For the Christmas we headed back to the South of France to gather with the family and meet up with friends. I took with me a bit of my gear, hoping to find time to do some "birding" but also to do a "studio" shoot with the remaining gear I left in the South. Wildlife was not crazy due to winter time and cold weather on the other hand I'm quite happy with the "studio" shooting.
I was very much hoping to have more time to look for wildlife and bird watching spots, as winter time is good period to follow resident animals and birds. It it the right time of the year to investigate on local species habits, foraging grounds and "refugees". In presence of snow, tracks are way easier to follow, unfortunately it rarely snows in the South. However, as usual plans never turn out as planned and I could not dedicate much time on wildlife exploration.
I went to a spot I knew for its regular kingfisher observations. Indeed, I did not visually spot any but I managed to listen to at least two individuals very close from me. The timing was not quite right as I went there around 3 P.M. and the light from the sun was already fading away.
Obviously, the variety of birds was not great but it was what you would expect in this season. Blue and Great tits were among the most numerous species present on that day. A cormorant was also around. The fourth and fifth pictures were actually taken on a different day. The dead cormorant was found a bit more upstream of the river (Fresquel) along the same path where the three other pictures were taken. I suspect it was possibly the same cormorant as on the first picture. Due to the recent floods in the region, the watercourse borders are full of various plastic items that have been dragged by the current, I might suspect some plastic "poisoning" or strangulation of the bird. I could not observe any wounds from what I saw. From that distance it was indeed hard to tell.
Project - "Cocoon":
While in South of France, we stopped by my dad's house. My dad used to be an auctioneer, he retired about 5 years ago but still possesses an incredible collection of items of every kinds. Among this, there is a very specific seat that I have always particularly loved. I would describe it as an egg shaped seat, a bit like the one from the Men In Black movie poster.
Anyway, I thought it would be a good idea to try to make a couple of shots with it and to practice my studio light skills. The original idea was to do some nude style shooting. As my dad was around the house my shooting partner/model was not feeling really confident in doing this naked. However, we did have other ideas with different clothing. We also took advantage of other items (e.g., a pair of sun glasses, a melon-hat and walking stick) that were available in the living room transformed into a photo studio for the occasion.
Not gonna describe the whole setup as it was very simple, a black background and two 60x60 softboxes with continuous light and that's it. The only thing, is that I had little problem with my 7Dii combined with the 18-35mm on that day. Impossible to focus on the subject eyes, most of my pictures were blurry on the face. Luckily, we have recently bought a Canon M50 mirrorless camera with its ring adaptors for EF and EF-S lenses. The little one is equipped with an Eye-tracking function supposed to be very handy in portraits mode. We were planning to test it during the shooting but just on a couple of shots... Nevertheless, I was so impressed with the camera that we made most of the session with it.
Again this is "amateur" photography, made from scratches but both of us were quite pleased with the outcome from either the final pictures and also from the new camera. Still, I need to invest in a proper Full frame camera as I find the cropping/magnifying effect of the APS-C captor a bit too annoying... Best example are picture 2,4 and especially were you end up with very tight focus on the subject, by this I mean not much space around the subject. It gets a bit challenging to find the appropriate angle to get the full subject in the picture without cut a part of it. Anyway,... we'll see in the near futur what's Canon will be coming up with in terms of new gear. Really looking for a professional Full-Frame mirrorless.
BTW... Happy New Year !!!!