Category Archives: Amphibians

Introducing the Canon EOS 7D Mark II

Yes I finally got my hands on a 7D mark II today and have spent the evening slowly getting to know it. I’ve got some of the basic settings where I want them (back focusing with the * button, custom modes set), but there’s still a lot to get to know about the camera and I’ve had no daylight to work with. Inevitably I have pushed the ISO settings just to see how good they really are. This shot, for example, was taken hand-held at 1/80s shutter, f/3.8 and ISO 52,000. Yes, you read that right. It’s not a setting I’ll use a lot, and there is some post-processing, but it’s surprisingly ok.

night scene ISO52,000

Night view taken at ISO 52,000 with the Canon EOS 7D Mark II

The rest of tonight’s post is closer to my usual stuff. We’ve got several newts in the garden at the moment. I took a short series of shots at my usual night time flash settings of ISO 400, f/7.1, 1/100s. There’s been very little post-processing on these partly because Lightroom doesn’t recognize Mark II Raw files yet, so I’ve been using Canon’s DPP 4.0 which is a big step up from the 3.n series. Another learning curve.

Anyway, to the photos. Nothing remarkable about them, but nice colour and the camera was very responsive.


Newt photographed with the Canon EOS 7D Mark II


Newt photographed with the Canon EOS 7D Mark II


Newt photographed with the Canon EOS 7D Mark II

I should be able to give the camera a bit more of a workout tomorrow. I’m looking forward to seeing just how good the focusing system is.

Camera note: all photos taken with the Canon 7D Mark II and EF 100mm f/2.8L macro IS USM lens.

Also posted in Newt, Technical Tagged , , |

Garden Nightlife (toad and foxes)

Regular readers of this blog will know that I spend a good deal of time out in our garden watching the comings and goings of the local foxes, and that occasionally – while I’m out there – I spot other garden visitors. Last night was such an occasion. Perched on the wall which separates the upper garden area from the house was a large toad. Toads are very occasional garden sightings, so its appearance was something of a surprise. I did spot a baby toad a few weeks ago, scuttling away under some shrubs, but it is a long while since I’ve seen an adult. This one was unmissable.




Tonight was toadless, but two of the local foxes showed up. The nicked-ear male is the more confident and regular of the foxes, and he’s in the foreground of this photo. The more wary vixen is lurking in the background.

two foxes

She may be wary, but the temptation of peanuts can occasionally be too much for a fox. Here she is nervously reaching forward.


She takes what she can and retreats. The male, though still cautious, is prepared to bide his time as long as I keep a safe distance away. He’s quite relaxed in this last image.


Camera note: all photos taken with the Canon 7D and EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM lens.

Also posted in Foxes, toad Tagged , |

Why Leave the Garden?

Why leave the garden? It was another beautiful sunny day. Quite mild, and more time for getting on with the spring clear up. Not that it’s too much of a hardship with so much to see just by looking around. And there’s one big surprise at the end.

Overhead, several buzzards flew over late morning. The gulls chased them without ever really getting serious; just enough to shepherd the buzzards directly over the garden.

Common buzzard over garden

Common buzzard over garden

Common buzzard over garden

The gulls were rather more upset when a heron crossed the sky. They cleared a large passage for it, and by the sound of them were clearly not happy. It’s the first time I’ve seen a heron from the garden so although it was some distance away and the shot isn’t up to much, it’s here as part of the ongoing record.

grey heron over Woodingdean

A good part of the afternoon was spent removing weeds and leaves from the garden pond. It was somewhat neglected last year and was becoming a bit of a tangle. I clean it out by hand and spotted several newts (plus I inadvertently caught one, but quickly returned it to the water). The job’s only part done, but it does mean that tonight I was able to take this photo of one of the many newts.

smooth newt

Slightly off topic is this next shot. It was taken during the day but I’ve converted it to black and white. I had hoped to see a plane leave trails directly across the moon (I think I’ve got a shot like that from several years ago), but this will do.

moon and plane

The big (and very welcome) surprise comes towards the end of these video clips from the trail camera. Plenty of foxes, and a couple of badgers to enjoy.

Watch the video and you’ll know what I’m looking forward to seeing soon!

Camera note: all photos taken with the Canon 7D and EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L USM IS lens except the newt which was taken with the EF 100mm f/2.8L macro IS USM lens.

Also posted in Badger, Bird of Prey, Foxes, Moon, Newt, water birds Tagged , , , , , |