Roe Deer with Aperture Priority

Unfortunately the big lens I have (Sigma 150-500mm) is not pin-sharp at maximum aperture (But then are any lenses? Well, ones I can actually contemplate owning I mean.) and so when I am cropping an image to get the subject the right size in the frame I am not happy with ones that were shot at maximum aperture.

I have yet to develop the skills where I can adjust ISO, adjust the shutter speed and aperture combination and dial in exposure compensation – all at the same time – while trying to frame the subject and get it in focus. It might sound a bit stupid but there are occasions when I would like to be able to do that. When I have my big lens on my camera (Canon 7d) it will try to keep the shutter speed up between 1/500-1/750 to avoid camera shake and as a result push aperture large and ISO fast. This can (?will) result in images that are noisy and not sharp.

I almost always have a carbon fibre monopod mounted on the lens so I can think about the shutter speed more in relationship to the subject than camera shake. The monopod is one of the legs of my tripod with the centre column on the top.

Roe Deer

This photo was taken with the lens at 500mm and ƒ/8.0, shutter speed was 1/90 and ISO 200.

If the shutter speed had been pushed up to around 1/750 by the camera for this shot then the aperture and ISO would have to compensate 3 stops. Taking it in simple steps my brain can understand to explain where I got the 3 stops – halving 1/90 to 1/180 is 1 stop, halving again to 1/360 is 2 stops then halving again to 1/720 is 3 stops. At 500mm the maximum aperture of my lens is f/6.3 so that would give only 1/2 stop. The other 2 1/2 would have to come from pushing the ISO up to over 1000. (200 > 400 > 800 > 1200 for my simple brain. 1 stop > 2 stops > 2 1/2 stops) Together these would probably result in a borderline image. Given the chance again I would probably have gone for an aperture of f/11.0 and an ISO of 400 to give the same exposure but as is so often the case, you look up and there is the subject. Deer don’t stand around waiting for you to work out the best settings. They see you and then they are off.

Roe Deer

Having spent quite a bit of time with my camera I now know that if the ISO is much higher than 800 I start to get noticeable noise in the images and thar 400 ISO is better. (Should I be going for a Canon 7d Mk II upgrade? But I hear that the low light performance is only 2/3 stop better.) I also know that f/11.0 on my long lens gives sharp results, f/8.0 is still quite good. As a result, on a bright day I will set the maximum ISO to 400 and the aperture to f/11.0. As the light changes during the day I may adjust these settings so that I stand a chance of getting the shot using the monopod.

Of course that is not the end of the story but I will save some of the other considerations for another day.



I went for a walk along the river Aire today with the intention of getting a photo of a Kingfisher. I did see one fly along the river but it didn’t co-operate and perch near me. I took a few photos of butterflies and Goosander and I will probably be posting something about them later but these photos are a bit more exciting.

Several times during my walk along the river I heard some loud cries and it took a while for it to sink in that it was a bird of prey. Most of the time it was in the trees across the other side of the river but on my way back towards Denso Marston Nature Reserve from the Shipley end I realised that the cry was now coming from my side of the river. I walked as quietly as I could along the path and could see where the noise was coming from. But would you believe that what looked like two Buzzards were disturbed by a man walking along the river bank with a shopping basket on wheels in tow. The clatter of the wheels on the path was amazing. I still can’t work out how that could be a short cut to or from shops.

After this I was thinking about heading home but decided to go somewhere I had heard similar calls before, and this time I was in luck. Beautiful! Well worth the detour. It’s fantastice that we can see all this in Baildon.

As usual you can click on the image and see a larger version on Flickr. There are several more on Flickr too.


I was quite pleased to spot this Buzzard. So often they spot you first and all you see if a flash of brown and white as it flies off into the distance.


I could hear two calling as it launched itself from the pylon.


It circled around on its massive wings and landed on the pylon again.


And around it went again. On one of its circuits it seemed to look right at me.


Before flying off over Esholt.

A bit more wild life from the last couple of weeks

On the morning of Saturday 29 July the sun was shining in our garden and again we had a few butterflies on the Buddleia. It is not called the butterfly bush for nothing.

