1/1000 Canon 70 - 300 f/4 - 5.6 IS USM  @300mm

Canon 5d MKIII f/5.6 ISO 2000 1/1000 Canon 70 - 300 f/4 - 5.6 IS USM  @300mm

In front of me was the above image, and behind me plenty of more snow. There was an opening expanse of water image right and a river image left. In short, a bit of a nightmare for automatic camera operations. If you were to metre light for the clouds and then move over the snow, you're settings would change somewhat. Add the fact that snow often throws of the metering regardless due to the excess white, automatic modes such as TV and AV were out of the question.

If you look at the above image, the sky, snow and water are correctly exposed. Doing that with AV or TV would be difficult without exposure compensation. This can make it tricky to keep up with your settings when shooting fast moving things such as wildlife.

Light not changing?

Use manual. If the light isn't chaning, switch to manual and dial in your exposure. Once you've got it, that's it. Shoot and forget. Ok, so if the light starts to change or you've been at it a while, best to double check, but you won't have to change it that often.