Tag Archives: horses

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


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.

Posted in Birds, coastal, horse, Landscape, Seaside Views, starlings, Sunset, Wildlife Also tagged , , , , , |

Out in the Fields

Today was definitely a taste of summer, and too good to miss a chance to head out to the local downland fields at lunchtime. There was just enough of a breeze to keep things comfortable, and the views are always good even if there’s little else around.

Horse in field at Falmer

A few yellowhammers were down at ground level, feeding.


I’d all but given up and was heading away when I noticed a slight inconsistency in the distance. Peering through the camera I could just make out a couple of foxes at the edge of the field. They were by some dense shrubs and were warming themselves in the sunshine.

Two foxes in field at Falmer

Two foxes in field at Falmer

The third shot was taken a few minutes later after they had retreated back under cover. I was actually photographing the rabbit in the top of the frame and only spotted the fox lurking near the bottom of the image later on.

fox and rabbit

On another day I’ll do better (I can hardly do worse), but it’s always a treat to get photos of foxes in fields.

Back on campus the blue tits are still actively feeding their young. The adult pair was gathering food so quickly that they almost crashed into each other as one was entering and the other leaving the nest box.

Two blue tits

It can’t be too long now before the young fledge. I’d really like to see that, but since I don’t know quite when that will be and my time is constrained I’ll need a fair slice of luck.

The final photo tonight is to make up for all the eye strain in picking out the daytime foxes. This is the nicked ear fox in the garden this evening.

fox in long grass

Camera note: all daytime photos taken with the Canon 7D and EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L USM IS lens. The nicked-ear fox was taken with the EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM lens.

Posted in Birds, Farming, Foxes, horse Also tagged , , |

Weekend catchup (and an interesting mammal)

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