For those that don’t like spiders be warned that there is a photo of a web later on – no spider though.

As usual you can click on any of the images and see larger versions on Flickr. There are also a few other photos on Flickr taken around the same time.

Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly on Buddleia

This Small Tortoiseshell was sipping the nectar on the Buddleia.

Roe Deer

On Friday 4 I had a day off work and went up past Moorfield Equestrian Centre where I spotted this Roe Deer. It was with a similar sized buck.

Small Copper

A little further North I spotted a Small Copper, and they are small. Compare its size to that of the berries next to it.

Small Copper

Another view of a Small Copper.

Goldfinch on Thistles

Just near the Equestrian Centre are some thistles and on my way back I kept quiet and was rewarded by Goldfinch coming and eating some of the seeds. There ability to nibble along until they get to the seed is amazing when you think that all they have is a hard beak and a tongue.

Juvenile Goldfinch in Thistles

This is a juvenile Goldfinch in the Thistles. I am still hoping to see flocks of Goldfinch on the many thistles down by Tong Park Dam.

Spider's Hole

Walking up the narrow path towards the bottom gate of the rugby club I noticed quite a few spider webs at the entrance to holes in the embankment by the side of the path. I believe these are the work of Labyrinth Spiders, a rather dull grey-brown spider that usually goes unnoticed apart from these webs.

5 August

Early morning haze on Bradford Golf Club

Early on 5 August I went along much the same route as Saturday but a lot earlier. The photo above was taken at just gone 7:00 AM. In my memory the near fairways were much more silvery with the dew.  The length of the shadows show it to still be morning.

Curlew, Hare and Swallow

And this is what I was hoping to see. Curlew and Hare, with a Swallow doing a low level fly by.


I don’t know if the shape of a Curlew’s bill varies during the year but this one has a bill that is thick at the head end. At a guess I would say that it is a juvenile. This Curlew is just stretching out its left leg and wing.

You can see that is reasonably early in the morning – the grass still has sparkling drop of dew all over it.


But this is what I was hoping to see – Hare. The early low Sun is giving it a more golden colour than ones I have seen in the past.


They tuck their rear legs well under as they lope around.

Hare and Swallow

This shows one reason why you might not see many Hares around. They tend to hunker down and the grass wouldn’t have to grow much more for them to be out of sight. The two lighter areas to the right of the Hare are two swallows flying along the fields just above the grass.


This Hare is quietly eating the grass and probably keeping half an eye on me.


And just behind my head while I was watching the Hare was this Blue Tit all fluffed up.

Comma Butterfly

This Comma Butterfly was perched at the top of these Thistle flowers with a bit of space behind so that the background is totally out of focus and a uniform pale green to make the butterfly stand out.

Gatekeeper Butterfly

A few Gatekeeper Butterflies were also in the same area but they didn’t stay still for long.

Small Copper

While I was taking these photos I heard a noise behind me and saw two Roe Deer gallop across the field only a short distance away. They were much too quick for me to get my camera up to take a photo. They quickly disappeared into the woods and down the slope to the beck. So I went back to the Thistles, Brambles and Bracken and got a decent shot of a Small Copper.

Roe Deer

When I next looked up I was being watched by this Roe Deer. It seemed reasonably relaxed and let me get a photo.

Roe Deer

It then galloped off

Roe Deer

and headed in the same direction as the other two deer I had seen.

Puffball mushroom

I headed off in a similar direction and on the edge of the woods spotted this Puffball

Panther Cap? Blusher?

and this Panther Cap. Or is it a Blusher?

Red Admiral Butterfly

I saw no more deer as I went through the woods but when I came out the other side more butterflies were around one of them being this Red Admiral.


This shot shows the powerlines cutting through the trees of Buck Wood. It is looking over the top of Tong Park Industrial Estate towards Esholt sewerage works.

Cinnabar Moth caterpillar

This Cinnabar Moth caterpillar was spotted on 6 August on a walk between the River Aire and Leeds Liverpool Canal heading North from Buck Lane.