Category Archives: horse

Out and About Around Brighton

In between all the foxes I’ve been spending a little more time out and about with the camera. Still all in the local area, but finding new subjects and places to explore. A few days ago I decided to explore the area opposite one of my usual haunts (Sheepcote Valley) and took a wander along the tracks that run between the meadows on the north of the main road. It was an eye opener. There were some lovely views across the valley, and loads of horses in paddocks.

horse in paddock

Horse in paddocks around Woodingdean, East Sussex

portrait of horse's head

Portrait shot

white hrose

White horse with view of houses in the distance

horse

Loved the colours on this horse and the soft reflected sunlight on the distant hill

That’s an area I’ll certainly be re-visiting.

A few days later I was really bold and wandered down into Brighton proper. I did have a particular subject in mind… the murmuration of starlings that takes place at sunset around the Palace Pier, but I was there much earlier which gave me some time in the afternoon. Apart from the usual shots of the i-360, I spend an age watching the Brighton Bubble Man entertaining the small crowd alongside the West Pier. The bubbles he creates are huge. Here’s just a few shots that worked out ok. Worth stopping by if you are ever down there.

giant bubble

Child’s hand reaching up to a bubble

Giant bubble framing the West Pier

Bubbles over the West Pier (by The BubbleMan)

A cup of coffee and a slice of cake later, the sun was beginning to go down and I got ready for the main event. Sunset was at 5.16pm and at 5.00pm I was still wondering whether anything would happen. There were starlings to be seen. But nature knows its stuff and as the sun went down below the horizon, small flocks of starlings started to gather and very quickly merged into a massive flock. And then they started the sky painting. This was my first attempt at murmurations and I made a few mistakes. I should have had more of the western sky in the shot (better colours), but my aim was to also grab plenty of the pier itself for context. I tried to keep the shutter rate high (above 1/250 with a decent depth of field). Inevitably it gets more difficult as the light disappears. I’ve included shots where the classic shape of the murmuration is more evident.

murmuration of starlings at Brighton

Murmuration of starlings at Brighton Palace Pier

murmuration of starlings at Brighton

Murmuration of starlings at Brighton Palace Pier

murmuration of starlings at Brighton

Murmuration of starlings at Brighton Palace Pier

I mentioned the advantage of looking west to catch the true colour of the sunset. These were taken shortly before the sun disappeared.

sunset brighton beach

West Pier (and i360) at sunset

sunset brighton beach

West Pier (and i360) at sunset

Camera note: all photos taken with the Canon 1DX Mark II. I used the EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM for the horses and the EF 70-200mm f/4.0L IS II USM lens for everything else.

Also posted in Birds, coastal, Landscape, Seaside Views, starlings, Sunset, Wildlife Tagged , , , , , , |

A few recent shots…

I’ve somewhat lost the thread of blogging regularly, but I have still been out with the camera and have picked up a few interesting images on the way. This is therefore something of an eclectic collection of recent photos that I quite like. I will include some fox updates as well.

The most recent photos were yesterday when I spent an hour or so at Falmer pond. It was very quiet on the bird front, but I did find a nice spot where a couple of rats were playing by the water’s edge. They tend to keep to the runs just under the lip of the edge of the pond, so for much of the time they are hidden from view. I got this shot, which is one of my favourites from yesterday from across a corner of the pond.

rat

Rat perched on a tree root running underneath the overhanging lip of Falmer Pond.

I also quite like this one of one of the rats swimming. The pond is a complete mess at the moment… leaves cluttering it among the blue-green algae and generally looking grubby. But that’s fine for Rattus norvegicus.

rat

Rat swimming in Falmer Pond

This next shot was also taken at Falmer, at the tail end of October on a day where the low sun was creating some beautiful autumn colour. It’s a simple shot, but it took an age for anything to swim across the reflected colour and add a little details. So many thanks to this little moorhen for taking up the baton.

moorhen on golden pond

Moorhen on Falmer Pond as the sun is setting

I’m now going back a full month to October 9th, when I stumbled across a race meeting at Brighton Racecourse (otherwise known as Sheepcote Valley (the track runs across a public access area). It was a lovely sunny day, and I had plenty of time to work out what I wanted to do. As well as plenty of hard ‘racing’ shots I also played around with long-shutter panning shots as the riders cantered up to the starting boxes.

race horse

This is Barrsbrook cantering to the start of the 3.30 race, ridden by Hector Crouch. He finished 2nd.

The horse is Junoesque cantering to the start of the 3.30 race, ridden by Charlie Bennett. It finished 4th.

horse race

Some hard racing action

horse racing

The 3.30 race. Horse 6 is Military Madame ridden by David Probert. It finished 11th.

Now to the foxes… As I think I have previously mentioned, the young foxes have crept away as autumn and winter set in. This happens every year, though sometimes one youngster will be allowed to stay close to their birth territory. Last year it was Pretty, who has remained a constant visitor for 18 months or so. She is now the only regular fox we see, though there are others lurking. A couple of nights ago we noticed she had an injured ear. She wasn’t too concerned and injuries are very much a part of the fox’s life. Hopefully it will clear up quickly. It’s possible she has been in a fight over territory, but it is very difficult to keep track of vulpine social organisation. Anyway, the wound is fairly obvious in this shot.

fox with wounded ear

Pretty, with wound to her right ear (left of image). Taken on 7/11/18.

Prior to that she has been on really good form, and back at the beginning of November posed beautifully at the top of our 5 foot garden hedge. It has been some time since she has done this, and the trigger may have been a small cat who sometimes visits the garden.

fox on the top of garden hedge

Pretty sitting pretty atop an 5 foot high hedge

With the other foxes keeping their distance Pretty has been the mainstay of the Fox of the Day page. I try to keep that fairly varied (at least in the style of photo), but at this time of the year it can be difficult so I was delighted when a different fox appeared last night. I have caught glimpses of it before, but it’s very shy and usually has scuttled away before I have any chance of taking a picture. Last night the balance of food or flight played into my hands and so here is the newest fox in the garden.

fox at night

Unidentified shy fox

To bring this right up to date, here’s one more photo of Pretty from which it appears her right ear is healing up nicely. This was taken a few minutes ago in a howling wind and lashing rain. She was fine about the weather but I wasn’t going to stay outside for too long.

fox in the rain

Pretty in the rain. Her wounded ear appears to be improving.

Camera note: all photos taken with the Canon 1DX Mark II and EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM or EF 70-200mm f/4.0L IS II USM lens.

Also posted in Foxes, rats, Wildlife Tagged , , , , |

Horses at Falmer

I took a slightly different route out today and spent some time on the other side of the A27 in what is now North Falmer (the village is split in two by the A27). This is a view across the South Downs National Park, which – thanks to a government u-turn tonight under pressure from Labour – will now be protected from fracking.

fields

Falmer fields, part of the South Downs National Park

There are usually some horses around, and today was no exception.

Horses

horse

Nicely wrapped up against the chill.

The closing shot today is included for its curiosity. I swear these doves think they’re ducks.

Collared doves

Camera note: all photos taken with the Canon 7D Mark II and EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens.

Also posted in Birds, Farming, Landscape, South Downs National Park Tagged , , |